Daily Notes on the Bible        

These notes are not intended as a complete Bible Study, but are just a few thoughts gathered daily
Please always remember that the Words of the Lord are flawless.  Ps 126  Prov 305
My notes will obviously attempt to be accurate and although turned 80, I'm still keen to learn.
      Comments / suggestions are always welcome.      

Genesis Ezra Joel Matthew 1 Timothy
Exodus Nehemiah Amos Mark 2 Timothy
Leviticus Esther Obadiah Luke Titus
Numbers Job Jonah John Philemon
Deuteronomy Psalms Micah Acts Hebrews
Joshua Proverbs Nahum Romans James
Judges Ecclesiastes Habakkuk 1 Corinthians 1 Peter
Ruth S. of Songs Zephaniah 2 Corinthians 2 Peter
1 Samuel Isaiah Haggai Galatians 1 John
2 Samuel Jeremiah Zechariah Ephesians 2 John
1 Kings Lamentations Malachi Philippians 3 John
2 Kings Ezekiel   Colossians Jude
1 Chronicles Daniel   1 Thessalonians Revelation
2 Chronicles Hosea   2 Thessalonians  

 

Genesis         [Contents]

The book of beginnings; the beginning of the world
      the beginning of Israel
      and God's plan for man's salvation.

     
Gen 1,2
How did this world begin?
Who and why?
2 chapters that reveal creation was entirely God's initiative, design and power.
It shows the great ingenuity, beauty, imagination, variety, simplicity, balance,
      laws, interaction, integration, interdependence, stability, energy.
It reveals the detailed patient care from the subatomic physics to the vast universe,
      all in preparation for the creation of man.
Almighty God desired to share his life with man - whatever the cost would be.
His faithful determination is revealed here and throughout the Scriptures.
And God said ... x11. By his word all matter and life were created and ordered.
      They did not have ears to hear and so obey,
             but like the wind and waves they just obeyed him.  Math 826  Jn 1133,34
See also Jn 13  Col 116  Ps 336-9
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Gen 3
Satan's character and methods?
Could sin be avoided? c.f. Math 41-11
Significance of 315 ?      
Satan's hatred of all men who he could so easily deceive.
God wants us to know about Satan's 'more crafty' character.
Initiates doubt, blatant denial of truth, attributes false motives.
Adam and Eve had no idea who they were dealing with.
When questioned by God they both tried to make excuses.
Man's weakness did not surprise God; he did warn them. No plan B.
He knew the cost of salvation before he began creation.
Always keep in mind "It is written". Learn all Scripture - treasure God's gift.
Sin always has consequences. Eden changed from experience to a dream.
All men and women now have to endure sweat and pain.
The Lord God made ... garments of skins and clothed them. What grace!
Gen 4
Why did God favour Abel, not Cain?
The younger son Abel earnestly sought and found God. In faith and gratitude he offered his best.  Heb 114a, 6 He obtained faith because God spoke to him, assuring him of forgiveness by his presence. His joy was obvious; Also with women in Lu 736-50 and Mk 1241-44
But Cain was jealous. Cain had no real hunger for God and when warned by God he ignored it. There are parallels with Jacob and Esau. Abel, the first to be saved and find favour with God, still speaks. Heb 114b, 13-16 All who call upon the Lord will be saved.  Joel 232 But Cain belonged to the evil one.  1 Jn 312
Gen 5
Adam to Noah, 10 generations,
      av. age 847 yrs.
Enoch when aged 65 walked with God for 300 years after birth of Methuselah.
Enoch and Elijah only men who didn't die. God took them away.
Noah born 69 years after g.grandfather Enoch taken.
But during this time (~1,600 years) men grew in number and wickedness.
Gen 6
The degree of wickedness + result?
Noah's faith and righteousness basis?
They married any of them they chose. v2 This suggests massive 'free sex' and far distant from one man and one woman for life. Man's wickedness was great and (and possibly 'because') his thoughts were only evil all the time. v5.
And the earth was corrupt in God's sight and full of violence. v11.
Noah was righteous because he knew about the wages of sin and by faith he first called upon the Lord, and then in obedience built the Ark.  Heb 117
He covered the inside and out with pitch - Hebrew Kippur = atonement. v14
Salvation is by the atonement and propitiation through Christ; both are revealed and believed by faith. Noah proved this by his obedience. He was protected and walked with God. v9,22 (Only he and Enoch are recorded thus)
God had revealed to Noah his plan to destroy all life under the heavens! v17 God was pleased to make a covenant of salvation with Noah. v18
Enabled by God, Noah worked hard and with great skill for 120 years. v3,9.
Gen 7
God's judgement of wickedness
      and his saving grace revealed.
God graciously watched Noah build. Only when complete he told Noah to go into the Ark - flood would come in 7 days. v4. Noah was 600 when he entered the ark. One of the last things Noah did before this was to bury Methusaleh (= "In the day that I die it shall happen") aged 969 =187+182+600. Gen 525-31 Such was the gracious warning of God.
God gathered all the animals. God shut them in. v16 (and all others out!)
On the 7th day God commanded the flood - springs of the great deep burst forth (remains still under Yellowstone park), and rain fell for 40 days.
Highest mountains covered by 20ft. v20. Earth flooded for 150 days.
Only Noah was righteous and only he preached righteousness, so only he, his family and the animals were saved. 2 Pe 21-10
This most explicitly reveals that God saves and God also judges wickedness.
The last days will be as in Noah's day - evil men will scoff!  2 Pe 33-7
Beware! Both then and now God will fulfill his clear warning.
Gen 8
God and Noah both waited and acted
God remembered Noah + all livestock - He never for once forgot them. v1
God sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded. (where to?)
As in the Exodus at the Red Sea, the wind of God moved the waters.
After 150 days ... + 40 sent raven + 7 sent dove (returned) + 7 sent dove (returned with leaf) + 7 sent dove (didn't return). Removed covering of Ark.
Noah waited until God told him to come out of the Ark. v15 (after 376 days)
Noah builds altar + sacrifice of gratitude to God - protection + salvation.
God makes covenant - Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures. v21
Gen 91-17
Major changes?
God blessed Noah and his family to multiply and fill the earth. v1,7
But the fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature. v2
Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. v3,4
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed. v6
God repeats his covenant; flood waters will never again destroy all life. v8-15
Rainbow will be the sign of this everlasting covenant. v16,17
Gen918-28
Sin is no joking matter
Noah planted a vineyard and then drank too much. Lay naked in tent.
Ham thought it was a joke and told his brothers, who respected their father.
The consequences? "Cursed be Canaan!"
Canaan, Ham's son and his descendants will be slaves of Shem and Japheth.
Beware: idle, careless words can have a high price. Math 1236,37
Why did Noah curse Canaan rather than Ham? Was this to ensure the curse would continue onto the future generations (like the sin of Adam and Eve)?
Although not certain the words 'saw his father's nakedness' may imply sodomy.
Gen 101 - 119
Why did Noah's sons form separate nations?
Why did men want to build Babel?
Families sometimes stick together while others separate and go their own way.
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Act 1726,27
Shem went east to modern Iran. Ham went West to N. Africa, Egypt and 'fertile crescent'. Japheth went north to modern Turkey.
Nimrod (Hebrew = Rebel) grew to be a mighty warrior He was a grandson of Ham; he founded Babylon (Babel). 1010 Like many mighty men, Nimrod wanted to make a name (a memorial) for himself and persuaded his people that it was for them too! It was an expression of secular humanism that excluded the Lord God. Larger and higher than anyone else - a big step along the path of planning to achieve the impossible. So the Almighty confused their language and scattered them. Totally different from Pentecost when he drew men together, explained language and men desired to honour God.
In the industrial, technological revolution of the last 200 years this spirit of Nimrod, and Babel has grown again. How long will it last? Even the EU parliament building in Strasbourg is modelled on Babel! And an EU poster avert showed Babel with the blasphemous heading "Many nations, One Voice".
Gen 1110-32
Here the 10 generations from Shem to Abraham are listed. (also Lu 3)
God called Abraham to leave Ur (150 miles SE of Babylon) in S.Iraq.
Most of the descendants of Shem lived further east (in modern Iran).
God also calls us to leave Babylon and its evil spirit.  Rev 184 2Co 617 Jer 516,45
Gen 121-9
God initiates his plan to bring salvation to the world through the Jews.
The 2 part journey from Ur
and the promise of blessing.
Terah took his family, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan.  1131 Not told when God instructed him. They stopped at Haran.
When Terah died God spoke to Abram. 121 Now the instruction is clear.
This was the first of 9 recorded times that Almighty God speaks to Abram.
a. Go to the land I will show you.
b. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.
c. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.
d. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
Abram obeyed. He journeyed on till he came to Shechem.
Then God spoke again. To your offspring I will give this land.
God has fulfilled all this; and he will continue to do so.
Redemption by Jesus is complete, but we await salvation and the establishment of the eternal and righteous kingdom of God.  Heb 928
But foolish, evil men have always challenged/ignored this rescue plan of God.
      Not only the land gift, but the necessity and the means of salvation.
The truth remains that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
For 4,000 years God has been fulfilling what he began in these verses.
Gen 1210-20
God's chosen Abram wasn't perfect.
But God's mercy and grace know no bounds and his plan is not changed.
It's easy to say Abram was wrong to allow famine to drive him to Egypt, and certainly to pretend that his wife Sarai was his sister to save his own skin.
But God intervenes and makes Pharaoh send them back to the promised land.
Abram would not make that mistake again.
Gen 13
Righteousness is never the loser in the long run. Lot would soon lose everything, including his wife when God destroyed Sodom. 2Pe 24-10
Abram returns to place between Bethel and Ai where he was at first.
There he called on the name of the Lord. Maybe asks, "What next?"
Herdsmen of Abram and Lot quarrel - too much livestock for the land.
Abram gives Lot the choice - he chooses Sodom's fertile plain; (only later after God's judgement did it become dry arid land). Abram has rocky hills. But the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.
God repeats his promise to give all the land to Abram's offspring.
Abram goes to Hebron where he again built an altar to the Lord - in thanks.
Gen 14
What did Abram do? And not do?     
Why did Melchizedek come to Abram?
Who was/is he?
4 kings defeat 5 kings (including king of Sodom). As soon as Abram learned Lot had been abducted, he took his 318 trained men, overthrew the 5 kings and rescued Lot. Abram was prepared for war. He refused any loot for himself from the evil king of Sodom, but didn't stop his men receiving their share.
Significantly Melchizedek brings bread and wine, and blesses Abram.
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. How?
Melchizedek only mentioned here, Ps 1104 and in Heb 7.
Melchizedek = eternal priest + king of Righteousness and Peace - thus Messiah.
God was preparing Abram for the next step recorded in next chapter.
Gen 15
What troubled Abram?
How did God overcome it?
Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless."
Almighty God repeats truth that he and Sarai would have a son.
Then he showed him the night sky and asked him to count the stars, and simply said, "So shall your offspring be." Just as I created them all, so will you!
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Not for first or last time Creation proves the greatness and power of God.
Today when evolution theory lie is taught as truth, men emphasise the love of God, and rarely appreciate his greatness or speak about his just judgement and the necessity of the Cross to enable propitiation and forgiveness of our sin.
Abraham saw the day of Jesus Christ, he believed the sacrifice Melchizedek brought, and was glad. Faith in God brought assurance. Jn 856
Almighty God then repeated the promise of land. But Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?"
So God ratified his promise. v9-12,17
He also revealed that his descendants would be strangers and slaves in Egypt for 400 years, then they would come out with great possessions. v14
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates. v18. Amram and Jochebed believed this too. Exd 22 Heb 1123
Gen 16
A prime example of how human interference leaves a trail of problems for many generations.
Impatience led Sarai to a bad idea and Abram agreed to it. - Hagar to have their child. Problems arose: Hagar despised Sarai. Sarai then mistreated Hagar. Hagar fled. God send angel to tell Hagar to return. She obeys. Angel also tells Hagar about her son: "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him,
and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers." v11,12
And so it has been for the last 4,000 years. Muslims descended from Ishmael.
Abraham was 86 when Ishmael born. They would have to wait another 14 years before Sarai gave birth to Isaac, the child of promise.
God's plan requires faith and patience.
So from this story let us learn that God's instructions are always best.
Gen 17
God repeats covenant with Abram;
why important?
"I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers. ...
This is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. ...
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God." v1-8
God confirms covenant with Abram to not only become a great nation, but many nations. Also promises to be their God and confirms the everlasting gift of land. (This has always been contested by ungodly men.)
God confirms covenant by changing his name from Abram to Abraham.
God instructs personal (not on public view) sign of covenant to be circumcision.
(Also good medical practice - cervical cancer in Jewish women is very rare.)
Abraham pleads with God for Ishmael; but God says No! Sarah will bear your son and you will call him Isaac (='laughs'. Abraham also laughed. v17.
 Ishmael will become a great nation, but will never be part of my covenant with you. Not surprisingly Ishmael and his Muslim descendants have always rejected this truth. So have ungodly nations / leaders down the ages. Anti-Semitism remains rife and God's Word rejected. But as Jesus said, "My Word will never pass away."  Lu 2133
Gen 181-15
How did Abraham receive guests?
Why? And what was the result?
He immediately recognises one of the 3 as the Lord.
Like Abel he gets the best food and drink for them. Abraham doesn't sit and eat with them, but stood near them under a tree. v8
Again confirms that about this time next year Sarah will have a son. v10
The Lord heard Sarah laugh to herself and says to Abraham (and Sarah) "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" v14
Gen 1816 - 1938
Why did Abraham plead for Sodom?
Why did God give us the horrible details of Sodom?
There is no mention of desire to save Sodom, only to save his nephew Lot.
He reduces the plea based on 50 righteous, down to just 10. Not found.
God wants us to know the depths of degradation that sodomy leads to;
      and thus share God's disgust at such evil.
Many churchmen in UK including both Archbishops do not share this disgust;
      desiring popularity they think the Bible is wrong; and thus also God!!
The two angels save Lot; but he lost everything by choosing to live in Sodom.
Lot warned them, but his sons-in-law thought he was joking. v14
      His wife 'looked back' (didn't leave willingly - why not?).
      His daughters schemed and commit the incest that produce Ammon and Moab.
Sin leaves such a horrible trail throughout history - why don't we learn?
When God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham. v29
Gen 20
The danger of half-truths.
God's protection and unchanged plan.
Again (Gen 12) Abraham says Sarah was his sister. Actually half-sister.
But God still protects her and stops Abimelech who had 'taken her'. When God told him he immediately returns Sarah to Abraham plus sheep and silver.
Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech and his family.
The Lord Almighty is so gracious and merciful.  2Tim 213 Mk 1438
Gen 211-7
Why is v2 so important?
Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. v2
It proved that the Lord God is faithful; he always keeps his Word.
To Almighty God who created all things, this was a small miracle!
It started next 2,000 years of God's plan that would give birth to Messiah.
His plan, that after a further 2,000 years, would see the return of Jesus as King,
      and the establishment of God's eternal righteous kingdom.
It doesn't get more important than that!!
Gen218-21
Why is our joy on earth so often challenged?
Ishmael (now 16) 'mocked' (or maybe worse) Isaac (just weaned at 2).
The prophesied (Gen 1612) strife began - and it would never cease.
Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. God reminded the distressed Abraham that this son would also become a great nation - violent Islam came from Ishmael.
Our sinful nature ensures that even within the Church harmony is rare.
O Lord, please may your peace, truth and righteousness come soon,
      and end all our squabbles and deceptions.
Gen 2122-34
Was Abraham right to make a treaty with Abimelech?
Could they trust each other to keep it?
Abimelech saw that "God is with you in everything you do." v22 And thus wanted peace. But Abimelech's men had seized a well that Abraham had dug.
Abraham agreed to treaty and gave Abimelech 7 ewe lams as a token and witness that the well at Beersheba belonged to Abraham, who also planted a tamarisk tree. Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. (Beersheba is about 30 SW of Hebron. Jewish population now ~200,000 and it is a centre for Israel's high-tech industry).
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; ... For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  Heb 119,10
Abraham was a righteous man who knew it would be at least 400 years before Israel would return to conquer the land.  Gen 1513-16
Gen 22
How did God test Abraham?
What enabled him to stand?
Why was this test so significant?
God calls, "Abraham!" And Abraham responds, "Here I am."
      This simple response implies a readiness to do whatever God tells him.
But he was not expecting the extreme instruction, "Take your son , your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering."
Amazingly Abraham did not question this, but immediately obeyed.
Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead,
      and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Heb 1119
God refers Isaac as being Abraham's 'only son, whom you love'.
This event foretells most clearly what God had to do to his Son to redeem us.
Mt Moriah would also be where Solomon built the Temple. 2 Ch 31 Is 22
Isaac asks "The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham replies prophetically, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And he did indeed - both the ram in place of Isaac, and Jesus, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jn 129
It should be noted well that the young man Isaac was willing to be bound.
Also, Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide - not has provided.
Because Abraham was obedient throughout this amazing event, God reminded him (Gen 122,3 173-8) of his everlasting Covenant:
"Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." v16-18
Because God did not withhold his Son who was willing to die in our place, we can be set free from sin - from its just punishment, for Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. 1 Jn 22 410 Ro 325 (KJV)
No ram sacrifice is sufficient to take away my sin; however sincerely offered;
      only Jesus could be the full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice.
      We may ask why, but this is what Almighty God has decreed. The Law was
      never intended to be sufficient. Heb 620 716,18, 24,25 912,14,22 1014,19 1224 etc
Gen 23
Why did Abraham insist on buying the land?
Abraham had the military power to take the land, but he wanted to ensure that the burial site for Sarah at Hebron would be properly and permanently recognised as his by the Hittites. Land gained by power alone will usually be contested for centuries afterwards. Abraham again remembered the revelation by God that the promised land gift would not become a reality for 400 years. He did not want the sacred burial ground to be contested during this time.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebekah and Leah were all buried there.
Because Muslims built a mosque there, the land is hotly disputed today.
Gen 24
What was Abraham's chief concern for Isaac's wife? And why?
Abraham was determined that Isaac should not marry a Canaanite. They worshipped evil gods and would draw Isaac away from the Lord Almighty. Esau married two Hittite wives - They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Gen 2635 (and 2746)
1,000 years later Solomon made the same mistake. The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord. 1 Kgs 111-13
Abraham was wise and righteous in his determination, and his chief servant did a good job in securing Rebekah as wife for Isaac. The test that she would offer to water Abraham's 10 camels was good. Isaac married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
Many sons and daughters of Christian parents have foolishly ignored this story and their parents advice, and paid a high price.
Gen 251-11, 19-34
When Abraham died, what was the most important thing he left?
He died a very rich man with many servants and animals and was highly respected by the local kings. Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.
He died 5 years before the birth of Jacob and Esau.
But by far the most important thing he passed on to Isaac was the eternal covenant that God had made with him. It was this 'birthright' that Isaac's son Esau despised and sold to Jacob for a bowl of stew! v29-34. Jacob treasured it and never received any of Isaac's wealth which Esau grabbed when Jacob fled to Laban (Esau ignored the oath he had made with Jacob).
But God's verdict: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."  Mal 12,3 Ro 913 Heb 1216,17
Esau's sorrow at his loss did not include any sign of repentance.  2 Co 710
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ... "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Math 2424,26
Abraham was called a friend of God Is 418 ; a man of faith  Gal 39
      If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed.  Gal 329
Gen 2512-18
Ishmael
Ishmael lived 137 years. ... his descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt ... And they lived in hostility toward all their brothers. Thus began the fulfilling of the prophecy in Gen 1612
Gen 26
Isaac and Abimelech (Philistine king)
Famine caused Isaac to move 20 miles west to Gerar. The Lord tells him not to go down to Egypt and confirms his covenant blessing, descendants and land.
Stays in Gerar. But like Abraham he told Abimelech that Rebekah was his sister.
Only confessed truth when seen caressing her. Abimelech then protects them.
Isaac soon became very wealthy. Philistines jealous, stopped up his wells. Told to move away. Isaac moved, dug new wells which they also stopped up.
Makes oath of peace with Abimelech.
Isaac returns to Beersheba, where he again found water (uncontested).
Gen 27
By fair means or foul, Jacob gets the blessing from Isaac.
This is a very real story of family intrigue; no one comes out of it very well.
Isaac favoured Esau, Rebekah favoured Jacob. No one had told Isaac that Esau had sold his birthright, or if they had, he chose to ignore it. Following his mother's instructions Jacob needed little encouragement to lie and cheat in order to inherit the blessing he longed for. Although his prime desire was for the covenant blessing, not the multitude of sheep and possessions, was commendable, this does not justify his dubious method.
Isaac also 'blessed' Esau - "Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother ..." This truth made Esau plan murder!
Jacob had to flee to Laban for 20 years with only the clothes he was wearing.
Gen 28
Isaac Blesses Jacob again, why? God confirms covenant with Jacob;
land, offspring, blessing the world, protection, return and his presence.
Rebekah plans the excuse to send Jacob to Laban to find a non-Canaanite wife, and thus escape the murderous threats of the angry Esau.
She knew Isaac would agree to this; and he did. he even blesses Jacob again.
Jealous Esau tries to gain favour by marrying Ishmael's grand-daughter.
Jacob leaves alone, with only his clothes and his wit - and his longing for God. The Lord came and spoke to him in a dream at Bethel:
"I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
Jacob's response is to offer God 10% of the blessings - if God keeps his word!!
      Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small;
      Love so amazing, so divine, demands mu soul, my life, my all.

But Almighty God is not offended; such is his grace and generosity.
Note: The ladder up to heaven is not for men to climb, but to confirm God's angelic activity in blessing his creation - especially Jacob!
Gen 291-14
How and why does Almighty God intervene in the affairs of men?
Jacob walks ~500 miles to Haran and meets his uncle Laban's daughter, who happens to be a shepherdess! Such coincidences are not just chance!
(also Abraham's servant finds Rebekah, and Moses and Aaron meet in desert)
Each of the 4 flocks of sheep knew their shepherd, they didn't get muddled up.
Jacob moves the well stone (with help from other 3) and waters Rachel's sheep,
As Rebekah had watered Abraham's servants camels. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept. To be mentioned in this account, it was obviously a significant kiss!
As part of God's plan it would deeply affect world history.
Gen 2915 - 3023
20 years of Jacob's family history
Through all Laban's trickery God never left him alone.  3142
Two wives + the two maidservants as wives did not make for a happy home.
See Gen 50 for Jacob's prophecy concerning his 12 sons.
Leah - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah. Then Bilhah (R) - Dan, Naphtali.
      Then Zilpah (L) -Gad, Asher. Then Leah - Issachar, Zebuun.
      And finally Rachel - Joseph (Ephraim + Manassah), Benjamin.
Men seldom seek the Lord's plan and rarely obey it. But through it all:
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.  Prov 169
In spite of all the trickery of both Laban and Jacob and his wives' jealousy,
      God's plan never missed a single beat! George Verwer calls it 'Messiology'.
Gen 3025 - 3155
Jacob's 'deal' with Laban - was it good or bad? God intervenes with justice.
Under Jacob's shepherding the Lord had greatly prospered Laban.
Jacob now wants to work for himself and they agree a 'deal' that all the speckled lambs would from now on become Jacob's. Typically Laban immediately puts all the speckled goats under his sons care and separates them by a 3 day journey. But the Lord God ensured that all the strong lambs were speckled, and so became Jacob's property. Laban was not pleased!
Laban had cheated Jacob and changed his wages 10 times (317,41).
But God had fulfilled his covenant with Abraham that anyone who cursed him would himself be cursed.  Gen 123
And it was all part of God's promised plan for Jacob: Then the Lord said to Jacob, "Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you." Jacob obeyed (Laban had gone to sheer his sheep).
Very foolishly Rachel stole her father's household gods. And didn't tell Jacob.
Laban pursues Jacob, but doesn't find his gods. (Rachel deceived him).
Laban said, "Last night the God of your father said to me, 'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad'."
So Jacob and Laban make pact not to pass the stone pillar to attack the other.
So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac.
The polytheist Laban said, "May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." And he returned home.
Gen 32,33
Jacob wanted to avert Esau's revenge.
Peniel.
How was Esau pacified so easily?
Why did Jacob want to remain separate?
God first sends a company of angels to meet Jacob. Did they instruct him?
Jacob sends message to Esau who responds by coming to meet him with 400 men. Jacob in great fear, divides his flocks. Then prays - with promise of God.
Sends succession of 3 gifts of flocks as gift to Esau to pacify him. It does!
Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
Once more Jacob shows his determination to secure God's blessing:
      "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
Esau was hungry for stew; Jacob was always hungry for God. Joel 232 Ps 421,2
The 'man' changed his name from Jacob to Israel.
Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying,
      "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
Jacob limped for the rest of his life; but knew reality of God's blessing.
Esau pacified by gifts and being called 'my Lord'.
Jacob insisted that Esau accept the gifts even if didn't need them as reminder that Jacob did not return to inherit Isaac's possessions.
Wisely and tactfully insisted he remain separate from Esau.
      Esau returned to Seir.
      Jacob settled at Succoth and then bought land at Shechem.
Gen 34
Jacob's sons replied deceitfully,
      Were they right to do so?
Shechem had raped Dinah, the daughter of Leah. Jacob's sons were determined upon revenge / justice. They agreed to let him marry her on condition that all the men of Shechem were circumcised. They agreed. On third day, when sore, they attacked and killed all the men and retrieved Dinah. Jacob rightly rebuked them, but it is not recorded what he may have said they should have done.
Gen 351-15
What was Jacob's response to God's instruction to go to Bethel?
So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you." Had Jacob found out about Rachel's gods?
It seems all his sons and household had foreign gods. How quickly this happens.
They obeyed and Jacob buried them at Shechem.
Then they journeyed to Bethel (20 miles south).
Jacob renamed Luz, El Bethel, and built an altar as instructed.
God blesses Jacob, he confirms his name change from Jacob to Israel, and confirms descendants. Almighty God also affirms his gift of the land.
Having been blessed by God you might expect Jacob's life to be easier -
but it was not.
Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. Jacob's sons sell Joseph to Midianites and then pretend he had been killed. Famine drives Jacob to Egypt where he discovers Joseph and his sons treachery. He only returns in a coffin!
But Jacob remains faithful to Almighty God. See prophecy in Gen 49.
Gen 3516-29
Jacob continues south.
Near Ephrath (Bethlehem) Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin.
Jacob moves on southwards to Hebron, and his father Isaac.
Isaac dies at 180. Buried by Esau and Jacob.
Gen 36
Esau's descendants
Most significant concerning Israel's future are Amalek and the Edomites.
Both are no more - and, as promised, those who curse Israel will be cursed.
Both were enemies of God and of Israel - as indeed were also sons of Ishmael.
Gen 37
Why does Scripture say this is the account of Jacob, when it tells the story of Joseph?
Jealousy is not a new sin!
Benjamin was also a son of Rachel and born in his old age. Yet Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. It was not a happy family. Joseph gave Jacob a bad report about his brothers who tended his flocks. And Joseph had dreams (which later proved true) - which nobody liked. His brothers decide on murder, but revise it because they gained more by selling him as a slave to Midianite traders. They pretended he had been killed by a ferocious animal because they 'found' his blood soaked coat of many colours. Jacob mourned and tore his clothes. Chapter ends with Joseph being sold on to one of Pharaoh's officials.
What none of them knew, but Almighty God knew and planned that this slave would become Egypt's PM and would enable the Pharaoh to gain complete control over the whole country.
Gen 38-47
These next 10 chapters tell this story in detail. What do we learn from it.
1. Almighty God always has his hand upon his creation.
      Sometimes we need patience, perseverance, trust, expectancy ...
2. The power and sovereignty of God. Many are the plans in a man's heart,
      but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.  Prov 1921 (Also Prov 169 Act 428)
3. See events from God's perspective:
God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.  457,8
Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them."  5019-21
      Revenge is never sweet.
      Like Jesus, Joseph here displays a good example of grace and forgiveness.
      "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  Lu 2334
4. Joseph did not yield to the continuous temptations by Potiphar's wife.
      Unjustly imprisoned. But the Lord was with him and showed him kindness.
A very similar unfolding of God's plan would be revealed 1,000 years later when Daniel, the teen-age Jewish exile who became the PM of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and also under Darius the Mede. Joseph and Daniel would both interpret and be given accurate dreams/visions by God.
Throughout history our gracious God has raised up prophets to reveal the truth that he wants men to know - historical truth and truth about future events.
He does this with such care because it is important, so valuable to his people.
Why do so many, even Christians, either ignore or distort such revelation?
Because Jesus said we are not given the time or the dates the Father has set,
this does not mean we can safely forget all about preparing for his return.
Gen 4727 - 50
How did Jacob prepare for his death?
Jacob's family settled in Goshen and were fruitful. Jacob lived 17 years there.
He made Joseph swear he would bury him in Hebron, not in Egypt. And Israel worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
Jacob blessed Joseph's younger son Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
Then Israel said to Joseph, "I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers ..."
In 49 there is detailed prophetic vision concerning each of his 12 sons.
The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs. Jesus has and will fulfill this.
Joseph embalmed Jacob and mourned for 70 days.
Then Pharaoh allowed him to take Jacob to be buried in Hebron with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah.
Joseph assure his brothers of his forgiveness.
Before Joseph dies first reminds them:"I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Then he made them swear they would carry my bones up from this place.
Moses carried his bones out of Egypt.  Exd 1319
And Joshua buried Joseph's bones at Shechem.  Josh 2432

 

Exodus         [Contents]

The three most important events in the history of the Jews are:
      1.      God choosing Abraham and making an unconditional, eternal covenant with him and his descendants.
      2.      God fulfilling his promise to send his Son to earth to be crucified and thus redeem sinful men.
      3.      We await the promised return to earth of Christ to judge all wickedness and establish his righteous kingdom.
Genesis ends with the Jews in Egypt Joseph telling them: "I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."  Gen 5024
Exodus starts 400 years later with the Jews enslaved in Egypt, and is the story of how Almighty God fulfilled this promise.
It is a 'roller-coaster ride' that reveals the extent of his amazing grace and mercy.
In this book is revealed that the Creator of everything is also the Redeemer of a few.
Another vitally important revelation in this book is that redemption by the Lord came before the Law. This is opposite to what is often taught; that it is by keeping the Law that we can become righteous.

Exodus 11-22
Jews enslaved; but God is kind
The Pharaoh that made Joseph ruler was Phoenician. Their dynasty was soon replaced by the Egyptian Hyksos rulers who enslaved all the 'foreign' Jews. This Pharaoh was also afraid that the rapidly rising number of Jewish men in Goshen would join his enemies, fight against us and leave the country. He didn't want to lose his slaves, so he decided to kill all the male babies born to the Jews (he would still have female slaves). But God was kind to the midwives, who said they always arrived too late to kill the male children! The Jewish people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
Exodus 21-10
Birth of 'no ordinary child'
      (and 76)
Amram and Jochebed were Levites. They knew what God had said to Abraham:
"Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out." They were counting the years. After their first two children were born (Aaron and Miriam) they knew the time had come. They 'saw' that #3, Moses, was no ordinary child.  Act 720  Heb 1123
And God also revealed a plan to save his life. It used the fact that no young woman can see a crying baby and do nothing, not even Pharaoh's daughter. Young Miriam had been briefed by her parents so she asked her, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" And off she went to fetch a 'suitable' woman (her own and the baby's mother!) to nurse Moses. What a great plan! But then God's plans always are great, and they work far better than clockwork!
So Moses became the son of Pharaoh's daughter; not killed at birth and not a slave.
Exodus 211-25
Moses is Trained in Midian
Jochebed gave her son a good training in Pharaoh's court. He knew well that he was Jewish, not Egyptian - even if he wore Egyptian clothes and spoke their language. When he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew he seized the opportunity to kill the Egyptian. But the news quickly went viral and he had to flee for his life to Midian. There he became a shepherd for Jethro for 40 years, married his daughter and learned much about how to survive in the desert, and reflected on his foolish act of murder. This training was most useful in the next part of God's plan for his life in leading the Israelites for 40 years in Sinai.
In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Ro 828  All of Moses' life was Known and planned by Almighty God.
Exodus 31-6
"Moses, Moses!"
Moses had led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. But the bush was not consumed.  Drawn by curiosity he went to investigate. There he heard God call his name. He was told to take off his sandals because he stood on holy ground. Then God introduced himself: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."
This was all a bit sudden. Not surprisingly, Moses was afraid and hid his face.
What Almighty God would tell this man, 40 years a fugitive in the desert, would shock even the strongest.
Exodus 37-23
God's Instruction and promise
Almighty God reveals his plan to Moses.  The Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. ... So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
Simple! Moses didn't think so; he still had much to learn.
Moses' questions God's answers
  Who am I ...? I will be with you.
  Suppose I go to the Israelites ...
      and they ask me, 'What is his name?'
      Then what shall I tell them?
I am who I am. Say 'I am has sent me to you.' ... And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt. ... The elders of Israel will listen to you ... But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians ... After that, he will let you go.
  What if they do not believe me? Moses staff became a snake.
When picked up by tail it became his staff.
Moses puts hand in cloak, became leprous.
Then again and it was restored healthy.
If still not believed pour water from Nile on dry ground; it will become blood.
  I have never been eloquent I will help you speak
  Please send someone else Then the Lord's anger burned against Moses. ...
Aaron is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.
     
  At last Moses complies with God's instruction to go back to Egypt.
Tells Jethro, who said, "Go, and I wish you well."
God assures him, "All the men who wanted to kill you are dead."
Moses sets off for Egypt with his wife and with the staff of God in his hand.
God tells him: "Say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son', and I told you, 'Let my son go, so he may worship me.' But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son."
Exodus 427-31
Aaron meets Moses at Horab
Aaron had been sent by God to meet Moses (427). A journey of ~ 750 miles.
Significantly they meet at Horeb, on the Mountain of the Lord. Moses tells his elder brother all that the Lord had said. And they believed ... And worshipped.
They journey together to Egypt to fulfill all that God had promised the Israelites.
Exodus 51 - 61
Moses and Aaron present Pharaoh
      with Almighty God's plan.
This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go ...'
But Pharaoh scorned, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go?
      I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go."

Such arrogant blasphemy was met with the true revealed consequences; refusal would result in plagues or with the sword. (In the hand of an angel who finally killed all the firstborn of Egypt.) In the typically vain attempt to prove his power, Pharaoh instructed that the Israelite slaves would have to gather their own straw yet make the same number of bricks. Their failure to do so resulted in their being beaten. The Israelites complained to Moses, and Moses complained to God.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh ..."
Exodus 62-12, 26-30
God repeats his promised plan
I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty ...
I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan ...
I have heard the groaning of the Israelites ... and I have remembered my covenant.
I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. ...
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.
      Then you will know that I am the Lord your God ...
I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand ...
I will give it to you as a possession.
I am the Lord.

When Moses told the Israelites all this, they were not impressed because of the cruel bondage. The Lord did not condemn them for this; neither did he change his plan.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country."
But Moses said to the Lord, "If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me."
Exodus 71-13
Initial battle with Pharaoh
Then the Lord said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. ... But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.
Almighty God is going to judge Egypt and will win the battle.
He then sets the stage. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "When Pharaoh says to you, 'Perform a miracle,' then say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,' and it will become a snake."  They did so.
Surprisingly the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts.
But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

How different from the reaction of Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 3, when he saw the power of God in the 'fiery furnace'. Pharaoh would go on to see 10 more and even greater signs, but he would remain stubborn to the end. Very foolish.
How will men today react to the hand of Almighty God?
Who will believe the truth he has revealed in his Word?  And why? or why not?
Exodus 714 - 118
First 9 Plagues on Egypt
1. Nile water becomes blood - undrinkable.
2. Frogs (7 days later)
3. Gnats
First 2 plagues were replicated by the Egyptian magicians.
      But now they said, "This is the finger of God."
4. Flies. This and rest of plagues did not affect Israelites in Goshen.
5. Livestock in Egypt became dead stock!
6. Festering Boils. After first 5 plagues Pharaoh hardened his heart.
      Now the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart.
7. Huge Hail stones.
8. Locusts. Egyptians pleaded with Pharaoh to let Israelites go.
      Nothing green left in Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart.
9. Darkness. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he was not willing to let       them go. Pharaoh said to Moses, "Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not       appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die."
But before leaving Moses said, "This is what the Lord says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die ... But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.' ..." Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
God told Moses to tell Israelites to ask Egyptian neighbours for gold and valuables.
And The Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people.
      So they gave abundantly. A small reward for centuries of slavery.
"I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely."
Exodus 119 - 1228
The Lord gives Instructions
      for Passover.
The Lord had said to Moses, "Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you–so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt." ... the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country. From the beginning the Lord intended to make Passover and annual remembrance.
Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family ... a year-old males without defect ... slaughter them at twilight ... take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses ... eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. ... Do not leave any of it till morning ... Eat it in haste; it is the Lord's Passover.
On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn–both men and animals–and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
For the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord–a lasting ordinance.
Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, ... for 7 days.
On this occasion the Israelites did just what the Lord commanded.
Exodus 1229-40
God delivered Israel
      from Egypt
10. Death of all first-born or Passover.
At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt ...
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me."

But Moses did not bless the unrepentant Pharaoh.
The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. ...
The Lord had made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people,
      and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. ...
The Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord's divisions left Egypt. Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt.(of course he did), on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honour the Lord for the generations to come.
Exodus 1242 - 13
Additional regulations
No foreigner is to eat of it.
Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him.

Passover is thus specifically a Jewish feast.
In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.'
Gentiles are invited to Passover provided they are circumcised in heart.  Ro 228,29
We remember the Lord delivered us from the slavery of sin by the crucified Lamb.
Exodus 1317-22
Israel led by the Lord
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter ... God led them towards the Red Sea.
Although The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
God knew they were not yet ready to face the Philistines.
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him.  This was important.
How did God lead them?
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud ...
      and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.
 For all the next 40 years.
Exodus 141-31
One of God's great miracles
      at the Red Sea
God led them specifically to camp by the sea. He would harden Pharaoh's heart so that his whole army with 600 best chariots would chase after the Israelites.
Moses told the terrified Israelites, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
The Lord told Moses how to divide the sea with his stretched out staff!
The angel of the Lord moved to behind Israel, so darkness divided Israel and Egypt.
All that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
The Egyptians pursued them ... their chariots come off ... confusion ...
The Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen." The Lord swept them into the sea ... Not one of them survived. ... and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.
When the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

It was a mighty event that the Israelites would never forget.
Every generation of Jews have celebrated the greatness of God, his mercy and kindness at Passover and the Red Sea crossing every year for the last 3,000 years.
And with good reason!
Exodus 151-21
A time for singing and dancing!
The song of Moses:
      "I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
      The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.
      The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
      He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. ...
      In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.
      In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
      The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. ...
      The Lord will reign for ever and ever."
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them:
      "Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
      The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea."

It was a day of such national rejoicing rarely, if ever, seen on earth.
But it did not last. However in heaven it will never cease.
Exodus 1522-26
Water at Marah bitter
After the Red Sea, Moses had to lead the Israelites into the desert of Shur.
But after 3 days they found water at Marah, but it was bitter. They grumbled.
Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood.
      He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

Then the Lord made a promise: "If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you."
Crossing the desert was going to be a tough training ground for the 2 million Jews, young and old and all their herds
Exodus 1522-26
12 springs at Elim
There were twelve springs and seventy palm trees. Only the hand of God could have made this normally limited supply sufficient.
Exodus 161-36 Manna and Quail They set out to cross the desert of Sin, between Elim and Simai.
Very soon they were grumbling again; this time for food.
The Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them ...
On the sixth day they are to ... bring in ... twice as much."
The Lord said to Moses, "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, 'At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.' " That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. Manna.
Each one gathered as much as he needed.
Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning."

But some disobeyed and what they kept was full of maggots in the morning.
On the sixth day they gathered twice the amount and it did not go bad.
But some went out on the Sabbath to gather manna, but there was none.
The manna was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.
Moses commanded that an Omer of manna be put in a jar and kept to show future generations. And it did not go bad.
The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came ... to the border of Canaan.
Exodus 171-17
Water - again!
In the desert water will always remain a major problem. It was for the Israelites.
They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water. So they quarrelled with Moses.
Moses replied, "... Why do you put the Lord to the test?"
The Lord answered Moses, "... Strike the rock, and water will come out of it."

And it did. Enough for 2 million people + their herds!
Moses called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarrelled and because they tested the Lord saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?"
At Meribah the Lord once more proved his grace and power and presence.
Jesus said to Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  Jn 2029
Exodus 178-16
The Amalekites Attack
The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered,
      and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.
And prayed.
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning.
      So Aaron and Hur held up his hands while Moses sat on a stone.
So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Almighty God declared that he would completely blot out the memory of Amalek.
To attack God's chosen people, especially when vulnerable, is Satanically inspired, and thus has a high penalty. As Herod, Hitler and others also found to their cost. Today many nations hate the Jews. In God's time, they too will pay. At the end all the world's nations will attack Jerusalem, and pay the same price as Amalek.  Zech 12 and 14.
Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.
Saul lost his crown because he spared Agag after defeating the Amalekite army. David defeated the Amalekites who attacked Ziklag, but some escaped. It was not until Hezekiah's day that Simeon destroyed the last remaining Amalekites.  1 Ch 443
Exodus 181-27
Jethro Visits Moses
Jethro heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. So he went to see Moses, with Moses' wife and 2 children, when Israel was camped near the mountain of God.
Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. ... Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods.
When Jethro saw how much time Moses had to spend settling disputes he advised Moses to deputise some of this work to capable, honest men. And Moses acted upon this advice. As it says in  Num 123  Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. Meekness is good, but it is still rare.
Exodus 191-25
God calls Moses on Mt Sinai
After exactly 2 months the Israelites came to the desert of Sinai. God called Moses up the mountain and said, "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." Moses told the people, and they responded, "We will do everything the Lord has said." On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. ... The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up. But the people were forbidden to climb the mountain that was set apart as holy. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol       or swear by what is false.  Ps 243,4

Exodus 201-21           I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
10 Commandments. So God Commands: But today in UK
  1. No other Gods To popular acclaim Prince Charles would like to be
'Defender of faiths' not 'the faith'.
School curriculum now multi-faith.
  2. No idols Worshipped for fear or hope of easier richer life.
Muslims worship Kaaba stone in Mecca.
Humanists worship themselves.
New Age, Buddhists and Hindus worship everything.
  3. Not misuse Name
            of the Lord
Blasphemy laws now include other religions.
Blasphemy now common on TV and generally.
  4. Keep Sabbath holy
            7th day Sabbath
            Remember Creation
Sabbath replaced by Sunday, now also ignored.
Sunday trading and sport legalised.
'Evolution Theory', not Creation taught as truth.
  5. Honour parents Older generation often despised.
Care of the elderly becoming a major problem.
Anything new, modern, lively is honoured.
  6. No murder Abortion legalised in 1967. Now 200,600/yr (2018)
Euthanasia may soon be legalised in UK.
  7. No adultery 'Partnerships' today - only 50% married
Easy divorce soon to be law. Influence of TV 'soaps'.
Homosexuality legalised 1967
Same sex Marriage Act 2015.
  8. No stealing No law change.
  9. No false witness 'Economy of the truth', 'spin' and deceit common.
  10. No coveting
            neighbour's goods,
            home, or wife.
Debt, envy, greed, commercialism.
      Multi-billion £ advertising for 'economy' and profit.
  Almighty God is ignored, rejected and blasphemed, and we think it clever to add
an 11th Command "Don't be caught!"  But he sees everything we do and think;
and the day will come when we have to give a full account.
All believers thank God for his mercy and forgiveness through Christ crucified.
Always remember: The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  Gal 324
With Christ, we are no longer 'under the law' and its condemnation
for disobeying them, but are forgiven. However these are still God's commandments.
                                                                 
Exodus 2022-26
      No Idols
The Lord God knew that Israel would not willingly stop making idols; so he warned them again, Do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
And If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones.
But foolish men never heed the Word of God.
Exodus 211 - 2319
      Other Laws
The Lord gave Moses others laws about: Hebrew servants (willing and unwilling),
personal injuries, protection of property, social responsibility, justice and mercy, the Sabbath and the annual festivals.
Exodus 2320-33
      The Angel of the Lord
            prepares the way
See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him. ... If you listen carefully to what he says ... My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.
The Lord also tells them that the conquest of the promised land would take more than a year and that they were not to make any covenant with them or their gods else their gods will certainly be a snare to you.
Exodus 241-18
      Moses meets with God alone
When Moses went and told the people all the Lord's words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the Lord has said we will do."
Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.

The people may have intended to keep God's instructions, but they would fail.
And so will all men. No one can be saved by good works, however hard they try.
Moses wrote down God's words for every generation to know how best to live.
But UK governments in the last 70 years have countered in law 9/10 of God's Commandments. Only 8th - Do not steal - remains unchanged. But with over 3½ million UK theft offences (+8%) in 2018, even this law is widely ignored.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction." Moses went up as instructed, alone. And the cloud covered the mountain, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. ... To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire. Moses stayed there for 40 days.
Exodus 251 - 3118
      Laws for the Tabernacle
      and Priesthood
Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.
Almighty God reveals the longing of his heart, the reason for his creating the whole universe - that he may dwell with us - as a holy and righteous people.
How this could be possible is revealed by the fact that within the Tabernacle was to be the Ark of God's covenant and upon it the Mercy Seat that offered forgiveness of sin. Also within the Tabernacle was the Lampstand - the Light of the World that would reveal God's Word of Truth; and the Altar for sacrifice, that reveals the need for the Cross of Christ by which men may receive full pardon and be given a new life. The priests and all their duties would clearly show that there would one day came a perfect High Priest - the Son of God, who would offer the one Perfect Sacrifice.
In these 7 chapters God tells Moses the details for the Tabernacle and the Priesthood, but not yet how or when their purpose would be fulfilled.
The Jews in Sinai had so much to learn about salvation - and so have all men today.
God still says, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" And he continues, "Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."
Notice that Jesus, when explaining why He had to suffer, begins with Moses.
This book that tells us the amazing events of how God rescued and delivered the enslaved Jews from Egypt - and later from sin.
When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
This gift of God has profoundly affected the whole world ever since.
These 10 Commandments tell men the only and best basis for life on earth.
Exodus 3118 - 3235
      Israelites make a golden calf
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us."
Aaron was not the first or the last leader to yield to public pressure, even when he knew it was against the specific command of Almighty God.
They brought their gold earrings to Aaron and he made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."  When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord."
The people were happy to obey this disgraceful and blasphemous idea of Aaron.
They came and offered sacrifices to the Lord. Then they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. Incredible!!
But perhaps no more incredible than Archbishop Welby saying he based his life on the Bible and yet strongly supports homosexuality together with ecumenical advancement with Rome and multi-faith conferences.

Nothing is hidden from Almighty God. He tells Moses to go back to the people.
"They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'  I have seen these people," the Lord said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."
But Moses pleaded with God for the people, the descendants of Abraham with whom he had made a covenant. Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. Such is the mercy of God.
Moses went down the mountain with the two tblets. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God. As Moses and Joshua went down they heard the revelry.
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
Moses then asked Aaron how he came to lead them into such great sin. Aaron made the ridiculous excuse, "the people who are prone to evil gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!" Moses saw that the people were running wild ... So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, "Whoever is for the Lord, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him. He then told them to kill, so they killed 3,000.
Moses then went back to the Lord and pleaded, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin–but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written." But even Moses could not atone for their sin, only Christ is able to do that. The Lord replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. ... when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin." And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
This event was one of the most tragic in the history of the Jews.
There are many similar events in the history of the church.
Saddest of all is that true repentance is rare.

Exodus 331-23
      What next?
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2Leave this place ... Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way." ... So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.  This was a token gesture which did not impress the Lord God. There was no plea for mercy and no cry for forgiveness.
Moses pitched a 'tent of meeting' outside the camp. When he entered the tent the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Joshua was the only one who went with Moses to meet with God.
Moses was earnest in his prayer for the people he led. And the Lord said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."  What a privilege to have such a God-desiring leader.
Moses also desired to see the glory of the Lord, who told him, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
Down the ages there have been few men who have comprehended the greatness of the glory of Almighty God. One day, when he calls us to see him as he is, we will be far more than amazed!
Exodus 341-4
      Replacement Tablets
The Lord said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke."
Man broke not only the first tablets, but also the commandments written on them.
Now God graciously re-writes the same words again. He is determined that men should know his Commandments for all future generations and that his name is, The LORD.
Exodus 345-35
      Conditional covenant with Moses
The Lord came down and stood with Moses and proclaimed, "The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished."
Moses again pleads for the Israelites: "O Lord, if I have found favour in your eyes," he said, "then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance."
Then the Lord said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. ...
The Lord then amplifies his commandments and confirms, "I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God."
Moses was with the Lord on the mountain for 40 days. His face was radiant when he came down and whenever he went to speak with the Lord.
Exodus 351-3
      The Sabbath day
The Lord has commanded, "For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death."
This reveals the importance the Lord places upon keeping the Sabbath. And man's folly in thinking he can ignore God's command and not be punished. We should remember that the wages of sin is death even if man does not fulfill the proscribed punishment for not keeping the commandment..
Under Constantine, the Catholic Council of Laodicea in 336 AD decreed that the church should worship on Sunday instead of the Jewish Saturday Sabbath.
In 1994 UK passed the Sunday Trading Act which virtually discarded God's 4th Commandment and keeping even Sunday as 'a day of rest to the Lord'.
Thankfully Almighty God will not be mocked for ever!
Exodus 355 - 4038
      The Tent of Meeting
The closing chapters of Exodus give a detailed description of the tabernacle, the Ark, altar, table, cherubim, lampstand, basin, curtains, the priests and their garments.
Moses said to the whole Israelite community, "This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows ; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece."
"All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded."       The people willingly brought all that was needed; in fact Moses had to tell them to stop because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.
      (This included just over a ton of gold!  ~£40million)
So the Israelites finished all the work as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
Thus was completed the desire of God when he said, make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.  Exd 258
But it would take more than even such a special tent for the Lord to dwell in the heart of any man and transform his life. All the repeated sacrifices would reveal that there would come a day when the Lamb of God would be sacrificed upon a Cross!
evertheless, by the grace of God: In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out–until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.

 

Leviticus         [Contents]

This seldom read book reveals that:
      1 God is both holy and Almighty
      2 He gives us the Law that tells us what is right and wrong
      3 He graciously shows how he provides atonement for sin.
It is thus part of God’s Word that will reward all who give it the attention it deserves.

Lev 11-17
Burnt offerings
The LORD called Moses and spoke to him ...
We must first see that the initiative for the Law is entirely from the Lord. His desire is to tell us the very best way to live our lives, the way that pleases him. Proud man often sees it as just restricting his freedom and denying his pleasure seeking ways.
The burnt offering must be without blemish - the best, for it is to make atonement for sin. Not like careless Cain, but like Abel who gladly brought his best offering with faith.  Gen 43 and Heb 114 He shall bring his offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting that he (not it) may be accepted before the Lord. The priest would then kill the offering and lay it on the wood to be burnt. This would point to Jesus, our High Priest, who laid his own sinless body on the wooden Cross for us. When the best was offered with faith by those who acknowledged their great need for atonement, it was a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
Lev 21-16
Grain offerings
The symbolism inherent in the grain offering demonstrated both the worshipper’s dedication to God and his gratitude for the Lord’s provision. While Israel was travelling in Sinai, this offering could only be made with bought grain. The flour was always to be unleavened.(why?) The ‘memorial’ part of the offering was to be burnt on the altar and the rest was for Aaron and his sons to eat.
A grain offering could be made out of duty like Cain’s offering of just ‘some grain’, (nothing special) or it could be out of gratitude to the Lord for his gift of life and provision - like the woman Jesus commended who gave two copper coins.  Mk 1241-44
God knows well the attitude of our heart, whether it is selfish or thankful. It is not the quantity but the quality of the gift that matters. Is Almighty God to be honoured or is he to be largely ignored as by proponents of the Evolution Theory?
Lev 31-17
Peace offerings
Peace offerings were made after other offerings for sin to indicate peace with God.
As with all offerings it had to be without blemish. The offering was eaten except for all the fat and the blood that was burnt for the Lord.
Lev 41 - 519
Sin offerings
These two chapters deal with ‘unintentional sin’ and were offered when the sin was realised (not an offering for ‘just in case I sinned’). Sins by a priest, leader of common man are far more common than we sometimes realise, but the Lord God knows them all - greedy, selfish, rude, careless, critical etc. All sin needs to be atoned for. Lord, grant us a sensitive conscience that sees and admits all sin.
Lev 61-7
Guilt offerings
When a man realises his guilt he must restore all that he took or found and add one fifth on the day that he realises his guilt. He shall also bring a ram without blemish to the priest as a guilt offering. The priest shall make atonement for him; and the offender shall be forgiven.
Lev 68 - 738
Offering details
After the priest has made the burnt offering, he shall take off his garments and put on other garments and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. ...
Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.
The grain offering ... shall be eaten unleavened in a holy place ... Every male among the children of Aaron may eat of it ... Whatever touches them shall become holy.
Every grain offering of a priest shall be wholly burned. It shall not be eaten.
No sin offering shall be eaten.
The priest who offers any man's burnt offering shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering that he has offered.
The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering.
You shall eat no fat, of ox or sheep or goat.

Most of these details seem somewhat obscure today, especially as the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, to whom they point, has now been completed.
Lev 8 + 9
Priests ordained
2 chapters detail how Moses ordained Aaron and his sons. The garments, the anointing oil, the sin offering of a bull and two rams, the Urim and the Thummim, what was eaten and what was burned.
And Aaron and his sons did all the things that the LORD commanded by Moses.
After the 7 days of ordination were completed:
Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar.
Lev 101-20
Unauthorised fire
Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and offered unauthorised fire before the Lord. ... And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them and they died before the Lord.  Why?  Not why did they die, but why did they offer their fire when they had not been instructed to do so? I cannot answer this, but clearly the Lord was displeased. This event, and later the time when Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark when the oxen pulling the cart stumbbled (2 Sam 6), teach us the clear lesson that the Lord’s instructions must be implicitly obeyed and not exceeded by any human desire or reason. Could 108-11 hint at the answer?
Lev 111-47
Clean and unclean
The Lord defines which of the animals and birds are ‘clean‘ and which are ‘unclean’. Basically ‘clean’ animals are those that both chew the cud and part the hoof. Only fish with both fins and scales are ‘clean’. (Thankfully eels are ‘unclean’!) The ‘clean’ may be eaten, and ‘unclean’ may not be eaten. Simple. What is not so simple is whether such dietary laws apply today.
Lev 121-8
After childbirth
After bearing a male child the mother is unclean for seven days.
Then the male child must be circumcised on the eighth day.
Only after a further 33 days is the mother considered as purified.
If the child is female then she is ‘unclean’ 14 days and a further 66 days purifying.
When either are complete she shall bring a lamb as a burnt offering and a pigeon as a sin offering. The priest will then make atonement for her and she shall be ‘clean’ from the flow of her blood. If she cannot afford a lamb and a pigeon then she shall offer two pigeons.
The significance of the purifying and the different times remain a mystery.
Lev 13 + 14
Leprosy
Two long chapters describing the prognosis by a priest of the ghastly disease of leprosy. In those days there was no multi-drug therapy to cure the disease or any antibiotics to try to heal the ulcers. For the benefit of all the others in the camp, the only solution was total separation for life and requirement to continually cry, “Unclean, unclean!” Jesus had a special compassion for lepers. He still has.
Lev 15
Bodily discharges
Normal sexual discharges within marriage are not here considered unclean. But unlike in the surrounding heathen temples, sex in the Temple of God is forbidden. Most of the chapter is concerned with prevention the infection of STD’s and keeping the marriage bed pure.
Lev 16
The Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur comes in the 7th month on the 10th day of the feast of Trumpets - a time when God warns us about the consequences of sin, a time of repentance. Without confession of sin there is no forgiveness. On the Day of Atonement Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house.
Then he took 2 goats, the first was killed for a sin offering to the Lord and its blood was taken to the mercy seat for the sins of the people.
Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel. The goat bearing all their sins is then taken out into the wilderness, and never to be seen again.
On this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the LORD from all your sins.
Jesus was a ‘better’ High Priest, being perfect, he didn’t need to offer a sin offering for himself. He did however make a sin offering for us on the Cross. An atonement that forgives all our sin such that it is never remembered again.
Lev 171-16
Blood is sacred
The Lord has declared: the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls. And therefore anyone who kills an animal must take it to the tent of meeting and offer the blood and the fat to the Lord. Anyone who fails to do so shall be cut off from his people.
Lev 181-30
Sexual relationships
These laws are straight forward and for our good, but sadly often disregarded.
Sex is only permissable within marriage and the following are not allowed:
Close relatives, father or mother, brother or sister, grandson or granddaughter, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece. Any woman in her menstrual uncleanness.
Neighbour’s wife (all adultery)
Also you must never give any child as an offering to Molech.
      You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
      You shall not lie with any animal (male of female)
Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity. ... I am the Lord your God.
If today our nation legalises what Almighty God has condemned, do not be surprised if the Lord fulfills the promised punishment that it deserves
Lev 191-17
Holiness
You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
For many holiness is seen as a threat to happiness. So, guess which is rejected?
But in truth holiness is the one road that leads to the greatest joy.
Holiness includes the following examples:
      Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.
      You shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
      Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal.
      You shall not reap the harvest right up to the edge.
            Or strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes.
            They are to be left for the poor to gather.
      Do not steal or deal falsely.
      You shall not profane the name of the Lord
      Hired workers are to be paid each day
      You shall not curse the deaf or the blind
      You shall reason frankly with your neighbour, not hate him.
      In the promised land, plant a tree for food. But do not allow fruit for 3 years,
            In 4th year the fruit is to be given to the Lord. In 5th year you may eat it.
      You shall not eat any flesh with blood in it
      Do not interpret omens or tell fortunes, nor tattoo yourselves.
      Do not make your daughter a prostitute
      Never turn to a medium.
      Honour the face of an old man
      Take care of the stranger who sojourns with you.
      Use only just weights in your balances.

The Lord wants us to keep all his commandments, but we can never even start to earn our entrance into heaven, it is only and always by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ bearing all our sin on the Cross.
      O to grace how great a debtor
      Daily I'm constrained to be
      Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,
      Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Lev 201-27
Death penalty
Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death.
      Legalised abortion for social convenience in UK now exceeds 200,000/year.
Likewise anyone who turns to mediums
      anyone who curses his parents
      anyone who commits adultery
      any man who lies with a male as with a woman
      anyone who lies with an animal.
Lev 211 - 2233
Priests
Priests shall not make themselves unclean.
They shall not make bald patches on their heads.
They shall be holy to their God.

He may only marry a virgin, never a prostitute.
If he has a blemish (blind, lame etc) he shall not serve in the sanctuary.
A lay person shall not eat of a holy thing (food offered to the Lord)
All offerings must be without blemish.
Lev 231-44
The Feasts
Sabbath on 7th day.
Passover on 15th day of first month. 7 days unleavened bread.
First fruits. Priest shall wave sheaf before the Lord + burnt and grain offerings.
Weeks (Pentecost) 7 weeks after Firstfruits.
Trumpets on 1st day of the seventh month.
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on 10th day of seventh month.
Booths (Tabernacles) on 15th day of seventh month. 8 day feast
Lev 241-9
Lamps and Bread
Bring pure oil for the lamp that it may be permanently lit outside the veil in the tent of meeting.
12 loaves each 2/10 ephah (7 lb ?) every Sabbath offered to the Lord and eaten by the sons of Aaron.
Lev 2410-16
Blasphemy
Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death.
Lev 2417-23
An eye for an eye
This is often mis quoted, or more likely quoted correctly but mis-applied. The justice of this punishment is that it must be like for like, and not more to get revenge.
And it should not be less either, which could make it cease to be a deterrent.
Lev 251-7
Sabbath Year
After they entered the promised land every 7th year the land should have a ‘Sabbath'
Lev 258-34
Year of Jubilee
Every 50th year each of you shall return to his property. Land was not to be bought and sold, but let for the remaining years up to the year of Jubilee. This prevents the few becoming rich and powerful landowners. But neither this command or that of the Sabbath year has ever been taken seriously; not even in Israel.
Strangely there is one exception to the year of jubilee - a house in a walled city. This can be redeemed after one year, but if it isn’t then it belongs to the buyer forever.
Lev 2535-55
Brother, servant or slave
If a brother becomes poor, you shall support him, but not for profit. He can be a servant, but not a slave. In the year of Jubilee he shall go free.
You may buy male or female slaves from other nations, and bequeath them to your sons as a possession forever.
If your brother becomes poor and is sold he can be redeemed in proportion to the price paid and the years left until Jubilee.
Lev 261-13
Obedience
First, two laws are reiterated:
      You shall not make idols for yourselves
      You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary.
Keeping these laws will result in agricultural security and peace in the land.
      Your enemies will be easily defeated
      I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you
      I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.
Lev 2614-46
Disobedience
But if you will not listen to me ... if you spurn my statutes:
      I will visit you with panic
      You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
      I will set my face against you,
      Those who hate you shall rule over you
      Your land shall not yield its increase
If by this discipline you are not turned to me ...
      I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. I myself will devastate the land.
But if they confess their iniquity ...
      then I will remember my covenant with Jacob and I will remember the land.

Almighty God lays out his law and equally clearly the consequences of sin.
The OT also reveals how quickly he also longs to forgive and be gracious.
Either way, he remains totally faithful to his Word and his covenant.
All the 6,000 years of human history have proved this.
Why do so many men quickly discard this truth, and thus have to suffer.
Lev 271-34
Keeping vows
The final chapter tells Israel that God expects them to keep any vow they make concerning people, animals, houses and land. Just as Almighty God always keeps his word.
These are the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.

 

Numbers         [Contents]

The first 9 chapters describe how Israel was to be organised and especially the responsibility of the Levites as priests. The remainder is an honest historical record of their journey through Sinai and God’s gracious governance. Almighty God is seen as a holy God who cannot ignore rebellion or unbelief, but also as the one who faithfully keeps his covenant and patiently provides for the needs of his people.

Num 11 - 234
Detailed Census
The leaders of each of the 2 tribes (family) were named, and then the number of men aged over 20 were counted. The total was 603,550 to which must be added all the women and children. The Lord instructed Moses not to include the tribe of Levi in the census. Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. The encampment was to put the Tabernacle and the Levites in the centre and 3 tribes on each side surrounding them and facing the Tabernacle.
(The tribe of Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh to make 12 tribes).
The normal requirements for daily living for this number of people in the middle of the desert required a continuous miracle for food, water and sanitation without any outside help - but Almighty God was far better and more reliable than the UN in a refugee camp! Note that this organisation, which included all their livestock, was not for a week’s holiday, but was to continue for 40 years!
Num 31 - 449
The Levites
The two elder sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, died before the LORD when they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests in the lifetime of Aaron their father.  (See Lev 101-3)
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine, for all the firstborn are mine.” The sons of Levi were counted separately and the males over one month old numbered 22,273. Each of the others tribe had to pay 5 shekels for each of their firstborn and give it to Aaron and his sons as the redemption price for the 273 firstborn (=1365 Shekels). Detailed duties were assigned to each of the family of Koath, Gershon and Maerari for the Tabernacle and those aged 20 to 50 who served numbered 8,580.
These duties and the detailed structure of the Tabernacle were important. Later in 2 Sam 61-7 we read how Uzzah died when he steadied the Ark as the oxen stumbled. It should have been carried on poles, not on a cart, not even on a new cart. Today we don’t have a Tabernacle, but God expects our lives to be disciplined and careful.
Num 51-31
3 Laws
1. Put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead.
2. Anyone who sins shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong. If he cannot make restitution to the man or his next of kin, he shall confess and bring his restitution to the priest.
3. Test for adultery. The woman shall drink water of bitterness and if her body swells she is guilty. Why is there no test for men?
Num 61-21
Nazarite vow
This vow is for a variable season; no set time. The vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD. No alcoholic drink or even grape juice, and no razor shall touch his head. When vow ends, he shall make a ‘peace offering’ and a grain offering.
Num 622-27
Blessing by Aaron
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Num 71 - 826
Setting up Tabernacle
Each day leaders bring gifts to Moses for the Tabernacle, 6 carts and 12 oxen.
7 branched Lampstand of hammered gold set up.
Levites cleansed and purified themselves.
Levites retire when aged 50
Num 91-14
Passover, 1st anniversary
Celebrated at twilight on 14th day of 1st month.
They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Leave none till morning.
If unclean because touched a dead body, then celebrate it one month later.
If any sojourner is with you, they shall also celebrate Passover.
Num 915-23
Tabernacle set up.
            The Cloud
On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.
The Israelites kept this charge of the Lord all the time they were in Sinai.
Num 101-10
Silver Trumpets
Two silver trumpets to summon the chiefs, the congregation, breaking camp, and for an alarm. Also beginning of each month and for the feasts.
They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God.
Num 1011-36
Cloud lifts
In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony, and the people of Israel set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai.
For the first time the Tabernacle was taken down and led by Judah, Issachar and Zebulun each tribe set out in order - for 3 days.. Although invited, Reuel, the Midianite father in law of Moses, decided to return to Midian.
Whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” And when it rested, he said, “Return, O LORD, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”
Num 111-15
People complain
            at Taberah
The Lord had provided the vast number of Israelites with manna in the desert. But the people had tired of nothing but manna and cried, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
This kindled the Lord’s anger and he sent fire that consumed some of them.
The people complained to Moses. And he complained to the Lord that he had been chosen to lead them, “I am not able to carry this people alone, the burden is too heavy for me.”
Num 1116-35
Elders appointed
            Quail + Plague
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel ...
      and they shall bear the burden of the people with you.

The people had complained about only having to eat the Lord’s gift of manna and had said, “It was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord then told them that he would give them meat (quails) for a whole month so that it would become loathsome. The people had no appreciation that manna was God’s gift. Neither did they realise the great plan for Israel to enter and possess the promised land; but they had rejected the Lord. And even Moses seemed to doubt God could provide so much meat in the desert. So the Lord said to Moses, “Is the LORD'S hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”
Moses gathered the 70 around the tent and when the Spirit rested upon them they prophesied. But two didn’t come, they remained in the camp. The same Spirit of God rested on them and they also prophesied. Joshua complained to Moses, but Moses said to him, “Would that all the LORD'S people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”
Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp. But the Lord was also angry with the people and struck down many with a plague. They called the place Kibroth-hattaavah = graves of craving.
Then the people journeyed to Hazeroth, and they remained there.

God’s lessons are not always pleasant.
How quick are we to learn?
And how earnest are we to be taught from Scripture and from life’s experience?

Num 121-16
Miriam and Aaron speak
            against Moses
They spoke against Moses using the excuse that he had married a Cushite (descended from Ham), but the real reason was, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” They wanted to share the God-given authority of Moses. The Lord called all three to the Tent of meeting where he told them that unlike when he spoke with anyone else, he spoke with the faithful Moses, face to face. The Lord was angry with them and when the cloud lifted, Miriam was leprous. Aaron repents and Moses prayed for her healing. So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again - fully healed. It is here that Scripture declares: Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. The best leaders can also be humble and teachable, though very few are because very few ‘walk with God’ like Moses did.
Num 131 - 1445
Spies wrong conclusion
On God’s instruction Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan (1 from each tribe) and told them to be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.
They returned after 40 days and made their report: “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.”  Caleb and Joshua who believed the promise of God to give it to them agreed with the report, but came to a very different conclusion. “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

      Come, Holy Ghost, for moved by thee
      The prophets wrote and spoke;
      Unlock the truth, thyself the key,
      Unseal the sacred Book.

      Expand thy wings, celestial Dove,
      Brood o'er our nature's night;
      On our disordered spirits move,
      And let there now be light.

But after the other 10 spies had brought a bad report the people wept all night and then grumbled against Moses saying: “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! ... Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? ... Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” Joshua and Caleb tried to encourage them to trust in the Lord, but the people wanted to stone them. Not surprisingly, the Lord was angry and said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them ...”
Moses pleads for mercy on the grounds that this would cause the nations to say that the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.
So the Lord pardoned them from pestilence but declared that none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. Only Joshua and Caleb and those under 20 would enter the promised land.
Then the mourning disobedient people decided to go up to the land without the Ark or Moses. They were defeated by Amalek as Moses had warned them.

See website ‘Testings in the Wilderness’   (Use back arrow to return here)

Num 151-36
More laws
This section adds laws for the time when they were in the promised land. Although this generation would not enter, the laws would encourage them that the next generation would do so. All the law was given to lead men to Christ. Gal 324  Lu 2427  Christ came to fulfill all the law; only he can set men free from the law of sin and death.  Ro 82
Num 1537-41
Tassels
Make tassels on the corners of their garments ... put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner ... So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.
David was convicted when, in the En Gedi cave, he cut off the corner of Saul’s garment.  1 Sam 245
The woman who had ‘an issue of blood twelve years’ came to Jesus and touched ‘the hem of his garment’ She was immediately healed.  Math 920 (KJV)
Num 161 - 173
Rebellion
It seems that men are often dissatisfied with what they have. A mixture of pride and jealousy. Korah, a Levite with great privileges as a priest in the Tabernacle, wanted more; he wanted to be like Moses. Dathan, Abiram and On were from the tribe of Reuben and thus barred from the priestly privilege. They joined forces with 250 chiefs against Moses and law of God claiming that “All in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” They also stated that they had left Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey and You have failed to bring us into a land flowing wih milk and honey and given us fields and vineyards.
Moses responded by telling them to come to the Tabernacle next day with their censers and the Lord would reveal his verdict.
Next morning all Israel assembled. And Moses told them to separate themselves from the rebel leaders. If the Lord opens the ground and the rebels are swallowed alive then know that they died because these men have despised the Lord. And as soon as he finished speaking, that is exactly what happened. And the fire of the Lord consumed all 250 men who were offering incense. Their bronze censers were hammered flat and use to cover the altar as a reminder to the people of Israel, so that no outsider, who is not of the descendants of Aaron, should draw near to burn incense before the LORD.
But his did not satisfy the people. Foolishly they grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
And immediately a plague began. Aaron did as Moses commanded, he took his censer, put on incense and made atonement for the people. He ran out and stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. 14,700 died.
Moses told each chief to write his name on his staff and bring it to him. He deposited the staffs before the LORD in the tent of the testimony. And next morning Behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. Each chief was given back his staff. But Aaron’s staff was kept in the Ark as a sign for rebels.
Num 181-12
Priest’s duties
You shall keep guard over the sanctuary and over the altar, that there may never again be wrath on the people of Israel ... They are a gift to you, given to the LORD, to do the service of the tent of meeting ... and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death. ... All the holy contributions that the people of Israel present to the LORD I give to you. ... You shall have no inheritance in their land ... I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel. ... Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the LORD; from each its best part is to be dedicated. The priests were instructed to give the best to the Lord, like Abel and unlike Cain.  Gen 43,4  Also sons of Eli ate the best portions themselves.  1 Sam 212-17
What about today? Is the Lord top of our annual budget? And with our time, is it just ‘Sundays and the fag ends of our time’? Is Bible reading and prayer our first priority of the day?
Num 191-22
Purification
The OT laws reveal the need for all to be purified. Here the Lord calls for a red heifer, one without defect and has never been yoked.
Whoever touches a dead body shall be unclean for a week.
Num 201
Miriam dies
They had returned to Kadesh (1326) after some 38 years. One simple verse records that at Kadesh, Miriam dies and was buried there.
Num 202-13
Water at Meribah
There was no water, so the people quarrelled with Moses. So he and Aaron went to the Tent of Meeting. The glory of the Lord appeared to them. And he told Moses to take the staff, and assemble the congregation and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Moses was angry with the people. He struck the rock twice with his staff. And water came out abundantly. But he had disobeyed the Lord - he had struck the rock rather than just commanding it. So the Lord told him that “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” This reveals the holiness of God, who expects man to obey him precisely.
Num 2014-21
Edom refuses passage
Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom with a request to pass through and promised not to take any food or water. But the sons of Esau refused.
Num 2022-29
Aaron dies at Mt Hor
Aaron was party to the disobedience at Merebah, so God told Moses to take his brother up Mt Hor, to strip off his priestly garments and clothe his son Eleazar. Thus Aaron died there and the people wept 30 days for him.
Num 211-3
Arad destroyed
Arad fought Israel and took some of them captive. So Israel vowed that if the Lord gave them into Israel’s hand, they would destroy their cities. And the LORD heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the first Canaanite people and cities were destroyed.
Num 214-9
Bronze serpent
Again the people became impatient and spoke against God and against Moses.
So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people so that many died. The people repented and admitted their sin. Moses prayed. The Lord then told Moses to make a fiery serpent and put it on a pole so that anyone who looked upon the bronze serpent would live. Note that this was commanded by the Lord and is in no way an idol to worship, nor has it even a remote connection with the serpent Satan. Gen 31-14 See also Exd 79-15 when Aaron’s staff became a serpent that swallowed the staffs/serpents of the Egyptian magicians. And again, as Jesus told Nicodemus, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”  Jn 314
Num 2110-35
Sihon and Og defeated
The Lord gave Israel water from a well at Beer which is between Moab and the Amorites. Sihon, their king, would not let them pass. They fought and the Lord gave them victory over all the Amorite. Then Og, the king of Bashan would not let them pass. The Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites.” So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.
Num 221 - 2517
Balaam
Balaam was a false prophet even though he appeared good.  2 Pe 215 Rev 214
He was killed with Moab and the Midianites in Num 318 Josh 1322
Balak, king of Moab, hired Balaam to curse Israel.
      But God told Balaam, “You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
They tried again to hire Balaam, but this time God told himto go with Balak’s men.       Balaam’s donkey saw the angel, it stopped and would not budge. It even spoke,             and finally Balaam also saw the angel, who told him to continue,
            but he must only say exactly what he was told to.
Balaam went to Balak and built 7 altars for 7 bulls and 7 rams. Then he went to a bare height and God met him and told him to return to Balak and speak his word.
So he went back to Balak and blessed Israel!
Balak persuaded him to go with him to another place and then curse Israel. They went together to the top of Pisgah and made the same 7 sacrifices. And Balaam again spoke what God told him:
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
Again Balak asked Balaam to go with him to the top of Peor But this time, he did not go with him to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And there he saw Israel camped tribe by tribe and the spirit of God came upon him. How lovely are your tents, O Jacob ... like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters ... God brings him out of Egypt and is for him like the horns of the wild ox; He shall eat up the nations, his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces ... Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you.
Balaam then told Balak how Israel would dispossess Moab, Edom, and Amalek.
But that was not all that Balaam did.  See 2 Pe 214-16  Rev 214
While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
Phinehas honoured for killing Zimri as he lay upon a Midianite woman.
24,000 died by the plague that the Lord sent upon Israel.
Num 261-65
God commands a census
Just before entering the promised land, God commands a census of all over 20.
Reuben 43,730
Judah 76,500
Manasseh 52,700
Dan 64,400
Simeon 22,200
Issachar 64,300
Ephraim 32,500
Asher 53,400
Gad 40,500
Zebulun 60,500
Benjamin 45,600
Naphtali 45,400
Total = 601,730

Levites 23,000 included all males from 1 month old.
They were not included in ‘Total’ because they didn’t inherit any land.
In Num 144-46 the ‘Total’ was 603,550. Of these only Joshua and Caleb were alive.

Num 271-11
Inheritance
Zelophehad had daughters, but no son, so when he died his daughters asked that they might inherit. The Lord told Moses that the daughters should inherit. And if there were no daughters, then his brother or nearest kinsman should inherit.
Num 2712-23
Moses seeks a successor
The Lord told Moses to go up Mt Abarim. There he could see the promised land that he would never enter. The response of the unselfish Moses was to ask God for one to succeed him so that the people would have a shepherd to lead them. So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.” Moses took Joshua before Eleazar the priest and all the people and commissioned him as the Lord had directed.
Num 281-15
Offerings
Offerings were to be made weekly (on Sabbath) and monthly.
Why were these offerings made to the Lord?
      1. Remind Israel that the Lord who created all things deserves them.
      2. Gratitude to the Lord for his forgiveness of our sin.
What offerings are appropriate for us today?
Num 2816 - 2940
Feasts
The Lord commanded the 3 main feasts to chart the means of our salvation.
1. Passover
Reveals that our deliverance from the slavery of sin is achieved by the sacrifice of a perfect Lamb. “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”. Jn 129 Passover has celebrated 4 aspects for the last 3,000 years. Exd 66-8
      a) Freedom from slavery of Egypt and sin.
      b) Redeemed. Forgiveness is not without cost. Christ had to be crucified.
      c) God chose Abraham and all his descendants who call upon the Lord.
      d) God gave them land to demonstrate righteous living in a wicked world,
            and his great grace when they (and we) fail to do so. This gift of land is
            fiercely contested today, as is also God’s choice of people.
2. Weeks (or Pentecost)
Celebrates the firstfruits of God’s grace by the gift of his Holy Spirit after being redeemed.  Act 2
3. Tabernacles
This is a trilogy - Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Booths. It ends with the fulfillment of God’s purpose of creation - righteous man living with him in his eternal kingdom.
The trilogy begins with the Feast of Trumpets. The ram’s horn is blown as a warning. A warning of God’s judgement of sin and the need to repent and cry to God for mercy. God graciously gives us time to do this thoroughly. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement comes 10 days after Trumpets. A great day when all our sin is forgiven. Never forget that this atonement was only possible at huge cost; the perfect sacrifice of Christ crucified. This sequence reminds us that only the redeemed, the forgiven and reborn, can enter the kingdom of heaven and ‘tabernacle’ with Almighty God.
The Feast of Booths comes 5 days after Yom Kippur, and lasts for 7 whole days. Our promised life with God is eternal, it will never end.

Sadly these 3 major Jewish feasts have largely been forgotten by the Church, which is considerably the poorer for its oversight. Christmas and Easter have become much compromised by being linked to pagan festivals. Harvest Thanksgiving has all but disappeared as being a meaningful event. We now just presume that the local supermarket will always have all the food we want throughout the seasons.

Num 301-16
Vows
Men must always keep their vows to the Lord. When a woman makes a vow if on the day her father or husband hears of it and opposes it, then her vow shall not stand.
Num 311-54
Midian avenged
The Lord commands Moses to avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. So he raised 1,000 from each tribe who killed the 5 kings + Balaam. The army brought back all the women and children, sheep and gold. But Moses was angry with them because they brought back the women who had caused Israel to sin. These were all killed but the children, the animals and the booty were kept. From this they gave a portion as an offering to the Lord. Such cleansing would be even harder when they entered the promised, land when none would be spared. It is so much easier when the angel of the Lord does the killing one night, or the Lord sends fire, as upon Sodom.
Num 321-42
2½ tribes E. of Jordan
Gad, Reuben, and half Manasseh had much livestock and wanted to stay east of the Jordan. Moses agreed provided that all their fighting men went with the rest of Israel to dispossess the Canaanites. Thus they were given the land of Gilead, the land of the Amorites(Sihon) and of Bashan(Og)
Num 331-49
Detailed history lesson
Moses writes a complete history of Israel’s journeying through the desert, from Rameses on the day after Passover while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the LORD had struck down among them. On their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
Almighty God had faithfully led them all the 40 years.
Most of the 43 named campsites cannot be positively identified today.
Num 3350-56
Drive out the Canaanites
The Lord told Moses: “When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it.” Their wickedness was now complete and the time to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham of their judgement had come.  Gen 1516
So had his covenant with Abraham to give them the land.  Gen 177,8
God also warns Israel that if they fail to drive out the Canaanites, then he would also drive them out.
Num 341-15
Israel’s borders
Basically from Galilee to the dead sea and from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.
Num 3416-29
Tribal chiefs named
Each chief would be responsible for dividing land in their allotted portion.
Num 351-8
Levite cities
The Levites will be allotted 48 cities with ~¾ mile of pasture surrounding them.
Num 359-34
Cities of refuge
6 of the Levite cities shall be cities of refuge, where the one who kills another without malice or intent shall have protection from instant revenge until trial. One who kills with iron, stone or wood and with intent is a murderer, who must be put to death.
Num 361-13
Female heirs
If a man has only daughters as his heirs and they marry into another tribe, then the land would also pass into another tribe. Moses commanded that daughters must marry within their tribe and no inheritance shall pass into another tribe. In other words, like much of Africa, the land belongs to the tribe, not an individual. Western culture (including Israel) disregards this command. Today it becomes a real problem when Jews buy ‘so-called’ Palestinian land. If Palestinians sell land to a Jew - they are #put under a death penalty!

 

Deuteronomy         [Contents]

This book calls for all to love and obey the one true God; it reveals God’s mercy and judgement, his faithfulness, provision, promises and instructions for life. The history it contains has so much to teach us; but it is too often ignored. It was written by Moses at the end of the 40 years in the desert before entering the promised land.

Deut 11-8
Go into the land
Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them. All Scripture is ‘God breathed’ and this is no exception.
See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’
From the beginning Almighty God sets before his creation Blessing or curse, Gerizim or Ebal; the choice to obey or to rebel. And the consequences of both ways.
Deut 19-18
Leaders appointed
The work load for Moses was becoming too great so he appointed tribal leaders. Men who were wise, understanding, and experienced. They were instructed to hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously. ... And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me.
Deut 119-46
Rebellion and
      its consequences
It must have been with great sadness that Moses had to recount how Israel rebelled against the Lord at Kadesh-barnea some 40 years earlier. Moses told them, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. See, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’
But the people did not believe him, or the Lord, in spite of all the signs. 10 plagues, Passover, the escape from Egyptian slavery, crossing the Red Sea, provision of water and food, defeating Amalek, ... But the people rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the LORD hated us ... Who put such fear and lies in their hearts? Satan always hates and opposes all the loving kindness of God.
Even when Moses told them the truth that The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you.
But the people still refused to believe the evidence. And paid a high price. The Lord punished them: They would wander 40 years in the desert and die there instead of entering a land flowing with milk and honey with the Lord as their King.
What folly!  Why are men so stubborn?  3,500 years ago - and still are today.
Deut 21 - 329
God divides the land
After 38 years the Lord told Moses to turn north and not to fight various people:
1. The people of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful. Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.
2. Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.
3. When you approach the territory of the people of Ammon, do not harass them or contend with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession.
The Lord told Moses to fight against the two Amorite kings:
1. Behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to take possession, and contend with him in battle.
2. Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand.
Then Moses commanded Joshua:
Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings. So will the LORD do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.
Moses was allowed to climb Pisgah and see the promised land, but the Lord told him to appoint Joshua to lead the people of Israel. And he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.
Deut 41-40
God commands
      Disobedience punished
      Mercy and grace
Moses knew that his time of leading Israel was drawing to a close, so he determined that the people should listen to and obey all the commandments of Almighty God, so that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Their future was dependent upon obedience. This was the lesson of the previous 40 years wandering in the desert.
Knowing the waywardness of man he instructed them: You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God. ... Make them known to your children and your children's children.
Today in UK we have largely rejected these words of wisdom. Schools no longer teach even the 10 Commandments; successive governments have legalised abortion (murder of unborn children) and homosexuality, taught the Evolution Theory lie that denies that God created all things and desecrated the Sabbath. Almighty God is marginalised, if not totally denied. And we wonder why our world standing has diminished and social problems multiply! Moses warned Israel that if in future years they disobeyed and acted corruptly God would be angry and punish them.
But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. Moses even prophesied that
When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. ...
To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. ... know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

We also need to listen to Moses and appreciate and take heed to the Word of God.
Deut 441-43
Cities of refuge
Moses realised that people can react violently even to accidental death. So God directed him to introduce ‘cities of refuge to justly protect the one who had caused a death unintentionally. They were never to protect a murderer. This is similar to the principle of ‘an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth’; that is often misapplied. It was introduced in Exd 538 to ensure a fair response instead of an exaggerated retaliation. The objective of both is justice.
Deut 444 - 625
The Law
Moses reminds the people of the God’s statutes. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The 10 Commandments that were written on stone so that they could not be altered.
He then gives them a summary of the Law , which Jesus quoted in Math 2237
      (Jesus also quoted Lev 1918 You shall love your neighbor as yourself.)
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Moses continued with a warning:
And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, ... when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the LORD your God you shall fear.
... it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God.
Deut 71-26
The Chosen people
When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them.
For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

To understand world affairs today it is vital to keep God’s choice of Israel in the forefront of our minds. Many Christians now write off the Jews because they crucified Jesus. But this was God’s prophesied plan throughout the OT. We should take heed to the truth he revealed to Jeremiah: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ... For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD of hosts is his name: “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” Thus says the LORD: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the LORD.”  Jer 3133-37

Unlike many fallible men, Almighty God is faithful, he does not practice divorce. His generous verdict remains: For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession.

Deut 81-20
Remember
Moses reminded them all that their history was important, and not to be forgotten.
You shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness. ... He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
And what of the future?
The LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing. ... Take care lest you forget the LORD your God ... If you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.
As always Almighty God would keep his promise.
Deut 91 - 1132
God’s victory
Hear, O Israel: you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. ... Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the LORD your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you.
This victory over all the Canaanites would not be achieved because Israel was strong, but because the time had come for God to judge these most wicked nations. It certainly was not because Israel was righteous. Moses reminded them about how they had made and worshipped a golden calf, how he had pleaded for the people, God had written the 10 Commandments on 2 tablets of stone.
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?
You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land.
Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you.
For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours.

Almighty God ensured that Moses made his covenant and all his promises clear.
God had made his choice:
      now the people also had to make their choice and obey their Lord.

Deut 121-32
No foreign worship
Moses instructs the peopel that when they enter the promised land:
You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods ... You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. ... You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes.
Only after God gives them rest from defeating all Israel’s enemies, would he choose a place (Jerusalem) for them to rejoice before the Lord.
When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess ... take care that you be not ensnared to follow them ... for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
Deut 131-18
Beware of signs
If a prophet ... gives you a sign or a wonder ... and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods ...’ you shall not listento the words of that prophet. ... He shall be put to death because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God. ... So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
This warning is still relevant today and especially so in the last days when deceit will prosper and the ‘False Prophet’ will perform many signs. See Rev 1311-13 1920
Deut 141,2
God has favourites!
Moses delivers this truth from the Lord God to the people of Israel:
You are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Gentiles who believe that Jesus came to pay the redemption price for our sin are granted the privilege of being forgiven and included in God’s treasured possession.
Deut 143-21
Clean food defined
God defines clean animals that may be eaten are those that both chew the cud and whose hooves are parted. Thus pigs and camels are considered unclean to eat.
Fish must have fins and scales.
Birds that prey are considered unclean (included in the list are eagles, hawks, owls, herons, cormorants and bats. 1412-18)
All winged insects are unclean.
Anything that has died naturally is unclean; but foreigners may eat them.
And “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.”
Deut 1422-29
Tithes
You shall tithe all the yield that comes from the field ... grain, wine, oil, and firstborn of your flocks ... you shall eat the tithe ... that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. Every third year the people were also instructed to bring a tithe for the Levites (who had no inherited land).
Deut 151-18
Sabbatical year
If Israel were careful to keep the law than the Lord God promised: you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you. But knowing that they would not be able to keep the law, God commanded that every 7th year all Hebrew borrowers should be forgiven their debt. It is of little surprise that Israel has not kept this law. Neither has the Christian church.
Also If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. ... You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you. If the slave wishes to continue serving his (or her) master then he should be allowed to do so; and you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door.
Deut 1519-22
Firstborn
All the firstborn males that are born of your herd and flock you shall dedicate to the LORD your God.
Deut 161-17
The 3 Feasts
Moses calls upon Israel to remember the Feasts of Passover, Weeks and Booths. The Christian church has always ignored them, regarding them as being distinctly Jewish. Yet they clearly reveal the plan of God for the salvation of man. Our rejection has caused a sad loss which very few recognise. Booths, contains the Trumpets of repentance, Yom Kippor (Atonement) and Tabernacles is highly significant.
Deut 1618 - 1713
Justice
All the towns of Israel shall appoint a righteous, impartial man as judge. You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the LORD your God. If anyone is found to worship other gods, then on the evidence of at least two witnesses, he or she shall be stoned. The witnesses shall throw the first stone.
In later years Israel would not obey either of these commands.
Deut 1714-20
Concerning kings
Moses makes laws for the day when Israel shall demand a king like other nations.
1. He must not acquire many horses for himself.
2. He shall not acquire many wives for himself.
3. He shall not acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
4. He shall read the book of the law every day that he may learn to fear the LORD
      his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes.

But Israel’s kings (especially Solomon) chose to ignore these instructions.
History reveals that ‘power’ leads to corruption is true for nearly all kings.
      And democratic rulers are not immune from this corruption.
Deut 181-8
Priests
The Levitical priests were not to receive any land inheritance but would live in all the land given to the other tribes and would rely on their sacrificial offerings and ‘firstfruits’ to the Lord.
Deut 189-14
Inclusive religion
When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. Also forbidden is all forms of sorcery and fortune telling because this is why the Lord will drive out the Canaanites.
Deut 1815-22
A Prophet
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth. There would also be other prophets. The words of presumptive prophets would not be fulfilled. But it should be noted that the task of a prophet is far greater than just foretelling the future. Prophets interpret the past, discern the present and predict the future. They reveal the truth of God.
Deut 191-13
3 Cities of Refuge
Provision of protection for anyone who kills his neighbour unintentionally without having hated him in the past. This is not to escape justice but to prevent unjust avenging.
Deut 1914
Boundary landmarks
You shall not move your neighbour's landmark.
Deut 1915-21
Legal witnesses
A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.
Judges must inquire diligently that any witness is telling the truth. When a crime is established then the punishment shall be proportionate, not excessive - an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
Deut 201-20
Laws of War
When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you. Any who are fainthearted should stay at home. |Likewise any who have just built a house or just married.
If non Canaanite cities oppose you should kill their men, but not the women, children or animals.
But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded, that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God.
Such judgement is today often seen as unduly harsh because men are blind to the evil of worshipping other gods. Many, even in the Church, embrace the popular ‘inclusiveness’. God’s judgement of ‘hell fire’ is seen as just OT or ‘victorian’. Such men would happily cut Rev 6 to 20 out of the Bible. Or discard all Scripture!
So many see the way of salvation that Almighty God has provided at the high cost of Christ crucified as irrelevant or unnecessary.
Deut 211-9
Unsolved murders
Unsolved murders need some sort of atonement in the nearest city to purge the guilt of innocent blood.
Deut 2110-14
Female captives
A man of Israel was to be allowed to marry a non-Canaanite captive woman after she had changed her clothes, shaved her head and pared her nails. She must also be allowed to grieve for a month. She should never be sold or treated as a slave.
Deut 215-17
Rights of firstborn
If a man has two wives, one loved and one unloved, if the unloved wife bears the first child, he must still be given the double share of the inheritance due to him.
Deut 2118-21
Rebellious son
If a disciplined son remains stubborn, rebellious, a glutton and a drunkard, then the elders of the city shall stone him to death.
Deut 2122,23
A man hanged
If a man has committed a crime punishable by death you shall hang him on a tree.
He shall be buried the same day, for a man hanged on a tree is cursed by God.
Jesus was ‘hanged on a tree’, but it was for our sin that he willingly propitiated the wrath of God.
Deut 22,23
Various laws
If you find your brother’s animal astray you shall return it to him.

A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.

You can take any bird’s eggs or young, but not the mother.

Your roof must have a parapet so no one can fall from it.

You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed.

You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.

You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together.

You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of the garment.

If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die.

If a man lies with a betrothed virgin, both shall be stoned to death.

If a man seizes an unbetrothed virgin then the man shall pay the father 50 shekels of silver and marry the woman. And he may not ever divorce her.

No Ammonite or Moabite shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord, but children in the third generation of an Edomite may enter.

You shall bury your excrement in a hole outside the camp.

You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped.

None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute,
      and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute.

You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest.

If you go into your neighbour's vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes,
      as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in your bag.
If you go into your neighbour's standing grain,
      you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle.

Deut 24-26
Various other laws
These concern marriage, divorce, fighting, fair trading, Amalek, offerings ... This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deut 27
Gerizim and Ebal
Almighty God desires that his people will relate as his children, not as slaves.
So in this life he always sets before us a choice. These two mountains, Gerizim and Ebal represent this choice: Blessing or curse, obedience or rebellion.
On Mt Ebal
      Commandments written on stone.
      Build an altar to the Lord of uncut stone.
      Offer peace offerings and rejoice.
Stand on Mt Gerizim to bless the people:
      Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
These shall stand on Mt Ebal for the curse:
      Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
The Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice:
Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image.
Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor's landmark.
Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.
Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner,
      the fatherless, and the widow.
Cursed be anyone who lies with his father's wife.
Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.
Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister or step sister
Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.
Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbour in secret.
Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.
Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.
And to each of these declarations the people shall say, “Amen.”
Deut 281-14
Blessing for obedience
If you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you:
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb
      and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, herds and flock.
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and when you go out.
Your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you.
The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns
      and in all that you undertake.
He will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself.
All the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD.
The LORD will give the rain to your land in its season.
You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
Deut 2815-68
Curses if disobedient
If you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God all these curses shall come upon you: The inverse of the first four blessings above.
The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration
      in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed.
The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you.
The LORD will make the rain of your land powder.
The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies.
The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind.
You shall be only oppressed and robbed continually.
You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her.
You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it.
You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit.
Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you.
Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people.

You shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword
      among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away.
You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory,
      but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off.

All these curses ... shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart. ... the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions

Deut 29
Covenant confirmed
Moses reminds Israel of the covenant of the Law that God made at Horeb.
He reminds them of what the faithful Lord had done during the previous 40 years.
He reminds them that obedience to God’s laws brings blessing;
      and the consequence of disobedience is God’s anger, curses and exile.
Deut 301-10
Promised restoration
Having told them that Israel would not keep the law of God and would thus be exiled, Moses tells them that when they return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. ... And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Deut 3011-20
Life or death
See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. ... Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
On his own it is impossible for man to obey the commandments, but Moses assures them that with the presence of God, his new life and his word, a man can be righteous. For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. ... But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
Deut 311-13
Joshua to be leader
Moses said, “I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in. The LORD has said to me, You shall not go over this Jordan.’ The LORD your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them, and Joshua will go over at your head. ... Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Moses also told them that when they had entered the land the Lord had promised them, “At the end of every seven years, ... at the Feast of Booths, ... you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing ... that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law ... as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Deut 3114 - 32
Moses sings
When Joshua is commissioned the Lord warns them that this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering ... then my anger will be kindled against them in that day. And Moses is told to write a song and teach it to the people. Moses also wrote a book of the law to be placed beside the ark as a witness against a rebellious people.

The song of Moses:
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. ...
The Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
      But the LORD'S portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.
He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
      he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked ...
      then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
You sacrificed to demons ... and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
The LORD saw it ... a fire is kindled by my anger, ...
      and I will heap disasters upon them. ... and their doom comes swiftly.
There is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal;
      and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

When Moses had sung and taught this song, he said:
“Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today ... For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

Deut 3248-52
Moses about to die
That same day the Lord told Moses to go up Mt Nebo and die there. You will view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. Because you broke faith with me at the waters of Meribah ... you will not go there.
But some 1.500 years later he was seen with Elijah by Peter, James and John on the Mt of Transfiguration talking with Jesus about how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt.  Mk 92-13
Deut 33
Moses blesses Israel
The Lord became king in Jeshurun.
Moses blesses each of the tribes (Simeon is joined with Judah.  Josh 199  Judg 13)
There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
      who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’
So Israel lived in safety, Jacob lived alone,
      in a land of grain and wine, whose heavens drop down dew.
Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD,
      the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph!

Thus did Moses bless Israel’s future with the Lord God.
Deut 34
Moses dies
Moses climbs Mt Nebo and the Lord shows him all the land that he promised to give to the offspring of Abraham. There he died, aged 120, his eye was undimmed, and his vigour unabated. He was buried by the Lord, but no one knows exactly where.
And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. There has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.

Under harsh slavery in Egypt, his Levite parents, Amram and Jochebed, saw that he was a fine child. (Exd 22) They were longing for the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham that after 400 years they would be released from slavery and be taken to the ‘promised land’. (Gen 1513,14) They called this, their third child, Moses. And he wonderfully fulfilled God’s promise during a long and eventful life.

Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.  Num 123
The meek shall inherit the earth.  Math 55
Moses led Israel to the land, and today, 3,500 years later, Israel still live in the promised land. A land that Satan does his best to challenge at every opportunity.
But the Lord God remains ‘king of Jeshurun’, and all his creation.

 

Joshua         [Contents]

Joshua first comes onto the stage of Jewish history in Exd 17 when Moses selects him to lead the battle against Amalek at Rephidim, while he with Aaron and Hur went up the mountain to pray. Amalek is defeated. In Exd 24 Moses goes up Mt Sinai with Joshua, his aide, to receive the Commandments from God. Then in Num 13,14 when they arrived at the border of the promised land, Moses chose Joshua as one of the 12 to go up and spy out the land. Only he and Caleb came back with a favourable report. The other 10 were filled with fear, so God sent all Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years. Joshua is commissioned by God to lead the people in the conquest of the promised land.  Deut 328 and 313 Probably the most common difficulty with this book is overcoming the accusation against Almighty God of ethnic cleansing! But it is only difficult if man thinks that God has no right to judge men for their wicked disobedience. God's commands are clear and include 'You shall have no other gods before me'. And that includes Islam.
Was God right to judge the world in the days of Noah? Was he right to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Yes, of course he was right and just - he is the Lord Almighty!! When God made his covenant with Abraham, The Lord said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."
So the conquest of the Promised Land was not 'ethnic cleansing' but the just judgement of Almighty God.
UK today has legalised what God says is sin. But see lists in Ro 128-32  2 Tim 31-9  2 Pe 21-22 and the consequences.
In the 'last days' there will be a massive increase in disasters - see Math 24. As Christ opens the 7 seals in Revelation we are shown the judgement of God in the Great Tribulation. God will punish wickedness, even if man does not like the idea.

Joahua 11-18
The Lord calls Joshua to lead Israel
Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites. ... No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.
The Lord then told Joshua how he would enable him to lead in righteousness. An instruction that all leaders in every age would do well to keep diligently: Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
The biggest problem with democracy is that it is based upon popularity, instead of obedience to Almighty God.
Joahua 21-24
Rahab and the Spies
Joshua sent 2 spies Go, look over the land, especially Jericho. They were seen to enter the house of Rahab, the harlot. But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. Such is the gracious hand of God. She had heard about the Red Sea crossing and the defeat of the Amorite kings and told the spies, "When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below." Then she made a bargain with them to spare her life. A bargain that would also include her name in the genealogy of Jesus.  Math 15  The spies returned to Joshua with the information.
Joahua 31 - 424
Crossing the Jordan river
"When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, ... follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it."
"Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you."
God told Joshua that he was going to drive out all the tribes of Canaan, and would prove it by cutting off the Jordan river, which was in spring flood.
As soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away. ... The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
All who entered the promised land had to pass the Ark of the Covenant.
They then set up 12 stones (1/tribe) in the middle of the river where the Ark of the covenant had stood, as a memorial - to remember, lest we forget.  42-24
The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea ... so that you might always fear the Lord your God.
Joahua 51-9
Circumcision
When the Canaanite king heard how the Lord had stopped the Jordan river to allow Israel to cross, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites. Note it was not the action of Israel, but the hand of the Lord they feared.
Since none of the men born in Sinai had been circumcised, God told Joshua to do so. The Lord said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you."
Joahua 510-12
Forty years of Manna stopped
Israel remained camped in the plains of Jericho until the men were healed. They celebrated Passover in the 'Promised Land'.
The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food. But the care and protection of Almighty God did not end; it just needed to have a new dimension.
Joahua 513-15
The Commander !
Near Jericho Joshua meets a man with a drawn sword.
"Are you for us or for our enemies?"
"Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come."
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him,
      "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"
The commander of the Lord's army replied, (He was not a messenger)
      "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy."
And Joshua did so.
Quite a meeting !  But scripture is totally silent about any instructions given.
Joahua 61-27
Jericho Falls
Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."
Joshua and the Israelites obeyed and the walls fell on the 7th day and the 7th circuit when the 7 priests sounded the trumpets and the people shouted.
On the instructions of Almighty God (!) They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it–men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord's house.
This makes the book of Joshua difficult reading. See intro.
Only Rahab and all in her house were spared - as promised.
Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: "Cursed before the Lord is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gates."
500 years later this was fulfilled when Ahab was king and Jericho was rebuilt.  1 Kgs 1634
Rahab married Salmon and entered into the genealogy of David and Jesus.  Math 15
      Such is the grace and perfect plan of God.
Joahua 71-26
The sin of one man can affect the whole nation
Achan saw a beautiful Babylonian robe and some silver and gold.
He knew God's command but did not resist the temptation for riches.
No one but God knew that he had kept them for himself. Consequently when Israel came to the next city, Ai, the 3,000 men used to attack were routed and 36 killed. The coveting by one man brought shame on the whole nation and Almighty God.
They had to use 'lots' to find the guilty man.
Then all Israel stoned him ... And all his family and belongings.
Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks. ...
Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger.

It is instructive how God measures sin and the punishment that he imposes.
      O to grace how great a debtor
      Daily I'm constrained to be
      Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,
      Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Joahua 81-29
Ai and all its people destroyed
By feigning another defeat, Joshua lured all the men of Ai out of the city. Then his hidden men entered city and burned it and Joshua killed all the men. The Lord allowed them to take plunder and livestock for themselves.
Ai's king was hanged and then covered with a large pile of rocks.
This would not be the last pile of rocks for them to remember the hand of God.
Joahua 830-35
Book of the Law read to all on Mt Ebal and Gerizim
Joshua built an altar of uncut stones and offered sacrifice to the Lord.
Then he read all the Law to all the people (including women, children and aliens).
There was not yet any 'multi-faith' in Israel.
Reading God's commands is one thing, keeping them is another.
Joahua 91-27
Gibeonite Deception
When all the Canaanite kings heard what the Lord had done they formed a coalition.
All except Gibeon who pretended to come from a distant country and desired to make a treaty with Israel. But the men of Israel ... did not inquire of the Lord.
3 days later Israel realised they had been tricked, but they did not attack them because of the treaty; but they put them under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God. They agreed.
This incident teaches us that discernment has been, and always will be vital in all our personal, church and political affairs. In the kingdom of God we will always be able to trust what people say; but now we have to take care without being overly suspicious.
Joahua 101-28
Five Amorite kings killed.
Sun stood still for a whole day!
The Amorite kings took up position against Gibeon for their treaty with Israelites. Gibeon appeals to Joshua for help, who marches the whole army through the night for surprise attack upon Amorites. The Lord assures them of success. Amorites fled, chased and killed by Israelites. Five kings hid in cave, but they were found and sealed inside.
Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:
"O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."

So the sun stood still.
As the Amorites fled before Israel, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
The five kings were brought out, killed by Joshua and hung on 5 trees till evening. Then thrown back into the cave and sealed with large rocks. Joshua said to his army commanders, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight."
If all this wasn't sufficient, That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors.
Can such carnage be the hand of the Lord God?  Was all this really his plan?
Did the One who said, "Love your enemies" enable and direct such events?
The surprising answer is "Yes!"
Men today rarely understand that it was te Almighty God who flooded the whole world less than 1,000 years before Joshua. A flood from which God only saved 8 people. The same God who so hated the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah that he destroyed the cities with fire and only saved Lot and his two daughters. In the centuries after Joshua the Lord God had to punish even his chosen people who had so badly turned away from him. The northern tribes were exiled by Assyria in 722 BC, Judah in 586 BC and again in 70 AD. In his mercy a remnant returned or remained. Today we see his chosen returned to the promised land of Israel. A people who are beginning to repent and turn to the Lord their God.
But few Christians see the truth of this. And neither do they see that Almighty God does not change. He has warned us that the last days will be so wicked that He will again bring just judgement upon his creation. Revelation reveals to us that as the Lord opens the 7 seals, blows the 7 trumpets and pours out the 7 bowls of wrath, God will bring upon this earth the Great Tribulation. Jesus himself makes this very clear in Math 24. Only the few who repent and believe in Christ as Redeemer will be saved to rejoice with him for ever in his righteous kingdom.
Thus it is not surprising that such books of the Bible - Genesis, Joshua and Revelation - are not understood. And the Lord God is rarely seen as the Almighty.
God commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.  Act 1730b,31
Joahua 1029-43
Southern cities killed
Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. The Lord also gave that city and its king into Israel's hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there.
And did the same to Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, Debir ... from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from Goshen to Gibeon.
So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.
Joahua 111-23
Northern cities killed
The northern kings formed an alliance to attack Israel. They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots–a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. ... The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots. So Joshua attacked. And the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them ... until no survivors were left. ... as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.
The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. ... So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel.
The following chapter (12) lists all the cities that Joshua defeated.

After reading of all this killing it is not surprising that many discard the OT.
Very few understand the just judgement of Canaan by Almighty God.
Neither will they take any heed to the final prophesied punishment of the wicked.
The consequences of sin are nearly always dismissed much too easily.
It is God himself who will take this action, not Christians.
But it may be our task to blow a warning trumpet.

Joahua 131-7
When Joshua was old
When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the Lord said to him,
"You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over."

      Philistines, Geshurites, ... all Lebanon ...
Joahua 138 - 1951  211-45 221-34
Detailed allocation of land
As one of the two faithful spies, Caleb was given Hebron.  146-15 1513-19
Dan had difficulty taking possession of their territory so went up north to Hermon.
      But there they soon followed Baal.
      Dan is not mentioned in the tribes in Rev 71-8
Levites (as priests) given towns among all the other tribes.
Eastern tribes return home (the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh). Joshua said to them, "You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, ... But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."
Then the land had rest from war.  1415  And I expect they were all very glad.
Joahua 201-9
Cities of refuge
Then the Lord said to Joshua: "Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you throug Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood."
Note that this is not to escape justice, but to avoid unjust revenge. While in the 'Refuge' he is to stand trial.
Joahua 231 - 2433
Joshua's Farewell Challenge
Joshua summoned all the leaders of Israel, "You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. ... Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. ... If you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you ..."
Joshua then reminded them of their history, from God's calling of Abraham, their time in Egypt and the deliverance, to how God enabled them to receive the promised land. Their relationship with Almighty God depended upon keeping the Commandments, especially 'No other gods'. So he told them, "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
But although the people said to Joshua, "We will serve the Lord our God and obey him." They thought they could also keep their old idols.
Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you."
But the people still insisted that they could serve God and keep their idols.
So Joshua took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord. "See!" he said to all the people. "This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God."

Joshua died aged 110 and was buried in the hill country of Ephraim.
Joseph's bones (brought up with them from Egypt) were buried at Shechem.

Joshua was keen that the people should remember several events with piles of stones.
1. Stones on bank of Jordan river to mark where God held back the waters.  421,22
2. Covetous, disobedient Achan stoned and covered with pile of stones.  725,26
3. Five Amorite kings killed and put in a cave and sealed with large rocks.  1027
4. Large stone to remind Israel not to serve God and idols. 2426,27

 

Judges         [Contents]

Israel had entered the promised land. Joshua had purged and taken much of Canaan as directed by Almighty God. Many today see this simply as ethnic cleansing, but God had waited 400 years for the sin of the Amorites to reach its full measure (Gen 1513-16). Now the time had come to judge their wickedness. But when Joshua died there still remained significant Canaanite enclaves.

Judges 11-26
Canaanites slaughtered in Judea
After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, "Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?" The Lord answered, "Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands."
Judah and Simeon combined to kill 10,000 Perizzites at Bezek. They also took western part of Jerusalem (121) and then Hebron, which was given to Caleb. (120)
Caleb promised his daughter to the man who took Kiriath Sepher. Othniel took it, and married her. She then wisely requested, "Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water." Then Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.
Judah also captured Gaza, Askelon and Ekron, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.
The house of Joseph struck Bethel with the sword and as promised spared a man and his family who had shown them the way into the city. He went to the Hittites.
Judges 127-36
Some failed to conquer
Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam,      or Megiddo.
Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer.
Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or Nahalol.
Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob.
Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh or Beth-anath.
The Amorites pressed the people of Dan back into the hill country,
      for they did not allow them to come down to the plain.

Although not driven out many of the Canaanites were enslaved.
Judges 21-5
The cost of disobedience
Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, "I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.' But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you."
Israel wept and sacrificed; but they did not repent or obey the word of the Lord.
Judges 26-10
Death of Joshua
      and what followed
Joshua had died earlier. This brief testimony could have been placed at the start.
There can be not greater tribute to a man than what is recorded here:
      And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua.
      This is great leadership. We pray for his likeness in politics today in UK.

But tragically the leadership of Moses and then Joshua did not continue.
There arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord
      or the work that he had done for Israel.
      And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord ...
      They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them ...
      They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.
      So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel,
      and he gave them over to plunderers ... And they were in terrible distress.

Judges 211-19
No lasting stability
Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them.
So began the 'roller-coaster ride' in the relationship between God and Israel.
Judges 220 - 36
Nations not driven out
The Lord did not drive out the following tribes: The five lords of the Philistines,
      the Hivites on Mt Lebanon, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, and Jebusites. ...
The King of kings said,
"I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord."
Israel was comfortable living among them and even inter-married; thus
      The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
      They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.
Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.

      And Israel suffered greatly until they repented.
All nations, including UK today, will suffer when they 'forget the Lord their God'.
Judges 37-11
Othniel
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord ...
The anger of the Lord burned against Israel ...

So Israel became subject to Aram for 8 years.
But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, who saved them. ...
Such was the grace and mercy of the Lord, their God
So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel died.
Judges 312-31
Ehud (and Shamgar)
Once again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord ...
Ammon and Amalek were persuaded by Eglon, king of Moab to attack Israel.
So, The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.
Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer–Ehud,
      a left-handed man ...

Ehud went to see Eglon and pretended to give him a secret message,
      but with his left hand stabbed Eglon with short sword hidden on his right thigh.
Ehud escaped and raised forces to destroy Moab and killed 10,000 Moabites.
The land had peace for eighty years.
After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines.
Judges 41 - 531
Deborah
After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin ... The commander of his army was Sisera. Because he had nine hundred iron chariots and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.
What was God's answer to their cries? The prophetess, Deborah - a great lady.
She gave Barak a detailed command. The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.'
Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go ..." She agreed to do so.
The Lord routed Sisera and his 900 iron chariots ... not a man was left!
Only Sisera fled on foot; and while resting in Jael's tent, she killed him with a tent peg and a mallet.
Israel grew strong and destroyed Jabin, the Canaanite king.
With Deborah's song echoing in their ears, the land had peace forty years.
Judges 61 - 835
Gideon
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. ...
Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. When the Israelites cried to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet.
Gideon was surprised to see an angel especially when greeted with the words:       "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Gideon spoke for the nation: "If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders. ...
But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
The Lord turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel
      out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"

But Gideon replied, "But Lord ..."
He then asked for a sign; simply asking him to stay till he returned with an offering.
Gideon returned. The angel of God was still there. He touched the meat and bread,
which fire immediately consumed. Like Jacob (in Gen 3230), Gideon realised who was before him.
But the Lord said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die."
That night he was told to tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it and offer his father's bull as a sacrifice. So he did.
The town demanded Gideon's death. But Joash correctly said, "If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar."
The Midian and Amalek came marching up to attack Israel. Gideon blew a trumpet.
And asked God for a sign - a wet fleece on a dry ground.
Then also a dry fleece on dew-soaked ground. That night God did so; again!
God then made Gideon reduce his forces to just 300 men with trumpets and empty jars with torches.
They attacked! And the enemy obligingly killed each other!
Ephraim was somewhat miffed by being excluded from the victory.
Gideon refused their request to make him king, but asked for one gold earring from each of their spoils - gladly given. He made an ephod and placed it in Ophrah.
All Israel prostituted themselves by worshipping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
The land enjoyed peace forty years.
No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. ... They also failed to show kindness to the family of Gideon.
Judges 91-57
God judges Abimelech
This is a grizzly and detailed account of wickedness and its consequences.
Abimelech, a son of Gideon (and a slave girl), bribed Shechem to make him ruler. He murdered his 70 brothers, only Jotham escaped. (Not told how many wives Gideon had!) But nothing escapes the eyes of Almighty God.
After Abimelech had governed Israel three years, God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.
In the ensuing intrigue and battles Abimelech and all Shechem died.
Judges 101-5
Tola and then Jair lead Israel
A man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, ... rose to save Israel. ...
He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died.
He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years.

Of the events of these 45 years, we are told nothing.
Judges 106 - 1215
Jephthah
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and ... because the Israelites forsook the Lord and no longer served him, he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites. ... Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord ...
But the Lord would not help them until they had got rid of all the foreign gods.
Jephthah's father was Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute so the family sent him away. In their distress they had to recall Jephthah and made him ruler. After giving a history lesson to the Ammonite king, who ignored it, Jephthah fought against them and the Lord gave them into his hands.
But Jephthah had made a very foolish vow to the Lord that whatever came out of his house to greet him after victory, he would sacrifice it. His daughter came out first!
After 2 months he had to fulfil his foolish vow. (See James 512)
Gilead also had 'a spat' with Ephraim because they hadn't shared the victory over the Ammonites. 42,000 Ephraimites lost their lives.
After Jephthah died, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon led Israel without recorded incident.
Judges 131-24
Birth of Samson
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord,
      so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

Although no record that Israel turned to the Lord, the angel of the Lord appeared to the childless wife of Manoah, a Danite, to tell her she would have a child. She was to drink no wine and only eat 'clean' food. Also her son must never have a haircut because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
When she told her husband what had happened, Manoah prayed that he might also see the angel. He came again and repeated to Manoah the same plan of God.
Manoah asks him to stay for a meal. He refuses. Manoah ask his name, the angel replies, "It is beyond understanding." Manoah offers a young goat as a sacrifice.
Fire from heaven consumes it and the angel ascends in the flame. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God." But his wife said to him, "If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering." Wise lady.
And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.
And the plan of the Lord Almighty would be fulfilled.
Judges 141 - 1520
Samson's marriage
Against the advice of his parents, Samson marries a girl from the 'uncircumcised Philistines'. At the 7 day feast he challenges them to solve a riddle or give 30 sets of clothes. "Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet." His wife betrayed the answer, so Samson slew 30 Philistines in Ashkelon. His wife was given to another. So Samson torched their grain fields and olive orchards. The Philistines threatened Judah so he agreed to be bound and given to the Philistines. He broke the binding easily and struck 1,000 with donkey jawbone. Being thirsty he asked God for water; and by a miracle God provided it.
And Samson judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Judges 161-3
Samson in Gaza
He went to Gaza, saw a prostitute and went in to her. The Philistines planned to ambush him in the morning. Samson arose at midnight and lifted out the city gates and their posts and carried them to a hill near Hebron (~40 miles!)
Judges 164-31
Delilah, and Samson's death
Samson loves yet another woman, Delilah. The Philistines bribe her (1,100 pieces of silver) to seek the source of Samson's strength. He gives her a false answer twice. Her betrayal was thus very obvious, but Samson stayed with her. Eventually Samson weakens and tells her the truth. She cuts his hair. The Philistines blind and bind Samson and take him to the Gaza mill prison. His hair grew again. Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, "Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand." They spoke too soon! Samson prayed, "O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes. ... Let me die with the Philistines." God answered his prayer by enabling him to collapse the twin pillars that supported the roof on which 3,000 Philistines were gloating and praising Dagon. They all died.
Judges 171-13
Micah and Levite
The events in 17-21 are not chronologically after Samson, but stories that show the awful state of Israel during the Judges period.
Micah (not the prophet Micah), makes a silver image, an ephod and household gods.
He also makes his son a priest.
In those days there was no king in Israel.
      Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
 (Also 2125)
Judges 181-31
Danite failure
The Danites had been allocated land sw of Jerusalem among the Philistines. They did not have the will or the faith to overthrow their iron chariots. So they sought, and found, another easier area - ~100 miles north, Laish near Mt Hermon. On their way the 600 Danite army took the silver image, the ephod and the Levite priest from Micah. They burned Laish, rebuilt it and renamed it Dan. They set up the image. But it seems that at no time did they seek the direction of the Lord God. It is probably significant that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned in Rev 7 among the 144,000 who were sealed. A sad story of men who lived without Almighty God.
Judges 191 - 2135
Judgement of Benjamin
This is another long and terrible story about the sins of Israel.
A Levite took a concubine from Bethlehem. She was unfaithful and returned to her father. The Levite went to retrieve her and on their return journey, they stopped at Gibeah where the men came to abuse the Levite (like men of Sodom). When refused they took his concubine and raped her all night till she died! The Levite sent parts of her body to the other tribes of Israel who vowed to destroy the guilty men of Gibeah. But the tribe of Benjamin protected them. So there was all-out war. Some 30,000 men of Israel and 25,000 men of Benjamin died in the battles. Since nearly all the wives of Benjamin were also killed, Israel needed to replace their wives, or Benjamin would become extinct. They couldn't willingly give their daughters because of the vow they had made to avenge the concubines death. So they devised a plan to allow them to be 'captured'. It is all a historical warning to reveal the plight of men who choose to ignore / reject the Lord. Closer to home, over 60 million men lost their lives in two World Wars in the last century each caused by the death or desires of a single man. This century is heading for an even worse loss.
Thankfully the next story reveals how, for the righteous, loss becomes a triumph.

What does this period of the Judges teach us?
Story of Judges is the repeating cycle of Sin, Servitude, Supplication and Salvation.
All nations need a leader under God, not a king instead of God.
Righteousness cannot be inherited, it is always a gift of God to each individual who is willing to repent and believe.
All men are naturally wicked.
The result of wickedness is war, oppression and grief; only temporarily for a few is it ever prosperity and power.
The patience of God is amazing and so is his willingness to quickly forgive, when men call upon him.
The faithfulness of Almighty God is repeatedly proven in his dealing with Israel.
A righteous and holy life, though rare, is seen to be the best way to live.
And conversely if men persist in wickedness, their future is inevitably extremely bleak - both then and now.

 

Ruth         [Contents]

The book of Ruth is a rich jewel.
Being a true story, it is far better than the best fairy tale with a happy ending.
It goes from famine to plenty, from tragedy to relief, from being heathen Gentile to being Chosen,
      from tears to eternal joy, from being lost to being redeemed.

Ruth 11-22
Naomi to Mara
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.
A famine sent by God to be another step in fulfilling his plan of redemption.
Elimelech and Naomi lived in Bethlehem (ironically = house of bread) with 2 sons.
They went to Moab, lived there for 10 years. Orpah and Ruth married Moabite men.
But then their lives were turned upside down. All 3 husbands died.
The Lord also sent a small ray of hope that he knew would be sufficient: When she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.
Naomi never lost the truth that her 'home' was still in Bethlehem.
Ruth was determined that it was to become her home too. She said, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried."
Orpah stayed in Moab.
Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, as the barley harvest was beginning.
They asked, "Can this be Naomi?" (No husband, and no sons)
"Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. ... The Lord has afflicted me ..."
She recognised that the Lord will at times afflict as well as bless. And proves that she had not lost her faith in God, as some might suppose.
The people of Bethlehem never called her Mara!
It is a lesson many need to learn today when God's blessing seems to evaporate.
Ruth 21-23
Kindness rewarded
A practical and energetic Ruth asks Naomi if she may go and find some 'leftover' grain.
As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz,
      who was from the clan of Elimelech.
(Her father-in-law)
This is one of many of God's beautifully planned coincidences.
And it was quickly followed by another. The pace of the story is rising quickly!
Boaz arrives, notices the new arrival, and asks about her.
The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter."
Boaz then tells her to stay with his servant girls, and drink water from the jars the men had filled, who had also been told not to touch her.
Ruth asked him why he should show favour to a foreigner?
He replied, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband ... May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."
I suspect this was a little more than 'one good turn deserves another'!
Boaz asks her to come over and eat some of his bread and wine. And then later when she rested with the other harvesters, he brought her some roasted grain to eat - enough for her to take some back to Naomi.
He also told the harvesters to purposely leave some extra stalks for her to glean.
At the end of the day she threshed the gleaned stalks and had an ephah of grain. (~50 lbs).
Naomi tells her that Boaz is actually a close relative, a kinsman-redeemer.
So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished.
And no doubt under the watchful eye of Boaz!
Ruth 31-18
Boaz as kinsman-redeemer
Near the end of harvest Naomi instructs Ruth how to claim Boaz as kinsman redeemer. "Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do."
There is absolutely nothing unseemly in this.
Ruth only asks "I am your servant Ruth," she said.
"Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer."

Boaz was clearly delighted.
"The Lord bless you, my daughter ... don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask ...
Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I."

He gave her six measures of barley saying, "Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed."
When she told Naomi all that had happened, she said, "Wait, my daughter, ...
      For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today."

And Naomi was right.
Ruth 41-12
Nearer redeemer declines
Boaz went to the town gate and waited for the kinsman-redeemer.
When he came along he was asked to sit down, together with 10 town elders.
Boaz then invited the kinsman-redeemer to redeem the land of Elimelech.
"I will redeem it," he said.
Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the land from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you acquire the dead man's widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property."
At this, the kinsman-redeemer said, "Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it."
Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, 2Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon's widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records. Today you are witnesses!"
Then the elders and all those at the gate said, 2We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah."

And the Lord delighted to fulfil both these prayers.
Ruth 413-22
Ruth and Boaz married
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
'The Lord enabled her to conceive'. In all the time she was married to Mahlon, she was unable to conceive.
Their first child was a son named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David ...
Obed is a shortened Obediah = 'servant of the Lord'.
Although Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz anticipated the birth of Obed with great joy, Israel would have to wait for the Son of David, Israel's ultimate Redeemer, Jesus Christ, to bring redemption for the nation.
Naomi was thrilled to be a grandmother.

 

1 Samuel         [Contents]

Samuel was the last of the judges of Israel and the first of the prophets after Moses. When the people demanded to be ruled by a king, God instructed him to choose and anoint Saul as the first king of Israel and then David.
1 and 2 Samuel were written as one book and were only separated in Hebrew because the scroll was too long. The history reveals how men and women rise and fall; and how much even the best need the forgiveness of God. They tell the vivid 150 year prophetic story as from God’s view. It is honest and true.

1 Sam 11-8
Hannah weeps
The story has no preamble; it dives into the distress of a lady unable to conceive.
Hannah would have known how both Sara and Rachael had also cried to the Lord God.
Each year Elkanah took his family to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts. He always gave to Hannah a double portion, because he loved her, but his second wife Peninnah, who had several children, used to provoke her grievously. Having more than one wife always leads to family problems (Sarai and Hagar, Rachel and Leah). Therefore Hannah wept. This was just the opening paragraph of the book.
1 Sam 19-20
Hannah prays
In deep distress Hannah went to the Tabernacle to pray, where she made a vow:
"O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant ...
      then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life."

      (First time God called ‘Lord of hosts’, and only recorded vow by a woman.}
Eli thought she was drunk. When explained, Eli realised he was wrong and said,
"Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him."
... Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

And in due time she bore a son, Samuel.
1 Sam 121 - 211
Samuel given to the Lord
Next year, Hannah did not go up to sacrifice with Elkanah. She said she would wait until the child was weaned, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD and dwell there forever. ... only, may the LORD establish his word.
Later, when weaned, Hannah went up with Samuel and a significant sacrifice.
There she reminded the Lord saying,"Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD." Hannah’s prayer is then recorded in full.
My heart exults in the LORD ... because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is none holy like the LORD: there is no rock like our God.
The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

Hannah and Elkanah return home, leaving Samuel ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.
1 Sam 28-21, 26
Samuel grew
As Samuel grew, each year Hannah would bring him a little robe.
The Lord blessed Hannah with 3 more sons and 2 daughters.
And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the LORD.
Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature
      and in favour with the LORD and also with man.

These verses are included within the story about Eli’s evil sons. What a contrast.
1 Sam 212-17, 22-26
Eli had two evil sons
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men.
      They treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.
When men brought their sacrifices to the Lord they took the best parts,
      and insisted on having the meat roasted, not boiled.
The sons lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
      Eli rebukes them but they would not listen to the voice of their father.
Sons not only evil, but further contempt for the Lord God.  (Like Esau Gen 2534)
But, as always, there is a price to pay.
      Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength.
      All the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men.
      Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, ... shall die on the same day.
      And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest.  (Samuel, and later Jesus!!)
1 Sam 31-21
God calls Samuel
As Samuel grew up, what was the general situation in Israel?
      The word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
      But that was about to change.
The lamp of God had not yet gone out. Samuel slept in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
(You can hear the music getting louder as the writer raises the story tempo ...)
Three times the Lord calls Samuel, who thought it was Eli calling. Then Eli realised it was the Lord calling so if he called again he told him to say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears’ God called again, a fourth time. But it wasn’t good news for Eli.
"Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house ... I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them ..."
In the morning Samuel had to tell Eli what the Lord had said.
And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground ... the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
1 Sam 41-22
Philistines defeat Israel
Israel lined up to fight against the Philistines. No prayer, no leader mentioned.
4,000 men of Israel killed. Elders asked, "Why?"
Either they had not heard what God said to Samuel, or discarded it.
They decided to bring the Ark from Shiloh, thinking this would save them. Wrong!
Men cannot just use God like the heathen used gods as their mascots.
When the Ark arrived, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded.
Did they think this would help them as when Joshua marched around Jericho?
How foolish. It merely spurred the Philistines to fight harder. And this time they killed 30,000 men of Israel, the ark of God was captured and Eli’s sons also died.
Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. Eli was 98, blind and dreaded hearing the news of the battle. He knew God’s word to Samuel and expected the death of his two sons. But when he was told that the Philistines had captured the Ark of God, he fell over backwards and broke his neck. At this news, Eli’s daughter-in-law gave birth to a son. She named him ‘Ichabod’, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel!"
Almighty God is to be honoured, obeyed and loved; certainly not ‘used’.
1 Sam 51 - 72
The Ark of God
      where it should not be
The Philistines put the Ark of God in the temple of Dagon, like a trophy.
Next morning their idol, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they put their chunk of wood back in its place. But the following morning there it was again, on the floor. And this time its head and hands were cut off and put on the threshold. That was not all, for the Philistine still had not learned that the Lord, the God of Israel is not to be mocked by an idol of wood. The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumours, both Ashdod and its territory.
The lords of the Philistines decided that the Ark should be moved to Gath. But the Lord caused the people of Gath to break out in tumours. Being slow to learn who is the Almighty, they sent the Ark to Ekron, where they too broke out in tumours.
The ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
Eventually the Philistines realised that Dagon was no match for the Lord God. So they sent away the Ark of the Lord, together with a guilt offering of 5 golden tumours and 5 golden mice. The put the Ark and their offering on a new cart. They took two freshly calved cows, took away their calves, yoked them to cart and released them. They reasoned that if the cows took the cart to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm. And to their great surprise the cows went straight up to Beth-Shemish, lowing as they went.
After grateful Israelites offered the cows as a sacrifice to the Lord, the Ark was taken to Kiriath-jearim, and kept in the house of Abinadab for 20 years. But all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD, because of the Philistine domination.
1 Sam 73,4
Need true repentance
Samuel told Israel: "If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines." And Israel did so; they served the LORD only.
1 Sam 75-17
Mizpah
Samuel gathered the people at Mizpah where they fasted and confessed their sin.
When the Philistine heard that Israel had gathered, they prepared to attack them.
Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the Lord answered him. ... The LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel.
Samuel set up a stone and named it ‘Ebenezer’ (= till now the Lord has helped us’)
So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel.
1 Sam 81-22
Demand for a king
Samuel was a good and godly judge in Israel, but his two sons were evil. He appointed them as judges, but did nothing to stop their corruption. So the elders of Israel asked Samuel to appoint a king, like in other countries. This displeased him, but he prayed to the Lord who said, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them ..."  Only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them." So he warned the people that a king will "Take ... Take ... Take ... And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day."
The people refused to listen to the warning and still demanded a king. Samuel again asked the Lord what he should do. He told him, “Obey their voice.”
1 Sam 91 - 1027
Saul chosen as king
Kish, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth, had a son named Saul, a handsome young man ... he was taller than any of the people. Kish had lost some of his donkeys and sent Saul to search for them. When he could not find them, his servant suggested they should ask a certain ‘man of God’. The day before, God had told Samuel that next day a young Benjaminite would come looking for his donkeys. As God had ordained, they met, and Samuel anointed him. He also told him that he would find the donkeys at Rachel’s tomb, to accept two loaves of bread from men at the oak of Tabor, and that he would meet a group of prophets prophesying. As Saul left Samuel God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. Saul told his uncle all that had happened except about the matter of the kingdom and the anointing.
Samuel called Israel to Mizpah to chose a king. He again warned them: "Today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us’." Then they cast lots by tribe, clan and finally family till Saul was chosen. And all the people shouted, "Long live the king!"
Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the LORD. But neither kings nor people heeded it.
Samuel sent all the people home. Saul went to his home in Gibeah and with him went men of valour whose hearts God had touched.
1 Sam 111-15
Ammonites defeated
The Ammonites besieged Jabesh-Gilead and would only accept a peace treaty if they agreed that all the men had their right eye gouged out. The Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. All Israel came out as one man. (330,000). And they struck down all the Ammonites. Then Samuel called all the men to Gilgal and there they made Saul king before the Lord.
1 Sam 121-25
Samuel’s farewell
1. Behold, I have obeyed your voice ... and have made a king over you.
2. People witnessed he had judged Israel justly, no fraud.
3. If both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, ... then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king.
4. The Lord sent thunder and rain to prove that the people’s wickedness was great.
5. Serve the LORD with all your heart ... fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.
~300 years later the Lord sent the northern Israel into permanent exile (Assyria).
~400 years later Judah was exiled to Babylon for 48 years (586-538BC).
      Both had become wicked and rejected the Lord and his prophets.
      So the Lord kept his word to Samuel - as he always does!
1 Sam 131 - 1422
Saul .v. Philistines
When Saul had reigned 2 years he chose 2,000 to serve under him at Michmash and 1,000 under Jonathan at Gibeah. Jonathan defeated the garrison at Geba. This provoked the Philistines to muster 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen to fight Israel.
Saul waited 7 days at Gilgal for Samuel to come to offer a burnt offering to encourage a very frightened Israel. But the old man did not appear, so Saul offered the sacrifice himself. When Samuel arrived he told Saul “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, ... your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart.” Saul only had 600 men. But one day, without telling Saul, Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armour, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” The two men climbed a rocky crag that separated them from the Philistine garrison, who, when they saw them, mocked them.
Jonathan then killed 20 and the Lord caused an earthquake, which caused great panic among the Philistines. Saul and all the Israelites who had hidden themselves then went out to defeat the fleeing enemy.
So the LORD saved Israel that day.
1 Sam 1424-46
Saul’s rash vow
Before going out to fight Saul made a foolish vow/law: “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” The forest through which the Philistines fled dripped with honey. But fearing the vow, none of Saul’s men ate it. But Jonathan had not heard of the vow and sensibly ate the honey. That evening, having feasted their victory, Israel enquired of the Lord if they should continue against the Philistines. But the Lord did not answer. Casting lots to see who had sinned, the lot fell upon Jonathan who had eaten the honey. Saul said he must therefore die, Jonathan agreed, but the people did not agree. So the people ransomed Jonathan. Saul was foolish because:
      He had not sought the Lord before making such a vow.
      With sufficient energy, Israel could have destroyed the Philistines.
      Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.  James 511
Why should a complete fast help Saul to win a fight against the Philistines?
      I cannot yet see Saul’s motive in making such a vow.
It was only the threat of a civil rebellion that made Saul admit he was wrong and annul the foolish vow.
1 Sam 1447-52
Saul, a man of war
When Saul had taken the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, Ammon, Edom, Philistines, Amalek. Wherever he turned he routed them. And he did valiantly. ... There was hard fighting against the Philistines all the days of Saul. It seems that for that generation all hope of peace was extinguished.
1 Sam 151-35
God orders
      destruction of Amalek
      Saul disobeys
In today’s world, where God’s just judgement of evil is disavowed and he is seen only as a God of love, his instruction to Samuel for Saul to completely destroy all of Amalek is extraordinary. God had not forgotten that the Amalekites had attacked the weak and the stragglers as they crossed Sinai after escaping from Egypt some five centuries earlier. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”  Exd 1714  and Deut 2517-19
Saul fights Amalek and destroys them all; except he keeps the best of their flocks and he spares Agag, their king. Saul even set up a monument to himself to commemorate his achievement. But God and Samuel were angry with Saul. While Saul admitted he had sinned he made no effort to kill Agag; so Samuel had to slay him. Partial repentance that is riddled with excuses has no value before the Lord. Saul and Samuel would never meet again. Saul never really had a heart for God.
And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel. Some may think that this might imply that the Lord made a mistake in choosing Saul. He didn’t. God cannot make a mistake! He knew what Saul would do and fail to do. And he warned Israel of their foolishness in wanting a king; but the people refused to listen. God chose the best ‘head and shoulders’ man - and shows us that the best man can never be good enough. He will always fail. The next king, king David, would also fail. But his repentance was complete and real, so he was also forgiven - completely.
Amalek was the grandson of Esau.
1 Sam 161-13
David anointed king
Although Samuel never went to see Saul, he still grieved (prayed?) over him. One day The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel?” Then he told him to go and anoint one of the sons of Jesse, the Bethlehemite and to make a sacrifice there so that Saul would not know.
The question was, which son? Eliab was the obvious choice (probably looked like Esau and Saul). The Lord had to tell Samuel not to look on his outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. Seven of Jesse’s sons came before Samuel, but none were the Lord’s choice. The youngest son, David , was still out keeping the sheep. He was God’s choice. Samuel anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. Scripture is short on detail here!
      See David in website article ‘7 Leaders’   (then use return arrow to return here)
1 Sam 1614-23
David calms Saul
These verses open with the greatest disaster a man can experience: Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him.
Unrepented disobedience has a terrible effect; Saul is now tormented, he has lost the protection of the Lord God. His servants suggest music to calm him in times of trouble. David, 'the giant killer' is recommended, a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valour, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him. So he came to Saul. And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.
1 Sam 171-58
David slays Goliath
This great event must have taken place before the previous paragraph. Saul would not have had to ask who the Goliath slayer was (1755) after David so often played his lyre to calm Saul’s troubled mind (1621,22). Even historical scripture is not always chronological when it is helpful to put events together.
The Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. The Philistines thought they could solve this stalemate with a challenge for any Jew to fight their giant, Goliath.
But the proud giant made one catastrophic mistake he challenged Almighty God! “I defy the ranks of Israel this day.”
David volunteers to fight him saying, “Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” This was a big risk by Saul. A shepherd youth alone against a mighty armoured ‘tank’. But he wasn’t alone.  Saul agreed - no other volunteers.
The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.”
David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head ... that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hand.” And the name of the Lord of hosts prevailed. He revealed Goliath’s one weak spot, 2" of forehead over which there was no armour. David only needed one sling-shot. And Goliath was dead! He didn’t need the other 4 stones (but note there was no vain self-confidence). Israel then slew the fleeing Philistines all the way to Gath and plundered their camp.
There is not a hint in the scriptures that Israel were in any way grateful to the Lord.
In the middle of the story (1728-30) we are shown how much Eliab hated his youngest brother. (Probably his step brother). Similar to Cain and Abel, and also Jacob and Esau, and Jacob’s sons who hated their brother Joseph. Jealousy and favouritism are often dangerous to family relationships.
Another lesson in this story is don’t try to fight in someone else’s armour. 1738-40
1 Sam 181-5
David and Jonathan
Both Saul and Jonathan loved David. (1621 181,2)  Jonathan recognised David’s courage and ability, made a covenant with him and gave him his armour, sword, bow and belt. And David soon learned to make good use of these new weapons.
1 Sam 186-30
Saul jealous
David’s success with Goliath and other battles were inspired by the Lord God.
Saul could have been glad to have such an inspired and capable leader; but he chose not to be. Deprived of the Spirit of God because of his disobedience, he allowed overwhelming jealousy to rule his life. Saul became so angry when the top song of the day was “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands” that he even tried to kill David. He twice failed - David was much too quick for the angry king.
Now also fearful, he sent David away. And hoping the Philistines would kill him he offered David his eldest daughter, Michal, as wife if he could bring him 100 Philistine foreskins. So David brought him 200 ! Michal became his wife and Saul became even more afraid of David. Without the Lord, jealousy ruled and it destroyed a good friendship (1621). Saul spent the rest of his life trying to kill David. He failed.
1 Sam 191 - 2042
Saul wants to kill David
Saul tells all his servants to kill David. Jonathan persuades him that this was sinful and undeserved. Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.” So David returned to continue serving Saul.
But it wasn’t long before David struck the Philistines and Saul’s jealousy was aroused again. David eluded his spear and escaped to his home. Michal warned him that Saul intended to kill him in the morning and let him down from a window. So David escaped and went to Samuel at Ramah. Saul twice sent servants to get him but when they came they prophesied. Finally Saul came himself, and he also prophesied. We are not told what any of them prophesied. So David escaped again and began about a decade of being ‘on the run’ from Saul.
201-42 is a detailed account that affirms the lasting friendship of David and Jonathan. The crunch with Saul also came to a conclusion with the intriguing story of how Jonathan could tell him if Saul still wanted to kill him. He did. Saul was probably jealous of their friendship, as well as David’s greater success in fighting the Philistines. So Jonathan and David confirm their covenant and had to say good-bye with tears. They would only meet once more.
1 Sam 201-9  David at Nob
1 Sam 216-23  Saul slays the priests
At Nob, the priests were led by Ahimelech, the brother of Ahijah, Saul’s spiritual advisor. Being unsure of his loyalty, David lied to obtain bread. Only ‘holy’ bread, but still given 5 loaves. Also given Goliath’s sword which had been preserved there.
One problem: Doeg, the Edomite and chief herdsman to Saul, witnessed these gifts. Doeg’s told Saul who summoned Ahimelech and all the priests to Gibeah. His guards refused to slay the priests, but Doeg willingly did so. Only Abiathar escaped and fled to tell David what had happened, and was invited to stay under David’s protection.
1 Sam 2110 - 225
David flees
David went to the Philistine city of Gath where he had to pretend madness when taken before Achish the king, who sent him away. After this narrow escape, he went to the cave of Adullam where everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. This included Jesse and his immediate family. So David went to Moab, where his grandmother, Ruth, had come from, and asked the king if he would care for his parents. David was told by the prophet Gad to depart into the land of Judah. So he took his men and found refuge in the forest of Hereth. Never a dull moment; and this was just the start!
1 Sam 231-14
David saves Keilah
The Philistines attacked Keilah (a walled city 18 miles SW of Jerusalem). David was incensed, but first asked God whether he should save the city. God said, “Yes”. But his men were afraid, God confirmed he should attack. He did. And God gave the Philistines into his hand. Saul heard about this deliverance and saw it as an opportunity to catch David. But David had good intelligence and knew Saul’s intent. So he enquired of God if the men of Keilah would surrender David to Saul. “Yes”. So David and his men (now 600) promptly left.
And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand. This incident reveals that David never presumed God’s protection, but continually sought God’s directions as to where to go and what to do.
1 Sam 2315-18
Jonathan and David
    strengthened in the Lord
David had gone to Horesh in the wilderness of Ziph. And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. He also confirmed that Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel.
How did Jonathan seem to find him so easily? The Lord and David desired this.
1 Sam 2319-29
David escapes again
Ziphites tell Saul where David and his men are hiding in the wilderness of Maon. Saul went to find him on one side of the mountain, while David escapes on the other side. Saul told of a Philistine attack, so left off chasing David, who went to Engedi.
Another example of God’s care and protection.
1 Sam 241-22
David spares Saul’s life
Saul again tries to find David in Engedi. He relieves himself in a cave where David and his men are hiding! David refuses to harm Saul. Only cuts off the corner of his robe. But David’s heart struck him because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. He had cut off a tassel that was to remind the wearer of the commands of God. Num 1538,39 After Saul left, David calls Saul and reveals proof saying, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you today into my hand in the cave. ... I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. May the LORD judge between me and you ... But my hand shall not be against you.” Saul wept and admitted that you are more righteous than I. ...Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. David had learned that Saul’s word was not to be trusted.
Given such an unsought opportunity to harm an enemy, what would I do? How would I speak to him? David gives us a good example to follow.
1 Sam 251
Samuel dies
Now Samuel died. And all Israel assembled and mourned for him.
A simple statement A sad day that marked a profound loss to the nation of Israel.
1 Sam 252-44
Nabal and Abigail
Nabal and his wife Abigail described: The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved. Nabal insulted David and foolishly refused to help him. Abigail immediately apologised and brought sheep, bread and wine on several donkeys. About ten days later the LORD struck Nabal, and he died. And Abigail became David’s wife. This chapter is a masterclass in good story telling.
David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel as his wife. Saul had given Michal to Palti.
1 Sam 261-25
David spares Saul again
Ziphites tell Saul where David is hiding in Gibeah. David came to Saul’s camp and with Abishai. During the night they crept up to Saul and took his spear and a jar of water. David had to stop Abishai from killing him repeating, “The LORD forbid that I should put out my hand against the LORD'S anointed.” From a distant hill David called to Abner, Saul’s army commander, “Why then have you not kept watch over your lord the king?” Saul recognised David’s voice and again admits that he has sinned. Conclusion? The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the LORD gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the LORD'S anointed. David invites one of Saul’s young men to come and collect his spear. Saul then went home. But David still did not trust Saul.
1 Sam 271-12
David goes to Gath
David with his two wives and 600 men went to Achish in Gath, for he reasoned correctly that Saul would not come to seek him there. Then he asked if he could go to one of the other Philistine towns, he was given Ziklag. He and his men would make raids against the Geshurites and the Amalekites, sparing no one. When he returned with the booty he pretended it was from the Negeb of Judah. And amazingly Achish trusted David.
1 Sam 281-25
Saul goes to a Medium
In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel.
And ironically Achish agreed to make David his bodyguard for life. Saul was frightened. Samuel had died; so who could go to for advice? So he went in disguise to a medium at En-dor at night. He asked the woman to bring up Samuel. So she did.
Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul told him about the Philistine army. And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy? ... The LORD will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.” Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel.
1 Sam 29, 30
Philistines reject David
Amalekites burn Ziklag
David Kills Amalekites
Now the Philistines had gathered all their forces at Aphek and their lords did not approve of David’s Hebrews being in their army, so sent them back to Ziglag. There they found that the Amalekites had burned the city and captured all the women and children. David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” So David and the 600 set out. A young Egyptian, a servant of an Amalekite had been left to die in the desert 3 days earlier. He showed David where they were camped and celebrating. David kills all but 400 who escaped on camels, and recovered all that they had taken from Ziklag and much more - including all the women and children. David gave part of the spoils to his friends in southern Judah.
1 Sam 311-13
Saul dies
Meanwhile in the battle between Saul and the Philistines, Jonathan is killed and Saul so badly wounded he killed himself. 3 of his sons were also killed. Philistines found Saul’s body and fastened it to the wall in Bethshan. Valiant men from Jabesh-Gilead arose and took his body from the wall and buried it under a tamarisk tree in Jabesh.

 

2 Samuel         [Contents]

2 Sam 11-27
David laments
David returned to Ziklag and after 2 days an Amalekite came with the news of Saul and Jonathan’s death and with Saul’s crown. The Amalekite boasted he had killed Saul (at his request) expecting a reward. But David had a young man execute him, for he had killed the Lord’s anointed.
David’s poetic lament is recorded in full and heart-rending.
He asks “How are the mighty fallen?” But he does not answer the question.
Only Almighty God can reveal why many events happen or when they do..
2 Sam 21-11
Two kings
David enquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up ... to Hebron.” And Judah came up and anointed him king. Saul had for many years considered David as his enemy. But David did not reciprocate this attitude. Now he made opportunity to show kindness to the men of Jabesh-Gilead. God loved us while we were yet enemies. Ro 5
But Abner, the commander of Saul’s army made Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, king. He reigned over Israel for 2 years. But the next 2 chapters reveal that the division would be bitter and costly.
2 Sam 212 - 412
The bitter division
Abner and Joab met either side of a pool. They agreed that 12 young men from each side should fight and kill each other. They did. A grizzly way to start a battle.
Joab’s brother, Asahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle, and soon caught up with Abner. But Abner killed him. Asahel’s brothers, Joab and Abishai met Abner at a hill in Gibeon. Abner ‘sued for peace’. David lost 20 men, Abner had lost 360. There was a temporary lull in the battle. But the war continued in which David grew stronger and Abner (and Ishbosheth) grew weaker.
Ishbosheth criticised Abner for using his father’s concubine. So Abner changed sides and went over to David who accepted him and sent him on his way in peace. When Joab returned from a successful raid and was told about Abner, he sent a runner after Abner with a message asking him to return. When he returned, Joab and Abishai killed Abner. David did not know about this ‘blood killing’, and mourned for Abner. He wept and fasted for Abner.
When Ishbosheth heard about Abner’s death his courage failed and all Israel was dismayed. He was soon murdered while in his bed. The murderers brought Ishbosheth’s head to David, who promptly executed them as he had the Amalekite who killed Saul. He put the king’s head in Abner’s tomb. Thus ended two years of very un-civil war.
2 Sam 51-5
David anointed king
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh ... the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders made David king over all Israel and he made a covenant with them. He reigned for 7 years in Hebron and a further 33 years in Jerusalem.
2 Sam 56-16
Defeats Jebusites
His first action as king was to drive out the over confident Canaanite Jebusites from Jerusalem. With help from Hiram the king of Tyre, David built himself a house. He also took more concubines and wives.
2 Sam 517-25
Philistines defeated twice
The Philistines did not like David becoming king so they attacked him in the Valley of Rephaim and were defeated, leaving their idols behind them. Then they attacked again and were defeated. Each time David inquired of the Lord if and how he should fight them. Each time God’s answer was yes. The second time he was instructed to go round and attack from the rear when he hear the sound of marching in the tops of the Balsam trees. And David did as the LORD commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gazer.
2 Sam 61-23
Ark taken to Jerusalem
With enthusiasm, David mustered 30,000 chosen men and a new cart to carry the Ark from the house of Abinadab. But God had commanded that the Ark be carried on poles. Exd 2510-16 On some rough ground the oxen stumbled and Uzzah put out his hand to the Ark of God. So God struck him down there because of his error. David thought he was doing good, even improving on God’s command; so he was angry. He was afraid of the Lord that day and he said, “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?” Not knowing what to do next, the Ark remained in the house of Obed-edom for 3 months. And the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
It is easy for us to see what was wrong, but David was so pleased with his nice new cart to honour the Lord. When he realised the problem, he made certain God’s command was obeyed and with wild dancing and sacrificing he brought the Ark to the tent he had pitched in Jerusalem. When he had finished making his offerings to the Lord, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts and distributed among all the people. (The offerings were not burnt up but the meat was given to the people to eat, together with bread and fruit cakes). But Michal, David’s wife, had observed all the celebrations - especially the ‘vulgar’ dancing - with disdain and despised him. From that day she ceased to be his wife.
2 Sam 71-29
Desire to build Temple
God’s covenant to David
David asks Nathan about the fact that he lived in a cedar house and God had given him rest from fighting and defeating all his enemies, but the Ark of God dwells in a tent. Initially Nathan agreed that he should build a Temple, but that same night God said “You shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more ... I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever’.” Thus God promises David that Jesus, the Son of God, would be ‘great David’s greater Son’.who would come and be crucified. But he would rise from the dead and return as King of his righteous and eternal kingdom.
What was David’s reaction to such a promise? Therefore you are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. ... And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. God revealed to his servant that all his word was true and was reliable then and for all eternity. God’s word was a covenant that would last much, much longer than even cedar.
      At the Cross, at the Cross ...
      Firm as his throne, his promise stands,
      And he can well secure
      What I’ve committed to his hands,
      Till the decisive hour.
      Then will he own my worthless name
      Before his Father’s face;
      And in the new Jerusalem,
      Appoint my soul a place.
2 Sam 81-18
David wins battles
And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went ... and David administered justice and equity to all his people.
This is a good summary of chapter 8. He systematically defeated the Philistines, Moab, Zobah (and Syria when they tried to help them), Edom and Ammon. From each of them he gained gold, which he dedicated to the Lord), also silver, bronze and servants. Most men who are successful in battle or finance abuse their power. David chose not to do so.
2 Sam 91-13
Kindness to Mephibosheth
With all his success David asks, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” He would have loved to share his victories with Jonathan. The one survivor of Saul’s family was a cripple in both feet, Mephibosheth. So David insisted that for the rest of his life he should eat at his table like one of the king’s sons, and his servants would till his land and bring him the fruits. That is kindness.
2 Sam 101-19
Ammon and Syria defeated
Ammon’s folly created a needless war like WW1 (which then also caused WW2).
1000's die because Ammonites completely misunderstood David’s compassion. And then pride prevented their stopping the war they had started. Imagine how different the world might have been without the two world wars. Without the Lord as King, it seems man will never learn. Deaf to God and blind to history.
2 Sam 111 - 1225
      David’s adultery
      and murder
This is a sad detailed story of how lust led to murder. It is recorded as a warning that even the most righteous and gifted leader can fall to temptation that should have been stopped at the first glimpse. Though he thoroughly repented of his double sin, there was still a price to pay. David was never the same man afterwards.
The son born to adultery died. Bathsheba became his wife and bore Solomon, whom the Lord loved and gave great wisdom. But he also led Israel astray with hundreds of foreign, idol worshipping wives.
2 Sam 1226-31
Ammonites defeated
Joab fought against the Ammonites and took the royal city. He sent a message to David to gather more troops and come and defeat the Ammonites and thus get the credit for victory. David agreed. The fought and won. The Ammonite gold crown that weighed 1 talent (75 lbs ~£2m) was put on David’s head. The defeated people were used as slaves. David returned to Jerusalem. But the victory really belonged to Joab
2 Sam 13 - 20
Family problems
These 8 chapters tell a long and miserable story that begins with incest when Amnon rapes Tamar, both children of David. Absalom (another of David’s sons) kills Amnon and is exiled. He conspires and tries to make himself king. David has to flee Jerusalem. Absalom is killed by Joab. David weeps. What does the Lord teach us?
Why is this part of scripture? Sin does more than affect one person at one time; it seems to multiply and bring ever increasing misery. All sin requires that we repent and plead the atoning sacrifice of Christ to cover it. See hymn ‘Jesu, lover of my soul ...’
2 Sam 211-14
Justice for Gibeon
There was famine for 3 years and David sought the face of the Lord to determine why? The Lord told him that Saul had broken Joshua’s covenant with Gibeon (a remnant of the Amorites) Josh 93-27 So David asked Gibeon how he might atone for this. They said they didn’t want gold, but 7 of Saul’s sons so that they may hang them. David agreed and gave them to Gibeon; but did not include Mephibosheth who ate with him. Then they took the bones of Saul and Jonathan and the bones of the 7 hanged sons and buried then together in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father. And the famine ended. Lesson? God requires that we keep all covenants we make
2 Sam 2115-22
Philistine giants killed
A series of 4 wars against Philistine giants in which all 4 giants were killed. In the first battle David grew weary, but was saved by Abishai. It was David’s last battle.
2 Sam 221-51
Song of Deliverance
David’s reign now coming to an end and the writer goes back 40 years to remind us of his reliance upon the Lord when Saul tried for 13 years to kill him. = Ps 18
(He reigned in Hebron for 7 years and Jerusalem for 33 years. 1 Kgs 211)
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
      my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
      my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; you save me from violence.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
      and I am saved from my enemies. ...
You save a humble people, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.
For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness. ...
You delivered me from men of violence.
      For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations ...”

David did not forget what the Lord had done for him in his early years.
      And neither should we.
2 Sam 231-7
David’s last words
First and last words are important.
The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me ...
he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.

The faithfulness of Almighty God is revealed in history. ‘Great David’s greater Son’ came as promised to redeem us, and he will come again to reign as king.
Thus he fulfills his covenant with David.
2 Sam 238-38
David’s 30 mighty men
All 30 renowned for how many they had killed! They were all brave and skilled. They enabled David to exert power over all the surrounding nations and instil fear.
However, ‘we worship God not because we must, but because we may’..
2 Sam 241-25
David numbers Israel
Why did David want to number Israel? Vanity? Pride in achievements? Not told.
Joab tried and failed to stop him. Result? 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000. Then David realised, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of your servant.”
The prophet Gad told David he had three choices: 3 years famine, 3 months defeats by enemies or 3 days pestilence. He chose the latter, “Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” So 70,000 died! The angel stopped when he came to Jerusalem. David wanted to offer a sacrifice. Araunah offered his land and oxen. David refused. “I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen. And the Lord had mercy upon David and the land. It remains dangerous to boast about power and achievement. A similar judgement fell upon Nebuchadnezzar when he boasted about his city of Babylon, which concludes with: Those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Dan 4. So beware!

 

1 Kings         [Contents]

These two books start with the death of David in ~970 BC and end with the exile of Judah to Babylon in 586 BC. They are a valuable history lesson that trace the consequence of Israel’s decision to be ruled by hereditary (mostly) kings instead of judges. The lessons from these 384 years are many; although sinful man has only rarely learned to profit from them. The national benefit of leaders determined to obey Almighty God is immense. Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.  Prov 2918

1Kg 11-4
David was old
David had reigned for 40 years. But this book open with 4 verses of somewhat surprising detail. David was old (70) and found it difficult to keep warm. So they brought him a young and very beautiful woman! With dignified grace Scripture says, she was of service to the king and attended to him. It also immediately says but the king knew her not. These 4 verses even named her, Abishag the Shunammite.
I imagine in heaven meeting Abishag and asking her what she did on earth, and without any embarrassment her reply, “O, I was with king David during his last years. I kept him warm!!” It is instructive what God excludes from his Word, and what he includes.
1Kg 15-53
Thirst for power
After the first little detail, we come to raw power politics. Now that David had become old and weak, Adonijah, the fourth son of David by his fifth wife Haggith (2Sam 32-5) sought to make himself king. So different from the care given by Abishag. Joab and Abiathar the priest sided with Adonijah, but Zadock the priest, Nathan the prophet and most of David’s ‘mighty men’ did not support Adonijah. Nathan told Bathsheba and instructed her to go and tell David that this coup threatened the promise that their son Solomon would be the next king. Nathan also went to tell David. He may have been old, but he was still quick and decisive. He told them to blow the trumpet and immediately make Solomon king. Solomon was to ride David’s mule and go to Gihon and there Zadok was to anoint Solomon king. In fear of his life, Adonijah gave up all hope of being king and sought Solomon’s forgiveness. It was given. Solomon just told him, “Go to your house.”
1Kg 21-9
Instructions to Solomon
When David's time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes ...” Would Solomon keep these wise words? His initial desire was good, but riches and power would cloud his vision to ‘seek first the kingdom of God’ and his foreign wives would soon corrupt his life.
1Kg 210-46
Solomon established
David dies having reigned 7 years in Hebron and 33 years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.
But how. First there were some old scores to settle.
1. Adonijah who had earlier tried to grab the throne foolishly asked Bathsheba if he could have Abishag for his wife. So Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Adonijah.
2. Abiathar the priest who supported Adonijah was banished to Anathoth and not allowed to leave it.
3. Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Joab who had killed Abner and Amasa, and supported Adonijah.
4. Shimei who had cursed David when he had to flee from Absalom was put under house arrest in Jerusalem. 3 years later he went to Gath to retrieve two of his servants. So Benaiah was sent to kill him.
Benaiah was made army chief and Zadok replaced Abiathar.
Thus did Solomon establish his reign, which would remain unchallenged.
Too many men have followed Solomon’s example to gain and keep their power.
1Kg 31
Solomon marries Egyptian
Solomon’s reign did not start well. He married the daughter of Pharaoh king of Egypt and brought her into the city of David. This was foolish:
1. To marry for an alliance with Pharaoh in the hope of peace belittles marriage.
2. He married outside of the Jewish faith. There is no record of her making the same transformation that his grandmother, Ruth, made: “Your God will be my God.”
3. She was the first of many foreign wives who worshipped idols.  See 1Kg 111-6
      And they would turn his heart away from the Lord.
The example of his father David was not good. He had 8 wives, but all were Jewish.
1Kg 32-4
Foundations are vital
At the start of his 40 year reign, Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. This critically important defect would blight his life. In the end pride, his enjoyment of riches and passion for building would enslave his own people, divide his heart from the Lord and cause a civil coup that divided Israel. There is wisdom that is founded upon the fear of the Lord and wisdom that is cleverness that feeds a man’s pride.
1Kg 35-15
Seeks wisdom
Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. There he made extravagant sacrifices. There the Lord appeared to him in a dream and asked him what gift he would like. Solomon seems to have felt greatly inferior to his father David and asks God, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil.” It pleased the Lord that he had not asked for riches, a long life and power over his enemies. He said, “Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind ... And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” Solomon returned to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Covenant and made burnt offerings to the Lord. Much better than offering at Gibeon. But how long would it last? Much is made of Solomon’s wisdom, e.g. next section. However there is little evidence of the fear of the Lord, especially in his personal life. A magnificent Temple does not make a nation righteous when they followed his example and also worshipped idols on the ‘high places’. Compromise is popular and deadly
1Kg 316-28
Wise judgement
His method to determine which of the two prostitutes was the mother of the remaining child was indeed clever, and earned Solomon a good reputation, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice. Like in the TV series about John Deed, they both displayed clever and good justice, but neither practised a righteous life.
1Kg 41-34
Wise administration
There is no doubt that God gave Solomon wisdom in appointing and administering all his officials. His knowledge and understanding was beyond measure. So much so that all the kings of the earth came to met Solomon. Judah and Israel ... ate and drank and were happy. Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.
Israel enjoyed the peace dividend and top class admin after all the fighting in David’s reign. But one of Solomon’s 12 named chief administrators was in charge of ‘forced labour’. This enslavement together with the idol worship would eventually leave a poor legacy. What about righteousness, truth and obedience to God? Did the prosperity encourage them to seek the Lord and admit their dependence upon the Lord? Did they bless God for his forgiveness and light?
1Kg 51 - 751
Building the Temple
      and his own palace
Hiram, a friend of David, was delighted to supply his Lebanese cedar when asked by Solomon. Paid with 20,000 cors of wheat (3,200 tons) + olive oil each year. He also drafted 30,000 (10,000/month in shifts) forced labour (paid, not slaves. 922)  He also employed 70,000 burden-bearers and 80,000 stonecutters.
The design and dimensions are described in detail. All the stone was prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built. He lined all the walls with cedar and the floors with cypress so no stone was seen inside. The inner sanctuary was overlaid with gold. All the bronze pillars and the silver and gold articles were also made. The Temple took 7 years to build. With all the concentration upon the building may be it was difficult to remember the Lord God for whom it was being built. But God did not forget Solomon. Now the word of the LORD came to Solomon, “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.”

Solomon also built a lavish palace for himself of cut stone and cedar.

1Kg 81 - 99
Ark brought up
      Solomon prays
Solomon assembled all the elders to Jerusalem and the priests took up the Ark and brought it to its place in the Most Holy Place. When the priests came out of the Holy Place ... the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. He then blessed the Lord and prayed that God’s word to David would be fulfilled.
He also prayed that “When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance. ... if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you ... then hear from heaven ... and forgive your people who have sinned against you, ... For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage.”
Having prayed, he then blessed all the assembly of Israel:
“Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments ... the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God.” The LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever.
If you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, ... then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever.
But if you turn aside from following me, ... then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them ... and this house will become a heap of ruins
.

Over the next 364 years Judah had 20 kings, but only 4 were good - Jehoshaphat, Jotham, Hezekiah and Joash. 4 others were partly good. Finally in 586BC Judah was exiled to Babylon as the Lord had spoken to Solomon.
The northern tribes of Israel that separated from Judah after Solomon died also had 20 kings - all evil. They lasted 228 years and were permanently exiled by Assyria in 722BC.
During these 364 years the Old Testament records 20 named prophets sent by Almighty God, but none were welcomed. Last of all he sent his Son. And he was crucified. But he completed the work he came to achieve - our redemption and the complete propitiation of our sin. He fulfilled the promise of God.

1Kg 910-28
Other building
After 20 years of building using Lebanese cedar and cypress from Hiram, Solomon gave him some border cities, which were poor and did not please him. But did not result in war. Solomon also procured 420 talents (31,500lbs) of gold from Ophir using ships he had built, but partly manned by Lebanese sailors.
Solomon also built the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer, beside numerous store cities and cities for his chariots. He enslaved all the men left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites etc. No Israelites were enslaved - they were conscripted and paid.
1Kg 101-13
Queen of Sheba
The unnamed queen of Sheba came to Solomon with much gold, jewels and spices. She was more than impressed with his answers to all her questions. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard ... Blessed be the Lord your God. She gave him 120 talents (9,000lbs) of gold. And he gave to her all that she desired.
1Kg 1014 - 119
Staggering wealth
      and 700 wives
King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.
He had everything from gold cups and shields to peacocks and 1,400 chariots.
He also had 700 wives, many of them foreign, who turned away his heart after other gods. ... So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. ... He built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites. ... And the LORD was angry with Solomon.
Why do men strive for such prosperity, power, privilege and popularity?
1Kg 119-43
Solomon disobeys God
And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. Therefore ... I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. (Jeroboam) Jeroboam met the prophet Ahijah who tore his new robe into 12 pieces, and gave 10 to Jeroboam and the one he kept would be for Rehoboam and ‘included’ Jerusalem, because Solomon worshipped foreign gods Ashtoreth, Chemosh and Milcom. Jeroboam fled to Egypt until Solomon died.
1Kg 121-24
Jeroboam / Rehoboam
When Solomon died (930 BC)Rehoboam went to Shechem where the people had gathered to make him king. (Why not Jerusalem?) Jeroboam immediately returned from Egypt and pleaded with Rehoboam to lighten the hard service that Solomon had imposed. But Rehoboam foolishly took the advice of the young men and rejected the plea saying, “My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” So, just as God had promised (through Ahijah) the kingdom divided; 10 northern tribes made Jeroboam king of Israel and Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem where the tribe of Judah (and part of Benjamin) made him king.
Israel would be exiled by Assyria just over 200 years later and become ‘the lost tribes’. Judah would exiled to Babylon in 586 BC and return after 50 years. Judah would be exiled by Rome in 70 AD and become the modern state of Israel in 1948.When Solomon died (930 BC)Rehoboam went to Shechem where the people had gathered to make him king. (Why not Jerusalem?) Jeroboam immediately returned from Egypt and pleaded with Rehoboam to lighten the hard service that Solomon had imposed. But Rehoboam foolishly took the advice of the young men and rejected the plea saying, “My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” So, just as God had promised (through Ahijah) the kingdom divided; 10 northern tribes made Jeroboam king of Israel and Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem where the tribe of Judah (and part of Benjamin) made him king. Israel would be exiled by Assyria just over 200 years later and become ‘the lost tribes’. Judah would exiled to Babylon in 586 BC and return after 50 years. Judah would be exiled by Rome in 70 AD and become the modern state of Israel in 1948. Jeroboam and Rehoboam divided the chosen people for ever. Jeroboam and Rehoboam divided the chosen people for ever.
1Kg 1225-33
Two golden calves
Jeroboam reasoned that the people may would want to worship in Jerusalem and come to reject him. So he made two golden calves and placed them at Bethel and Dan in high places and altars he had made there. He told the people, “Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”  A double lie.
Thus began a succession of 20 kings, all of them evil. Almighty God graciously sent a succession of prophets - Elijah, Elisha, Hosea, Joel, Amos etc.
But the people all refused to repent of this evil and rejected God’s offer of mercy.
It was a sad day from which they never recovered.
1Kg 131-10
False repentance
When Jeroboam was at Bethel, a man of God from Judah came and prophesied against the altar and the golden calf. Jeroboam stretched out his hand and ordered them to seize the prophet. His hand dried up. The altar was torn down and burned. Jeroboam pleaded with the prophet for God to restore his hand. And surprisingly his hand was restored. The king offered the prophet a reward; he declined it. The golden calf and the high places remained and Jeroboam appointed priests there and his life remained unchanged and evil.
1Kg 1311-34
Weakness punished
The Lord had told the man of God from Judah not to eat bread and drink water on his mission. A false prophet met him on his return and persuaded him to rest and eat with him. He accepted. As he continued his journey he was killed by a lion. He was not the first or the last man to be punished for disobeying the clear instruction of the Lord God.
1Kg 141-20
Jeroboam condemned
When Jeroboam’s son, Abijah, fell sick he sought God’s verdict by disguising his wife who went to ask Ahijah the prophet in Shiloh, who was nearly blind. But God warned his prophet she would come and gave him his answer - that his son would die.
And furthermore he told her that the Lord would destroy the house of Jeroboam and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the LORD to anger. Abijah died and shortly afterwards, so did Jeroboam. His son Nadab became king and was immediately killed by Baasha. In his mercy the Lord gave Israel another 200 years to repent and then Assyria exiled them as prophesied.
1Kg 1421-31
Rehoboam, Judah
Son of Solomon, but his mother was Naamah the Ammonite. And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. They also built for themselves Asherim on every high hill ... and there were also male cult prostitutes (sodomites KJV) in the land.
In his 7th year Egypt came up against Jerusalem and took away all the treasures from the Temple and from the king’s house, including the shields of gold. Rehoboam replaced them with bronze. Throughout his 17 year reign there was war with Jeroboam. An evil leader can so quickly encourage a nation to become evil.
1Kg 151-8
Abijam, Judah
(Abijam = Abijah) He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. ... . And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him. ... There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.
1Kg 159-24
Asa, Judah
Asa reigned for 41 years and he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.
He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah.

But the high places remained. And the war with Israel continued.
Using a gift of gold, he made a covenant with Syria, who then turned against Israel.
In his old age he was diseased in his feet.  Why does scripture include this detail?
1Kg 1525-32
Nadab king of Israel
Reigned for 2 years and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
Baasha kills him and all the house of Jeroboam.
1Kg 1533 - 1634
Evil kings of Israel Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab
Baasha reigned twenty-four years and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. The word of the Lord came to Jehu. “Behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house ... Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall eat.” Elah reigned 2 years, Killed by his servant Zimri. Zimri kills all the house of Baasha as Jehu had prophesied. Only reigned 7 days. Omri defeats Zimri and also Tibni, his rival. In his 12 year reign he did more evil than predecessors. Ahab reigned for 22 years and again did more evil than all who were before him. He married Jezebel, daughter of king of Sidon and worshipped Baal. He built an Asherah. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. After Jeroboam, Israel had 6 progressively more evil kings over 64 years that provoked the Lord to anger. And it did not stop with Ahab.
1Kg 171-24
Elijah + drought
Elijah (and 7,000 others 1Kg 1918) were grieved by the national worship of Baal. So God sent him to Ahab to present God’s simple verdict: “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” It would be 3½ years before the next drop of rain fell in Israel.
Meanwhile God sent Elijah to hide by the brook Cherith and commanded ravens to bring him food. As the drought progressed into a national disaster, there was no sign of any repentance in Israel. No one turned to God and sought his mercy. In the last days God has promised a tribulation of far greater world significance than the current Corona pandemic as a warning to his increasingly wicked creation. Today, as in the time of Elijah, the distressed people had little or no inclination to heed the Lord’s warning and repent.
Soon the brook dried up, so God sent Elijah to Zarephath in Sidon, and commanded a widow there to care for him. God’s plans are often very different from man’s. When Elijah found |God’s chosen widow, she was out collecting a few sticks to make the last loaf of bread with the remains of her flour and oil for her son and herself. But Elijah asks her for bread and water! Then he assures her that the Lord, the God of Israel says that her flour and oil would never be empty until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth. She obeys. And the flour and oil was multiplied exactly as the Lord had said.
That was not the only miracle witnessed in that foreign home. A day came when the widow’s son became ill and died. So Elijah pleaded with the Lord three times. Then the Lord sent back the child’s life; he brought him back to his mother alive. The widow said, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”
1Kg 181 - 1921
Elijah .v. Ahab
After many days the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab.
When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father's house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah.
But the 400 prophets of Asherah did not come. Neither did Jezebel.
Elijah sets the challenge: “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”

Then he set a very practical test. They would each set out a sacrifice on wood and the God who answers by fire is the real God. They agreed. They called upon Baal all morning, but there was no fire. Then Elijah built an altar with 12 stones, laid out the wood and the sacrifice, and three times he poured 4 jars of water on the sacrifice until it filled a trench he had dug surrounding it. Then he prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
The people cried out: “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.”

Elijah told them to seize the prophets of Baal. They did and he killed them all.
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” While he went up to the top of Carmel and prayed. Then he told his servant repeatedly to look and see if there was a cloud. On the 7th time there was a little cloud. “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
Jezebel was not pleased! She vowed to kill Elijah within 24 hours.
Elijah arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba. (Over 100 miles)
He left his servant there and went a day’s journey into the wilderness. There he sat under a broom tree and asked the Lord that he may die. He lay down and slept.
But Almighty God was not going let his faithful servant die. He sent an angel with cake and a jar of water. Elijah ate and then went back to sleep. The Lord came again and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
There he lodged in a cave.
But the Lord did not leave him weeping alone.
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” God told him to go outside and stand before the Lord. The Lord sent an earth shattering wind, then an earthquake, then fire. But the Lord was not in any of these. Finally he heard the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah outlines his sorry story. Then God reveals his plan for Elijah and Israel.
Return to the wilderness of Damascus. ...
Anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. ...
Anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel ...
Anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat to be prophet in your place.
The one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death ...
The one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.
Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal.
So he departed from there and found Elisha,
who then followed him.
1Kg 201-43
Ahab .v. Syria
Ben-hahad the king of Syria raised a mighty army and came against Ahab demanding silver, gold and his best wives. A prophet told Ahab to begin a battle with his little army of 7,000. He obeyed and attacked at noon when Ben-hahad was drunk, and defeated him. The prophet then told Ahab to prepare himself for Ben-hahad, who had escaped, would return next spring.
He did. And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The LORD is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’” On the seventh day the battle was joined. And the people of Israel struck down of the Syrians 100,000 foot soldiers in one day. And the rest fled into the city of Aphek, and the wall fell upon 27,000 men who were left.
Ben-hadad came to Ahab and pleaded for his life, and Ahab let him go.
One of the sons of the prophets told Ahab that he would lose his own life because he had let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction.
Ahab went home vexed and sullen. He had no appreciation that it was the Lord God who had given him such a great victory.
1Kg 211-25
Naboth’s Vineyard
Selfish greed has always been a problem for men in power. Ahab was no exception. He saw Naboth’s vineyard as an ideal place to grow some vegetables. He offered to buy it or give him a better vineyard (taken from someone else). But Naboth refused: “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” So once more Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen. Jezebel wasn’t going see her Ahab so miserable so she set about accusing Naboth on the false charge of cursing God and the king; for which they stoned Naboth. Ahab was naturally pleased to take possession of the vineyard. But Almighty God was not pleased. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah ... “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood. ... because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the LORD. ... And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam ... and the house of Baasha. ... And of Jezebel the LORD also said, The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel. Ahab heard these words he regretted what he and Jezebel had done. He tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. God sent Elijah to tell him that the disaster on his house would not be in his days, but in his son’s days. But there is no record of his repenting of his idol worship. As we shall see, Ahab only lived for 3 more years, so Naboth’s vineyard never brought him any lasting joy or satisfaction. This is a clear lesson on the consequences of power and greed. But it is a lesson from history that is rarely learned.
1Kg 221-40
Ahab killed in battle
After 3 years of peace, Ahab pleads with Jehoshaphat to help him win back Ramoth-gilead that the Syrians had occupied. He wisely insisted that they should first enquire of the Lord. Ahab gathered 400 prophets (so called) who said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But the discerning Jehoshaphat did not believe them. Ahab said, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.”
(There was another prophet whom Ahab had greater cause to fear - Elijah!)
Micaiah prophesied, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’ And he also told them about a lying spirit in the mouth of all prophets who would entice Ahab to go and fight. But the LORD has declared disaster for you. For this true prophecy Ahab put him in prison “until I come in peace”. And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me.”
Ahab thought that by disguising himself he could avoid the word of the Lord being fulfilled. He failed. A certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armour and the breastplate. Ahab bled to death in his chariot which returned to Samaria. And the dogs licked up his blood. i.a.w. 2119
The only objective of the battle for the king of Syria was achieved; that Ahab should die.
We are not told whether Micaiah was released from prison: nor if Ramoth-Gilead was returned to Israel.
1Kg 2241-50
Jehoshaphat
Reigned 25 years in Jerusalem, ... doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. Yet the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. ... he exterminated the remnant of the male cult prostitutes. He also made ships to collect gold from Ophir, but they were wrecked.

 

2 Kings         [Contents]

2Kg 11-18
Fire from Heaven!
Ahaziah fell from an upper room and lay injured in bed and inquired of Baalzebub if he would recover. God told Elijah the answer: ‘You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’ Not liking this result the king sent a captain with 50 men to Elijah who was sitting on the top of a hill. Elijah called down fire from heaven and it consumed them. The king sent another 50; and fire fell on them too. The third captain pleaded with Elijah for his life and of his 50. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to go down with him to see Ahaziah. He went and told him to his face the same message. That because he had inquired of Baalzebub he would die. So he died according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken.
2Kg 21-14
Elijah taken up
When the time came for Elijah’s ministry to end, the apprenticeship of Elisha was tested. They were on their way to Gilgal when Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
The same exchange was repeated twice more when going to Jericho and Jordan.
When they came to the Jordan Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.
When they had crossed over Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
And Elisha saw it.

Then he took up Elijah’s cloak and struck the water. It parted. So God confirmed that he was now his prophet in Israel; his apprenticeship was complete.
2Kg 215-25
Elisha’s 1st battle
Elisha was met by the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho. They wanted to send 50 strong men to search for Elijah. He refused, but eventually agreed. They didn’t find him! The spring water at Jericho was bad He threw in salt from a new bowl and said, “Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water ...” It was, and remained so permanently.
Then he went up to Bethel where some youths (NIV)jeered at him saying repeatedly said, “Go up, you baldhead!” Elisha cursed them in the the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. Presumably it was not so much Elisha they jeered but the Lord God. Bethel was one of the main centres of idol worship - one of the golden calves was there. Moody suggests that the Hebrew word can mean it was young louts, rather than innocent boys who were saying in effect, ‘Go away, and take your God with you!’
2Kg 31-27
Moab defeated
Moab refused to pay their annual levy to Jehoram, son of Ahab. Jehoram persuades Jehoshaphat and Edom to join him in attacking Moab. When their army ran out of water Jehoshaphat sought Elisha to enquire of the Lord. He declared that the streambed shall be filled with water. And also that they should fell every good tree, cover all the good land with stones and stop up every spring. In the morning the Moabites saw all the water in the streambed was red and thought it was blood and confidently attacked the 3 kings. But Moab was defeated. And their king only escaped by offering his son as a sacrifice!
But in defeating Moab and spoiling their land, Jehoram would never get his annual levy. Such is the folly of man.
2Kg 41-7
The Widow’s debt
One of the sons of the prophets died leave a widow with two young sons. She cried to Elisha because the creditor threatened to take away her sons as slaves. Elisha told her to borrow vessels from all your neighbours, empty vessels and not too few. Then she was told to empty the only jar of oil into one the vessels. She went on pouring until all the borrowed vessels were full. Then the oil stopped flowing. She then sold the oil to pay off her debts and even had some left to live on. A special case and a great example of the special kindness of our ever gracious God.
2Kg 48-17
Shunammite has a son
On his ministry Elisha used to pass through Shunem. A wealthy woman there used to offer him food on his journeys. Her husband agreed to build a room for him on the roof of their house. On one occasion when he stopped there he asked Gehazi, his servant, how he could reward them. Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.” He called the lady and told her, “At this season next year, you shall embrace a son.” Though she did not at first believe him, the following spring she bore a son, as Elisha had told her.
2Kg 418-37
Shunammite’s son raised
A few years later the child went out to help his father with the harvest. Had sunstroke, and was carried home to mother, but then died. She went to call Elisha. He sent Gehazi on ahead with his staff to lay on the face of the child. But it did not awaken him. Elisha then lay on the child. He got up and walked back and forth. Then he stretched himself on the child again,. He sneezed 7 times and opened his eyes. Elisha called the Shunammite and told her to pick up her son. She did so. We are not told her name, nor that of her son. Perhaps one day in heaven when she introduces herself, “I was the Shunammite woman”, then we can ask her!
2Kg 438-42
Food in famine
Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. The sons of the prophets made a large stew, but some unknown wild gourds poisoned it. Elisha threw in some flour and then there was no harm in the pot.
A man came with 20 barley loaves for Elisha who gave it to the sons of the prophets. But it was far too little for 100 men. So Elisha repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.”
They all ate their fill and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.
It was no problem for Jesus to do this on a far greater scale for 5,000 and 4,000 men.
2Kg 51-27
Naaman healed
      Gehazi a leper
Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. Greatness does not protect a man from leprosy, or any other disease. One of his maids was a captured Jewish girl. She told her mistress about Elisha. So Naaman loaded 7 cwt of silver and 150 lbs of gold plus 10 changes of clothing. He also took a letter from his king to the king of Israel, who didn’t know what to do.
But Elisha heard and solved his problem by telling the king of Israel to send Naaman to him. He went. But Elisha did not go out to meet him; he just sent Gehazi with a message telling him to go and wash in Jordan 7 times. Naaman felt insulted. His servants took courage and persuaded him to go to the Jordan where he dipped himself seven times. His flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. Naaman went back to Elisha to give him a present. Elisha refused. Naaman asked for 2 mule loads of earth so he could worship the God of Israel when he returned to Syria. Elisha said, “Go in peace.”
But Gehazi went after Naaman and lied, telling Naaman that two sons of the prophets had arrived and needed help. So he gave Gehazi 150 lbs of silver and 2 changes of clothing plus 2 servants to carry them. When Gehazi returned, Elisha asked him where he had been. Again he lied. So Elisha said to him, “the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” And it was so.
Few realise that greed and lying and deceit remain dangerous.
2Kg 61-7
Axe head floats
The sons of the prophets needed to expand so they went to the Jordan for timber. But as one of them was felling a tree the axe head came off and fell into the river. “Alas! My master. It was borrowed.” So Elisha instructed him to throw a stick into the river and the axe head floated!
2Kg 68-23
Chariots of fire
Several times Elisha told the king of Israel how to avoid the warring Syrians. The Syrian king was told about this and determined to seize him. The opportunity came when Elisha was in Dothan, so he sent a great army and surrounded the city by night. In the morning, Elisha’s servant saw them and cried, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
The Syrian chariots were no match for the Lord’s chariots of fire; although there was no chariot battle. Elisha just prayed that the Lord would blind the Syrians. He then led them into Samaria and prayed that the Lord would open their eyes. He told the king of Israel not to strike them, but to give them a great feast. He then sent them away. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.
2Kg 624 - 720
Syrians flee
Ben-hadad, king of Assyria, mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria, which also was suffering a great famine. The king of Israel blamed it all upon Elisha and swore to have his head by evening. Before the king’s messenger arrived the Lord showed Elisha, so he bolted the door firmly. But when he came he didn’t try to take Elisha, but said correctly, “This trouble is from the LORD!”
But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD: thus says the LORD, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.”
In other words, the siege and the famine would end that very day. The kings captain laughed at this saying that even the Lord could not achieve this. So Elisha told him, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
Four lepers knowing that they were about to die anyway, determined to try their luck over in the Syrian camp. When they got there they had all fled! For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army. They had left all their tents, provisions, even their gold and silver. The lepers returned to Samaria with the news. And after checking that it was not a Syrian trap the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. In their haste to leave the city the captain was trampled and died, thus fulfilling the word of the Lord from Elisha. Almighty God has some surprising and gracious ways of revealing his power and the truth of his Word. But sadly there is no record of the king or the people of Israel repenting; only an opportunity discarded.
2Kg 81-6
Shunammite’s land
The Shunammite woman, whose son had been restored to life, went to live among the Philistines when Elisha warned her about a 7 year famine. When the 7 years were over she returned and asked the king to restore her land, just as Gehazi was telling the king about all the great things Elisha had done. The king commanded: “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.”
A good example of one of the many ‘God coincidences’.
2Kg 87-15
Ben-hadad murdered
Elisha went to Damascus when Ben-hadad was sick. Hazael sent to ask Elisha if he would recover? “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover,’ but the LORD has shown me that he shall certainly die.” And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel ... when you are to be king over Syria.  (See 2Kg 1032 133, 22) Hazael returned to Ben-hadad and next day murdered him.
2Kg 816-24
Jehoram king (Judah)
He reigned for 8 years. His wife was Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter; so it is no surprise that he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. Edom and Libnah revolted against the rule of Judah.
2Kg 825-29
Ahaziah king (Judah)
He also did what was evil but only lasted 1 year before being murdered by Jehu.
2Kg 914 - 1036
Jehu assassinates
Jehu’s first targets were Joram son of Ahab and Ahaziah, king of Judah, who was visiting him. When he arrived at Jezreel, he ordered two eunuchs to throw Jezebel out of the window. They obeyed. Jehu had lunch and then told his men to bury her. Too late; the dogs had eaten all but her skull and hands, thus fulfilling the word of the Lord to Elijah (1Kg 2115)
Next on the list for destruction were the 70 sons of Ahab that lived in Samaria. Following a letter from Jehu the great men of the city beheaded the 70 sons and sent their heads in baskets to Jehu in Jezreel.
He then went to Samaria himself and on the way met 42 relatives of Ahaziah, king of Judah, so he slaughtered them. In Samaria he struck down all who remained to Ahab. Then pretending to worship Baal himself he called all the prophets of Baal to come and worship with him. They came. Jehu stationed 80 of his men outside the city so that none could escape. The prophets were all killed. Jehu demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.
Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. ... But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.
In those days the LORD began to cut off parts of Israel. Hazael defeated them throughout the territory of Israel: from the Jordan eastward.

Jehu’s bloody reign lasted for 28 dangerous years.
No wonder Elisha wept when he was shown what was going to happen in Israel.
2Kg 111-3
Athaliah
When Ahaziah died, he mother Athaliah grabbed the throne and destroyed all the royal family - except baby Joash (=Jehoash) who was rescued by Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram. Joash remained hidden in the Temple for 6 years.
2Kg 114-21
Athaliah killed
When Joash was 7, Jehoiada ordered the guards to surround him in the Temple and crown him king. Athaliah cried “Treason!” but was taken out of the house of the Lord and killed. They then made a covenant with the Lord that they should be the Lord’s people. Then all the people of the land went to the house of Baal and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. ... So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death.
2Kg 121-21
Joash king of Judah
Joash reigned 40 years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places. Joash told the priests to repair the house of the Lord. But by the 23rd year of his reign no repairs had been made. So he told them again and they did so.
Hazael, king of Syria set his face to go up against Jerusalem. Joash bribed him with all his own treasures and all the gold found in the treasuries of the house of the Lord. So Hazael went away.
In his 40th year his servants arose and killed Joash. 2 Ch 24 tells us why. After Jehoiada the priest died, Joash abandoned the house of the Lord ... and served the Asherim and the idols. Zechariah prophesied: “Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.” So Joash ordered him to be stoned.
2Kg 131-13
Two evil kings of Israel
Jehoahaz reigned for 17 years. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD ... And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them continually into the hand of Hazael. However for a time he sought the Lord’s favour and he gave Israel relief, but the golden calves and the Asherah still remained in Israel.
Jehoash reigned for 17 years. He also did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
Another 33 years of sadness for the Lord. Why should men be so foolish?
2Kg 1314-25
Elisha dies
When Elisha was about to die, Jehoash, king of Israel went to see him, and wept.
Elisha told him to shoot an arrow eastwards. Then he said, “The LORD'S arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria!” Then he told him to strike the ground with the arrows. Jehoash only struck the ground 3 times. So Elisha told him he would only defeat the Syrians 3 times (which he did when Hazael died) instead of 5 or 6 times.
Elisha died. A man from a Moabite band was thrown into Elisha’s grave and revived.
2Kg 141-22
Amaziah (Judah)
Amaziah reigned 29 years. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not like David his father ... But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.
He killed all the servants who had struck down his father Joash.
He struck down 10,000 Edomites and then threatened Israel (Jehoash) who advised him against it just because he had beaten Edom. Amaziah went to war and lost. Jehoash broke down part of the wall of Jerusalem and seized all the gold and silver in the house of the Lord and in the king’s house.
When the people conspired against Amaziah he fled to Lachish. But they found him there and put him to death and made his 16 year old son king in his pace.
2Kg 1423-29
Jeroboam II (Israel)
He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. And he maintained this evil for 41 years.
2Kg 151-7
Azariah (Judah)
Azariah (=Uzziah) reigned for 52 years (longest reign). First 25 years he reigned with his father Amaziah and last 10 years he had leprosy because he became proud and burned incense on the altar; so his son Jotham also reigned. (See also 2Ch 26)
He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, ... Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.
2Kg 158-12
Zechariah (Israel)
Zechariah only reigned for 6 months before being murdered. Like the other king of Israel he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done.
2Kg 1513-16
Shallum (Israel)
Shallum reigned for even less time - 1 month - before being murdered.
2Kg 1517-22
Menahem (Israel)
Menahem, who had murdered Shallom, reigned for 10 years. Tiphsah refused to open to him, so he sacked the town and killed all the pregnant women. He bribed Pul the king of Assyria with just over 40 tons of silver not to attack Israel. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
2Kg 1523-26
Pekahiah (Israel)
Reigned 2 years and did evil before being murdered.
2Kg 1527-31
Pekah (Israel)
Lasted 20 years before being murdered by Hoshea. He too did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. During his reign Tilath-pileser of Assyria captured many of the northern towns of Israel.
During these years the gracious God sent the prophets Amos, Hosea and Joel. But no one took any notice of them. Almighty God was ignored by sinful disobedient men.
But there is always a price to pay for such folly.
2Kg 1532-38
Jotham (Judah)
During his 16 year reign he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD ... Nevertheless, the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. He felt the opposition that the Lord had sent; Rezi (Syria) and of Pekah (Israel)
2Kg 161-20
Ahaz (Judah)
Ahaz reigned for 16 years but he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, as his father David had done, but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering. How many of God’s chosen people in Judah and Israel cared about the rampant national evil? God sent Isaiah and Micah to prophesy in Judah. See the tragic parable of the vineyard in Is 5
Rezin (Syria) and Pekah (Israel) waged war against Jerusalem but could not conquer it. Ahaz bribed Tiglath-pileser (Assyria) to come and help him. He attacked Damascus and killed Rezin. Ahaz went to Damascus to thank Tiglath-pilieser and he took all the details of the altar there. He commanded Uriah the priest to replace the bronze altar with a grand model of the Damascus altar. When Tiglath-pileser came to Jerusalem he made a great sacrifice on it.
A reign such as this gave the Lord Almighty no pleasure.
2Kg 171-5
Hoshea (Judah)
He reigned nine years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. Hoshea became a vassal to the king of Assyria and unsuccessfully sought help from Egypt.
Shalmaneser bound Hoshea in prison and besieged Judah for 3 years. He also captured Samaria and permanently exiled Israel (722BC)
2Kg 176-41
Fall of Israel 722BC
2Kg 189-12
After a 3-years siege, In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria. Why? They were God’s people living in the promised land.
The next verse gives us God’s answer. And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God. ... the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right. ... they served idols ... they would not listen (to God’s prophets) ... they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshipped all the host of heaven and served Baal. And they burned their sons. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. So it was with good reason that God’s just punishment was so severe.
208 years of wilful walking in sin (930 to 722 BC)
The king of Assyria also brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva etc to live in Samaria. This resulted in mixed religion and the despised Samaritans. The Lord reminded them clearly: You shall not fear other gods, but you shall fear the LORD your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” However, they would not listen.
Today UK does not listen either. We have largely abandoned God’s Commandments, denied his creation, ridiculed Scripture, every year murder >200,000 babies. Even both Archbishops have endorsed homosexuality that God abhors, and the vast majority dismiss any idea that Almighty God should ever be angry with us.
This chapter is a terrifying warning; a fact of history that is ignored at our peril.
2Kg 181 - 2021
Hezekiah (Judah)
Reigned 29 years. At last we read of a king who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, ... He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. ... He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah ... And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered.
In his 14th year Sennacherib, king of Assyria, took all the fortified cities of Judah except Jerusalem. While he was attacking Lachish Hezekiah tried to persuade him to leave but he demanded 12 tons of silver and 1¼ tons of gold.
Sennacherib sent 3 political ‘loud-mouths’ who mocked Jerusalem from outside the walls by offering 2,000 horses if Judah could find riders. Then they made a grave mistake by mocking God. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
... Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? ... that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
The people on the walls did not did not answer them because Hezekiah had told them to be silent. He immediately went to the house of the Lord and sent messengers to tell Isaiah what the Assyrians had said. Isaiah said, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.”
The Rabshaketh returned with a letter that tried to stop Hezekiah trusting the Lord.
He wisely took the letter to the House of the Lord and spread it before him. “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. ... So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”
Isaiah sent him a long message of assurance that concluded with the promise: “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. ... For I will defend this city to save it ...”
And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians.
Sennacherib returned to Assyria. And while he was worshipping his god, his two sons came and murdered him.
The Lord Almighty delights to protect all who trust in him and bring the just glory to his name. For some, however, this may include the gift of a martyr’s crown.
When Hezekiah became ill, Isaiah came and told him, “Thus says the LORD, Set your house in order, for you shall die; he pleaded with God.” He was not ready to die and pleaded with God. And God told Isaiah that he would live another 15 years, and would deliver Jerusalem from Assyria. Hezekiah then asked for a sign. The Lord gave him the more difficult sign that the sun’s shadow would go back ‘10 steps’ (rather than go forward 10 steps - degrees KJV). This is more, much more than just ‘difficult’!
During these 15 years Manasseh, the most evil king of Judah, was born. Though even he repented at the end.
Hezekiah also showed the king of Babylon’s son all his wealth when he came to visit him. Isaiah told him that the day would come when Babylon would come and take all the wealth of Judah from hs descendants.
Hezekiah also made a tunnel to divert the Gihon spring so that it flowed inside the city walls instead of outside.
2Kg 211-18
Manasseh (Judah)
The most evil and longest reigning king (55 years). He built up again the high places, ... reared up altars for Baal ... worshipped all the host of heaven ... and he made his son pass through the fire. ... Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.
2Ch 33 tells us that the king of Assyria took him in hooks to Babylon where he repented. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God. He was allowed to return to Jerusalem. There he destroyed all the idols and altars in the house of the Lord. Such is the amazing grace of God. Nevertheless the people of Jerusalem continued to sacrifice in the high places. It is always easier to entice men to sin than it is to encourage men to repent and plead with God for mercy.
2Kg 2119-26
Amon (Judah)
Amon reigned 2 years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did. ... And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD. His servants murdered him. Then the people killed all those servants and made Josiah, the son of Amon, king.
2Kg 221-20
Josiah (Judah)
Josiah was only 8 when he began his 31 year reign. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD ... and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
When he had reigned 18 years (aged 26) he commanded that the House of the Lord be repaired. Hilkiah, the High Priest, found the book of the law which Shaphan, the scribe, then read to the king. Josiah tore his clothes because he realised how great was their disobedience to the law of God. He told Hilkiah and Shaphan, “Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book.”
They went to Huldah the prophetess. She declared, “Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods. ... But to the king of Judah say ... because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD ... your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.”
2Kg 231-27
Josiah’s life
Josiah went up to the house of the Lord and read the Book of the Covenant.
He deposed all the false priest who had offered sacrifices to idols.
He brought out and burned the Asherah that was in the house of the Lord.
He destroyed the houses of the male prostitutes.
He removed the priests in the other cities and destroyed their high places.
He defiled Topheth and stopped all offering of children to Molech.
He destroyed the horses and chariots that were dedicated to the sun.
He destroyed all the high places and Asherim that Solomon had built for Ashtoreth.
He destroyed the altar and the Asherah at Bethel that Jeroboam had built.
He destroyed all the shrines and high places that were in the cities of Samaria.
Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah.
There was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might.
In the eighteenth year of King Josiah the Passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem.
2Kg 2328-30
Josiah dies
In 609BC Pharaoh Neco went up to attack Assyria and had to pass through Israel. Josiah challenged him, but was killed in the battle at Megiddo. However this delayed Neco and enabled Babylon to defeat Assyria.
2Kg 2331-35
Jehoahaz
He only lasted 3 months doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He was taken off to Egypt by Neco and died there.
2Kg 2336 - 247
Jehoiakim
Neco put Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, on the throne. But unlike his father, he did what was evil. He filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. Judah was forced to become a servant to Nebuchadnezzar who had defeated Egypt at Carchemish. 4 years later after Babylon and Egypt fought a costly but indecisive battle, Jehoiakim foolishly rebelled. But the Lord also sent bands of Chaldeans, Moabites and Ammonites to destroy Judah. And soon Nebucadnezzar returned and besieged Jerusalem. Jehoikim lasted 11 very troubled years.
2Kg 248-17
Jehoiachin
After 3 months he surrendered to the siege and was taken to Babylon, together with all the Temple treasures, the best craftsmen, smiths, men of valour, plus Daniel and his 3 friends. Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoichin’s uncle, Zedekiah, king.
2Kg 2418 - 2526
Zedekiah
Jeremiah details much of his evil 11 year reign.
In his 9th year Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made a total 18 month siege of Jerusalem. Then he destroyed the city, the Temple, enslaved the people, killed Zedekiah’s sons and then blinded him and took him to Babylon. Gedaliah was appointed governor of the remnant, but he was soon killed.
2Kg 2527-30
Jehoiachin released
The book ends some 26 years later when Jehoiachin (aged 44) is released from prison in Babylon by the Amel-Marduk when he became king after Nebuchadnezzar died. He was granted a seat at the king’s table. Such is the grace of God.

 

1 and 2 Chronicles         [Contents]

1 Ch 1 - 8 details the genealogy from Adam to Saul and ch 9 of the returned exiles.
1 Ch 10 - 29 gives the history of David.
2 Ch 1 - 9 continues with history of Solomon.
2 Ch 10 - 36 gives the history of Judah’s kings from Rehoboam to Zedekiah.
The two books were originally one and probably written by Ezra in ~440 BC

1Ch 11-27
Adam to Abraham
Each generation named
1Ch28-53
Ishmael and Esau
These names are not part of God’s covenant with Abraham.
Don’t know why God has included these names in Scripture.
1Ch David and his family 
David and his family
The first 15 verses give the genealogy of David.
The remainder give the genealogy details of the different tribes of Israel.
1Ch 8 
Saul
Genealogy of Saul and the Benjamites.
1Ch 9 
Post exile to Babylon
Genealogy of Israelites returning from Babylon.
1Ch 10 
Death of Saul
1Ch now turns from genealogy to history. In Saul’s final battle with the Philistines he is badly wounded. His armour bearer refuses to kill him, so he falls on his own sword. The men of Jabesh-gilead retrieved his body and buried him in Jabesh.
He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

David mourned for Saul and Jonathan and enquired of the Lord if he should go up into any of the cities of Judah. And he said, “To Hebron.”  2Sam 117 - 27
The 1Ch account leaves out the next 7 years, when Abner made Ish-bosheth king of Israel, and there was constant war between the house of Saul and the house of David. David gradually won this battle.  See 2 Sam 28 - 412

1Ch 111-9
David anointed
All Israel gathered to David at Hebron and anointed him as their king. David made a covenant with all the elders of Israel and Judah before the Lord.  (and 2Sam 51)
David became greater and greater, for the LORD of hosts was with him.
1Ch 1110 - 1240
Mighty men
The 3 greatest and then the 30 others are listed with their war achievements. Also what various tribes did for David. One of the most valuable was Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. Every generation needs men like this; but men with godly wisdom have always been rare.
1Ch 131 - 1727
David, the Ark and
      The Covenant
David consulted with all the commanders, “If it seems good to you and from the LORD our God ... let us bring again the ark of our God to us.” They agreed. So they brought the Ark from Kiriath-Jearim on a new cart. But when the oxen stumbled, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God. Thus the Ark stayed at the house of Obed-edom - and God blessed him. (Also 2Sam 61-15) After 3 months David brought the Ark to Jerusalem with great rejoicing. He sang:
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
      make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
      his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Israel his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones! ...
Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
      that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!”
Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD.
David left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister regularly before the ark as each day required.

Meanwhile David built a house with cedar from Tyre for himself and his additional wives. He also enquired of the Lord if he should attack the Philistines when they came up against him at Rephaim. And the LORD said to him, “Go up, and I will give them into your hand.” David struck them down and burned the gods they left behind. They came up against David again. When David enquired of God he was told to wait till he heard the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees. He obeyed and defeated them again.
David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.” Although Nathan initially told David to build a house for the Ark, he had to reverse this. Almighty God made a great promise: “I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’” This ‘offspring’ would be the Son of God who will establish his righteous and eternal Kingdom of God. It would be established in two parts; first when Jesus came to be our crucified Redeemer and secondly when he returns as King to destroy all wickedness, including Satan. This eternal kingdom is so much more than a house of stone, cedar and gold that Babylon, and later Rome would destroy. That Nathan had to substitute his house building instruction with God’s Covenant to build an eternal kingdom was never a disappointment to David. He prayed: “Your name will be established and magnified forever, saying, ‘The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel's God,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. The ordained plan was not that David should build a house for God, but that God would build a ‘house’, a kingdom for David and all his chosen people! Great David’s greater Son would achieve and enable this by his mercy, his grace and his mighty power. Nothing and no one would be able to prevent this - though the last 2,000 years of history has evidenced the fact that Satan and his followers have used every evil means to attempt to.

1Ch 181-17
Enemies defeated
Without giving details the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went, over all his enemies - Philistines, Moab, Syria, Edom, Ammon and Amalek. He dedicated all the gold, silver and bronze to the Lord. He administered justice and equity to all his people.
1Ch 191 - 203
Foolish Ammonites
David sent messengers with consolation to Hanun, king of Ammonites, when his father, who had been friendly to David, died. But Hanun completely misjudged the gesture and disgraced the messengers by shaving off their beards and cutting off the lower half of their garments. Realising his mistake, instead of apologising, Hanun hired chariots and horsemen from Mesopotamia. David sent Joab to fight the Ammonites and the Syrians. They fled. The Syrians gathered their army to face David who defeated them killing 7,000 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers plus their army commander. Thus Ammon became subject to David.
Later Joab was sent to ravage the Ammonites. He took the kings crown (75 lb of gold + precious stone) and the people were enslaved to work with saws, picks and axes.
1Ch 204-8
Giants killed
War with the Philistines. Giants from Gath were struck down by David’s ‘mighty men’. Goliath by David (previously) Sibbecia by Sippai, Lahmi by Elhanan, and a man with 6 fingers of each hand and 6 toes on each foot by Jonathan (David’s nephew). The latter giant had been foolish enough to taunt Israel.
We are not told how each one fell, except for Goliath - whole of 1 Sam 17.
But as it is said for each of them, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall!’
1Ch 211-30
Census
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. Joab resisted David’s command for the census, but the king’s word prevailed against Joab.
When God struck Israel, David immediately confessed that he had sinned greatly.
And God gave David 3 choices: 3 years famine, 3 months when the enemy’s sword prevails, or 3 days of pestilence (the sword of the Lord). David chose the latter. “Let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 70,000 men of Israel fell. But when the angel of the Lord was about to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord declared, “It is enough.” When David saw the angel of the Lord, he pleaded that it was he who has sinned, not these sheep.
He then obey the prophet’s instruction to build an altar on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. Although Ornan offered for free, David insisted in paying the full price for the floor, the oxen, the wheat and the wood for the sacrifice. 600 shekels of gold. (8¼ lbs ~ £170, 000) David set up the offering and called upon the Lord. He sent fire from heaven and commanded the angel to sheath his sword.
1Ch 221-19
Temple preparation
God stopped David from building the Temple, but not from making preparation for his son Solomon to do so. David was promised that a son of his would build an eternal kingdom - Jesus Christ. Meanwhile David first commands Solomon, “Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the LORD your God. ... Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed.” He also provided Solomon with 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver. Also an abundance of bronze, iron and timber.
(Today 1 talent gold = £1.5m so 100,000 talents = £150 billion + £23 billion Silver)
David’s final instruction was set your mind and heart to seek the LORD your God.
This would enable him honour the Lord. But history reveals he became distracted.
1Ch 23-27 
Organisation
Five chapters of how David organised the Levites, Priests, Musicians, Gatekeepers, Finance, Military divisions, Leaders of tribes and David’s land. Mostly names.
1Ch 281-8
Charge to Israel
Out of all Israel, God has chosen Judah as leader, “I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues strong in keeping my commandments. ... therefore ... observe and seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever.”
1Ch 289-21
Charge to Solomon
Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
He then records how he told Solomon the plans for the Temple.
Finally, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you.”
1Ch 291-9
Offerings to the Lord
David said, “In addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God.” And following David’s example the leaders of the tribes of Israel also made their offering to the Lord.
Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.
1Ch 2910-21
David prays
David leads the assembly in prayer: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. ... We are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.” O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments.” And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers ... And they ate and drank before the LORD on that day with great gladness.
1Ch 2922-25
Solomon anointed king
Sometime before David died Adonijah tried to replace David as king. He failed. David instructed Zadok to anoint Solomon as king. (See 1Kg 1) Now David makes Solomon king. And the LORD made Solomon very great in the sight of all Israel.
1Ch 2926-30
David dies
It is commonly said, “All good things come to an end.” In this case it is true.
David died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honour.
He had achieved much through the hand of the Lord whom he served with zeal.
He did not get everything right; but he repented, trusted in God and was forgiven.

 

2 Chronicles         [Contents]

2Ch 11-17
Solomon king
Solomon had David as his father, plus wisdom, wealth and power in abundance.
Furthermore the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
When God offered him the choice of gifts to enable him to reign, he chose wisdom
. God was pleased with his choice and said, “I will also give you riches, possessions, and honour,” which he did. God made gold, silver and cedar as plentiful as stone in Jerusalem. Solomon also had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen.
So it must be said he was given a brilliant start to his 40 year reign.
2Ch 21 - 514
Temple built
Solomon assigned 70,000 men to bear burdens and 80,000 to quarry in the hill country, and 3,600 to oversee them. Hiram, king of Tyre, agrees to request for a skilled craftsman + cedar + woodsmen and is paid 3,200 tons of wheat, 2,800 tons of barley, 100,000 galls of wine and 100,000 gall of oil. Hiram says, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son ...” Building the Temple began on Mt Moriah, on the threshing floor of Ornan. It is described in detail together with all the furnishings and vessels. When it was finished, the Ark was brought to Most Holy Place and the Lord is praised.
“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
And the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
2Ch 61-42
Solomon Blesses people
“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised ... I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel. ... Now the LORD has fulfilled his promise that he made.” However the Temple would not last for ever and David had already died. But ‘great David’s greater Son would come first as Redeemer and then at the end he will return as King for ever.
Then Solomon prayed: “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, ...
Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed ...
If a man sins against his neighbour ...
If your people Israel are defeated ...
When heaven is shut up and there is no rain ...
If they sin against you and you are angry ...
if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity to which they were carried captive, ... then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you.”

Compare this with how Daniel prayed in Babylon in Dan 9. Solomon is asking that future sinners should be relieved from the just punishment; Daniel confessed the sin committed by the nation. He prayed for forgiveness and that God’s name would not be brought into disrepute.
2Ch 71-22
Fire + God’s promise
As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
The Lord made it clear that the offerings were accepted. But they would not be permanent or benefit the other sinful nations. They would however point to the one perfect sacrifice who would come to Jerusalem a 1,000 years later. The Son of God would come, be crucified and cry out on the Cross, “It is finished!” And this would enable all who sinned to be totally forgiven and rejoice in the presence of God for ever.
Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer ... if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
God has faithfully kept this word, and will continue to do so.
But in the same way that he warned Adam in Gen 217 “In the day that you eat of it, you will surely die,” he also warned Solomon. “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes ... then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you.” And this Almighty God had to do - twice! (586 BC and 70 AD)
2Ch 81-18
Solomon builds
It took 20 years for Solomon to build the Templ plus his own house. He made slaves of the remnant of the Hittites, Amorites and Perizzites to build the various store and chariot cities. But of the people of Israel Solomon made no slaves for his work. He also built a separate house for Pharaoh’s daughter who he had married. “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the LORD has come are holy.” He also kept the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts. He procured ships and sailors from Hiram who brought gold from Ophir - 450 talents (15 tons = £700 million).
2Ch 91-12
Queen of Sheba
She came with much gold and spices to test Solomon with hard questions. He passed the exam with flying colours. She said, “Half the greatness of your wisdom was not told me ... Happy are your wives! Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you. But she did not realise the danger and the folly of having so many foreign wives that caused him to forsake the Lord God.
2Ch 913-31
Solomon’s wealth
He was obsessed by gold; silver was so common it had little value. He made himself a great ivory throne overlaid with gold that also had a footstool with a lion on the end of each of the 6 steps. Once every three years the ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.
For all his wisdom, power, reputation and wealth Solomon failed.
He forgot the prime need for all men to walk humbly with your God.  Mic 68
He reigned for 40 years and died leaving a divided kingdom. Neither the 11 tribes of Israel in the north nor the tribe of Judah in the south followed or honoured the Lord God. This is surely an often unheeded warning that an abundance of wealth, sex and power are dangerous. Pride and self-confidence can easily destroy even the wisest of men.  See 1 Kg 11 for the reason God was angry with Solomon.
2Ch 101 - 1216
Rehoboam
Rehoboam went to Shechem expecting to be made king. But when Jeroboam returned from his banishment to Egypt, he requested he reduced the heavy yoke that Solomon had imposed. Instead of seeking the word of the Lord he heeded the advice of the young and foolish men. His disastrous decision was, “My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” So David’s kingdom divided. All the northern tribes followed Jeroboam. Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem; only Judah and Benjamin followed him. He wanted to attack the northern tribes, but the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God: ... “You shall not go up or fight against your relatives. Return every man to his home.” And on this occasion they listened to the word of the LORD.
Rehoboam built cities and made them strong.
Jeroboam exiled all the priests and Levites in the northern tribes, so they came to Jerusalem and strengthened Judah for 3 years.
Jeroboam appointed his own priests for the high places. They made idols.
Rehoboam married 18 wives (+ 60 concubines).
When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. ... He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house. He took away everything.
He reigned a further 12 years. His mother's name was Naamah the Ammonite. And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.
It wasn’t only what he did was evil, it was what he omitted to do.
The world badly needs to learn from the history of this king who lost all.
2Ch 131-22
Abijah
There was total war between Abijah and Jeroboam, but the cause is not revealed. Abijah had 400,000 chosen men and Jeroboam had 800,000. Abijah claimed that the Lord had given the kingship to the sons of David and Jeroboam ought not to trust he could win because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods. ... But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. Abijah relied on the LORD. God defeated Jeroboam because they relied on the LORD. 500,000 men of Israel were slain.
Abijah only reigned 3 years. He had 14 wives and 38 children!
2Ch 141-8
Asa - a summary
In his days the land had rest for ten years. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the LORD. They had peace, but wisely, Asa still built fortified cities. But how did all this come about? The next 2½ chapters tells us.
2Ch 1410 - 1519
Asa 1st 35 years
When Zerah, the Ethiopian attacked with a million men, Asa cried to the Lord ... . “Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians. They fell until none remained alive! Judah carried away very much spoil. I wonder how such a battle would be reported today? The Spirit of God came upon Azariah ... “If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. In those times there was no peace ...” It was now the 15th year of his reign. Asa heard this word from the Lord and put away all the detestable idols - as in summary. They sacrificed and entered into a covenant to seek the Lord with all their heart and with all their soul. ... and the LORD gave them rest all around. And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.
2Ch 161-14
Asa last 3 years
When Asa was old, Baasha , king of Israel started to build Ramah, a few miles N. of Jerusalem. This would block all trade from the north. So Asa sent some gold and silver from the house of the Lord to Ben-Hadad, king of Syria to persuade him to stop Baasha’s aggression. He agreed, and the building of Ramah stopped. The men of Judah then carried away all the stone and timber. But the Lord sent Hanani the seer to Asa to reprimand him for not trusting in the Lord as he did when the Ethiopians attacked Judah. Asa was angry with Hanani. And so in his last 3 years Asa suffered a chronic disease in his feet. But in this trouble he did not seek the Lord. It was a sad end for a good king.
2Ch 171 - 193
Jehoshaphat
      and Ahab
The LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because ... sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments. ... His heart was courageous in the ways of the LORD.
And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat.

But he also made a marriage alliance with Ahab, king of Israel. When Ahab wanted his help in fighting against Ramoth-gilead, he gathered his prophets to gain approval. He did not want Jehoshaphat to enquire of the Lord from Micaiah, because he (rightly) never prophesied good for Ahab. After a false start Micaiah said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’” Ahab commanded that Micaiah be imprisoned until I return in peace. And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me.”
So they went to battle against Ramoth-gilead. The king of Syria had told his commanders that he only wanted the death of Ahab. Although Ahab disguised himself, by chance he was shot with an arrow. At sunset he died. But the Jehoshaphat was spared when he called upon the Lord.
We are not told if Micaiah was set free.
Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem. Jehu the son of Hanani the seer said to him, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD. Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asheroth out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God.”
2Ch 194 - 2017
J. Reforms
Jehoshaphat appoints judges in all fortified cities to administer justice to all. “Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality.”
When Moab, Ammon and Edom came up to fight Judah, Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. When assembled he prayed to the Lord who had given them the land. “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel ... Thus says the LORD to you, Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's. Tomorrow go down against them. ... You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf ... and the priests stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

Next morning Jehoshaphat told the people, “Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established ... Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Jehoshaphat set the singers in front of the army and when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir. And they destroyed each other. The spoil taken by Judah was so much they could not carry it all. And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.
So God gave Judah peace and quiet for the rest of his 25 year reign. Jehoshaphat did what was right in the sight of the LORD. He did however join with Ahaziah, king of Israel to build ships to trade with Tarshish. Their ships were wrecked. In Judah the high places, however, were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their fathers. Other leaders found that though they honoured the Lord, the people still kept and worshipped their idols quietly.
See Josh 2414-28  Also when Manasseh repented, the people did not. When Josiah cleansed the Temple the people did not give up their evil ways.
2Ch 211-20
Jehoram
Kingship at 32. He killed his 6 brothers to whom his father had given much gold and made rulers of fortified cities. Jehoram did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. He led Judah into whoredom. The surrounding nations revolted against Judah and took away his wealth, his wives and his children. He died of an incurable bowel disease in great agony after 8 years, and no one mourned him, as Elijah had warned him in a letter. Not buried in tombs of the kings.
2Ch 221-9
Ahaziah
Another evil king who only reigned for 1 year. Killed by Jehu.
2Ch 2210 - 2315
Athaliah
Mother of Ahaziah immediately killed all Ahaziah’s children except Joash, who was hidden by Jehoashabeath (daughter of Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the priest).
After 6 years, Jehoiada secretly summoned all the Levites in Judah to the house of the Lord and made Joash king. They executed Athaliah.
2Ch 2316-21
Jehoiada’s reforms
Jehoiada the priest ruled for the 7 year-old Joash for 7 years and made a covenant that they should be the Lord’s people. He destroyed the house of Baal and his images and killed the priest Baal. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword.
2Ch 241-27
Joash
Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
Joash and Jehoiada used the money collected to restore the house of God. But after Jehoiada died (aged 130) the king listened to the princes of Judah and abandoned the house of the Lord and served the Asherim and the idols. They rejected all the prophets that the Lord sent to correct them and stoned Zechariah the son of Jehoiada who had told them, “Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.”
The Syrians came and defeated Joash leaving him severely wounded. They destroyed all the princes and took all the spoil to Damascus. Joash’s Moabite and Ammonite servants killed him, but did not bury him in the tombs of the kings. He reigned 40 years.
2Ch 251-28
Amaziah
Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.
He killed all the servants who had murdered his father. In his first battle with Edom he hired 100,000 men from Israel to join his 300,000. But a man of God told him to trust God and not use the Israelites. He obeyed. He defeated the Edomites. But the discharged Israelites were angry and raided several Judean cities.
Amaziah foolishly took the gods of Edom and started worshipping them. He continued even when a prophet warned him that God was angry.
Amaziah then threatened Joash, king of Israel, who told him not to be so foolish. But Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies. Joash defeated him in battle, destroyed part of the wall surrounding Jerusalem and seized much gold and silver. He did not kill Amaziah, who turned away from the LORD.
2Ch 261-23
Uzziah
Uzziah reigned for 52 years. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper. God helped him against the Philistines, the Arabians and the Ammonites.
But as so often happens, when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. He was angry with the priests when they told him he was wrong. He became a leper for the rest of his life (9 years), living in a separate house and his son Jotham governed the land.
2Ch 271-9
Jotham
He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord ... But the people still followed corrupt practices. He fought and prevailed against the Ammonites. He reigned for 16 years.
2Ch 281-27
Ahaz
This evil king even made metal images for the Baals, burned his sons to Molech and sacrificed on the high places. Therefore the LORD his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria ... He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel.
Ahaz sought help from Assyria, but instead Tiglath-pileser came against him!
Edom and the Philistines also defeated Judah.
In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD ... provoking to anger the LORD. He was not buried in the tombs of the kings.
2Ch 291 - 3233
Hezekiah
He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and reigned for29 years.
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.
He instructed the priests to light the lamps and restart offering neglected sacrifices. They and the people were glad to obey.

Hezekiah then summoned all Israel and Judah to come to Jerusalem and celebrate Passover. They came. Their thanks to the Lord was so great that they kept the feast for a further 7 days. So there was great joy in Jerusalem. When complete, the people went out and destroyed all the pillars, the Asherim, the high places and altars.
Hezekiah reintroduced the tithes for the house of the Lord, which the people gladly gave. And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.
Sennacherib invaded Judah - and would live to regret his decision! Hezekiah strengthen Jerusalem walls, stopped up all the springs of water outside and diverted them inside. He trained and equipped his army. To do all that required good intelligence of Assyria’s intent. He then gathered all his commanders and told them, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” Sennacherib scoffed at his trust in the Lord God, “Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand?”
Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed and the Lord saved Judah by sending an angel who killed 185,000 in the Assyrian army in a single busy night! (Details in 2 Kgs 19)
So Sennacherib returned with shame of face to his own land.
When Hezekiah became ill and near death his heart became proud for a short time. However he repented and the wrath of God was delayed.
Then he died and Jerusalem did him honour at his death.

2Ch 331-20
Manasseh
Only 12 when he began his 55 year evil reign. Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed. He rebuilt the high places, erected altars to Baal, made Asheroth and altars in the house of the Lord, burned his sons and used mediums. A rebel.
In spite of all this evil, The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon.
In Babylon Manasseh humbled himself greatly and pleaded with God. The Gracious Lord heard his cry and brought him back to Jerusalem. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. He destroyed all the altars he had built earlier and restored the altar of the Lord. There is no doubt about his sincere repentance, but the people did not follow his example. Nor did his son, Amon
2Ch 3321-25
Amon
Reigned for just 2 years, doing evil. His servants murdered him. But the people struck down all who had conspired against Amon.
2Ch 341 - 3527
Josiah
When Josiah was 16, he began to seek the God of David his father. When 20, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images. He even made dust of all the various images and scattered it over the graves. This cleansing was throughout Judah, not just Jerusalem.
When 26 he ordered the restoring of the house of the Lord. They found the Book of the Law, and read it. Josiah tore his clothes. ... For great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD.
They enquired of the Lord and Huldah the prophetess said that Judah would be destroyed but not until after Josiah died, because he humbled himself and wept before the Lord.
Having gathered all the elders of Judah the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments. And all his days they did not turn away from following the LORD.
That same year Josiah celebrated the Passover for a week and made a huge offering to the Lord, which was distributed to the people. None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah.
13 years later (when he was 39), Pharaoh Neco went up to fight at Carchemish. He had to pass through Israel. Though warned not to interfere, Josiah opposed him at Megiddo and was killed.
All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah - Judah’s best king since David.
Jeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah.
The delay meant that Egypt with only the remnants of Assyria had to fight the full might of Babylon under the young Nebuchadnezzar. Neco lost this decisive battle at Carchemish in 605 BC.
2Ch 361-16
Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim,
Jehoiachin, Zedekiah
Jehoahaz only reigned 3 months until deposed by Egypt. Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt and made his brother Jehoiakim king in his place. He reigned for 11 years and did evil in the sight of the Lord. Then Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. He also took many of the gold vessels from the house of the Lord. Jehoiachin was only 18 when he became king and lasted 3½ months before being taken to Babylon. Babylon appointed Zedekiah as king. He lasted 11 years doing evil and refusing to listen to Jeremiah the prophet. He rebelled against Babylon and he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD. ... they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, until there was no remedy.
2Ch 3617-21
Jerusalem destroyed
After an 18 month siege, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. He killed or enslaved all the people, and took all the treasures. This fulfilled the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths.
2Ch 3622,23
A postscript of mercy
As Jeremiah had prophesied, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.’”
This also was fulfilled 50 years later in 536 BC.
The word of the Lord Almighty is always fulfilled. Only fools despise it.

 

Ezra         [Contents]

When the Jews rejected the Lord God in the days of Jeremiah, he exiled them to Babylon. But he remained faithful to the people of Israel and his covenant with them. They were slaves in Babylon from 605 to 536BC. Then in accordance with his word in Is 4428 451,13 and Jer 5111 Cyrus, the king of Persia set them free to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Nearly 60 years later Ezra recounts the story of their return and the rebuilding.

Ezra 1,2
Cyrus fulfills God’s word
Right on time (536BC) The LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia.
Cyrus says, “The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”

He even gave them all the 5,400 vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple. The number of each family of Israel that returned are listed; a total of about 50,000. When they arrived back in Jerusalem they offered 950lb of gold (~£20 million) and nearly 3 tons of silver (~1¼ million).
Ezra 3
Rebuilding Temple starts
In Jerusalem the Jews were led by Jeshua, son of Jozadak, the priest and Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, as prime minister. They first built the altar to the God of Israel, offered burnt offerings and kept the feast of Booths. Then they laid the foundation of the Temple and sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” Some of the old men who had seen the grandeur of the first Temple wept - the new one seemed so much smaller.
Ezra 4
Opposition halts building
When the people of Samaria asked Zerubbabel if they could help build the Temple, their offer was declined. So they set about discouraging the building. They wrote to Artaxerxes (who succeeded Cyrus) warning him that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute. And if he would research the written history he would find that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste.
Evil men will twist the truth: the Jews were not building the city walls, only the Temple, and the city was destroyed because of sedition against Almighty God, not Babylon. But the king believed their lies and ordered the building to stop.
Ezra 5,6
Building restarts
      and completed
Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the returned exiles that they should repent and restart the Temple reconstruction. They obeyed Hag 112 Zech 16 . Tattenai the governor wrote to Darius the king of Persia asking him to check that Cyrus had not only instructed the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, but had released the Jews and even made provision for it.
Darius made the search and found it correct and therefore declared: Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. And he added that The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue ... whatever is needed.
So the Jews completed the rebuilding without any further delay and celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy in 516 BC, exactly 70 years after its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
Ezra 7,8
Ezra returns and teaches
The story now moves on from history to a personal account of events nearly 60 years later, in 458 BC. Ezra bring another large group of Jews back to Jerusalem from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. Artaxerxes gave Ezra a letter affirming the departure of the Jews and a significant offering from the kings treasury to encourage the work in Jerusalem. Let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. Before leaving Ezra proclaimed a fast to humble themselves before the Lord and to seek his protection for their journey. So Ezra returned with much blessing from the Lord God and from the king of Persia.
Ezra 9,10
Intermarriage problem
After arrival it soon became apparent that the Jews already in Jerusalem had not only married Canaanite (and other) foreign women, but had begun to worship their gods. He cried to the Lord God and confessed their sin. O LORD, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this.
Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children.
Just over 100 men are listed as having married foreign wives. No doubt with great heartache they pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt.
This difficult cleansing ends the book of Ezra.
The story is then given more detail in the next book, Nehemiah.

 

Nehemiah         [Contents]

In 445 BC, 13 years after Ezra returned to Jerusalem, the Bible records how Nehemiah comes to leave Babylon and returns to Jerusalem. Down the ages, Nehemiah has inspired many men who were called into leading God’s people.

Neh 1
Nehemiah prays
Nehemiah was a cupbearer and confident of the Persian ruler in Susa. He heard that situation in Jerusalem was so bad that he wept and mourned for many days. And most important, he prayed: O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant ... now I pray confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. ... Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy.
Neh 21-8
King grants his request
The king said to me, “Why is your face sad?” Nehemiah did not give a false answer but told him the truth: “The city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it.”
The king asked him how long he would need to be away. Having told him, he asked for letters with the king’s authority. The king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. And he went to Jerusalem for 13 years.
The Lord Almighty enabled Nebuchadnezzar and Darius to trust, Daniel; and now Artaxerxes trusts Nehemiah.
Neh 29-20
Nehemiah arrives
      and plans
Nehemiah arrived in Judah. Sanballat the Horonit and Tobiah the Ammonite were surprised to be shown the king’s letters and especially to see the armed men that the king had sent to protect him. As with any satanic people, It displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.
After 3 days in Jerusalem Nehemiah inspected the walls by night, because he knew it wiser not to tell anyone of his purpose in coming to the city. Only then did he say to the leaders there. “Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” They agreed and set to work. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem the Arab jeered at us and despised us.
Nehemiah, trusting in God, replied with the truth: “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”
Compare this with modern so-called faith and inclusivism.
Nehemiah has much to teach today’s leaders.
Neh 31 - 616
Organised rebuilding
The laying of foundation and the building of the wall and gates was vital to do really well and quickly. This chapter records the masterly organising of how each section of the wall was made the responsibility of each family.
So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
But not everyone was pleased; The foreign trio were very angry. They plotted to come and fight and cause confusion. So we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night. And Nehemiah said to them: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
The foreigners saw that God had frustrated their plan. But we made no foolish presumptions. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each laboured on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built.
During those busy days none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.
As so often happens, there was a major problem. During this building period many who were poor had little to eat. Nehemiah was angry with the nobles and officials who were extracting interest and the poor had mortgaged their fields and vineyards.
Nehemiah shamed the rich and demanded that they release the loans and stopped all usury.
The people praised the Lord. Problem solved!

Nehemiah set the example. He ceased to receive the food allowance that was due to being governor, because of the fear of God.
Sanballat and Geshem tried four times to lure Nehemiah to meet with them, who was aware that they only meant to do him harm. So each time he refused. Nehemiah prayed: Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.
So the wall was finished in 52 days !!
And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.

Neh 617-19
Letters of intrigue
Some nobles had dealings with Tobiah who wrote letters trying to frighten Nehemiah. They failed because he trusted God who revealed their deceit.
Neh 71-4
Appointments
Nehemiah appointed gatekeepers to ensure that the gates were opened well after sunrise and shut before dusk. He appointed his brother as governor for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many. Because of all the stone used in the wall building there were few houses within the city.
Neh 75-73
Genealogy
The list of Jews returned was the same as in Ezra 2 and totalled just over 43,000.
The gifts given to finance the work are also listed.
Nehemiah’s task was now to build the nation spiritually Neh 8-10, and then to repopulate the city Neh 11.
Neh 8,9
Ezra preaching
      People confess
Ezra read from early morning until midday ... and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law ... they worshipped the Lord. A number of men and Levites read from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. They wept. And Nehemiah said, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep ... for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” And he told them to eat and send portions to any who had nothing ready.
On the second day they read that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the 7th month - therefore the reading must have been during the feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles, which had not been kept since the days of Joshua. i.e. not during the years of all the judges and kings (~1,000 years).
So Israel dwelt in booths for 7 days. On the 8th day they assembled and they made confession and worshipped the LORD their God.
You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, ... the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; ... You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram ... and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land ... you have kept your promise, for you are righteous. ... you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants ... you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land ... By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night ... on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them the commandments ... You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them. But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. ... But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful ... and did not forsake them. ... Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. ... you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. And they captured fortified cities and a rich land. ... Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you ... Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies ... Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. ... Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. ... you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. ... Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing.
Neh 10
People make a covenant
That day the people made a solemn covenant with God and have evrey intention of keeping it. But however good it was, history records that as the days became years they were just not able to keep it. It would prove that no education, no legislation and no resolution can save any man. Only new birth by believing and trusting in Jesus Christ crucified and raised as our Redeemer can save a man. There is no other way for forgiveness and salvation.
The law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.  Gal 324  How true !
This chapter records the names and the obligations of the covenant. The final sentence is: We will not neglect the house of our God.
But only Almighty God is faithful and has power to keep his covenant.

Today about 50% of Jews have returned to the promised land of Israel, but most still walk in darkness. Soon the Lord will fulfill his promise to save all Israel. Ro 1125-36 They will look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn for him. In that day they will drink of the opened fountain of Christ that will cleanse and bring true light. Zech 1210 - 131

Neh 11
Who lives in the City?
The leaders lived in Jerusalem. And from the rest of the people they cast lots for one in ten to live there too. These are listed. Together with villages where the others lived from Beersheba to the valley of Hinnom.
Neh 121-26
Levites
The Levite families are named.
Neh 1227-47
Wall dedicated
All the Levites were invited to celebrate the dedication with thanksgiving and singing. One choir went to the southern part of the wall and the other choir went to the northern part. Their rejoicing was so great that the joy of \Jerusalem was heard far away. Men were appointed over the singing, the storerooms, and as gatekeepers.
Neh 13
Final reforms
In the reading of the Law it was found written that no Ammonite of Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God. But because Eliashib, the priest, was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, Tobiah, who was related to the priest, was given a large chamber there. Before this happened Nehemiah had to return to the king of Persia. When he returned to Jerusalem he was very angry and threw out all Tobiah’s furniture. (And I expect also Tobiah if he had been there!)
Nehemiah also discovered that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them. Tithes were therefore collected and officials were appointed to ensure that the portions were in future paid.
He found people treading winepresses on the Sabbath. They were harvesting grain and carrying it into the city on the Sabbath. And Tyrians were selling fish and other goods to the people of Judah on the Sabbath.
So Nehemiah confronted the nobles of Judah and commanded the levites to keep the city gates shut on the Sabbath. He also found that some Jews had married foreign women. He reminded them that even the great Solomon had been made to sin by marrying foreign women.
Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites.
Nehemiah was only absent in Persia for about 6 years. It didn’t take long for the people to forget the covenant they had made. This chapter reveals that this return of the Jews to Jerusalem did not herald the desired restoration of Israel; it would have to wait for the coming of the Messiah in much later years. We still await the day! Scripture reveals that all men are born with a wayward, rebellious, sinful heart.
This is a sad and unpopular truth, and proves why Jesus had to first come as our Saviour, Redeemer and Propitiator of our sin.

      O the love that drew salvation’s plan,
      O the grace that brought it down to man,
      O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
      Mercy there was great and grace was free,
      Pardon there was multiplied for me.
      There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

 

Esther         [Contents]

This book is always read at the Jewish feast of Purim, about a month before Passover.
In 538BC Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Judah as prophesied by both Isaiah and Jeremiah. Some 40,000 returned, but probably a majority decided to remain under the Persian rule in Babylon. This story is during the reign of Xerxes (486 to 465 BC) 55 years later and shortly before Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem. Although the name of the Lord is not mentioned in this wonderful story, only the hand of God could have conceived and fulfilled it.
Persia ruled all the ME, from India to Egypt, but Greece was beginning to be threatening.
Esther 11-22
The scene is set
The young Xerxes (king for just 3 years) held a conference. For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty. Nebuchadnezzar had the same idea, only he made a statue. And God dealt with his arrogance differently (see Dan 3 and 4). Then Xerxes held a 7day banquet! The writer describe it eloquently: Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant. His beautiful wife, queen Vashti, also gave a banquet. But when Xerxes commanded her to come to his banquet and display her beauty, she refused. To insult the king in front of all the dignitaries and Generals was both wise and costly. She was immediately sacked and not allowed to ever enter the presence of the king. The nobles foolishly thought that this would ensure that “all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”
Esther 21-18
Enter Esther
After a while Xerxes missed Vashti, so it was suggested that a beauty contest be held throughout Persia to find a suitable virgin replacement. Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew ... named Mordecai ... who had an orphaned cousin that he had brought up. (This was a typical God planned happening; not chance) This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features. She was one of many who were taken to the king’s palace. She found favour with the king’s eunuch who assigned her 7 maids and a year’s beauty treatment. When she went into the king he was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women. And so she became queen. It was now the 7th year of his reign. Sometimes God’s plan is immediate, but often patience is required. Like Moses, who had 40 years of preparation as a shepherd under Jethro in Midian
Esther 219-28
Wisdom of Mordecai
Mordecai had told Esther not to reveal her Jewish heritage; so she didn’t.
Every day Mordecai would sit at the king’s gate to check that all was well with his ‘daughter’. One day he found out that two of the king’s officers were conspiring to assassinate the king. He told Esther who told the king what Mordecai had found out. The officers were hung and the facts recorded. This is a gripping story that you cannot ‘put down’.
Esther 31-15
    Haman offended
      and plans murder
5 years went by. Not told why, but for some reason Xerses honoured the Agagite (Amalekite  1 Sam 158)  Haman. As often happens it went to his head. He expected everyone to kneel down before him at the king’s gate. Everyone did; except Mordecai because he was a Jew. And Jews only kneel before the Lord God. Haman was enraged, not only with Mordecai, but all Jews. Who put this into his mind I wonder?
Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.” Then he asks for a decree to destroy the ‘disobedient Jews’ and promised 10,000 talents of silver to pay for it. Xerxes agreed and even told him to keep the money “and do with the people as you please.” The signed and sealed edict was sent out to all the province. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered. c.f. plot in Dan 6
Esther 41-17
    Mordecai in sackcloth
      Esther agrees a brave plan
Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. ... In every province ... there was great mourning among the Jews.
God heard their cry and so did Esther. Mordecai sent her a copy of the edict, told her of Haman’s money offer and told her to ask the king for mercy. He also warned her, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther agrees saying, “Gather together all the Jews ... fast for me ... 3 days ... then I will go to the king ... If I perish, I perish.”
Esther 51-14
Esther plans request
On the third day Esther put on royal robes and stood in the entrance of the king’s hall. He welcomed her. She asked that he and Hamon should dine with her next day.
King agreed and no doubt his curiosity was raised.
Hamon was thrilled to be asked by the King and Queen - until he saw Mordecai sitting by the gate. His wife and friends suggest he build a gallows for Mordecai.
Esther was beautiful and tense. She had yet to make her main request.
Esther 61-14
The tables begin to turn
That night the king could not sleep. Was it just curiosity or was it God?
Ordered history books to read. And it just happened he read about Mordecai revealing the assassination plot and asked if he been rewarded? This was no more an accident that Jesus being given the scroll of Isaiah 61 in the Nazareth synagogue!. And it just happened that Haman had just entered the outer court. So Xerxes asked him, “What shall be done for the man the king delights to honour?” Haman told him how he would like to be honoured, thinking it was he. But it was Mordecai whom the king planned to honour. And Haman had to put a royal robe upon Mordecai and lead him round the city on the king’s horse. What a climb-down. As Jesus taught, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Lu 1411
Esther 71-10
Esther’s banquet
Persian banquets are not just a two hour meal. On the 2nd day the king asks Esther what her request was. You can almost hear the background drums beating, at last the climax had arrived. Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favour with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life – this is my petition. And spare my people – this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. (This is not the first, or the last time Satan has tried to destroy the Jews). When asked who is was that dared to do such a thing, Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.”
Chaos! The king went out into the garden. Haman terrified, pleads with Esther for his life. The king returns and thinks he is molesting his wife. Haman’s fate is sealed.
Xerxes is told of the 75ft gallows in Haman’s garden. Without sniff of hesitation, The king said, “Hang him on it!” And he was. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.  Prov 2627 This is not the end of the story. God’s planned end is even better.
Esther 81-17
More reversals
91 - 103
1.  The ring Xerxes gave to Haman was given to Mordecai. Also Gen 4142
2.  Mordecai was given all Haman’s property.
3.  All Haman’s letters demanding execution of the Jews were revoked and the enemies of the Jews be destroyed.
      Ten sons of Haman also hung.
4.  In every province where there had been great mourning among the Jews, they now had light, and gladness and joy and honour.
This God-planned feast of Purim is rightly celebrated in every generation.

 

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Job         [Contents]

The book was probably written post flood and pre Abraham; and not by Job. It’s primary focus is upon the suffering of men (especially the righteous) and the consistent authority of Almighty God. It also reveals that Satan delights in man’s suffering and takes any opportunity he can to dishonour God. It conclusively proves that wealth does not indicate that a man is righteous, nor does poverty prove that a man is wicked. There are many martyrs in heaven wearing crowns; and many who were once rich, but are now in torment who had to leave all their privilege on earth.

Job 11-5
Job, the man
Job was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
He had 7 sons and 3 daughters, a very large farm and many servants.
When his sons and daughters had a party (which lasted several days), Job would rise early and offer burnt offerings to God saying, “It may be that my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.”
Job 16-22
The test
We are given a view ‘behind the scenes’, in the heavenly realm. Did God reveal it to Job, and Job tell the writer? We cannot know.
There came a day when The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?”
Satan said he had been going to and fro, walking up and down. But he did not add that he was seeking anyone that he could destroy.
The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? He is righteous and you have not been able to destroy him.
Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Job only honours you because you protect what he has, because you have made him so prosperous. If you take away his possessions he will curse you.
But God knew that was not true. Job loved God because he was the loving Creator.
And God would reveal to Satan how wrong he was.
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.”
So Satan went off to do his worst.

The opportunity came when the Sabeans were sent to attack the oxen that were ploughing, and kill all the donkeys. Then fire came down and killed all the sheep and Job’s servants. And on the same day the Chaldeans were sent and took all the camels and killed the servants that were looking after them. And finally a great storm fell upon Job’s children who were having a party; the house fell and all were killed.
How did Job react to these 4 calamities on the same day?
Job said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
And he meant it. There was no one left to pretend to!
Satan was more than a little surprised. He was hopping mad!

Job 21-10
A second attack
Again there was a day when ... the LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?”
Satan gave the same answer as he did before. He had been on the prowl like a lion seeking whom he could destroy. 1 Pe 58
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? ... He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”
Satan had no excuse for failure; he just asked for a 2nd go at Job. “Stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

Satan went out and struck Job with painful sores all over his body. He even enticed his wife to say, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
But Job replied, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”
So Satan failed round two; as Almighty God knew he would.
Job 211-13
Enter 3 friends
Job had 3 friends who came and when they saw him, they did not recognize him. ... and they wept. ... They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
The next 35 chapters recount how they tried so hard to help their friend. But each attempt would fail. We will follow the long trail and learn what we can.
But the conclusion will be that only God has the right answer.
God is totally faithful and always remains the compassionate Master of his creation.
Job 3
Job laments his birth
His suffering was so intense that he wished he had never been born.
Why was I not as a hidden stillborn child?
Why is light given to him who is in misery?
For the thing that I fear comes upon me.
Job 4,5
Eliphaz answers
Remember: who that was innocent ever perished?
The world operates on the principle of ‘cause and effect’;
      everything happens for a reason. Suffering is only because of sin.

Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
      therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.

God chastises to correct our waywardness.
If you accept this as true then You shall come to your grave in ripe old age.

Job 6,7
Job answers
Yes, my suffering is from God - The arrows of the Almighty are in me -
But Oh that I might have my request ... that it would please God to crush me.

This would be the end of my suffering. But God had a better goal for Job.
But Job does not see it yet. He continues:
I loathe my life; I would not live forever. ... Why have you made me your mark?
Job 8
Bildad speaks
If you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you.
He insists that Job’s suffering is because of sin.
Behold, God will not reject a blameless man.
Job 9,10
Job replies
Job knew that he could not win any argument with Almighty God.
How can a man be in the right before God? ... who alone stretched out the heavens.
Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not.

If that is God’s choice, who am I to change it?
If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty!
He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.
I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me.

But if God remain silent, then I say again:
      Would that I had died before any eye had seen me.
Job 11
Zophar speaks
You say, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God's eyes.’
But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you.

Then you would acknowledge your sin as the cause of your distress.
All Job’s friends seem to be obsessed with this idea.
But at the beginning God declared, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
Job 12-14
Job replies
I have understanding as well as you ...
With God are wisdom and might;
If he tears down, none can rebuild ...
He makes nations great, and he destroys them.
He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people.

And that includes Job’s friends!
As for you ... worthless physicians ... Will you speak falsely for God?
How many are my iniquities and my sins?
Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.
He feels only the pain of his own body.
Job 15
Eliphaz accuses
You are doing away with the fear of God ...
Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
What is man, that he can be pure?
The wicked man writhes in pain all his days ...
Because he has stretched out his hand against God.

Yet again his friends insist that this calamity is because Job sinned.
Job 16,17
Job replies
My face is red with weeping, and on my eyelids is deep darkness,
although there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure.
Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.

Indeed so. Jesus is our Advocate. Only he can declare a man’s innocence;
not because he is without sin, but because his guilt is covered, paid for in full.
But for Job at that moment there was none to plead his case on earth.
In truth Job cries: “My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God.”
Job 18
Bildad speaks
Why are we stupid in your sight?
He continues the attack with false logic.
      He says correctly that God punishes the wicked.
      But then he continues the falsehood that Job’s distress is God’s punishment
            And that punishment is because of his sin and no other reason.
He is thrust from light into darkness ... Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God.
Job 19
Job speaks the truth
First he aks them, “How long will you torment me?”
      All my intimate friends abhor me.
      Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends.

Then Job declares the glorious truth:
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.

Habakkuk declares this same truth at the end of his prophecy:
      Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, ...
      yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
 Hab 317,18
Job 20
Zophar ridicules Job
Do you not know this from of old ... that the exulting of the wicked is short,
      he will perish forever like his own dung.
      God will send his burning anger against him.
      The possessions of his house will be carried away,
            dragged off in the day of God's wrath.
Job 21
Job’s answer
Bear with me, and I will speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.
Job asks that the witness of history be considered.
Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
They spend their days in prosperity ... They say to God, Depart from us!
One dies in his full vigour, being wholly at ease and secure.
      Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having tasted of prosperity.

Jesus may well have used these words when he taught about Lazarus.  Lu 1619-31
Job 22
Eliphaz false witness
Job’s friends were nothing if not persistent and persistently wrong!
Eliphaz gives vague false witness to Job’s sins.
Is not your evil abundant? There is no end to your iniquities.
You have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing.
      and stripped the naked of their clothing.
You have given no water to the weary to drink,
      and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
You have sent widows away empty,
      and the arms of the fatherless were crushed. ...
If you return to the Almighty you will be built up.
Job 23,24
Job replies
Oh, that I knew where I might find him (God) ...
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, (and not found backwards, left or right)
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
He will complete what he appoints for me.
Job 25
Bildad speaks
How then can man be in the right before God?
How can he who is born of woman be pure?

David asked, and answered this question:
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? ...
He who has clean hands and a pure heart.
He will receive blessing from the LORD
      and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Only Christ can make a man’s hands clean and his heart pure.

Job 26-28
Job replies
Job does not answer the question, but recounts the majesty and greatness of God.
Finally he asks: But where shall wisdom be found?
And answers:
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.
Job 29,30
Job compares
Job remembers with longing his life before:
Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me.

and compares it with life after:
But now they laugh at me ...
And now they abhor me ... because God has loosed my cord and humbled me ...
And now days of affliction have taken hold of me.
I cry to you for help and you do not answer me.
Job 31
Job’s conclusion
If I have walked with falsehood ...
If my heart has been enticed toward a woman ...
If I have withheld anything that the poor desired ...
If I have raised my hand against the fatherless ...
If I have made gold my trust ...
Then let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.
And I get what I deserve.
Job obviously thought he had done none of these things.
So he was left with the question, WHY has God afflicted me?
Job 32-37
Elihu’s long rebuke
Elihu was younger than the three friends, so he had remained silent.
When it was clear that their argument had come to nothing he also rebuked Job!
Behold, in this you are not right. And proceeds to tell why he is wrong.
1. If there be for him an angel, a mediator ... and he is merciful to him
      then man prays to God, and he accepts him.

      But this has not happened to Job; so he must be wrong.
2. Job has said, ‘I am in the right, ... in spite of my right I am counted a liar.
      So in effect
      he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing that he should take delight in God.’
      And this is clearly not correct.
      Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
      Justice = Righteousness leads to prosperity and wickedness to distress.
            Therefore Elihu says Job cannot be righteous.
3. Job speaks without knowledge ... For he adds rebellion to his sin.
4. Behold, God is mighty ... he is mighty in strength of understanding.
      He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous.
      He opens their ears to instruction
            If they listen and serve him, they complete their days in prosperity.

      But Elihu did not realise that God had NOT withdrawn his eyes from Job.
      Jesus warned his disciples that in this world you will have trouble.  Jn 1633
5. God thunders wondrously with his voice;
            he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
      Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
      He does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.

      In this case, who was wise, Elihu or Job?

Today the iniquitous ‘prosperity gospel’ too often implies that if a man is righteous, he can also expect to be rich.
The psalmist later admitted his foolish complaint when he asked, “Why do the wicked prosper?” And God answered him. Ps 733,17

Job 38 - 405
The Lord answers
      Job (1)
At last ! The Lord answers Job.
He reveals wisdom and truth by asking him questions.
So different from the ‘friends’ who only tried to prove Job was wrong.
The Lord asks, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”
Who determined its measurements?
(And designed every detail)
Who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together?

Have you commanded the morning since your days began? (Earth’s orbit and spin)
Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Who brings rain on a land where no man is?
Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
 (Physical laws that order all the stars)
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts?
Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you give the horse his might?
Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
      “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?

Job 406 - 426
The Lord answers
      Job (2)
“Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.”
Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you ...
      Can one take him by his eyes, or pierce his nose with a snare?
Behold, the hope of a man is false.
 (Without God, man’s hopes are but a dream.)
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
      “I know that you can do all things,
            and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
      I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;
            therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Job 427-9
The Lord rebukes
      the friends of Job
My anger burns against you ...
      for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.

God then instructs them to go to Job and make an offering for yourselves.
They did so.  And the LORD accepted Job's prayer for them.
Job 4210-17
The Lord restores Job
And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.
And the LORD gave Job (exactly) twice as much as he had before.
And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.
He had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.

He lived a further 140 years and had 7 more sons and 3 daughters.

 

Psalms         [Contents]

79 of the 150 psalms were written by David; the other 71 by a Levitical choir (Sons of Korah, Asaph) and others.
They are all written in Hebrew poetry which does not rhyme like English poetry, but repeats or contrasts ideas.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
      or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
      and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water
      that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
      nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
      but the way of he wicked shall perish.

The last verse sums up this straight-forward psalm.
Currently on earth the wicked often seem to prosper. But their prosperity will completely disappear in eternity.
Ps 733  I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
      c.f.  Ps 7317  till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
Whatever man does, however wicked he becomes, the Lord God will always retain control of his creation.
In the end his righteous kingdom will be established, and all man's evil empires will be blown away.  Dan 234,35,44,4
 

Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire ... against the Lord? ... the Lord scoffs at them.
The psalmist does not answer the question, but reveals the plan of Almighty God.
He will send his Son and will make the nations his inheritance and he will rule them with an iron sceptre.
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling
.
Only a fool would ignore such truth.  'Rejoicing' is popular; but 'trembling' is far less so!
But the Word of God reveals that the world will become ever more foolish.  Rev 6-19
Leaders and people will choose to conspire not only against each other, but against the Lord.
And will pay a high price for their folly.
 

Psalm 3

In this first psalm of David, his son Absalom had rebelled, and it seemed as if all the world was against him.
      "O Lord, how many are my foes ... ?"
But David did not despair; he turned to his faithful Lord.
      "But you are a shield around me, O Lord ... From the Lord comes deliverance."
David's desire was not selfish, just for himself.
      He also cried, "May your blessing be on your people."
2 Sam 18,19 tells the story of Absalom's end, and how David mourned for him.

 
Psalm 4

Some psalms are personal prayers, some public praise, some a public statement, most (like this) are all three.
David often feels distressed and seems to have many enemies.
Here they are trying to shame their king and they are also deluded by seeking gain by worshipping foreign gods.
So he pleads O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress;
      and knowing he does not deserve it, be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
Experience has taught him that the Lord will hear when I call to him.
He prays that his enemies will not sin ... offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.
Finally in gratitude he declares, "You have filled my heart with greater joy ...
      for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

All distress has melted away.
 

Psalm 5

One of many psalms where David pleads with God for help. But why should God help?
You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.

      He lists their wrongdoings: lies, deceit, intrigues, destruction, rebellion against God.
But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house.
      David did not claim he deserved God's help - it was only by his mercy.
Experience had taught him that all who take refuge in God will be glad,
      Spreads your protection over them.
      For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous;
      you surround them with your favour as with a shield.

Such is the grace and kindness of our Redeemer.
 

Psalm 6

Many of the psalms David wrote concern his many enemies; far more numerous than his friends. Hated by his brothers, his political rivals, Saul, evil men and foreigners. He knew well the love and mercy of Almighty God, but his life seemed to be one long fight - at which he soon learned to excel. He often cried.
      Be merciful to me, Lord ... My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? ... I am worn out from groaning ...
God was not deaf to his cries. At such times he learned the faithfulness and comfort of the Almighty.
      The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; ... All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed ...
In all his many battles, he learned to be confident in the Lord.
 

Psalm 7

Cush, a Benjamite, was probably a supporter of Saul, and this psalm was written when Saul was chasing David.
David's enemies were real. O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me. ...
      Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. ...
      O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked
            and make the righteous secure.

Having made his request to Almighty God; David felt secure and protected. He was! And he expressed his gratitude.
      I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness
            and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

 

Psalm 8

As a shepherd and then as a fugitive from Saul, David would often ponder the night sky, and marvel.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! ...
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

Today men have replaced creation by God with the Evolution Theory lie, and have ceased to marvel.
David was a wiser man - he worshipped God. He also recognised the responsibility given to man for all creation.
      You made him ruler over the works of your hands.
 

Psalm 9

David is determined that the Lord God is for ever given thanks and glory.
      I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
Why?
      You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. ...
      The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.
      He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.
      The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
      Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

David rejoices in God's victory over wickedness.
      The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. ...
      The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God.

And his gratitude for the eternal grace of God upon him knows no bounds.
But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.
The trials that the righteous now face will soon end. 

 
Psalm 10

David's roller-coaster life continues.
Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man
      hunts down the weak ...
      boasts of the cravings of his heart ...
      blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord ...
      His ways are always prosperous ...
      your laws are far from him ...
      he sneers at all his enemies
      His victims are crushed.

Or so it seems.
David has but one recourse:
      Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. ...
As so often, the psalm ends on a note of faith and truth.
      The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.
      You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry ...

 

Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge.
David learned from an early age that he had to fight his enemies to achieve justice, in his family and with Saul.
Jesus also had to fight a continuous spiritual battle against his many enemies
A day will come when the wicked bend their bows no more.
A day when on the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulphur.
For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice.

But until that day we have to learn to wear and use well the whole armour of God.  (Eph 6)
 

Psalm 12

David felt very alone, especially early in his life. Surrounded by lies and deceit, he longed for honesty and truth.
Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.
Everyone lies to his neighbour; their flattering lips speak with deception.

His one delight and encouragement was that
      The words of the Lord are flawless,
            like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.

In today's overflow of information, we need the accurate discernment of the Holy Spirit
      and his revelation of all the Word of God. 

 
Psalm 13

David again feels alone, enemies surround him and even God seems remote.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
But God proves that the feelings of his friend, although raw honesty, are not the truth.
The Spirit of the Lord keeps his promise and reveals what no psychologist can induce:
      But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
      I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

It is a miracle of grace how the first and last verse can come from the same heart.
 

Psalm 14

David looks around him and sees only fools who are totally careless of Almighty God.
He has learned that God sees far more and that no man is naturally good, all are born evil.
      The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." ...
      The Lord looks down from heaven ... there is no one who does good, not even one.

He longs for, and sees, the day when Israel will be righteous.
      Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
      When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people ...

As Abraham looked and saw the day of Jesus Christ and was glad  (Jn 856)
      so David saw the day revealed to Zechariah when Israel would look upon him whom they had pierced and mourn.
      The day when the fountain would be opened and they would all be cleansed.  (Zech 1210-132)
 

Psalm 15

David realises the holiness of Almighty God. His relationship is not careless or presumptuous.
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?  Who may live on your holy hill?  (Also Ps 24)
      He whose walk is blameless ...
      who speaks the truth from his heart ...
      who does his neighbour no wrong ...
      who honours those who fear the Lord, ...
      who keeps his oath even when it hurts, ...
      who lends his money without usury ...

But that would mean no one could enter heaven !
This truth shows why the Cross is so essential.
Other psalms reveal how God's righteousness is given to those who are forgiven.  e.g. Ps 32, 53, 103
 

Psalm 16

David gladly acknowledged his exceptional intellect and physical ability came from the Lord,
      and that he always needed the Lord God's provision, protection and wisdom.
Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. ... Apart from you I have no good thing. ...
Lord, you have assigned me my portion ... The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. ...
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me ... You have made known to me the path of life.
you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

His principal blessing was the eternal presence of Almighty God,
      not earthly prosperity, popularity, pleasure or power.
 

Psalm 17

This psalm begins with David claiming innocence, that his righteous plea ... did not rise from deceitful lips.
      He claimed, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. ... my feet have not slipped.

But was this true in practice, even if it was his desired intent?
He sought vindication from God; knowing he would not receive it from men.
He pleaded with God: Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
It was probably written during the 13 years that Saul hunted for him, for he cries:
      My mortal enemies who surround me ... They have tracked me down, they now surround me ...
      Rescue me from the wicked by your sword. ...
      You still the hunger of those you cherish.

His theology may be in part mistaken;
      but not his yearning for his Lord or his trust in God, his Saviour. (See next psalm)
 

Psalm 18

There is no shortage of reasons why David declared his love for the Lord:
      The Lord is my rock,
      my fortress and my deliverer ...
      my refuge ...
      my shield,
      the horn of my salvation,
      my stronghold.
      I am saved from my enemies.
      The cords of death entangled me ...
      I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice. ...
      He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies ...
      He rescued me because he delighted in me.
      The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness.

But how did he become righteous?
It was not by his own endeavour, but by the grace and mercy of the Lord to whom he cried.
      As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.
      He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
      It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. ... He trains my hands for battle. ...
      Exalted be God my Saviour!

And not only does God show his favour to David,
      but to all whose names are written in the Book of Life.
      He shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.
 

Psalm 19

As a shepherd and then as a fugitive, David spent much time awake at night, alert.
He saw with clarity all the stars; and wondered at their beauty and their creation by the Lord God.
He was not deceived by the lies so commonly promulgated today by the Evolution Theory. He knew the truth:
      The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
      There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Seeing the visible glory of God Our Creator entitles him to tell us the right principles of life and his commandments.
These reveal what is best for us and most pleasing to him.
But men now reject God's creation and see commandments as being restrictive and forbidding his happiness.
Proud, rebellious men prefer wickedness, are blind - and are wrong!
David reveals 9 'Laws' and then what each one achieves.
      The law of the Lord is perfect,
            reviving the soul.
      The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
            making wise the simple.
      The precepts of the Lord are right,
            giving joy to the heart.
      The commands of the Lord are radiant,
            giving light to the eyes.
      The fear of the Lord is pure,
            enduring forever.
      The ordinances of the Lord are sure
            and altogether righteous.
      They are more precious than gold,
            than much pure gold;
      They are sweeter than honey,
            than honey from the comb.
      By them is your servant warned;
            in keeping them there is great reward.

When you examine what each of God's statutes achieves,
      you might think that all the world would naturally want to follow them.
      But we don't.
      So it is little wonder that there is a world-wide scarcity of godly wisdom, revelation and righteousness.
David asks, how else can a man discern his errors and have his wilful sins forgiven?
He prays:
      May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
      O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

He had learned that all of his imperfections needed to be 'redeemed', in order to be forgiven.
 

Psalm 20

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you.
This was David's prayer for the Chief Musician.
So when the Lord answers it, We will rejoice in your salvation.
And in a wise conclusion he declares:
      Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
 

Psalm 21

This psalm tells us that David was not the only one who used music to calm the troubled Saul.
      The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! ...
      For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.

But in this, David was mistaken. Saul became disobedient to the Lord and did not trust him:
      He refused to kill Agag, the Amalekite (1 Sam 15)
      He kills the priests of Nod (1 Sam 22)
      He consulted the witch of Endor. (1 Sam 28)
      And for many years he sought to kill David, whom the Lord had anointed. (1 Sam 16, 18-26).
However, David always wanted the best for Saul.
 

Psalm 22

David may have been groaning at the height of his battle to escape from Saul's threats;
      but the Holy Spirit revealed to him with great accuracy the future agony of Christ upon the Cross.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (and Mk 1534)
      When Jesus took all our sin upon himself it separated him from his Father.
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer.
      During this time Jesus could no longer hear his Father. What fellowship has light with darkness?
He was despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads ...
      The crowd cried "Crucify him!"  The Scribes and Pharisees and onlookers mocked and insulted him. (Mk 1529-32)
There is no one to help.
      At his mock trial and on the Cross, Jesus was alone, there was no one to help.
      Only the perfect Son of God could redeem us.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. ... My strength is dried up like a potsherd.
      Jesus gave his all. Crucifixion is designed to be an agonising death.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
      On the cross Jesus cried, "I am thirsty." (Jn 1928)
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one.
      On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead, Victorious!  The master plan for our salvation fulfilled.
They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn – for he has done it.
      'It is finished!' was his cry, Alleluia, what a Saviour. (Jn 1930)
 

Psalm 23

Much of David's youth was spent away from home, alone with his sheep that he learned to love.
He was a good shepherd and often risked his life to protect them.
But who was shepherd to David? This psalm answers this question beautifully.
The Lord is my shepherd,
      He makes me lie down in green pastures,
      he leads me beside quiet waters,
      he restores my soul.
      He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
      Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me ...
      Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
      And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This testimony proves that there can be no better Shepherd.
While David risked his life, Jesus laid down his life for his sheep;
      and thereby he opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. (Jn 1011-18)
 

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, ... For He has founded it upon the seas ...
The current denial of these two truths (ownership based upon creation)
                     God removes his protection, so there is much wickedness.  (See Ro 1)
If God did not create this world (Evolution Theory lie),
      then man is quite safe to reject him and the Bible is a big hoax.
But the Bible is the Word of God and opens with
      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Gen 11
And John's gospel starts with the great truth:
      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him,
      and without Him nothing was made that was made.
 Jn 11
So the big question that the psalmist asks is:
      Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
      Or who may stand in His holy place?

And the answer simple - but impossible !
      He who has clean hands and a pure heart.
It is impossible because no man has ever lived who has achieved this.
The direct answer to this dilemma is not given here;
      however the result of God's intervention is
      He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
      And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
      This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him ...
(NKJV)
By calling upon the Lord and seeking him,
      he reveals that he sent his Son to redeem, forgive
      and give us 'new birth', a clean heart.
David reveals that this salvation is only possible because
      The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
      Jesus Christ wins the battle against Satan and sin and thus opens the everlasting doors.
      He is rightly called The Lord of hosts, the King of glory.
      He alone enables a man to ascend the hill of the Lord.
 

Psalm 25

Many psalms relate to a specific event, this seems to reflect David's general daily need for God.
      The longing of his lonely soul for the living God.
      To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.
      Teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour,
      My hope is in you all day long.
      Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love. ... Remember not the sins of my youth.

His desire was not for wealth or power, not for popularity or ease;
      He wanted the name of the Lord, his God to be honoured.
      So he prayed: For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. ...
            Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.

He wanted to know the wisdom and the plan of God - not that of devious men.
      The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
      He yearned to know and follow the covenant of Moses - the Law
            and also the covenant promise to Abraham - life with God and gift of land.
            So that all the world may see the goodness and greatness of Almighty God.
                  Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!
            Then men will see the righteousness, justice and truth of the kingdom of God.
 

Psalm 26

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

To feel vindicated is a common desire expressed by David.
It is true that he trusted in the Lord; but that does not mean his life was blameless.
He then lists all his good points, hoping to show that since he was definitely on God's side,
      that God will also be on his side.
Yet at the end he does also plead: Redeem me and be merciful to me.
 

Psalm 27

David often saw his many enemies advancing; so at such times he rehearses the abiding truth:
      The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? ...
      though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

He is determined to fight, and fight well because God was with him.
      When facing Goliath, he declared:
      "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today ... the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel."  (1 Sam 1745,46)
And that is exactly what happened. David's confidence in God was proven to be well placed.
But victory over his enemies was not all he wanted
He realised that home-life in this world was denied to him, so he sought a better home-life with God.
      One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:
            that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. ...
      Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Saviour.
            Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. ...
      I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

And finally he realised that this confidence also required patience.
      In his wisdom, God does not always gives us all that we ask immediately.
      Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Abraham was gladdened when he 'saw the day of Jesus Christ' (Jn 856)
      but it would be 2,000 years before the Son of God came to redeem his world;
            and at least a further 2,000 years before he will come again to establish his righteous kingdom!
In this 'Me, Now!' world such patience is rare, and all the more precious.
 

Psalm 28

Once more, David saw realistically that his wicked enemies threatened him. This is his response:
      To you I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. ...
      Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help.
      Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil ... Repay them for their deeds.

Clearly in this psalm the Lord fulfills his request; the wicked do not triumph.
      Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
      The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
      My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
      The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
      Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.

We are also invited to share his thankfulness - and encouraged to pray for Israel.
 

Psalm 29

The first two verses state the fact, the command incumbent upon all men:
      Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
      Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness.

The remainder gives us the reasons why:
      The Lord thunders over the mighty waters ...
      The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars ...
      The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning ...
      The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
      The Lord is enthroned as King forever.
      The Lord gives strength to his people;
      The Lord blesses his people with peace.

 

Psalm 30

Even with all David's ability, he never hesitated to seek God for help and to thank God in all his battles.
He remained a humble, grateful, trusting realist.
I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. ...
To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:
Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. ...
You turned my wailing into dancing; ...
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

 

Psalm 31

David's life was one long fight against his wicked enemies.
      To survive he knows he has to trust in his faithful Lord.
In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame ...
You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress ...
But I trust in you, O Lord ... My times are in your hands. ...
How great is your goodness on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men.

 

Psalm 32

All men long for happiness and will do almost anything to obtain it;
      except to repent and believe that Christ had to be crucified !!
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
      All other happiness (= blessedness) is at best only transient.
How did David find this happiness?
      I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
Today few are willing to acknowledge their sin - especially what God calls sin.
      e.g. greed, homosexuality, evolution (instead of creation), immorality, compromise for popularity ...
      Or else they try to earn God's approval by striving to do good - but inevitably fail.
      A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  Gal 216
Most men have thus lost their way, and being without Christ, they can have no certainty of heaven.
But to the forgiven God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go."
      The Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him
(for forgiveness).
 

Psalm 33

This was written on a good day. His enemies were quiet.
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
And he tells us why:
      For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does ...
      By the word of the Lord were the heavens made ... For he spoke, and it came to be ...
      The Lord foils the plans of the nations ... But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever ...
      Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord ...
      The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him ...
      In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.

Man may make smart phones, transplant heart valves, and explode atomic bombs,
      but they are a temporary 'nothing' when compared with God's creation, power and eternity.
 

Psalm 34

David was quick to acknowledge that any success/deliverance was from the Lord.
      Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together ...
Poverty may be social or spiritual as well as financial.
      This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (and Math 53,4)
      The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. ...
      The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
      A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

There is no occasion when the Lord abandons us or leaves us unprotected.
His covenant is eternal; never transient or temporary.
      The Lord redeems his servants - for ever!
The poor, fearful, brokenhearted, and troubled are all cared for and delivered by the Lord.
We have so much to be grateful for. 'Count your blessings, name them one by one'.
 

Psalm 35

Again David seeks God's help in overcoming his many enemies:
Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. ...
Say to my soul, "I am your salvation."
May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame;
Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation.
"Who is like you, O Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning.
They slandered me without ceasing. Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked.
O Lord, you have seen this; be not silent.
Vindicate me in your righteousness, O Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me.

The psalm finishes with thanksgiving to the Lord.
My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.
This was not a bribe, but heartfelt gratitude for the presence of the Lord.
 

Psalm 36

David lists the main sins of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.
The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful ... and does not reject what is wrong.

Since 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom', the wicked may be clever, but are not wise.
But concerning the righteous:
Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

 

Psalm 37

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong ...
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret ... For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
The wicked plot against the righteous ... but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked.
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the Lord will not leave them in their power.

In this psalm the righteous are given good reason why we should not fret:
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
 

Psalm 38

My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.
I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.

It is not revealed what particular sin caused him such misery; or whether it was sin in general.
Another cause for depression was again his many enemies.
For I said, "Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.
Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous.

There is only one reliable way to deal with such sadness;
      and David took this right path - 'Take it to the Lord in prayer'.
O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God.
Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Saviour.

 

Psalm 39

There are many occasions when we are itching to say something; but by the grace of God we withhold.
David records how he also struggled with this situation.
I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth ...
But when I was silent ... my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me,
and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.

We need to remember what the Lord said, "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."  Math 1234
He realised that life is too short to be spoiled by an impatient word.
"Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping."
 

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
He set my feet on a rock.
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.

Indeed he is blessed; and he remains so.
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced.  (see Exd 215,6)
I desire to do your will, O my God;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation ...
O Lord, come quickly to help me.
May all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion ...
May those who love your salvation always say, "The Lord be exalted!"

 

Psalm 41

Blessed is he who has regard for the weak ...
The Lord will protect him and preserve his life;
      he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes ...
Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
But you, O Lord, have mercy on me; raise me up, that I may repay them.

I long for the day when David no longer has any enemies. I expect he did too!
David had real compassion for the weak; he did not support them for extra pack-points
      It is certainly not David trying to bribe God to help him in his many trials.
 

Psalm 42

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
This is the basis, the forefront of all David's life - his longing for God.
      He cried when men kept asking, "Where is your God?"
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

Wickedness and war always surrounded him; why can't there be a righteous kingdom?
He realised that only Almighty God could achieve this.
      And thus repeats this question about being downcast, and his determined answer of hope in God.
 

Psalm 43

It seems that all his life David was lonely and oppressed by wicked enemies. So he pleaded with God:
Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me;
      let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

Only where God is will there be found the transparent truth and eternal righteousness that he craved.
He concludes with the same question and hope as the previous psalm.
 

Psalm 44

It is very important that we learn from history. This psalm does just that.
We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago.
With your hand you drove out the nations ...
It was not by their sword that they won the land, ... it was your right hand, your arm ...
      you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.

But now the psalmist says it is a different story.
You have made us a reproach to our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those around us.
Why? They claimed to be innocent.
      Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.
But clearly they were deceived.
Just as we are today, when our often God-rejecting nation claims to be innocent.
The psalmist gasps: Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
We pray that our political leaders will do likewise.
      And that we will first learn to confess our sinfulness.
 

Psalm 45

A song written by the sons of Korah for David at one of his weddings.
Your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. ...
In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness ...
Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions. ...
Therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

David had high hopes and good intentions, but he needed forgiveness.
His kingdom did not endure for ever, but the kingdom of great David's greater Son is eternal.
See hymn 'Hail to the Lord's anointed, Great David's greater son!'
 

Psalm 46

Throughout history - and continuing now - the world has experienced war.
      In 2018 the world spent $1,800 Billion on its armed forces.
War, natural disasters and disease have always caused sinful man to fear.
Only a few follow the psalmist and say:
      God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
      Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

And even fewer recognise that Almighty God has chosen the Jews and Jerusalem as his dwelling place.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
      God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
      Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
      The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

One day he will return and bring peace to his earth.
And in that day believers from all nations will join the streams that make glad the city of God.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth ...
      "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
      I will be exalted in the earth." The Lord Almighty is with us.

 
Psalm 47

Perhaps the most common and foolish blasphemy today is that Almighty God can simply be ignored as irrelevant!
So the psalmist writes the truth:
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
      For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. ...
      God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

The day will surely come when he will demonstrate this by punishing the wicked.
 

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God!
      His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth.

If only our great King were the joy of all on earth; but sadly he is not, not yet.
But one day he will be in the city of our God, which God will establish forever.
Then, and only then, will all men see Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
      And all men will rejoice in his kingdom for ever.
 

Psalm 49

The writer declares: Why should I fear in times of trouble,
      when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me ...?
      God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol.

This psalm is summed up in a single repeated verse (12 & 20):
      Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.
 

Psalm 50

The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth ...
      The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!

God is not interested in sacrifices from men who think they will earn him favour.
But delights in the gratitude of those who trust in his sacrifice for their forgiveness.
Therefore Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
 

Psalm 51

(Nathan exposed David's murder of Uriah - David repents thoroughly and humbly)
Have mercy on me, O God, ...
      Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! ...
      Against you, you only, have I sinned ... Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ...
      Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities
.
David realised that he had always been sinful and needed to be 'born again'.
He knew he had to change and therefore pleads with God,
      Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. ...
      and uphold me with a willing spirit.

He acknowledged that only God could do this;
      he could not change himself and no self-sacrifice was sufficient.
      For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it ...
      The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.

This psalm is the essential experience and testimony of all who would be Christians.
It is leagues distant from those who think they can just 'decide to follow Jesus'.
 

Psalm 52

Down the ages men have sought power.
      They will fight to both gain and to retain it.
      Deceit has always been high on the list of characteristics required for this.
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? ...
      Your tongue plots destruction ...
      You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. ...
      But God will break you down forever ...
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God.

 

Psalm 53

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
Today there are many fools.
Atheists and humanists are common, beside all the false gods Allah, Hindu, Budda ...
God looks down from heaven on the children of man
      to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

He is always on the lookout to increase his family.
But sadly he concludes, They have all fallen away.
And through his tears he cries:
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
      When God restores the fortunes of his people.

 

Psalm 54

For some 13 years David was on the run from the jealous Saul.
      On this occasion it was the Ziphites.
O God, save me by your name ... For ... ruthless men seek my life.
David was sharp, very sharp; but he always acknowledged how much he needed God's protection.
      Behold, God is my helper ... in your faithfulness put an end to them.
And he did. So David could rightly declare:
      For he has delivered me from every trouble,
      and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

 

Psalm 55

How could the man who strode out to fight Goliath write such a psalm as this?
      My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
      Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.

When faced with Goliath, he knew the presence of Almighty God.
      He said, "I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts,
            the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied ..."

Now his enemy was Saul who wanted to kill him. But David refused to kill Saul.
      So the one sided battle went on year after year; and David became weary of it.
      He cried, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest."
But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. ...
      He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
      Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;
            he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
      But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction.

In spite of the relentless pressure, David was determined to trust in the Lord.
      God has given us a great example to follow.
 

Psalm 56

While on the run from Saul, the Philistines seized David at Gath.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
 (Repeated in 5610,11)
 

Psalm 57

David hides from Saul in the Qumran caves; and cries to God.
      Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge
      I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

However his desire was not only for God's help, but that through it all God would be glorified.
      Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
      Let your glory be over all the earth!
(and repeated at the end of the psalm)
He continued:
      I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
      For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

God did protect David, see 1 Sam 21-27. And David sang God's praise in most of his 79 psalms.
 

Psalm 58 David sees a very distinct 'black and white' world.
      The wicked are estranged from the womb ...
      They have venom like the venom of a serpent.
      The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance  (of God)
            Surely there is a reward for the righteous.
            Surely there is a God who judges on earth.

He longed for God's righteous kingdom. Its fulfillment will 'surely' come to pass.
We too are assured that this great day will soon come.
      But remember judgement always comes before righteousness.
 

Psalm 59

David asks God to destroy his enemies, especially those sent by Saul to watch him.
Did God protect David because of his prayer or because he was God's chosen and anointed king?
      It seems a long way from what Jesus taught that we should love our enemies.  Math 543,44
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God ... and save me from bloodthirsty men.
      For behold, they lie in wait for my life ... spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.

David was confident that God would hear his cry for help.
      How else could the name of the Lord be honoured?
My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies. ...
      Consume them in wrath; consume them till they are no more,
      that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress,
      the God who shows me steadfast love.

 

Psalm 60

The circumstances of this psalm express David's despair. It seemed that:
      O God, you have rejected us, broken our defences, you have been angry ...
But Almighty God made a covenant with Israel that he will never break.
      He will correct and discipline his people when they sin, but never abandon them.
Thankfully the psalm ends with David trusting in the Lord God.
Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

 

Psalm 61

David's early home life as a shepherd made him a loner.
      But it caused him to seek, find and trust in the ever faithful Lord.
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;
      from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
      for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!

And Almighty God welcomed him for ever - secure, protected and righteous.
 

Psalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence.
'In silence' = in quiet confidence that includes prayer.
The psalmist also tells us what he is longing for: from him comes my salvation.
      He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. ...
      Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him.

With such an attitude and objective, no man will be disappointed with God.
      He will find truth and peace for his restive soul in the Word of God.
 

Psalm 63

David was on the run from Saul, alone in the wilderness. No smart phone or even sheep!
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you ...
      Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
      For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. ...
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth.

Revealing the abounding grace of God, David remains confident that with God, victory was certain.
 

Psalm 64

David is beset by enemies - again!
      Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint ...
      Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked ...
      They hold fast to their evil purpose.

And he expects God to destroy them all.
      But God shoots his arrow at them ... They are brought to ruin.
So David is grateful to God.
      Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him!
 

Psalm 65

A happy day to sing God's praise.
Praise is due to you, O God ... O you who hear prayer,
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near. ... O God of our salvation
The one who by his strength established the mountains ... who stills the roaring of the seas.
You visit the earth and water it ... the river of God is full of water. ...
You crown the year with your bounty ... The pastures of the wilderness overflow.

 

Psalm 66

Shout for joy to God, all the earth ... All the earth worships you.
If only this were true today. But one day it will be.
Come and see what God has done:       he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. ...
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
      and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

We echo the exclamation of John Baptist - the greatest prophet:
      "Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin the the world!"  Jn 129
 

Psalm 67

Many hope, and even expect Almighty God to bless us. Why? Is it just for our benefit?
May God be gracious to us and bless us ...
      that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
God shall bless us;
      let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Blessing is given that all may see the grace of God
      and that all my revere him and appreciate his 'saving power'.
 

Psalm 68

David always saw his enemies as being God's enemies.
God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered ... the wicked shall perish before God!
      But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God. ...
God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
      but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. ...
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.  Selah

This is surely something to keep in mind with continual gratitude.
Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
      Blessed be God!

 

Psalm 69

David's enemies sometime seemed more numerous and more consistent than he could bear.
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.
More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause;
      mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies.

He did not claim perfection, but confessed his faults.
O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
David does not pretend to love his many enemies, but cries to God:.
      Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
His 29 verses of complaint and need for God's help end with praise - as do most of his psalms.
Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah ...
      and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

 

Ps 70

A familiar theme!
Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
      Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life!
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation say evermore, "God is great!"
But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God!

 

Psalm 71

Another psalm that starts with:
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
You have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

And concludes with the words:
My tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
      for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.

 

Psalm 72

A prayer for his son Solomon.
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! ...
May there be abundance of grain in the land ... May people be blessed in him.

But after David died, riches, power and presumption soon caused Solomon to discard his great wisdom.
      He married many Hittite wives and enslaved the Israelites to construct his lavish buildings.
      He even worshipped their idols.  See 1 Kgs 111-13 121-20
 

Psalm 73

Asaph asks God why does he allow evil men to so often prosper.
I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
      For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.
      They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

There seemed to be no answer ... until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
      For behold, those who are far from you shall perish.

 

Psalm 74

Asaph's next question:
O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? ...
How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?

And the Lord reveals the truth.
Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. ...
Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter. ...
Have regard for the covenant.

 

Psalm 75

Asaph sings:
We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.
And the Lord reveals: "At the set time that I appoint ... I will judge with equity.
      When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars."
      All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

 

Psalm 76

Asaph continues to sing:
In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel.
His abode has been established in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. ...
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both rider and horse lay stunned. ...
From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still,
      when God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth.

This is a good song for every generation, especially today.
 

Psalm 77

Sometimes our days are filled with uncertainty; unsure what our God is doing to his earth.
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
      "Will the Lord spurn forever?
      Has God forgotten to be gracious?
      Has he in anger shut up his compassion?"

What should we do and how should we think during such times?
      I will remember the deeds of the LORD ...
      Your way, O God, is holy. ...
      You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph
.
The faithfulness of God is sure, his covenant is unbreakable, his plan is always fulfilled.
 

Psalm 78

How does God teach his people? To whom does he reveal his truth?
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
      things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us ...
      that the next generation might know them, and not forget the works of God,
      but keep his commandments.

It should be remembered that the Lord taught in parables that seekers may hear and believe,
      but others would remain in darkness.  Math 1310-17
The psalmist reminds those who choose to reject God's wisdom will pay a high price.
He reminds them how the anger of God rose against them in the wilderness.
But in spite of their entrenched rebellion,
      he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves. ...
      With upright heart he shepherded them.

 

Psalm 79

The patient grace of God has always amazed men.
      But the question, "How long?" still lingers - even in heaven!  (Rev 610)
How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever?
      Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you,
      and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name!
      For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name;
      deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name's sake!
      Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?"

May we humbly accept God's judgement and await with patience the fulfilling of his revealed plan.
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever.
 

Psalm 80

It is always a great relief and privilege when someone listens to our concerns.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel ... and come to save us! ...
O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers? ...
You brought a vine out of Egypt; ... Why then have you broken down its walls?
Give us life, and we will call upon your name!

Today in UK it is easy to see why; for we have so wholeheartedly rejected the Lord God.
Disasters are a warning; but will this privileged nation take heed and repent?
We continue to plead for mercy.
As the next psalm reveals, it is not so much God listening to us, but will we listen to God?!
 

Psalm 81

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

But as so often happens, Israel refused and preferred to go its own way.
But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.
      So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts.

And Israel forfeited God's gracious longing:
      he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
 

Psalm 82

God has taken his place in the divine council.
      And he asks:
"How long will you judge unjustly?
      Give justice to the weak and the fatherless ...
      Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

Asaph responds:
      Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!
Does he realise that natural man will never practice true justice?
      Only the rule of God can bring lasting righteousness, compassion and change.
 

Psalm 83

Too often the enemies of Almighty God make an uproar; while he remains silent.
      They demand: "Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!
      This is as true today as when it was written nearly 3,000 years ago.
      Almost daily the Iranian and Palestinian leaders proclaim their desire to wipe Israel off the map!
The psalmist pleads with God: "Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon. ...
      O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. ...
      Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace,
            that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth."

 

Psalm 84

With God, all our best dreams come true when they originate with him.
And even in all the trials of this world he gives us a foretaste.
The sons of Korah witnessed to this truth:
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. ...
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. ...
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

 

Psalm 85

The sons of Korah realised that history and faith have a good wholesome connection.
First they quoted their history:
      LORD, you were favourable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
      You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah
      You withdrew all your wrath.

Then they prayed with faith:
      Restore us again, O God of our salvation ...
      Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints.

And thus correctly conclude:
      Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Such is the grace and mercy of God towards all who are willing to repent and believe.
 

Psalm 86

Why was David's life so often filled with trouble. He longed for peace, but rarely found it on earth.
      Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
      Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
      For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
      In the day of my trouble I call upon you.
      Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth.

Most of his 'trouble' seemed to be that he has many more enemies than friends.
      O God, insolent men have risen up against me
      But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
            slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Today Almighty God, in whom he put his trust, has fulfilled all his longing. He has no enemies now.
 

Psalm 87

The LORD loves the gates of Zion.
And of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her."
Singers and dancers alike say, "All my springs are in you."

How does the world view Jerusalem?
Far from being a city of peace; it is probably the most fought over place on earth!
      The rule over Jerusalem has changed 17 times from between 1004 BC and Christ,
      and a further 22 times in the last 1,400 years.
Only when Jesus returns to Jerusalem will the city know lasting peace.
 

Psalm 88

O LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you.
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. ...
Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves.

Currently the world is deeply troubled; but only a few follow the wise example of the sons of Korah.
It is a day of opportunity; but soon it will be too late.
O LORD, ... Why do you hide your face from me? ... I am helpless ...
Unlike Ps 42 and 43, here there is no answer, just the cry of a helpless soul.
      A cry that the merciful Lord has promised to answer. Joel 232a
 

Psalm 89

Ethan had every reason to earnestly sing of the steadfast love of the Lord.
God had promised David,
      "I have made a covenant with my chosen one ... I will establish your offspring forever."
      He shall cry to me, 'You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.'
      The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him.

God had created and rules all things:
      The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
      Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

But then (the exiled ?) Ethan cries out: How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
      Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?

 

Psalm 90

A prayer of Moses who saw how great Almighty God is.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
      from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
For a thousand years in your sight are but as ... a watch in the night. ...
We are brought to an end by your anger ... You have set our iniquities before you.
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty;
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us.

Probably the greatest evil today is the Evolution Theory. A Satanic lie that is now taught as truth.
      From this proud, arrogant man easily rejects and blasphemes the Almighty Creator God.
      He thus sees no need for Christ crucified for our forgiveness,
      and is totally careless that he will have to face the anger and Judgement of God.
Thank God for the wisdom and example of Moses.
 

Psalm 91

There can be no greater privilege than being invited to dwell with Almighty God.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day ...

With God our eternal souls are completely secure and at peace.
      But we may have to endure persecution and share some of the world's tribulation.
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place
      no evil shall be allowed to befall you
      For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

In our life on earth he will very often protect us,
      but occasionally he may have a good reason to allow us to suffer.
When the Son of God suffered on the Cross, the reason was revealed - our salvation.
When we suffer, it may have to remain a mystery in our life of trust and privilege.
 

Psalm 92

The Sabbath is intended to give a day of opportunity to praise God for his amazing creation.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD
      For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
The fool cannot understand this:
      they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O LORD, are on high forever.

And rightly so!
It is utterly ridiculous to think that there is no designer and no creator.
      Yet today we honour men whom proclaim it all just happened by chance.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree ... They still bear fruit in old age.
 

Psalm 93

The LORD reigns.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters.
Your decrees are very trustworthy.

As world events try to frighten us, let us remember this eternal truth.
 

Psalm 94

Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve!
They crush your people, O LORD, ... and they say, "The LORD does not see.
Is it wrong to desire that the wicked be crushed?

Has the psalmist given up all hope that they might be converted?
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law.
For the LORD will not forsake his people.
The LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.

The righteous are confident in the Lord; but take care that we do not become proud.
 

Psalm 95

The psalmist is rightly determined to sing praises to God.
     Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
     Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

There then comes a warning. Praise is empty if obedience is absent.
     Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
Hardened hearts will never find true, lasting peace with God.
     They shall not enter my rest.

 
Psalm 96

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples!
The LORD made the heavens. (and the earth)
Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
The LORD reigns!
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice ... for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

When he comes wickedness and all evil will be extinguished.
His longed-for righteous kingdom will be established for ever.
"And they all lived happily ever after!"
Almighty God will more than fulfill all the our best God-given dreams.

 
Psalm 97

The psalms are very distinctive; judgement is 'yes' or 'no', never 'maybe'.
The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice ...
Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. ...
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness.
Zion hears and is glad, because of your judgments, O LORD.

We can but cast ourselves before the Lord trusting in his mercy because Jesus is our Redeemer.
Our confidence is solely in the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world - and mine.

 
Psalm 98

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvellous things!
The LORD has made known his salvation.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth ... for he comes to judge the earth with righteousness
.
We can now join their gladness because God's 'steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel'
     includes believing Gentiles. Such is the grace of God to 'all the ends of the earth'.

 
Psalm 99

Worship includes thanksgiving, but this psalm reveals why it must go much further.
The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! ... let the earth quake!
Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
Holy is he!
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain;
     for the LORD our God is holy!

 
Psalm 100

Serve the LORD with gladness! ... Singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his.
His steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

There is nothing temporary about the love of God for us.
History proves his faithfulness to the children of Abraham throughout 40 centuries!

 
Psalm 101

David's earnestness in wanting holiness and to walk with God is very commendable.
Oh when will you come to me?
But this psalm seems to be mostly about what David is going to do to earn God's favour.
     Holiness is more a gift of God's grace than a human achievement.
To you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will walk with integrity of heart.
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.
I will know nothing of evil.
Whoever slanders his neighbour secretly I will destroy.
No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house.
I will destroy all the wicked in the land.

 
Psalm 102

Hear my prayer, O LORD; Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress!
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop. All the day my enemies taunt me.

His personal plight mirrored that of the nation which was his principal distress.
I wither away like grass. But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever ...
You will arise and have pity on Zion ... the appointed time has come.
For the LORD builds up Zion; he appears in his glory
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth ...
The children of your servants shall dwell secure.

The history of Israel will prove the grace and faithfulness of Almighty God.

 
Psalm 103

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
     who forgives all your iniquity,
     who heals all your diseases,
     who redeems your life from the pit,
     who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.

Life often flows along a familiar path and I can forget all that the Lord has done and does for me.
The Lord made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
     He does not deal with us according to our sins.
     As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

 
Psalm 104

This beautiful psalm describes in detail how God created the heavens and all in this earth,
      and now he still orders it - in spite of man's selfish, greedy abuse.
God created all the land, water and weather; all the creatures; all the resources; all the physics and chemistry.
      magnetism, electricity, gravity, love and the 5 senses. All the inter-dependant systems. Everything!
      (There is 11.2 times more sea than volume of land above sea level)
The writer concludes:
O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,
      who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!

 
Psalm 105

A psalm of thanksgiving based largely upon the history of God rescuing Israel from Egypt. (Vv 7-45)
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done.
He remembers his covenant forever.

Gratitude based upon facts and the faithfulness of God, not vague future hope.

 
Psalm 106

History teaches us many things. The writer here rehearses how often Israel disobeyed their God.
      Though he often punished them, they were slow to learn.
As a nation, UK today has largely forgotten Almighty God and church leaders have compromised.
It should not surprise us that God sends judgement; but it does surprise us.
History is important. We need to admit: Both we and our fathers have sinned.
      And learn from history the consequences.
Yet he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make known his mighty power.
But they continued to rebel and sinned.
Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people.
Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry.
      For their sake he remembered his covenant.

So the sin, punishment, crying and forgiveness cycle was continually repeated.
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations,
      that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.

 
Psalm 107

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
      Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.

How does the Lord reveal his 'steadfast love'?
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in.
      He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, for they had rebelled against the words of God
      He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death.
Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction
      He sent out his word and healed them.
Some went down to the sea in ships ... they reeled and staggered like drunken men.
      He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Each of these first had to cry to the Lord in their distress.
Many refuse to humble themselves, even in the depths of their trouble.
      Refusing to admit any personal fault, they blame everyone and everything else.
      Almighty God turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, ...
            because of the evil of its inhabitants.
But to all who repent and seek God the end is very different.
      Almighty God turns a desert into pools of water, ...
            there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;
            they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. ...
            he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.

Conclusion?
      Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.
He was pierced for our transgressions,
And bruised for our iniquities,
And to bring us peace he was punished,
And by his stripes we are healed.

 
Psalm 108

David is determined to be one with God.
My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Even with all his intellect and ability David needed more than just God's help.
Let your glory be over all the earth! That your beloved ones may be delivered
Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

 
Psalm 109

David once more pleads with God to defeat his many enemies.
Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause.

He takes a personal vengeance against his enemies.
May his days be few ... May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow!
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD!

David should be commended for his honesty; even if his thoughts are not helpful.
He continues: But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name's sake
      For I am poor and needy, ... I am gone like a shadow at evening
      Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love!
      With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD.

 
Psalm 110

The world and its ungodly rulers have all but destroyed God's fantastic creation
      and because of their pride and greed have rejected His offer of salvation.
God knew this would happen, but still created. His plan will be completed and heaven will be filled.
The LORD says to my Lord (his Son): "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."
The plan had to include the coming and the crucifixion of Christ,
      and his current time seated at his Father's side awaiting the day of his imminent return as King.
David saw and believed this promise of Almighty God:
      The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty sceptre. Rule in the midst of your enemies!
      The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
      He will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations.
      He will drink from the brook by the way !

Everything about our God is amazing.

 
Psalm 111

Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
The LORD is gracious and merciful.
      He provides food for those who fear him;
      he remembers his covenant forever. ... He sent redemption to his people
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.

How different are the words and works of God from those of man.
All scripture is true and so reliable. Compare that with the BBC news!!

 
Psalm 112

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!
God's commands and laws are not a burden, but 'precious' - Ps 197-11 even if sometimes difficult.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
The Word of God brings wisdom, truth and forgiveness.
The way of God, his directives, are always best, even if we don't know his reasoning.
In pain and the shared tribulation of the world, His heart is steady; he will not be afraid.
      O to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be ...

 
Psalm 113

The Lord is worthy of our praise all day, every day.
Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!
      From the rising of the sun to its setting,
The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!

Yet so many ignore him and are ignorant of all his handiwork;
      from the microscopic to furthest stars,
      and his compassion for the poorest peasants to the richest kings.

 
Psalm 114

When Israel went out from Egypt ... Judah became his sanctuary.
The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams.
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord.

The world today needs to learn to bow in awe before Almighty God.

 
Psalm 115

The proof of the Lord Almighty is, and always has been in his creation for all to see and appreciate.
Israel and the church should also be a good witness, but we have too often failed in this.
Why should the nations say, Where is their God?"
The world scoffs and blasphemes against God. They make all sorts of idols.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see; ears, but do not hear ...
Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

What utter folly! All idols are dead. They have no soul.
O Israel, trust in the LORD!
The heavens are the LORD's heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.
The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence.
But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

 
Psalm 116

Today many are encouraged to seek the Lord for the blessing of a better, easier life.
This psalmist reveals a far better reason:
      for eternal life he needed the mercy and forgiveness of God.
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
      Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.
      For you have delivered my soul from death.

What was his response to God's gracious deliverance?
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
      I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
O LORD, I am your servant ... You have loosed my bonds.
      I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

 
Psalm 117

A simple 2 verse psalm that expresses a great lasting truth for all nations, not just Israel.
Praise the LORD, all nations!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
      and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

 
Psalm 118

"His steadfast love endures forever."
When Almighty God shakes his world and all men are troubled,
      this truth will maintain our hope and faith in him.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

This is always true. Do not trust gold or our own ability - both are fallible.
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

 
Psalm 119

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.

This is true. But the big problem is that no man can achieve this however hard he tries.
The psalmist realises this too.
      Oh that my ways may be steadfast.
His determination to do his very best fills the rest of this, the longest psalm:
      I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
      Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
      My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
      Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
      I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and keep your law.
      The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!
      Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
      My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.
      In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
      Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
      Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
      You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.
      The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
      Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.
      The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
      Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!
      I long for your salvation, O LORD ... Let my soul live and praise you.

Throughout this long psalm the writer, who continually meditates upon God's word,
      still longs for salvation, God's salvation, that brings an eternal and righteous life.
Knowledge and determination cannot bring salvation, only trusting in Christ crucified can do so;
      the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God, who alone can take away the sin of the world.
The fulness of this gracious truth would not be revealed to the world for another 1,000 years,
      when God would grant the longing of this psalmist's heart.

 
Psalm 120

First of 15 'Songs of Ascents'; the journey up to the city of God.
The writer first gives us his reason.
      In my distress I called to the LORD, ...
      Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.
He was tired of living among wicked, deceitful men,
      and the constant war against evil.
Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.
      I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

The Lord reveals his answer; but not in this psalm.
      Immoveable our hope remains,
      Within the veil our anchor lies;
      Jesus, who washed us from our stains
      Shall bear us safely to the skies.

      Founded on Christ, secure we stand,
      Sealed with his Spirit's inward seal;
      We soon shall gain the promised land,
      Triumphant o'er the powers of hell.

 
Psalm 121

We all need help; though some may pretend they don't.
Who or where is the best help to be found?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
      From this time forth and forevermore.

Only the Lord's help is always effective and consistent.
Often we need help to understand why some things happen.
      He enables us to believe All things work together for good to those who love God.  Ro 828-39

 
Psalm 122

"Let us go to the house of the LORD!"
Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.

But historically Jerusalem has yet to become bound firmly together.  Therefore:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they be secure who love you!"
Only when Jesus returns will Jerusalem find the prayed for peace that the Jews have longed for.
Jerusalem has been ruled by 39 different peoples over last 3,000 years. Ironic name 'Salem' = 'Peace'.
No other capital city has been so fought over in world history.

 
Psalm 123

With so much unrest and uncertainty in the world it is good to lift up our eyes to the enthroned Lord.
So our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
The writer is tired of the continuous scorn and contempt of the world for Almighty God.
Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
The tribulation judgement of God should curb the complacency and pride of the wicked.
But Rev 169,11,21 reveals that men will choose to curse God rather than repent.

 
Psalm 124

Sometimes it is good to look back and see the kindness and grace of the Lord.
And then couple this with the great faithfulness of God for the future.
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us,
      then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us.
Blessed be the LORD ... We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers.

So the right conclusion is: Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
      And what is any man when compared with our Creator!

 
Psalm 125

This psalm reveals and assures us of a simple and most comforting truth:
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people.
For the sceptre of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous.

Down through the ages many saints and martyrs longed for a better and promised country.
      Now they have found that the faithful Lord has kept this, his word.  See Heb 1113-16

 
Psalm 126

Restoration is a common longing, especially in times of distress.
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Even the Gentiles acknowledged what the Lord had done - albeit reluctantly!
Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
Israel continues to pray and long for the Lord’s coming.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
      shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

This harvest day will surely come when they will shout for joy.
      And we Gentile believers will rejoice with Zion.

 
Psalm 127

Men build structures that are beautiful and have technology, civil and military, that amazes us;
      but without the Lord they cannot found anything that is based upon righteousness, truth and justice.
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Many toil with anxiety and workacholics strive without the peace of God.
Sometimes the righteous work and their Lord gives to his beloved sleep.
But it should be remembered that neither sleep nor the blessing of children
      can be used as a measure of personal righteousness; each are simply a gift from God -
      given to some and denied to others.

 
Psalm 128

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!
      But we should be aware of what being 'Blessed' means. See life of Jacob after  Gen 359
Wisdom - whose beginning is the fear of the Lord - is also a great blessing.
God gives us excellent instruction as to how to walk in righteousness.
      Though man is naturally foolish and thinks he knows a better way;
            he is surprised when he is not blessed and peace on earth is so rare!

 
Psalm 129

David suffered greatly from his step brothers who envied his obvious ability from the start.
      To keep the peace he was sent out to look after the family sheep.
Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.
It is for the Lord to judge the wicked; but it seems that David wanted to lend a hand!
The LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.
      May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward!

 
Psalm 130

This is a remarkable psalm; filled with honest repentance and hope based upon God’s Word.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
      Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
      But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.

The writer not only pleads for himself, but also for his nation of Israel.
O Israel, hope in the LORD!
      And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

This encouraging truth is happening today, though still far from complete.

 
Psalm 131

David had moments of severe depression.
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvellous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul.

 
Psalm 132

David swore, "I will not enter my house or get into my bed, ...
      until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob."

He brought the Ark into Jerusalem, but it was Solomon who built the first Temple.
Almighty God always desires to dwell with his chosen people - Jews and Gentiles.
For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place
I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy.
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame.

God will complete this, his great desire, however remote this may seem in today’s corrupt

 
world. Psalm 133

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
Indeed so. But 'to agree to disagree' is not unity;
      it only pretends that the disagreement doesn't matter.
Unity requires an honest, open mind that is also willing to admit it can be wrong.

 
Psalm 134

Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD ...
May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!

Note that the blessing flows in both directions.
Some may find it surprising that we can be a blessing to Almighty God.

 
Psalm 135

For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.
What a privilege! He chose us and drew us to him; not we chose him  Jn 644
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does ... He it is who makes the clouds ... for the rain.
Blessed be the LORD ... who dwells in Jerusalem! Even this pleases him!

 
Psalm 136

This psalm has a single definite message:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Each of the 26 verses give a testimony, a reason for repeating the second phrase.
      The love of the Lord is steadfast, it never fades, it has been proven to endure.
So it is only right that we should Give thanks to the God of heaven.
Let us each make a personal list that proves the consistent love of God.
      It could be many more the just 26!

 
Psalm 137

People in power often delight to gloat over their slaves. The Babylonians were no exception.
By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
      "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

In their long and troubled history the Jews have had to learn difficult lessons; this is one:
      How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?
One day the saved will sing praise for ever in Jerusalem in the very presence of the King of kings.
      And moreover, they will never have to ask this question again.

 
Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart ...
      for your steadfast love and your faithfulness ...
      for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

David had good reason to be grateful to the Lord who had repeatedly rescued him.
      He knew from experience God’s love, faithfulness, and the Name and the truth of his Word. (1 Sam 1745)
You stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.
And throughout all the many twists and turns of his life he confirms:
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me.
He wrote 79 psalms, killed the blasphemous Goliath,
      became King and captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites.
      He brought the Ark to Jerusalem and made all the preparations for Solomon to build the Temple.
      As promised, Jesus the Saviour was a direct descendant.

 
Psalm 139

David was very aware that Almighty God knew all about him, both past and future.
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! ... and are acquainted with all my ways. ...
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. ...
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

But David was always aware of his many enemies.
      His enemies were God’s enemies. And God’s enemies were his enemies.
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! ... They speak against you with malicious intent ...
      Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?

He was aware that he also was defective:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
      And see if there be any grievous way in me,
      And lead me in the way everlasting!

God was pleased to answer this prayer and lead him in the way of salvation.

 
Psalm 140

David, like most men, longed for physical peace and freedom not having to guard against deceit.
Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men;
      preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart ...
O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation ... Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.

 
Psalm 141

David yearns for righteousness and truth.
O LORD, I call upon you ... Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth ...
Do not let my heart incline to any evil.
My eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge ...
Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.

He was a fighter who seems more concerned with his own life than with the conversion of others.

 
Psalm 142

David prays from an Engedi cave while on the run from Saul.
With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
No refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.
      You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.
Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name!

Saul had also been anointed, so David rightly refused to attack him.
Only the Lord could deal with his enemy.
When Saul fell on his own sword, David was relieved, but not pleased.
See hymn 'None is like Jeshurun’s God ...'
      All his enemies are gone;
      Sin shall have in him no part,
      Israel now shall dwell alone
      With Jesus in his heart.

This was what David desired - and we do too!

 
Psalm 143

David continues his desperate plea. Only Almighty God could rescue him.
Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy!
For the enemy has pursued my soul ... Therefore my spirit faints within me.
I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!

The gracious Lord granted his request.
      But he was 'on the run' from Saul for some 13 years.  (1 Sam 18-31)

 
Psalm 144

Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war.
David was always a man of war. Successful because he trusted in the Lord.
Bright and strong, yet knew his weakness.
O LORD, what is man that you regard him ...
      Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners,
      whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

 
Psalm 145

In all David’s many trials he is not slow in giving thanks to God.
Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD upholds all who are falling
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

When our eyes are opened to see all that the Lord has done and continues to do,
      it is easy for our hearts to be filled with wonder, love and praise.
Lord, please keep my eyes open.

 
Psalm 146

This psalm puts all life into a proper perspective, with Almighty God at the centre.
Foolish men have always tried in vain to enthrone themselves.
I will praise the LORD as long as I live.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
      who made heaven and earth ...
      who keeps faith forever;
      who executes justice for the oppressed,
      who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
      the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
      the LORD loves the righteous.
But the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

 
Psalm 147

The Lord God remains very active in his creation; sometimes popular and sometimes controversial.
      Either way he remains the King of Kings.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.

Some men rejoice in this truth; but most are quite careless concerning God’s Word.
      May they realise their folly before it is too late.

 
Psalm 148

An injunction to everyone and everything to Praise the Lord!
Angels and even all creatures, mountains, trees, birds, that he created.
And especially kings of the earth and all people, princes ... old men and children.
The evolution theory lie denies Almighty God all praise that is so obviously his due.
So It is not surprising that the world will suffer much for believing this lie.
Disobedience is costly. Praising God is not so much a duty, but it is a delight.
      O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
      Consider all the worlds thy hand has made ...
      Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee
      How great thou art, how great thou art.

 
Psalm 149

Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Indeed so. Sadly most of Israel does not honour God as Creator or King. Neither does UK.
But individually, the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
Amazing!
Let the high praises of God be in their throats
      and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations.

While we are engaged in a continuous battle against all wickedness,
      we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against authorities, ...
      against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
 Eph 612
When surrounded and ruled by evil men it is difficult to discern who or what we are actually fighting against.

 
Psalm 150

Final psalm of richly deserved praise to the Lord.
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Amen!

 

Proverbs         [Contents]

Mostly written by king Solomon He could never match the ability of his father David on the battlefield, so he turned his mind and goal to seek God for wisdom, discernment and truth. See 1 Kgs 3. And the Lord gave him great wisdom, as revealed in this writing. Knowing what to believe and how to behave is one thing, but to practice it is quite another. We all need the mercy and grace of God together with a new birth if we are to be righteous. We are all naturally ignorant, foolish and in need of God’s truth and wisdom. King Solomon, in spite of his God-given wisdom, broke God’s command and chose to love many foreign women ... when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 1 Kgs 111,4
We need to ‘hear’ what he wrote, but obviously not follow his example.
Wisdom is not how to be successful, but how to be godly. When Provebs speaks of wisdom, it speaks of Jesus Christ.
Blessed are the meek; they are always seeking to learn of God and understand the days in which we live.

11-7
The goal defined
To know wisdom and instruction.
He opens with the great truth - the need for all men to learn wisdom and to take heed to it. By the grace of God to ‘trust and obey’ him and his directives.
Wisdom includes receiving instruction, practising righteousness, justice, equity, prudence ... discretion ... learning .... guidance.
It has its beginning, its start in this:
      The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
            fools despise wisdom and instruction.
18-19
Wisdom of parents
The first proverb: children should heed their parents advice about peer pressure.
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, ...
      we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder ...
      Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain.

The 'love of money’ is a common enticement, and is not limited to thieving.
Deceitful gain is just as bad as breaking open a safe or shop-lifting.
This parental advice is both wise and necessary to stop the ‘root of all evil’ growing
120-33
Fools despise reproof
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
The answer is simple, but unpopular:
      You refused to listen, ... and would have none of my reproof.
      Proud man remains foolish because he cannot admit his need
      e.g. Very able, clever men like Attenborough and Dawkins remain fools.
            They choose to remain deluded - and will suffer the consequences.
      In the day when terror strikes ... and your calamity comes ... I will not answer.
      God says it will then be too late because they despised all my reproof.

      See also Ps 141 531
21-22
Wisdom must be sought
If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, ...
Then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God ...
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
      discretion will watch over you ... delivering you from the way of evil. ...
But the wicked will be cut off from the land.
31-12
Meekness
A meek spirit is not weak but trusts and sees the need for revelation and obedience.
Here are four examples and applications, especially for leaders:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
      and do not lean on your own understanding ...
Be not wise in your own eyes;
      fear the LORD, and turn away from evil ...
Honour the LORD with your wealth
      and with the firstfruits of all your produce ...
Do not despise the LORD'S discipline or be weary of his reproof,
      for the LORD reproves him whom he loves.

As James would later write:
By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 313
One of the greatest leaders in Scripture was Moses, of whom it says,
      Now the man Moses was very meek,
            more than all people who were on the face of the earth.
 Num 123
313-35
Wisdom blesses all
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom ...       She is more precious than jewels. ...       She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her. ... The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;       by understanding he established the heavens.
4,5
Wisdom avoids all sin
Do not enter the path of the wicked
The lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him.
61-19
Practical warnings
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
A perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord.

The Lord hates:
      1. Haughty eyes
      2. A lying tongue
      3. Hands that shed innocent blood
      4. A heart that devises wicked plans
      5. Feet that make haste to run to evil
      6. A false witness
      7. One who sows discord among brothers.

 

620and 727
Warning about adultery
The danger of this is well summarised in 627 and 722
      Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?
      As a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

Jesus warns that it not only the physical act but says everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  Math 528
81-36
Selective correction
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
      reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Unless we recognise the greatness of Almighty God,
      faith can easily be false, self-confident leaders flourish
      and God’s just judgement and forgiveness in Christ is ignored.
The wise man will listen to correction and welcome it.
101 - 1533
 
There follows an wide variety of individual proverbs. These are a selection:
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit.  (See Ps 733 and 17)
The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
      but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool.
A false balance is an abomination to the LORD.
The wicked earns deceptive wages,
      but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
      another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
      another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
      but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
      but a fool is reckless and careless.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household.

161 - 2030
 
The LORD has made everything for its purpose,
      even the wicked for the day of trouble.
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
How much better to get wisdom than gold!
Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
      and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
      but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
      but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
      but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
Even a child makes himself known by his acts.
Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
      but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.
211 - 2422
 
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
      will himself call out and not be answered.
Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man;
      he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
      even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity.
The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit.
Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.
Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless.
Be not envious of evil men ... By wisdom a house is built.
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls ... lest the LORD see it and be displeased.
2423 - 2927
 
A little sleep, a little slumber, ... and poverty will come upon you like a robber.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver
      Like a gold ring ... is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat ... and the LORD will reward you.
Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honour is not fitting for a fool.
Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
For lack of wood the fire goes out,
      and where there is no whisperer, quarrelling ceases.
Whoever digs a pit will fall into it.
Better is a neighbour who is near than a brother who is far away.
A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike.
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
      than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
      but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
      but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched.
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing,
      but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
The righteous care about justice for the poor,
      but the wicked have no such concern.
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
      but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
301-33
Sayings of Agur
Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Two things I ask of you, O LORD:
      Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
      Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
            Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you ...
            Or I may become poor and steal.

There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
      the grave,
      the barren womb,
      land, which is never satisfied with water,
      and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up:
      a servant who becomes king,
      a fool who is full of food,
      an unloved woman who is married,
      and a maidservant who displaces her mistress.

311-31
Words of King Lemuel
It is not for kings to drink wine.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household.
She opens her hand to the poor.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
A woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

 

Ecclesiastes         [Contents]

Who was ‘the Preacher’? Probably Solomon. Why did he write this book?

Ecc 11-11
‘All is vanity’
Vanity = temporary, like the morning mist, not substantial or lasting.
The first question is: What does man gain by all the toil?
It does not effect when the sun rises or sets.
All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full.
What has been is what will be ... there is nothing new under the sun.

This is true if, but only if we consider our life, and the life of everyone else as being just a few years between birth and death. But it is much more than that.
There are only a few Alexander Flemings or Hitlers who have changed the lives of millions. Most are like the humble bee that lives about 6 weeks and brings but one teaspoon of nectar; but without each of them there would be no hive!

Is he asking what is the purpose of this life on earth if our work changes nothing ?
To the humanist then life is largely pointless.
But God’s purpose in creating us is certainly not vanity; but the start of a fellowship and life with him that is eternal. How can anyone call that vanity?
This ‘preacher’ needs the touch of the Lord to see the unseen life and plan of God.
My question is: why has the Almighty included this book?!

Ecc 112-18
Wisdom
The ‘preacher’ used his wisdom to understand all that is done under heaven.
Is he trying to understand why there is endless war, disease, disasters ... ?
This is indeed an unhappy business, a fruitless task. If this ‘king’, with all his resources used his wisdom to build hospitals and relieve the poor he would not find this an unhappy business. He who increases knowledge increases sorrow is certainly not always true. It depends on the goal of that knowledge. The men and women who recently searched for, and found, an effective vaccine for Covid 19 did not find sorrow. They found the justified satisfaction and gratitude of millions. Those who search the skies seeking to understand the distant galaxies do not find sorrow. Many find great wonder at God’s amazing creation, its laws and variety. And this does not require modern telescopes or a Hubble satellite.
The ‘preacher’ writes: In much wisdom is much vexation. If ‘wisdom’ is trying to fathom the depths of some mystery, that is often frustrating. But if wisdom is appreciating the truth that the Lord God is pleased to reveal, that is a delight. As the psalmist wrote, It is sweeter than honey and more precious than gold. Ps 19
This ‘preacher’ declares: What is crooked cannot be made straight. O, yes it can!!
This was the whole purpose of the Son of God coming to his creation. To forgive sin, to bring new life, new birth. To do what man cannot do for himself, or others, however able or determined. But our Redeemer can, and he does, as was promised in Isaiah 403,4 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Ecc 21-11
Self-indulgence
“Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.”
      But behold, this also was vanity.

Hedonistic man will search for pleasure in what riches can buy, in wine, in sex, popularity, flying a small aeroplane ... He may well find pleasure, but it will be short lived. It is as the mist that soon evaporates. Vanity. He may take photos from the tops of mountains, of places he visited or people he met to try to remind him of the occasions. Solomon sought satisfaction with 700 wives and 300 concubines. But his wives turned away his heart from the Lord, who was angry with him.  1 Kg 111-13
Little wonder he called this vanity. With the consequent anger of the Lord, this could well be called vanity ++ ! The Wesley brothers and the Oxford Holy Club made a habit of visiting the men held in prison (Latimer and Bilney did the same). This kindness is the opposite of self-indulgence. It brought satisfaction to them and much relief to the prisoners. Today the Daylight Prison Trust continue this work. The kingdom of heaven is greatly enriched and vanity is nowhere to be seen.
Ecc 212-17
Living wisely
This section starts well and true. There is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.
But then he slips off track and says: “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” ... This also is vanity ... seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten.
Where did his ‘wisdom’ lead him? It clearly was not founded in the fear of the Lord.
Is it possible that the Lord our Redeemer would forget one for whom he had been willing to be crucified in order to save? The Shepherd who had 99 sheep safely protected in the fold went out searching for the one that had strayed. This ‘preacher’ seems to have no realisation of God’s plan of salvation for sinful man or the wise!
Ecc 218-26
Toil
I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me ... This also is vanity. ... So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair ... all his days are full of sorrow.
For whom did he toil? Himself or others? When Jesus ministered for over 3 years on earth, he toiled to bring men truth, forgiveness, righteousness and also to heal, deliver and bring to life. Yes, he was called a man of sorrows and was acquainted with grief.  Is 533  Yes, there were times when he wept. But he completed all that he came to earth to achieve for us. He would also have been delighted to hear his Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” He wrote the words that the Psalmist records, Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.  Ps 305
Ecc 31-8
Everything has a time
These verses are among the most well known in Ecclesiastes.
For everything there is a season:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

We need to discern when each is appropriate; when it is God’s time or his choice.
It is best to seek God’s way rather than use the verse as an excuse to do what I want.
Ecc 39-15
God’s work
On the third day of creation God designed and created all the vegetation to sprout and spread everywhere on the earth. On the fifth day he created all the fish and the birds. Then on the sixth day he created all the animals. And he told all the fish, birds and animals to multiply. He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Indeed so.

Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Does this mean that God has intentionally recorded the creation so that we cannot know how, when and even what he designed and created - first all the planets and stars and then all that is living. Today man is very misled by the Evolution Theory lie that totally and foolishly denies any creation by Almighty God.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever;
      nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it.

This is the opposite of ‘vanity’ that is always temporary and transient.
It should be noted that it is God, not man, who reveals that this earth will in the end be destroyed and God will create a new heaven and a new earth.  Rev 2110
And God will reveal the purpose of all the created universe with its millions of stars (each one is a galaxy with millions of solar systems) together with a huge abundance of invisible ‘dark matter’ !

Ecc 316-22
Judgement
I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked.
Clearly there will come a day when all will be judged. First to determine our destiny by whether our names are written in the Book of Life, and then to determine our reward according to records in the Books.  See Rev 2011-15

What happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. ... All are from the dust, and to dust all return.
It is obviously true that both man and animals are born, and they live and they die.
But the similarity is only true for the physical body. God made man a very special creature, quite different from animals. We are created in the image of God, having an eternal soul. The ‘preacher’ does not appear to appreciate that in this passage.

Ecc 41-16
The Oppressed
Behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.
So the ‘Preacher’ concluded that the dead who are already dead are more fortunate than the living. ...
better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds.

Under such a depressed illusion, ‘all is vanity’

One person who has no other ... This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
Certainly this can be difficult, but not necessarily unhappy. Consider Paul.

A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
This is a precious truth, but the ‘preacher’ fails to mention that the first person of the trio is the Lord God.

He considers the way of a king. There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity.
There were few who mourned the passing of Solomon who virtually enslaved the people of Israel and also his foreign wives caused idol worship to prosper.

Ecc 51-7
Wise advice
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools.
For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.

To whom did the ‘Preacher’ listen. And whom did he obey?
Ecc 58 - 729
Vanity of wealth
      (Rarely seen as such
There has probably never been a richer king than Solomon. But wealth is more often a stumbling block than an advantage.
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money.
Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them ... this is the gift of God.
Really? It is better to give than receive.  Act 2035
But Solomon did not experience or appreciate this. He just wrote:
There is an evil ... God gives wealth, possessions, and honour, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity.
To selfishly keepall that we have is lost opportunity. And it forfeits much joy.
For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life.
God knows. And he shares it with those to whom he gives a generous spirit.

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other.  And he will enable the reverse too!  Ro 53-5

It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.

Ecc 81-9
Obey the king
Keep the king's command, because of God's oath to him.
Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases.

These are just two sentences; but the last phrase is somewhat alarming,
      and in the case of Solomon sadly it is true.
      And worse, what pleased him with his foreign wives angered the Lord.
Much of what Solomon said was wise; but not everything. Beware!
Ecc 810-13
Fear the Lord
The sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily.
Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life ...
      But it will not be well with the wicked ... because he does not fear before God.

Long years do not prove that a man is righteous or that he is wicked.
Ecc 814 - 910
Bad advice
Both the righteous and the wicked can have either an easy of a difficult life.
The ‘preacher’ says: This also is vanity.
I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun
      but to eat and drink and be joyful.
 (Also 224 97 1019)
On this occasion the ‘preacher’ gives some bad advice, which he repeats.
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing.
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart,
      for God has already approved what you do.

In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus says the man who said “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry”, was a fool.  Lu 1213-21
Ecc 911,12
Time and chance
The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, ... but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time.
In life there are man surprises and coincidences, but our God is never surprised.
And it is safe to trust him with all our future.
Ecc 913 - 1212
Wise proverbs
The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war.
Nations have always been slow to apply this wisdom.

If the iron is blunt, ...he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.
A fool multiplies words.

He who digs a pit will fall into it.

Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,
      for a bird of the air will carry your voice.

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

If a tree falls to the south or to the north,
      in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand,
      for you do not know which will prosper.

Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes.
      But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.

Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Ecc 128,13
Summary
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
1. The preacher should practice what he preaches. Solomon failed to do so.
2. Forgiveness and faith is by hearing the Word of God and believing the prophets and what Christ has fulfilled to redeem us. Without Christ, and the new birth he gives us, no man can keep his commandments.

 

Song of Songs         [Contents]

This little book is one of the least read in the Bible. It is a series of poems that beautifully describe the pure and godly development of the relationship between a man and a woman. Its great value to the Christian is seen when applied allegorically to describe the relationship between Christ and his bride. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, wrote a most helpful little book, ‘Union and Communion’, to which I am much indebted for these thoughts.

Song 12 - 27  The Unsatisfied Life and its Remedy

The allegorical song opens with one who is alone and longing for a Saviour.
Your name is like perfume poured out ...take me away with you ... 13
Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock ...
      Why should I be like a veiled woman ...
17
It is like the opening verse of Ps 46
      As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  Ps 421

The onlookers tell her how to find him:
If you do not know ... Follow the tracks of the sheep ... 18
In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian longs to escape from the City of Destruction.
      Evangelist “Do you see in the distance a small Wicket-Gate?”
      Christian “No.”
      Evangelist “Do you see a shining light?”
      Christian “Yes.”
      Evangelist “Go directly towards it and you will find the Gate.
            Knock, and you will be told what to do next.”
Then I saw in my dream that the man ran towards the light that he could see.
Many in the city tried to stop him, but he refused to listen, and ran all the faster.
Seekers of God are told to ‘Follow the tracks’
      The way that men and women have made down the centuries;
            tracks that lead to Christ and the redeeming Cross.
God has made an enduring promise to all who have this deep longing:
      If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him
            if you seek him with all your heart.
 Deut 429  Jer 2913  Heb 116
This is the heart of this song: Our longing, our dreams of being accepted
      by the Lord Almighty, Saviour and Friend, will be fulfilled!
They meet, and in an imagined passionate conversation of love at first sight.
BG (Bridegroom) How beautiful you are, my darling!
      Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.
B (Bride) How handsome you are my lover! Oh how charming!
      And our bed is verdant. (green)
BG The beams of our house are cedars; and our rafters firs.
B I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
BG Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens ...
B Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover
      among the young men. 19 - 23

Then the scene changes; they are together in the palace.
B He has taken me to the banquet hall and his banner over me is love.
      His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.
24,5
But the ideal does not last. For a moment it was ‘too good to be true.

Song 28 - 35 Communion Broken and Restored

She is at home and alone - longing for the relationship that had started to be reignited.
B Listen! My Lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains ...
      My Lover is like a gazelle ... Look! There he stands behind our wall ...
      And in her mind:
      My lover spoke and said to me,
            “Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
            See! the winter is past; the rains are over and gone,
            flowers appear on the earth; and the season of singing has come ...
            Arise, come my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”
28-13
This dream is so idealistic, so romantic. If only ...

In fact Jesus has come ‘leaping across the mountains’ - from heaven to earth -
      but he came to be crucified on a cruel cross.
      He came to be the One who would be ‘despised and rejected’.
      Yet he did not give up for a moment. He died; and he rose!

Perhaps she realised it was an unrealistic dream.
For in 215 she cries out:
      Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards ...
      Foxes kill, they wantonly destroy with lethal cunning.
Men also destroy what is good. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unwittingly.

Then she realises the ‘all or nothing’ character of the Kingdom of God.
      She wants to enjoy the world and its paltry toys for a few moments more.
Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my lover,
      and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.
217
So he went. He left her.
Then alone, she soon realised her folly - and grieved.
All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves;
      I looked for him but did not find him.
      I will get up now and go about the city ...
      I will search for the one my heart loves.
      So I looked for him but did not find him.
      She asks the watchmen: “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
      Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves.
      I held him and would not let him go ...
31-4
Jacob cried out at Peniel, I will not let you go unless you bless me.  Gen 3226

Song 36 - 51 Unbroken Communion

Come out, you daughters of Zion, and look at king Solomon wearing the crown,
      the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding,
            the day his heart rejoiced.

And we hear again the BG exclaiming the beauty of his B.
      How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful ...
      All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
      Come with me ... You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride ...
      How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
      How much more pleasing is your love than wine ...
41-11

But the response of his bride was not complete, not yet perfect.
      You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
            you are a spring (of water) enclosed, a sealed fountain ...
412
There was some character flaw, some experience in her past, some distraction
      that prevented her love to flow freely.
She is painfully aware of her inadequacy and cries out to God:
      Awake, north wind (cold), and come, south wind! (hot)
      Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad.
      Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.
416
Ever attentive to her needs the BG immediately assures her:
      I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride ... 51

Song 52 - 610 Communion again Broken and Restored

There was a serious problem: and the Bridegroom was outside (but not gone away).
      In fact he was pleading at the door!
      I slept, but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking:
      “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one.
      My head is drenched with dew ...
52
When does the dew fall? In the evening!
      So he had been waiting at the door all night, patiently knocking.
She says:
      I have taken off my robe - must I put it on again?
      I have washed my feet - must I soil them again?
53 c.f. Lu 1416-20
My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
      my heart began to pound for him.
I arose to open for my lover, and my hands dripped with myrrh ...
      I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone.
55,6
What was the problem? Why had he gone? Had he become impatient? No.
      Augustus Toplady gives us the answer:
            Nothing in my hand I bring,
            Simply to thy cross I cling;
            Naked come to thee for dress;
            Helpless look to thee for grace:
            Foul, I to the fountain fly;
            Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

      She had tried to win Bridegroom’s approval with myrrh,
            with her own cleansing, her own works.
      For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - (in Christ crucified) not by works  Eph 28,9
      We were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.  Ro 510
Christ will not allow his blood to be diluted.
She then goes on an urgent hunt.
      She is beaten by the city watchmen. 57
      But she doesn’t cry “how unjust” but only Tell him I am faint with love. 58
And when the onlookers ask her about the Saviour she does not yet know, she says:
      My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
            His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven ..
. 510-16
There is not even a suspicion of complaint.
When asked where this mysterious Lover was, she replies:
      My lover has gone down to his garden ... to browse in the garden and gather lilies.
      I am my lover’s and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies.
62,3
At last she knew the truth. The Holy Spirit had revealed it to her.

Song 611 - 84 Fruits of Recognised Union

Now she was in the same garden and nothing separated them again.
She hears him sings:
      You are beautiful, my darling, lovely as Jerusalem ...
      My dove, my perfect one is unique.
64,9
He describes her in beautiful poetry.

And then she declares the binding and eternal truth:
      I belong to my lover and his desire is for me.
      Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside,
            Let us go early to the vineyards.
710-12

Song 85-14 Unrestricted Communion

All her dreams are now reality:
      His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.
      Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.
83
The onlookers see the result and exclaim:
      Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover? 85
      Even the best of this world is a desert. Our Saviour delights for us to lean on him.
            and be led by him to the water and righteousness - together for ever!
      As Jacob also leaned upon his Staff from Peniel, till he died.  Gen 3231 4731
      Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle. 814
      Together they enjoyed all the grace, agility and fulness of eternal life.

 

Isaiah         [Contents]

Isaiah = 'The Lord saves'. He was a contemporary of Amos, Hosea, Micah and possibly Joel when Assyria was the local superpower who had exiled the northern tribes of Israel in 722BC. Isaiah 1-39 speak of Judgement, while 40-66 prophesy restoration and deliverance - and not surprisingly is the part that is most well-known! The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah reigned in Jerusalem ~750-700 BC.

Isaiah 11-17
Judah - a sinful nation
Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the Lord has spoken:
"I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. ...
Ah, sinful nation, ... children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
      and turned their backs on him."

This accurate summary of Judah was dismissed - my people do not understand.
They did not respect the privilege of being God's chosen people,
      nor did they understand the consequences of forsaking the Lord.
Isaiah knew, and was called as a prophet to correct this folly.
He asked, "Why do you persist in rebellion? ...
Your country desolate ... your fields are being stripped by foreigners?
Hear the word of the Lord."

How does the Lord see Judah?
He hates all their insincere sacrifices
“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? Why? Because their lives were rotten, violent, and they worshipped other gods.
Isaiah 118-31
Judah - a sinful nationGod's reasoning
With amazing grace the Lord says,
      "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord.
      "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."

The Lord does not 'reason' with nations but with individuals.
      When he reasoned successfully with Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon remained evil.
      Likewise with king Josiah in Jeremiah's day, Judah did not change or repent.
The purpose of God's reasoning is to reveal
      1. That the just judgement of sin is death. Man naturally objects to this truth.
      2. That sinful men can be forgiven and become 'as white as snow' and live.
            present) and also the repentance of the sinner.

But God's reasoning leaves Judah with a straightforward choice:
      If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;
      but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.

Throughout the next century Judah chose to rebel; they ignored God's prophets.
      So God kept his word and he sent Babylon to destroy Jerusalem.
      And some 600 years later God would send the Romans to again destroy both
            Jerusalem and the Temple and exile his people for 2,000 years.
The Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
      I will thoroughly purge away your dross ...
      I will restore your judges ...
      Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.
            Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.
      But rebels and sinners will both be broken,
            and those who forsake the Lord will perish.

So, from the beginning, Isaiah makes it clear that Almighty God does not willingly destroy any of his creation. He leaves all men with the choice and the opportunity to repent and receive his offer of complete forgiveness, righteousness and life.
And one day Jerusalem will be the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.
In that day God's glorious plan and purpose for his creation will be completed.
      But ‘that day’ remains distant, but is rapidly approaching.

Isaiah 21-22
The Mountain of the Lord
      in the Last Days
In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; ... and all nations will stream to it.
The Lord would also reveal this great truth to Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar.  Dan 2
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Men would come to see Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
And the longing of many simple folk would be satisfied at last:
      They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
      Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore
.
      Total world expenditure on defence in 2018 was $1,822 Billion.
            Imagine a world with this huge figure reallocated to food and medical care
                  for the poor, and a responsible use of world resources !!
      Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
            This day will come when the Lord establishes his promised righteous kingdom.
But in Isaiah's day, and life today, is very different.
      Judah practised divination like the Philistines ... false religion.
      Their land is full of silver and gold ... centred on making money.
      Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots ... military might.
      They bow down to the work of their hands ... technological pride.

And the result?
      The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled
      and the pride of men brought low;
      the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
      and the idols will totally disappear.
      Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground
            from dread of the Lord ... when he rises to shake the earth.

John is shown this same judgement of the Lord in the Tribulation.  Rev 615-17 96 etc
So at last all trace of man's great empires will be blown away.  Dan 235,44,45
      In that glorious day the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
            as the waters cover the sea.
 Is 119

Isaiah 31 - 41
Judgement warning for Jerusalem
Isaiah returns to current situation in Jerusalem:
Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling;
      their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.
The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom;
      they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.

TelAviv and London and many other cities proudly boast in their Gay parades.
They demand and get equal rights, legality and even 'same-sex marriage'.
LGBT is now being made part of the curriculum in all UK primary schools!
Almighty God warned Jerusalem:
      Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!
      They will be paid back for what their hands have done.

So what may we expect he do to us?
The gap between rich and poor is growing significantly each year in UK.
The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: It is you
      who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses.

Sex was also a problem then, just as it is today.
The Lord says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched
      necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps ...
In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery ...
Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle.
The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground ..."
Isaiah 42-6
The Branch of the Lord
In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious ...
And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy,
      everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,
      when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion
      and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst
      by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.
‘That day’ is clearly in the ‘last days’ when the Lord returns.
Isaiah 51-7
The Lord creates a vineyard
      and sings a love-song to it
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
      My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
      He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.
      He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well.
      Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.

But this song finishes with a major problem. The grapes were sour.
      He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
            for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

The Lord asks Judah why should this be?
      What more could have been done for my vineyard ?
The answer is clearly 'Nothing'!
      With great sadness there is but one thing he must do to save the vineyard.
I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated,
      and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds not to rain on it.

Just in case there is any doubt about who this vineyard story is about, he tells them:
      The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel,
            and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight.

And echoing down the centuries, this song is still heard by the men of England.
      Though I fear we may all need the best hearings aids to hear it.
Isaiah 58-30
Woe to those who ... x6
1. Greed.  Woe to you who add house to house ...
2. Drunk.  Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks ...
                  but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord.

3. Deceit.       Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit ...
4. Invert Truth.       Woe to those who call evil good and good evil ...
5. Pride.       Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes ...
6. Injustice.       Woe to those who ... acquit the guilty for a bribe ...
Does the Lord overlook such evil? How much does sin matter?
Therefore the Lord's anger burns against his people ...
      In that day ... if one looks at the land, he will see darkness and distress.

Compare this with 'the 7 Woes' that Jesus warned the people concerning the Scribes and Pharisees. He started with: "Everything they do is done for men to see ..."
And ended by saying: "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"  Needless to say Math 23 is not often quoted!
Isaiah 61-7
Woe is me ...
Having delivered 6 'Woes' to Judah, the Lord reveals himself to Isaiah.
"Holy, holy , holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. ..."
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips ..."

He realised it was not only 'them', but also 'me', who needed to be cleansed.
The Lord immediately applied his cleansing with a live coal from the altar.
He then declared, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."  Only then was Isaiah ready to be truly commissioned.
Isaiah 68-13
Who will go?
What shall he say?
      And for how long?
Isaiah heard the Lord ask, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
      Without hesitation, he volunteers.
So he is told to give a strange message: "Go and tell this people:
'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
      be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
      understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

This appears to mean that God doesn't want the people to hear, which is never true.
It is simply a way of warning Isaiah that his ministry would not enable the people to understand, but rather that it would result in their choosing to harden their hearts and thus suffer the inevitable judgement of God.
This is made clear when Isaiah asks for how long shall his peaching have this negative result, and the Lord tells him, "Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. ..."
This would happen in 586 BC (~ 140 years later) and again in 70 AD. After both these judgement exiles the Jews are promised that they will return to their land.
As the Lord told Isaiah: "But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."
After judgement there would come a day ( in the last days) when the people would hear and repent, Jesus Christ, the 'holy seed', came first as Redeemer and later he would return as King.
Isaiah 71-25
Evil Ahaz refuses sign
but God gives him one anyway!
Ahaz was one of the many evil kings of Judah. He was being attacked by a coalition of Israel (Pekah) and Aram (Rezin).
God instructs Isaiah to tell him: 'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. ...'
They had planned "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves ..." But the Sovereign Lord says: "It will not take place ..."
Ahaz did not believe anything God said. However, with amazing grace the Lord spoke to Ahaz, "Ask the Lord your God for a sign ..." Ahaz refuses the offer.
None-the-less Almighty God determined to give the house of David a sign:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you (the house of David) a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
And he would also give a second sign that would be fulfilled immediately:
The Lord will bring on you and on your people ... the king of Assyria,
      who would bring much destruction of the land.
Within 10 years Assyria had exiled Israel and destroyed most of Israel and Judah, though Jerusalem (then under Hezekiah) was spared - but that's another story!
Isaiah 81-22
Immediate defeat of coalition
of Aram + Israel by Assyria -
      and Judah!
The Lord said to me, "The wealth of Damascus (Aran) and the plunder of Samaria (Israel) will be carried off by the king of Assyria."
But evil Ahaz had rejected the Lord. Therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River– the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
So Judah would suffer an Assyrian attack that would destroy most of the country.
The Lord warned righteous Isaiah not to follow the way of this people. ...
Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear.

Similarly today; it seems that by the various skulduggery of evil men and our Parliament's determination to overthrow God's commandments by adding an amendment to the Northern Ireland Executive Bill that allows abortion up to 28 weeks for any reason and a second amendment to allow same-sex marriage. Therefore Almighty God will not allow UK to be released from the EU. But it will not lead to the Remainers forecasted economic prosperity, but to deceit, wickedness and our financial ruin. So let us hear this word, The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear.
May the Lord God give us his gracious presence and so enable us to stand like the Reformation martyrs.
Isaiah 91-7
Birth of Messiah
      and his coming kingdom
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light ...
Every warrior's boot ... will be destined for burning ...
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
      and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
      Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,
      establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
      from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

The Child Jesus, the Son of God, was born to Mary some 700 years later.
But the first task of Christ was to be crucified as our Redeemer.
      We eagerly await his return to establish his righteous and eternal government.
The more history we learn, the greater is our longing for that promised day.
Isaiah 98-21
What makes God angry?
The wicked people of Judah say with pride and arrogance of heart,
      "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone."

They didn't realise the Lord has strengthened Rezin's foes against them
      and has spurred their enemies on. ...
The people have not returned to him who struck them,
      nor have they sought the Lord Almighty.

Then and now foolish men have taught that God is only, always, kind and loving.
They refuse to think that the Almighty can also, and rightly, be angry.
Isaiah tells us the truth: By the wrath of the Lord Almighty the land will be scorched
      and the people will be fuel for the fire.

At the same time, Amos the prophet up in Israel was telling them the same truth; that it was their God who had sent a series of five natural disasters,
      "Yet you have not returned to me," declares the Lord.
 Amos 46-13
Isaiah 101-34
More 'Woes'
and promised Restoration
Woe to those who make unjust laws ... What will you do on the day of reckoning?
Woe to the Assyrian ... I send him against a godless nation ...
      But this is not what he intends ...his purpose is to destroy ... many nations. ...
      I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart ...
            For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done this."

Almighty God used Assyria to punish Israel and Judah, but not to destroy them.
      Assyria went much too far. Later Babylon would do the same.
Therefore the Lord Almighty declares that:
      The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame;
      in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. ...
      In that day the remnant of Israel the survivors of the house of Jacob ...
            will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
      A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. ...
      O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians ...
            Very soon ... my wrath will be directed to their destruction.

Fulfilled 701BC when in anger the Lord killed 185,000 in a single night.  Is 3736
      And 539BC when Babylon (Belshazzar) was defeated by Darius.  Dan 530
      Also again in the last days when Babylon falls in a single hour.  Rev 188
None is like Jeshurun's God,
So great, so strong, so high;
Lo! he spreads his wings abroad,
He rides upon the sky:
Israel is his first-born son;
God, the Almighty God, is thine;
See him to thy help come down,
The excellence divine.
Isaiah 111-16
When Messiah is King
Almighty God reveals to Isaiah his righteous kingdom in the distant future:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him
      the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
      the Spirit of counsel and of power,
      the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ...
With righteousness he will judge the needy,
      with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
      with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. ...
The wolf will live with the lamb ... and the lion will eat straw like the ox. ...
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
      for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

What a day that will be !!   And that's not all:
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant ...
He will gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.

In 536BC a remnant returned from Babylon.
Today half the world's Jews live in Israel, but only a few have returned to the Lord.

Isaiah 121-6
In that day you will say:
"I will praise you, O Lord.
Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away
      and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Can 'that day' be now?  Today?  Yes, indeed it can!
But this song is not yet sung throughout Israel. In 'that day' it will be sung by all.

The second part is a missionary song that Israel will sing to the Gentile world:
"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
      make known among the nations what he has done,
      and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
      let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
      for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."

The day when this will come to pass will be so great;
      it will far exceed all our cherished hopes and dreams.

In the next 11 chapters Almighty God warns the surrounding nations of the consequence of their wickedness.
What is God saying to the equally wicked nations today?

Isaiah 13-24
Judgement against nations
Babylon 131 - 1423 Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together!
The Lord Almighty is mustering an army for war.
They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens–
the Lord and the weapons of his wrath– to destroy the whole country.
Wail, for the day of the Lord is near. ...
I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty ...
Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride,
      will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah ...
      But desert creatures will lie there.

But in contrast Almighty God confirms his promise to Israel:
      The Lord will have compassion on Jacob;
      once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land.

Assyria 1424-27 I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down.

Philistines 1428-32 Do not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken ...
But your root I will destroy by famine; it will slay your survivors.

Again God confirms his plans to favour Israel.
The Lord has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.

Moab 151 - 1614 Ar (and Kir) in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night! ...
In the streets they wear sackcloth ... they lament their destruction.
The vegetation is gone and nothing green is left. ...
"Within three years ... Moab's splendour and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble."

Damascus (Aram) 171-14 See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.
In that day their strong cities ... will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.

This prophecy awaits fulfillment.  Only a fool would choose to live there.

Cush (Sudan, Ethiopia) 181-7 Before the harvest ... he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. ... the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter. At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers– the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.
In May 1991 covert 'Operation Solomon' transported 14,325 Ethiopian Jews in 35 Israeli aircraft to Israel in 36 hours.

Egypt 191-25 I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian ... The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing ... I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master ... They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians.
In that day ... when they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a saviour and defender, and he will rescue them. ... The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. ... In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.

Again, we await the great day of salvation. Today it still seems a long way off.

Egypt and Cush 201-6 Isaiah was instructed to take off his clothing and sandals for 3 years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles. ... Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame.
This judgement fell in 711 BC.

Babylon 211-10 Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord ... "Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground."
Babylon fell in one night to the Persians; but the day will surely come when Babylon will fall on the day when the Lord Almighty will return. Dan 5 Rev 18,19

Edom 2111,12 "Watchman, what time of the night?"  We all need to practice diligent watchfulness.

Arabia 2113-17 "Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. ..."

Jerusalem 221-25 In that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and mourning,
for baldness and wearing sackcloth; and behold, joy and gladness ...
"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." ...
"Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,"
      says the Lord God of hosts. ...
In that day, declares the Lord of hosts,
      the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way.

A century after Isaiah prophesied, Jeremiah called the people to repent for 40 years, but the people rejected both him and the Lord God. The only one we can rely upon in the day of our death or of national calamity is the Lord of Hosts.

Tyre and Sidon 231-18 Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor! ...
The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory,
      to dishonour all the honoured of the earth. ...
In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years ...
At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages. ...
Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord.

Tyre's trade was severely restricted when Assyria was dominant (700-630BC)
After the Babylon exile and return, Tyre supplied the cedar for Temple rebuilding.

Having focussed on the judgement of God and the futility of trusting other nations - the transience of their wealth, military power, treaties and especially of their idols; he wanted the people to redirect their attention to the absolute faithfulness and dependancy of Almighty God.

Isaiah 241-23
All wickedness will be judged
Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate ...
The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws,
      violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth. ...
The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken.

Why?   Simply the just judgement of God upon the wicked.
Isaiah 251 - 2712
God's ultimate plan
Israel will blossom
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. ...
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will ... swallow up death forever;
      and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
      and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
      for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
      "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us."

Looking at the world today, God reveals the extreme kindness of his plan !
It is so totally undeserved.

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
      because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

This was true 2,700 years ago, it is true now and it will still be true tomorrow.
Whether our path is level or uphill; whether pleasant or painful:
My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
      the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

And when persecution or judgement is at its height, the Lord will comfort us:
Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you;
      hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.
For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
      to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity ...

In such times the Lord God will enable us to trust him and know our hope is secure.
      Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
      Let me hide myself in Thee ...

In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword
      will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent.

c.f.
In that day, "A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
      I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it."
In days to come Jacob shall take root,
      Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.
In that day ... a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

When is 'that day' ?   When will Jerusalem become a holy mountain?
As is often the case with prophecy; there is a partial fulfillment
      at or near the time when proclaimed, and a greater fulfillment later.
The 'fruit' is God's righteousness truth and justice.
We give witness that the Seed of Israel has brought salvation to the world,
      but the day has yet to come when it will 'fill the whole world'.

Isaiah 281-13
The purpose of judgement
The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot.
Assyria was to be the instrument of immediate judgement of God.
Only later will his people be restored:
      In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
            and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people.
But meanwhile drunkenness will make God's word like a foreign language.
For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people ... And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Very few would be able to hear clearly. Hezekiah did, but his son Manasseh didn't.
And a little later Jeremiah preached God's truth for 40 years and no one listened.
      Then Babylon would replace Assyria as God's instrument of judgement.
Isaiah 2814-29
1st Woe - deaf to the Word
Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem!
"Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
      'Whoever believes will not be in haste.' ...
Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.
Give ear, and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech."

Deceived men have always thought they know better than the Lord God,
      and casually discard his Word, or at least the bits they don't like.
They choose to reject the Cornerstone (Ps 1818  Math 2142  1Pe 27),
      and prefer to build upon sand. (Math 2726,27)
What does it take for a man to feel the need to call upon the name of the Lord?
      Or to cry, "Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner."
Isaiah 291-14
2nd Woe - religious hypocrisy
I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation ...
      And you will be brought low. ...
In an instant, suddenly, you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
      with thunder and with earthquake and great noise ...

But they will not understand the Word of God. When told to read they will say,
      "I cannot, for it is sealed. ... I cannot read."
And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth
      and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me."
Isaiah 2915-44
3rd Woe - trying to deceive God
Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?"  You turn things upside down!

How could they think that God is blind to what they did?
Yet in the grace and mercy of God a day will come when they realise that it is not God who is blind but it is they themselves!
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book,
      and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
      The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
      and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
...
And to emphasise this great truth: Therefore thus says the Lord,
      who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
"Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale.
For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst,
      they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
      and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
      and those who murmur will accept instruction."
Isaiah 301-33
4th Woe - stubborn rebellion
"Ah, stubborn children," declares the Lord, "who carry out a plan, but not mine, ...
      who seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!"
Egypt's help is worthless and empty.

Isaiah was instructed to inscribe this in a book:
      That it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.
      For they are a rebellious people, lying children,
      children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord.

So Jeremiah had to repeat this warning, but Judah did not take heed. (Jer 4215-22)
But again the Lord awaits a day when they would hear and obey:
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
      and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
      blessed are all those who wait for him.
For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more.
He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry.
As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it."
Isaiah 311 - 3220
5th Woe - Didn't trust God
Almighty God had promised to deliver Jerusalem, not Egypt or anyone else.
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses,
      who trust in chariots because they are many
      and in horsemen because they are very strong,
      but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!

Judah needed to learn (the hard way) that:
The Lord of hosts will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem;
      he will protect and deliver it. ...
The Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man.
 (See Is 3636)
And later in the last days God promises:
Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. ...
Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed,
      and the ears of those who hear will give attention.
The heart of the hasty will understand and know,
      and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
The fool will no more be called noble, nor the scoundrel said to be honourable.

And after a further warning:
Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones ...
      until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
      and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
      and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
      and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
      in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
Isaiah 331-24
6th Woe - Israel's enemies
Ah, you destroyer, ...
When you have ceased to destroy, you will be destroyed.

But it will be different for Israel.
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
      he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
      and he will be the stability of your times,
      abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
      the fear of the Lord is Zion's treasure. ...
Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty ...
You will see no more the insolent people ...
Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
      whose stakes will never be plucked up ...
But there the Lord in majesty will be for us
      a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go ...
The Lord is our king; he will save us. ...
And no inhabitant will say, "I am sick";
      the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.

What a day!
Isaiah 341-17
Summary of judgement
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it ...
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host;
      he has devoted them to destruction ...
      the mountains shall flow with their blood ...
For my sword ... descends for judgment upon Edom.

Edomites are the descendants of Esau, who despised the birthright for a meal.
      "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."  Mal 12,3 Ro 913
Edomites are the humanist; proud, independent, macho, no sin, no God,
      and no heaven!
For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
Edom despises all desire for God,
      he hates God's people - whether Jew or Gentile believer.
      Like Satan, he is the ultimate anti-Semite
Isaiah 351-10
Summary of blessing
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
      the desert shall rejoice and blossom ...
They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
      and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
      and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert ...
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness ...

This is surely a most goodly road. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
      they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing;
      everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

This must rank among the very best chapters in God's Word!
If there is ever a time when we feel disappointment, pain, persecution, rejection,
      despair; and just long for 'that day' - this will surely heal our wounded spirit.

The next 4 chapters (36-39) reveal the events during the reign of Hezekiah when Assyria attacked Judah in 701 BC.
30 years earlier Assyria threatened Aram (Syria) and Israel who sought help from Judah. But Ahaz, king of Judah, chose to side with the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser. Isaiah prophesied against seeking help from any foreign power, said they should trust in the Lord. (See notes above on 311 - 3220 the 5th Woe). In 722 BC Assyria defeated Israel and took them into permanent exile.  Now, 20 years later, Assyria's new king Sennacherib attacked Judah.

Isaiah 361 - 3738
Assyria .v. Judah and God!
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army.
Since Sennacherib had only sent a field commander, Hezekiah sent a high official and 2 assistants to talk with him.
Rabshaketh only knew about power in 'army terms':
"Say to Hezekiah, Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?"
He then ridiculed both Egypt and trusting in Almighty God as a solution.
He then arrogantly offered to give Hezekiah 2,000 horses "if you are able on your part to set riders on them."
He even claimed, The Lord said to me, "Go up against this land and destroy it."
Then in a loud voice so that those on the wall could also hear,
"Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, 'The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.' Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, 'The Lord will deliver us.' Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?"
This speech by a loud-mouthed, blasphemous, lying negotiator is quoted in full.
When the Jerusalemites heard it they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, "Do not answer him." A wise anticipated instruction.
As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord.
And he sent his team to see Isaiah with the words,
This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace ...
It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh,
      whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God.

Isaiah replies with an assuring word, "Thus says the Lord: 'Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'"
And that was fulfilled! Sennacherib heard that Cush had set out to fight him, so he had to leave, with a parting shot, "Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. ..."
Hezekiah took the letter to Temple and prayed honestly. He concluded with, "So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord."
Again Isaiah sends him the assurance, "Thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David."
And this is precisely what God did.
And the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. ... Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. And as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword.

Our leaders and negotiators should have read this whole story before going to Brussels. It would have been very instructive - And the outcome very different.
O for a leader and a prophet whose whole desire is to honour the Lord Almighty.
But sadly PM May supported same-sex marriage and made a secret deal with Merkel in Brussels before telling our Brexit secretary and both our Archbishops want to remain united with the evil EU and they strongly support civil partnerships.
Can we reasonably expect the Almighty to have mercy upon our nation when our parliament passed a bill to enable mass murder (abortion for any reason up to 28 weeks) and same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland ?

Isaiah 381-22
Sickness and recovery
      and a sign
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover."
But Hezekiah pleaded with God and wept bitterly.
Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: "Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.
The Lord also repeated his promise to defend Jerusalem.
And gave him an extraordinary sign: "Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps." So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.
Isaiah 391-8
Hezekiah and the king of Babylon
The king of Babylon's son sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered.
What else did he want and expect?
Hezekiah unwisely shows him all the expensive treasures of Judah.
Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon.
On this occasion Hezekiah's response to the prophecy was uncharacteristically selfish:
"The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good." For he thought, "There will be peace and security in my days."
There was. But his son Manasseh was a most evil king.

Having declared the penalty for sin; the remainder of the book of Isaiah is the almost unbroken blessing of Almighty God upon his people. Apart from 9, 12 and 35, it is thus not surprising that it is the most widely read and popular section.
There are 3 major sections:
1.  Deliverance from Babylon  401 - 4822 (Note: Babylon was not even a major power in Isaiah's day)
2.  Deliverance from sin  491 - 5721
3.  Deliverance in the end  581 - 6624

Isaiah 401-5
God's plan for his people
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended,
      that her iniquity is pardoned,
      that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
Pardon does not mean that we automatically and instantly lose the results of sin.
      The convicted burglar who repents still has to serve his sentence.
      Wickedness often leaves its mark, even when totally forgiven.
Israel was exiled by the Romans 2,000 years ago for rejecting their Messiah;
      now they have to fight to regain their God-given land.
When the Jews returned from Babylon after 50 years exile (586 to 536BC),
      there was significant opposition to rebuilding the Temple and later the walls.
But the day will come when the world's hatred of the Jews will end;
      and there will be lasting peace when Jesus the Saviour returns as King.
Jesus told 4 stories about how we must be ready for his return in Math 24,25.
Now A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord ..."
How did John Baptist, the greatest prophet, prepare the way?
      "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near."  Math 32 Jesus began his ministry with the same instruction.  Math 417 To be ready the world still needs to hear this Word.
      For without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin, no comfort, no peace.
      And without the Cross there is no escaping the punishment we deserve.
      Only by what Jesus has done for us can
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;
      the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
      And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed ...

Only then will our natural sinfulness be reversed to natural righteousness.
Isaiah 406-31
The greatness of God
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
      Man is often unable to keep his word, even if he really wants to.
      But Almighty God always keeps his word - for good or bad!
Behold, the Lord God comes with might, ...
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms.

      Our God has mighty power, but also endearing tenderness and care.
Almighty God has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span.

      All the earth's great oceans and the distant galaxies.
      He also designed and made all the tiny sub-atomic particles.
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket ...
      The world's nuclear powers grossly overestimate their strength.
Have you not understood ... he who sits above the circle of the earth ...
brings princes to nothing.

      (All earth's great empires are like chaff!  Dan 235,44)
He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.

      God's greatness does not discard the small or the insignificant.
      Each and everyone is named and infinitely precious.  (Also 431)
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the, faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

      In heaven neither God or his people will ever grow old and easily tired!
They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

      Almighty God is so glad to always share his abundant strength.
All this is but a part of the greatness of God, our most gracious Redeemer.
Isaiah 411-20
God intends good to Israel
First, all other nations should recognise the power of the Lord God
      is to support Israel - and he has abundant power to do so.
Listen to me in silence, O coastlands ...
      I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he. ...
The coastlands have seen and are afraid.
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen,
      the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
      you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners,
      saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off";
      fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
      I will strengthen you, I will help you,
      I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God's intentions towards Israel have never changed;
      even when they rejected him and rebelled against him
      his promise was always to one day restore and reconcile.
How can the Christian church be so blind to this repeated word?
"Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel,
      for I myself will help you," declares the Lord,
      "your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. ..."
In the eyes of the world, Israel will always be considered 'a worm';
      but not in the sight of Almighty God, who see all.
      Israel, 'the promised land' is little; similar in size to Wales!
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
      and their tongue is parched with thirst,
      I the Lord will answer them;
      I the God of Israel will not forsake them. ...
      I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
      I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together,
      that they may see and know, ... that the hand of the Lord has done this.

But even then, will the world see that the hand of God has done this?
      The Lord will give them the opportunity to see his plan for Israel,
            but Zech 12 and 14 reveals that they will be blinded by wickedness.
Isaiah 4121-29
False gods have no power
Almighty God mocks those who worship false gods:
      Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. ...
      See, they are all false!
      Their deeds amount to nothing; their images are but wind and confusion.

They cannot reveal the truth or the future; they only deceive.
Isaiah 421-9
Messiah is also 'Servant'
This is the first of the 'Servant Songs'.  (others 491-13  504-11  and  5213 - 5312)
They reveal that the Messiah, Jesus, was willing to become human flesh in order to bring salvation to man. Though God declared, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."  Lu 322  Jesus was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.  Heb 57,8
Thus the Son of God was also the Servant of God.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. ...
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. ...

God's justice is very different from man's.
God's justice demands that all sin must be punished; it cannot just be ignored and forgiven. Without the Cross there is no forgiveness of sin. The wages of sin is death.
There has to be both a perfect sacrifice and repentance and belief by the sinner.
"I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; ...
      to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison
      and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."

Because the Lord is righteous, he alone can set us free and satisfy God's justice.
There are many songs in scripture. This is one of the best!
Isaiah 4210-17
Singing is heard!
Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth ...
Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the islands. ...
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
      along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Isaiah 4218-25
But Israel was blind
"Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! ...
You have seen many things, but have paid no attention;
      your ears are open, but you hear nothing."

All down the ages Almighty God has sent many prophets.
      But sadly men have had to pay the price for choosing to ignore them.
He even ensured that their words were recorded for everyone to read
      the historical accuracy and be able to heed the warnings.
Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come?
Judah did not listen. So the Lord God poured out on them his burning anger,
      the violence of war.
It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand;
      it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.

Judah was far from being alone in this.
      The deaf, heedless world today has never been in greater danger.
      For all such men there will come a day of huge, maybe eternal, regret.
Isaiah 431 - 4525
God has never cancelled
      his promise to Israel
Although God has to punish Israel for their wickedness, he reminds his people that his covenant with Abraham and his descendants is unconditional and eternal.
But now, this is what the Lord says–
      he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
      and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned ...
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour."

Many Gentile believers who rightly rejoice in these words, forget or do not realise that the Lord primarily said them to his people Israel for they continue with the promise:
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

A limited allegory for Gentiles is justified, but they clearly refer to the practical return of the Jews to their land after being exiled, first by Babylon, then by Rome.
The Lord continues:
      "You are my witnesses," declares the Lord,
      "and my servant whom I have chosen,
      so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. ...
      I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no saviour. ...
      When I act, who can reverse it?"

After 2,000 years of Roman exile, the current return of half the world's Jews to Israel is a profound and true witness to the faithfulness of Almighty God.
      No one can reverse it, though many continue to try.
This is what the Lord says– your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"For your sake I will send to Babylon and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians
... and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:"

Mighty Babylon became a mound of sand till discovered in the 20th C.
And now the Almighty says to Israel: "Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob ...
      But you have burdened me with your sins. ..."

Although God reminds them: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions,
      for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
He also has to tell them: I will consign Jacob to destruction.
- For a season.
Again and again he reminds them that a new day is coming:
"But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen."
This is what the Lord says–
      "He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen."
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
O Israel, I will not forget you.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me, for I have redeemed you." ...
"This is what the Lord says– your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, who has made all things ...
who says of Jerusalem, 'It shall be inhabited,'
      of the towns of Judah, 'They shall be built,'
      and of their ruins, 'I will restore them.'"

The Lord did achieve all this, and more, when the Jews returned from Babylon.
And he will do so again today as they return from all over the world.
For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honour,
      though you do not acknowledge me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,
      so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting
      men may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other. ...
Before me every knee will bow.
All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.
But in the Lord all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.
Isaiah 461 - 4822
Babylon is judged
What was the most grievous sin of Babylon?
"Sit in silence, go into darkness, Daughter of the Babylonians;
      no more will you be called queen of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance;
I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy. ...
You said, 'I will continue forever– the eternal queen!'"
But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen.

Babylon also said of herself:
      'I am, and there is none besides me.
      I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.'
      Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day:
            loss of children and widowhood.

Fulfilled in 536 BC.
Although destroyed, the spirit of Babylon will rise again in the last days.  Rev 182-10
See what God thinks about world blasphemy, wickedness and arrogance.
What instructions from the Lord does Isaiah give to the nation?
"Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called:
I am he; I am the first and I am the last.
My own hand laid the foundations of the earth,
      and my right hand spread out the heavens ...
Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians!" ...
Say, "The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob." ...
"There is no peace," says the Lord, "for the wicked."

Do you wonder why there cannot be peace on the earth?
Isaiah 491-26
Israel will be a witness
      to God's faithfulness
Before I was born the Lord called me ... He said to me,
"You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendour ...
to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself ...
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
      that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

To achieve this, the heart of Israel must first be changed.
Only then will they see it will be because of the Lord, who is faithful,
      the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.

As yet, very few Gentiles become believers in Christ because they see God's
      faithfulness to his people Israel.  But the day will come.
Indeed, the day has come when we can see God is fulfilling his word:
      I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people,
      to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances. ...
      See, they will come from afar – For the Lord comforts his people
            and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. ...
Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour,
      your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Today ~1% of Jews in Israel believe in Christ crucified.  But the %age is growing!
Isaiah 501-11
The Servant's claim
The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue,
      to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
      wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears,
      and I have not been rebellious.

Such is the grace and mercy of Jesus; that he reveals his truth to all who seek him.
He sent all the prophets and told them what to write, that we may learn.
Many servants have had to suffer, disgraced on earth but honoured in heaven.
Isaiah 511-16
Everlasting salvation
In this world we are surrounded by chaos, uncertainty and evil.
Where, or in whom can we have a secure hope, peace and righteousness?
The Lord Almighty tells us!
"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord:
      Look to the rock from which you were cut ..."
"Listen to me, my people; ... my justice will become a light to the nations.
      My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way ...
The heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment ...
      But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.
Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. ...
The ransomed of the Lord will return.
      They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.
      Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. ...
For I am the Lord your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar–
      the Lord Almighty is his name.
I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand–
I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth,
      and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.' "

These words of God give us the one true answer; there is no other.
There will be persecution, the earth's resources will run out, war will continue,
      and wickedness will seem to triumph -
But the Lord Almighty is our Rock.  And he says, 'You are my people.'
      Nothing and no one can thwart his declared plan and covenant.
Isaiah 5117 - 5212
Senseless Israel told to wake up
Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem,
      you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath.

Israel had been under God's just judgement; but didn't realise it.
Other prophecies reveal that one day she would understand and repent.
Then your Sovereign Lord says, your God, who defends his people:
      "See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger;
            from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again."

Again and again the generous grace of God is seen.
For this is what the Lord says:
"You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed. ...
At first my people went down to Egypt to live; lately, Assyria has oppressed them.
      and those who rule them mock.
All day long my name is constantly blasphemed.
      Therefore my people will know my name.

While we await the final fulfillment of this, in every generation the word of God brings the good news of his offer of salvation and victory over sin.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,
      who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation,
      who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

What they say is not vague political promise; but has the seal of God's certain truth.
The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations,
      and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

How will this come to pass? Isaiah now reveals what many think is foolishness,
      but is the plan of God - his Son, his Holy Servant must suffer to save us.
      Even the apostles and the followers of Jesus found this difficult to believe.
            Math 1621-23  Lu 2425-27  1 Co 118-25
Isaiah 5213 - 5312
God as a Servant-Messiah
      Suffers to save
Here is shown the greatest treasure ever revealed to man. Christ crucified and risen from the dead, our longing hearts redeemed and reconciled. Jesus would fulfill this prophecy some 700 years later and cry "It is finished".
      His perfect sacrifice was completed.
No man even remotely deserves this redemption;
      God's mercy only comes by his infinite grace.  How?
He now reveals the truth to Isaiah:

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up ...
Almighty God tells us to open our eyes and see what Jesus has done for us.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God ... and the wisdom of God.
 1 Co 118,24
He is rightly exalted.
But he was also lifted up on a Cross before being raised to his throne.
To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
      This is a vital question.  Who will open his eyes?  Who will admit his need?
      God only reveals his truth to all who humbly seek him.

First, Jesus was willing to have a human birth in a Bethlehem stable, not a palace.
'Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man.'
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
      and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
      a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.

Despised and hated by religious leaders;
      did they think they deserved something better from God?
This Messiah on earth would be no stranger to tears, rejection, injustice or pain.
So very different from all of man's expectations - except Isaiah and other prophets.

The next great surprise was that he had to be smitten by God, and afflicted.
      Why? What evil had he done? What commandment had he broken?  None!
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
      upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace ...

Almighty God had declared that all sin, all disobedience, had to be punished.
      And the penalty was death!  Ro 512 623
      Whether it was stealing a sweet, telling a lie or murdering a brother.
      So God had to find another form of justice, else all his creation would die!
      This he did. His own perfect Son would bear the chastisement we deserve.
            And this would bring us peace, forgiveness and eternal life with him.
The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
      And so he died instead of us!

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.
There is not a single man who has not sinned.
      Most think that the death penalty verdict for all sin is a bit steep.
      But he is the Almighty. As the Creator and Lord of all, he makes the rules.
Adam and Eve were warned by God, not to eat from a certain tree.
      "For when you eat of it you will surely die."  Gen 217
      They disobeyed, they ate and they died (not physically, but spiritually).
      Their sin, and resulting death, was passed on to all their descendants.

God's restoration plan is revealed by his prophet Isaiah:
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
      by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
      make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Christ did much more than reveal his love when he laid down his life for us;
      he bore in full the divine punishment that I deserve for all my sin!
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;
      when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
      he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days.

So by his death we are offered forgiveness and life, eternal life with him.

And that is not all. Today he lives to continually intercede for us.  Heb 725
Because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;
      yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 541-17
God's enduring plan for Israel
"Sing, O barren one, who did not bear ... Enlarge the place of your tent ...
Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
      be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced. ...
For your Maker is your husband,
      the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer ...
For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you,
      but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,"
says the Lord, your Redeemer.

The Lord God could not let Israel's rebellion go unpunished.
      The northern tribes of Israel would be exiled by Assyria in 722 BC
      and Judah would go to Babylon in 586 BC
      But Isaiah reveals that God would not finish with the Jews;
            not in the days of Isaiah, nor Jeremiah, nor today.
O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established.

Furthermore - and forever, this truth will stand:
Behold ... no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed ...
      This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.
Evil men may kill God's chosen people, (Hitler's holocaust destroyed 6 million),
      and soon all the world under 'the Beast' will attack Jerusalem,
      All men will suffer greatly (Dan 721,24 824,25), but the attackers will not succeed -
      Jesus Christ will return !!  (Rev 1919-21  Zech 12,14)
Then the Jews, with Gentile believers, will be the promised righteous kingdom,
      established to last for ever by the eternal and gracious Lord.
      This is our sure and certain heritage of all who believe and trust in Jrsus.
Isaiah 551-13
The most gracious Invitation
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
      and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!
      Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

How can anyone buy without money or without bartering?
      Because someone else paid the price - with His life!
The Lord then asks all men a most pertinent question:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
      and your labour for that which does not satisfy?

Men strive for happiness, wealth, fame, popularity, health ...
      Few find it, but the Lord then asks them, "What will it profit a man
            if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?"  Math 1626
So returning to the invitation, he says:
      Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live;
            and I will make with you an everlasting covenant. ...
      Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.

Clearly he tells us that it is not our body that needs to be satisfied, but our soul.
      For the body must soon die, but the soul continues.
There is also a warning here. There will come a day when it is too late,
      The invitation will be withdrawn. At that time the 'great gulf' fixed between
      man and Almighty God will then make it impossible to hear him.
So while there is still opportunity:
      Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.
      Let him return to the Lord, ... to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

God's invitation is free in that there is nothing we can do to earn his forgiveness,
      but he does insist upon our admission of guilt, and a willingness to repent.
This is a long way from what men normally think.
      We need to admit the truth that the Lord declares:
      My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.
Isaiah likens the invitation and all the word of the Lord, to rain that waters the earth.
      It causes the earth and the soul of man to flourish and become righteous.
      It will achieve the purpose for which the Lord so graciously sent it.
Isaiah 561-8
Salvation for foreigners
What does the Lord say to Gentile believers?
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
      "The Lord will surely separate me from his people ...
      I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. ...
      These I will bring to my holy mountain,
            and make them joyful in my house of prayer."

God's revealed plan is to give us a place alongside his chosen people.
Isaiah 571-13
The plight of Idolaters
      c.f. the righteous
The Lord questions the wicked:
      Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied, and did not remember me? ...
And then declares his verdict:
      When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
      But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
            and shall inherit my holy mountain.
Isaiah 5714-21
With whom is the Lord
      pleased to dwell?
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
      who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
"I dwell in the high and holy place,
      and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
      to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite."
"But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
      There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."

The world craves for peace and security, and wonders why it is so elusive.
Satan delights in all forms of war, suffering and death.
Only when with the Lord God can fallen man enjoy life and fulfillment.
Isaiah 581-14
The problem of compromise
Jesus said, "No servant is able to serve two masters; ...
      You cannot serve God and mammon."
 Lu 1613
Today some think they are Christians because they go to church once on Sunday,
      yet spend the rest of their time in worldly pursuits.
Do not be conformed to this world,
      but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
 Ro 122
God's word in Isaiah's day was:
      Declare to my people their transgression ... yet they seek me daily. ...
      Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure.

God has always expected his children to be wholeheartedly for him.
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness ...
      Is it not to share your bread with the hungry ...
            when you see the naked, to cover him ...
If you turn back ... from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
      and call the Sabbath a delight ... if you honour it, not going your own ways,
      or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
      then you shall take delight in the Lord.

With the Lord it is all or nothing.
      He does not want just 'our Sundays and the dog-ends of our time'.
      He does not want our token gifts.  See Lu 211-4
His desire is for us completely, to share all that we have and are;
      the very opposite of selfishness and greed.
      On the Cross Jesus withheld nothing.
Isaiah 591-21
Sin separates but ...
Men may complain at the extent of wickedness and calamities,
      but it is not because God is unwilling or unable to change them.
Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
      or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
      and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. ...
      your lips have spoken lies ...
      their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity ...
      they have made their roads crooked ...
      we moan and moan like doves;
      we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. ...
      Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away ...
      Truth is lacking ...
The Lord saw it, and it displeased him.

Is there any solution to this?   Yes!
      But a man must first acknowledge his sin, God's justice
            and his inability to become righteous. Then his eyes will be opened to see:
"A Redeemer will come to Zion,
      to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,"
            declares the Lord.

Isaiah 601-22
Messiah will lighten the darkness
Isaiah reveals the blessing that repentance will bring to repentant Israel.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.

In that day the nation of Israel will reveal the glory of the Lord.
It will be so good that:
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. ...
And to the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful. ...
All who despised you shall bow down at your feet;
      they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel ...
And you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour
      and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. ...
Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
      devastation or destruction within your borders;
      you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.
The sun shall be no more your light by day, ...
      but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory ...
Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever,
      the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.
I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it.

Almighty God revealed this glorious truth 2,700 years ago.
      Soon, very soon, it will all be fulfilled!
Let us remember this covenant of God when the world seems so dark.
Isaiah 611-11
Favour or vengeance
Jesus read this portion of the scroll of Isaiah in the Nazareth synagogue.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
      because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;
      he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
      to proclaim liberty to the captives,
      and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
      to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour ...

Then he stopped reading and said,
      "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."  Lu 421
      He stopped there because that was the day this prophecy was fulfilled.
      God's favour upon men was to become their Redeemer on the Cross.
But the revelation to Isaiah continued:
      And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.
      These would both be fulfilled at a later date.
This day we still await; the day when all Israel will be saved,
      the day when he would give them:
            the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
            the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
            that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
            the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. ...

The day when all the world would see what the Lord had done for Israel when:
You shall be called the priests of the Lord;
      they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
      you shall eat the wealth of the nations ...

The response of Israel's prophet is not surprising:
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God,
      for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
      he has covered me with the robe of righteousness. ...
The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
Isaiah 631-6
Vengeance
Almighty God returns to earth to destroy the evil Antichrist and all his followers.
"Who is this ... in crimsoned garments?"
"It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save. ...
      I have trodden the winepress alone, ... I trod them in my anger ...
      and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."
Isaiah 637-19
God remembers his covenant
All Israel's history is a continuous roller-coaster of wickedness and repentance,
      of idol worship and obedience, of sin and forgiveness.
I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord ...
In all their affliction he was afflicted. And he became their Saviour. ...
But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit;
      therefore he turned to be their enemy. ...
Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people.
Isaiah 641-12
The Longing
Isaiah proclaims the longing of many down the ages:
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, ...
      to make your name known to your adversaries,
      and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned ...
      all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. ...
      There is no one who calls upon your name.
Behold, please look, we are all your people.
      Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
      Zion has become a wilderness,
      Jerusalem a desolation.

It was not only Israel's enemies that needed to tremble, but also Jerusalem.
How can any man see the need to turn to the Lord and be saved?
The next chapter provides a clear answer.
Isaiah 651-16
The clear alternatives - again!
Salvation is firstly all by the grace of God who says:
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me ...
I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people ...

Then men who are willing to repent and seek the mercy of God.
      I will bring forth offspring from Jacob ... my people who have sought me.
To others who refuse the invitation and make a different choice:
      But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain
            I will destine you to the sword.
      Because, when I called, you did not answer;
            when I spoke, you did not listen,
            but you did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in.
Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry ...
      Behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame.
Isaiah 6517-25
A New Creation
Man has made a huge mess of this world and abused all the resources.
It seems that Almighty God will have to create something new and different.
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
      and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
"Behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. ...
      No more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping ...
      They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit ...
      Like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be ...
      They shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord ...
      Before they call I will answer ...
      The wolf and the lamb shall graze together ...
      They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,"
      says the Lord.

Such continuous paradise is hard to imagine; but it is true.
This cannot be in greater contrast to the final judgement of God by fire.
Isaiah 661-14
What does God see?
Who does he delight in?
Puny man is so limited.  Consider all the universe of billions of light-years.
Thus says the Lord: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
      he who is humble
      and contrite in spirit
      and trembles at my word."

Each of these qualities are rare (and always have been).
      even within the church, and especially its leaders.
It leads to a sad conclusion;
      Because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen;
      but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.

Such men 'pick and mix' the scriptures to suit what they think, or what is popular.
      There is little wisdom, because there is little fear of the Lord, or his word.
However, there are also a few notable and valuable exceptions.
These alone are instructed: "Rejoice with Jerusalem,
      and be glad for her, all you who love her;
      rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her ...
      that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance."
      For thus says the Lord: "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
            and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream.
Isaiah 6615-24
Final judgement at the end
"For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind ...
For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh;
      and those slain by the Lord shall be many. ...
For their worm shall not die,
      their fire shall not be quenched,
            and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh."

All men need to take heed to this warning from the Lord Almighty.

In conclusion, as always, the Lord says what he means and means what he says.
Every word of God is flawless.  Prov 305

 

Jeremiah   The weeping prophet, with a burning heart         [Contents]

Jer 11-10
The word of the Lord came to him ...
The book opens with the most important fact; Almighty God revealed his word to his chosen prophet in Jerusalem for 40 years; so they were without any excuse.
And the same goes for UK today. We've had Scriptures in English for 5 centuries.
Jeremiah was not chosen when the Lord saw his character as a young man, but the Lord formed him to be so special when he was still in his mother's womb. He was chosen before being born! When Jeremiah said that he was not able to be a prophet, the Lord naturally over-ruled his complaint and assured him his choice was not a mistake, and declared, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
So Jeremiah's life as God's spokesman began. It would not be easy or popular.
He was appointed to both destroy and to build.
      God's Word was to be for both Jews and the Gentile nations;
            for every generation over the next 2,600 years.
Yet today few sermons are based upon this great prophet,
      and sadly few choose to read this unpopular, but most relevant book.
God had made Jeremiah sensitive, brave, and determined.
      Tears and persecution did not deter God's obedient servant.
      He would soon experienced the fulfilment of God's promise of protection.
Jer 111-19
A pair of visions
The first prophetic 'Words' that God gave to Jeremiah were two visions.
The word of the Lord came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "I see the branch of an almond tree," I replied. The Lord said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled."
God confirms that Jeremiah saw an Almond tree branch correctly.  Significance?
In Hebrew Almond = 'saqed' and watch = 'saqad'.
Many then (and now) think Almighty God does not see the affairs of men.
      And even if he does see, what does it matter?!
But God is watching, he knows all our inmost thoughts.  Prov 153
All sin has natural consequences. In God's justice the wages of sin is death!
This remains true for nations as well as individuals.
God's 'watching' does not suggest he will do nothing, quite the reverse.
He is watching to ensure that his prophetic word is fulfilled.

In the second vision we are shown the consequences of God's 'watching'.
The word of the Lord came to me again: "What do you see?" "I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north," I answered. The Lord said to me, "From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms," declares the Lord. "Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me."
Babylon will come and destroy Jerusalem because the Lord has seen their rejection of him,
      and that they refuse to repent of their evil idol worship.
This warning will be a major part of God's word to Judah for the next 40 years.
But thankfully it is not the only part.

Jer 21 - 35
In careful Hebrew poetry Jeremiah reveals to Judah how God sees the disastrous state of his people.
I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me ... Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest ...
This is what the Lord says:
"What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. ...
I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.
The priests did not ask, 'Where is the Lord?'
Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. ...
But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols.
Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,"
      declares the Lord.
"My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. ...
Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,"
      declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty. ...
"I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?
Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,"
      declares the Sovereign Lord. ...
"They have turned their backs to me and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!'
Where then are the gods you made for yourselves?
Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble!"
      declares the Lord ...
"In vain I punished your people; they did not respond to correction. ...
You say, 'I am innocent; he is not angry with me.'
But I will pass judgment on you because you say, 'I have not sinned.' ...
You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria. ...
for the Lord has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them. ...
You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen.
Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame."

What pathos! How deeply was God disappointed with his chosen people.
Hisprophet Jeremiah shared the same heart-felt sadness.
He wrote it all down and faithfully delivered God's word to the people.
      To the Jews in 626 BC, and to people in each generation ever since.

Jer 36-22
God compares Israel and Judah
During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. ...
Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heat, but only in pretense," declares the Lord. ...
"Return, faithless people," declares the Lord, "for I am your husband. ...

With the faithful Lord God there is no divorce.

But when would ‘that time’ be? How many years would they be exiled?
"How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation. ...
Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding."

Jer 43-6
The only remedy + a warning
This is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem:
"Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts,
      you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done– burn with no one to quench it. ...
Sound the trumpet throughout the land! ...
For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction."
Jer 412-18
The warning intensifies.
Now I pronounce my judgments against them.
Look! He advances like the clouds,
      his chariots come like a whirlwind,
      his horses are swifter than eagles.
Woe to us! We are ruined!
O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved.
How long will you harbor wicked thoughts? ...
A besieging army is coming from a distant land,
raising a war cry against the cities of Judah. ...
because she has rebelled against me,"
      declares the Lord.
Jer 419-31
Jeremiah begins to weep over the stupidity of Jerusalem. It would be so much easier to be silent.
Oh, the agony of my heart!
My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. ...
How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?
They are skilled in doing evil ...
I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert ...
This is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be ruined.

Also 1417
Jer 51-17
The extent to which the people sinned and their refusal to see anything wrong was staggering.
Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,
      look around and consider, search through her squares.
If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
      I will forgive this city. ...
But They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.
So I will go to the leaders and speak to them;
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke ... (of God)
      for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many. ...
      They have lied about the Lord; they said, "He will do nothing!
      No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. ...
Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:
      "I am bringing a distant nation against you ...
      They will devour your daughters ... your flocks and herds ...
      With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust."
Jer 518
"Yet the mercy of God is great
'Yet' - one little word. "Yet even in those days," declares the Lord,
      "I will not destroy you completely."
Jer 530,31
Compromise is always popular.
"A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land:
The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority,
      and my people love it this way.  But what will you do in the end?"
Jer 61-8
Flee ...
See also Rev 184,5
Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!  Flee from Jerusalem! ...
Take warning, O Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you
      and make your land desolate so no one can live in it."
Jer 69-12 (and 8 11
The prophet spoke the truth;
      but no one would listen.
To whom can I speak and give warning?  Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed so they cannot hear.
The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.

Jeremiah could not see why?  He shared the Lord’s anger.
But I am full of the wrath of the Lord, and I cannot hold it in. ...

Jer 613-30
False prophets were popular
Falsehood punished
From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.
'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?
No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen ...
I am bringing disaster on this people,
      because they have not listened to my words. ...
This is what the LORD says:
      “Look, an army is coming from the land of the north.
Jer 71-15
Jeremiah is now instructed to prophesy at the Temple gate.
He tells them what God sees
Jeremiah is sent not to the 'red light' district, but to the Temple!
      To the religious leaders, who should have been the light to the nation.
But they were indulgent, immoral, proud, worshipped idols for personal gain. They presumed they could ignore God’s word because they had the Temple.
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!’ ...
Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’–safe to do all these detestable things?’ ...

Jerusalem thought they were OK and that the Temple would protect them.
They were deceived into thinking sin did not really matter.
But I have been watching!” declares the Lord.
God sees all that men say and do, and even what they think.
Jer 716-20
God's terrible conclusion.
So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. Also 1411
There can come a time when God says it is too late to pray.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place.
Jer 721 - 83
God's Judgement
From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.'
"This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction.
      Truth has perished;
The Lord has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath."
      The land will become desolate.

Now payday was just around the corner!  God had been remarkably patient.
The Exodus from Egypt was some 900 years earlier (~1,500 BC)

Is our nation now showing the same unwillingness to hear Almighty God?
Do we think he can safely be ignored?  What disastrous folly!
Many rightly pray for justice. But do we really want God's justice? Justice upon a nation that is corrupt, deceitful, immoral, God rejecting, greedy? Justice would be the wrath of Almighty God! This is what we deserve, and what the people of Jerusalem deserved all through the 40 years that Jeremiah preached and warned.
Truth has perished in the UK today, and for the same reasons as in Judea 2,600 years ago. We don't sacrifice our children to idol, we just murder over 200,000 every year by abortion, mostly because they are socially inconvenient! Both our Archbishops say that homosexuality is fine, it's not an abomination. They say that God is wrong!
God's justice is as unpopular now as it was then. There are few ministers who have the courage to preach like Jeremiah. They prefer love and peace. It is what people want to hear. Our deception is largely unrealised. Jeremiah was rejected and still is. God was rejected and still is. Judgement cannot be far away.

Jer 84 - 926
Sin and Punishment revealed
I have listened attentively ... No one repents of his wickedness.
Since they have rejected the word of the LORD,
      what kind of wisdom do they have? ...
All are greedy for gain ... all practice deceit.
No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. ... (+33)
They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me. ...
“Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. ...
“I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins ... I will scatter them among nations.”
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh. ... even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”

Why did no one heed this clear warning?
Did they think the Almighty was so insignificant he could be safely ignored?
How will the Lord God punish England today?
Jer 101-25
Sarcastic disdain for idols.
And his desire to honour God. H prays
"Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak;
      they must be carried because they cannot walk.

But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.
When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.
Tell them this: "These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth,
      will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.
But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom
      and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."

The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD;
      so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.

Correct me, LORD, but only with justice – not in your anger ...
Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you.

A little history. Jer 1-10 (626 - 609 BC) was written during reign of Josiah - a good king who attempted much reform in Judah. But his righteous laws and practice did not change the nation. Assyria was battling with the rising power of Babylon who had sacked Nineveh in 612 BC. Egypt went to help Assyria, Josiah tried to stop them but was killed in battle 609 (delay helped Babylon take Assyrian capital, Haran). Jehoiakim became king of Judah and became vassal to Egypt. In 605 Babylon defeats Assyria in final decisive battle at Carchemish and Nebuchadnezzar becomes king of Babylon. Jehoiakim submits to Nebuchadnezzar, but rebels in 597. Dies during siege by Babylon. Jer 11-20 mostly written 1st year of Jehoiakim, 609 BC.
Jer 111-17
Breaking the covenant
No escape from consequences.
God reminds Jeremiah of the terms of his covenant with Judah. It included:
      Cursed is the man who does not obey the terms of this covenant.
Jeremiah’s answer was simply, “Amen, LORD.”
Then the Lord told him to remind the people of the covenant and
I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.”
      But they did not listen or pay attention;
      instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.
Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their forefathers, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant I made with their forefathers. Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them’.”

And the Lord even told Jeremiah: “Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.”

Jer 1118-23
Persecution of Jeremiah starts.
The Lord revealed that his kindred in Anathoth were saying.
      ‘Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord or you will die by our hands’
But the Lord Almighty says something quite diffferent:
      “I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine. Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.”
That year would come some 20 years later in 586 BC.
Jer 121-17
Jeremiah asks three questions.
And God answers them.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?
How long will the land mourn?

God's answer:
I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies.
      she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her.
Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard
      they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
They shall be ashamed of their harvests
      because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
Behold, I will pluck them up from their land
.

But that will not be the end of the story. God will also reveal his mercy:
And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them,
      and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.
But if any nation does not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it,
      declares the LORD.

Jer 131-27
Two parables and a verdict.
1. Jeremiah told to buy a new linen loincloth, ware it for many days without washing, then to leave it hidden in rocks. Completely destroyed by maggots.
This evil people ... shall be like this loincloth because they would not listen.

2. Every jar shall be filled with wine. But it will lead to drunkenness.
If you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride ...
      because the LORD'S flock has been taken captive. ...
I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind.
      because you have forgotten me and trusted in lies ...
Woe to you, O Jerusalem !

Then Jeremiah asks: “How long will it be before you are made clean?”
Much of his ministry had to warn of destruction, but he also built.

Jer 141 - 151
Drought.
Sin must be punished
The Lord sent a major drought. Jeremiah mourned:
Though our iniquities testify against us, ... we have sinned against you.
O you hope of Israel, its saviour in time of trouble,
      why should you be like a stranger in the land?

We are called by your name; do not leave us.
But the people did not mourn as Jeremiah did, so the Lord told him:
      He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
Furthermore,  “Do not pray for the welfare of this people.
      Though they fast, I will not hear their cry.”

How do we react to ‘natural disasters’?
Do we see it as the just hand of Almighty God, or just moan?

Do Church leaders encourage the people to repent and call upon the Lord?
Jeremiah did. And he told them clearly:
“The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them. ...
By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.

      And likewise the people.
      For both prophet and priest ... have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah still pleads with God, Do not spurn us, for your name's sake.
      But God could not spare the unrepentant people.
Then the LORD said to me, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me,
      yet my heart would not turn toward this people. ...
Thus says the LORD:
“Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence,
      and those who are for the sword, to the sword;
those who are for famine, to famine,
      and those who are for captivity, to captivity.”

Jer 1510-21
Jeremiah complains
God does not weaken
      but reassures him
Why do I always have to be the bearer of calamity and doom?
Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land!
But the Lord does not reverse his promise to punish evil.
“Your wealth and your treasures I will give as spoil, without price, for all your sins, throughout all your territory. I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”
Jeremiah continues his complaint;
      Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
      Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?

God knows it is often hard for the prophets, he didn’t promise an easy life.
He reassures him, “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
      you shall be as my mouth. ...
      they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you,
            for I am with you to save you and deliver you ...
      and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.”
Jer 161-13
God instructs Jeremiah
1. The word of the LORD came to me:
“You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.”
Because they will all soon perish.
2. Do not enter the house of mourning, or go to lament or grieve for them,
for I have taken away my peace from this people, my steadfast love and mercy.

3. When you tell them my judgement, they will ask, “What is our iniquity?”
You shall say to them: Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the LORD, and have gone after other gods ... and have forsaken me and have not kept my law. ... Therefore I will hurl you out of this land.”
How could they not have realised their sin? It was so obvious.
Did they just think it did not really matter very much?
Jer 1614-21
God will restore his people
Then, suddenly, Jeremiah proclaims the sure mercy of God.
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country’ ... For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.
But first I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin.
“Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD.”
Jer 171-13
The price of sin
What or who can redeem us?
I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know,
for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.

c.f. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.
      He will be like a tree planted by the water.

Only the Lord can heal and save.
Only he can create in me a new heart, a new spirit. Ps 5110 Jn 33
Why? Because the Lord tells us the truth about our hearts.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Christianity believes Jesus had to die to save us and to change our hearts.
Religion cannot, neither can Legislation, human resolution or education.

Jer 1714-18
Prayer for deliverance
The people ask Jeremiah, “Where is the word of the LORD?”
      But did they really want to know?
      Or did they dislike what he had already told them many times.
Jer 1719-27
Keeping the Sabbath holy
The Lord instructs Jeremiah to go to the gates of Jerusalem and tell the people:
Hear the Word of the Lord ... do not bear a burden on the Sabbath. ...
Yet they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck.

They did not think this simple instruction was worth obeying,
      even though God also warned them: But if you do not listen to me ...
            then I will kindle a fire ... it shall devour ... and shall not be quenched.

They chose not to listen.
In 1994 Britain trashed God’s 4th Commandment and passed the Sunday Trading Act that allowed shopping on Sunday. But there has not been a Jeremiah with the courage to tell us the verdict of the Almighty.
Jer 181-23
A lesson from the Potter's house
Jeremiah was told to observe how the potter works. If he makes a mistake and the pot is marred. So he takes the pot off the wheel, makes it into a lump and ‘throws’ it onto the wheel again. So the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
Therefore this is what the Lord says: ...
      “My people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods,
      which made them stumble in their ways. ...
      Like a wind from the east, I will scatter them before their enemies;
      I will show them my back and not my face in the day of their disaster.”

But the people of Jerusalem refused to heed the warnings of the Lord.
Their response was, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah ...”

Jer 191-15
Another lesson from the Potter
This time Jeremiah bought a fired pot and then went to the city gate.
Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place ... For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; ... They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal ... So beware ... I will devastate this city. ...
Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching, and say to them, "This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. ..."

Having been 'fired', the smashed clay pot could not be re-fashioned, as in the previous lesson. Disaster is the inevitable conclusion to all who refuse to hear the gracious warnings of the Lord God to repent. True, both then and now!

Jeremiah then went to Topheth and gave them the same message.
Behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their neck, refusing to hear my words.
Disaster is the inevitable conclusion to all who refuse to hear the gracious warnings of the Lord God to repent. True, both then and now!

Jer 201-6
Persecution
Evil men hate God's Word. Always have, and always will!
When the priest Pashhur chief officer in the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks.
But when released next day Pashur was given a personal word from God:
I will hand all Judah over to the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. ... And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried ...
Pashur would not forget these words, but neither would he repent!
Jer 207-18
Honest complaint to God.
I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long.
But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,”
      his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

But Almighty God was well aware of this.
      For when they mocked Jeremiah they also mocked God.
Although they couldn’t put God in the stocks, they would if they could!
Later, when the Son of God came to earth they crucified him!
Then Jeremiah remembers God’s promise:
      The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior;
            so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.

The continual rejection is such that he exclaims:
      Cursed be the day I was born! ...
      Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow ...

 
      The remainder of Jeremiah is studied in approx. chronological order.
Written during reigns of Jehoiakim 609-597 and Zedekiah 597-986 BC

Jer 221-23
Jeremiah sent to warn Jehoiakim
609-597 BC
This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right ... For if you (Jehoiakim) are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David's throne ... But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin. Shallum (Jehoahaz) He will never return. He will die in the place where they have led him captive.
      (Deposed by Pharaoh Neco in 609 after 3 months).
Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness ...
But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain ...
He
(Jehoakim) will have the burial of a donkey–
dragged away and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.

Fulfilled in 597 rebellion against Babylon 3 months before end of siege.
     
see Josephus - 'Antiquities of the Jews'  Book X  Ch 6  part 3
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Jehoiakim would never take any notice of Almighty God's warning in his 12 year reign.

Jer 261-24
Sent to Temple courtyard
This is what the Lord says: "If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again, ... then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth."
God's message was both gracious and clear; there was a choice to live or die.
'The choice is yours, the way is clear, You can alone decide, ....'
In Jeremiah's day the people of Jerusalem made an instant foolish choice.
But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die!
Before the court, Jeremiah repeats the same warning. Then he adds: As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it.
Some elders then remembered (prompted by God) that Micah had prophesied in the days of Hezekiah, "Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble." And he was not killed.
Thus Almighty God ensured that Jeremiah was spared.
His work was not yet complete and God's promise of protection was demonstrated.
Jer 351-19
Recabites are rewarded
for righteousness and obedience
This rare example of righteousness is placed here by Jeremiah to contrast against the evil of Jehoiakim. The teetotal Recabites were invited to the Temple and purposefully tempted to drink wine. They refused. Jeremiah told them, "The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.' Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man to serve me'."
Jer 251-38
605 BC Nebuchadnezzar now king,
defeated Egypt at Carchemesh.

“You have not listened ...”

Note
605 to return in 539 = 66 years

Jerusalem + Temple destroyed in 586
and rebuilt completed in 516
586 to 516 = 70 years.

For twenty-three years ... the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.
Jeremiah would continue to do so for another 17 years with the same response.
Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: "Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon," declares the Lord, "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them ... This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
He also prophesies that after the 70 years Babylon would be overthrown and desolate for ever. [Babylon was overthrown by Cyrus in 539 and by Alexander in 331. By 140 BC it was deserted and buried with sand until its discovery by explorers in the 19th C.
See Ancient Babylon
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"The Lord will roar from on high; ... he will bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword."
In the last days, Babylon (Babel) will rise again and be destroyed for ever by the Lord Almighty. Rev 18. Though unpopular, often bypassed or even denied, it is essential that we all understand the judgment of God on wickedness. If not we will never really appreciate what Jesus did for us on the Cross, how necessary it is for him to redeem us and thus gain for us the forgiveness of our sins.
Jeremiah's message was sent to us just as much as to the wicked in Jerusalem.
This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. ... The Lord will roar from on high; ... The tumult will resound to the ends of the earth, for the Lord will bring charges against the nations; he will bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword ...'
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth." At that time those slain by the Lord will be everywhere–from one end of the earth to the other.

Isaiah gave the same message a century earlier (Is 5117-23).
But neither book ends here; they both then proclaim the message of salvation.
The good news that men can repent, believe, be forgiven and made righteous for ever!
After Is 51 comes Is 53-56.  And after Jer 25 comes Jer 30-33.

Jer 361-32
Jehoiakim's contempt of God.
And pays the price
In obedience Jeremiah dictates a complete scroll of God's word to Baruch, and then told him to read it on a day of fasting in the Temple courtyard. He did.
The officials told him to go into hiding with Jeremiah while they told the king.
Jehoiakim told Elishama, the secretary, to read it to him. Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe's knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire.
What total contempt. He then ordered the arrest of Jeremiah and Baruch.
But the Lord had hidden them. As promised.
Therefore, this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. ... I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened. (See notes on Ch 22 above)
Almighty God was not going to allow a mere king to destroy his word. Is 408
So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them. This scroll we can now read today 2,600 years later. Such is the grace of God.
Jer 451-5
A word for Baruch
It is hard to live under persecution, and not complain.
You said, 'Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.'
The Lord said, "Say this to him: 'This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the land. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life'."

Baruch was hoping for a bit more than that! But the Lord upheld him and he faithfully completed writing all the words of God to Jeremiah, including the deeds for redeeming the Anathoth land in 587 (Ch 32).
Jer 231-8
Righteous Branch promised
"Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the Lord. He not only promises that they will be punished, but that he himself will be the Shepherd of Jerusalem.
"I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. ... I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness." (See also Zech 12-14)
He came as Redeeming Shepherd; now we await with longing his Kingship.
Jer 239-40
False prophets condemned.
"Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness," declares the Lord.
"Therefore ... I will bring disaster on them. ...
They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. ...
They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me. ...
They fill you with false hopes. ..."
Therefore, declares the Lord, "I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. ...
Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your fathers."

The false prophets were popular with the people, but not with Almighty God.
Jeremiah was a lone voice, persecuted and rejected for 40 years;
      but he remained God's choice, loved and protected for ever.
In due time God will punish the false prophets. He will reveal who is true, but God's judgement may not come to pass for some years. Falsehood and deceit, like adverts, sound and appear good, but it cannot last. Truth is despised, ridiculed and distorted, but Almighty God says it will always end in death. One of the greatest lie today is the Evolution Theory that is taught as truth. What folly! At every opportunity such scoffers ridicule God.
2 Pe 33-10  Ro 118-32
But without God presence and protection every man doomed to destruction.
Throughout all the centuries false prophets cannot admit they are wrong.
Remember every Word of God is flawless.  Prov 305
Jer 2224-30 (597 BC)
Jerusalem under siege.
Jehoiakim dies and thrown over city wall, fulfilling Jer 2219 (see notes above)
Jehoiachin king. Jeremiah tells him the word of the Lord:
"I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear–to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to."
Surrenders after 3 months as king when this was fulfilled.
Nebuchadnezzar makes Zedekiah king.

(Remainder of Jeremiah written during his 11 year evil reign.)

Jer 241-10
Two baskets of figs
v.good + v.bad
The baskets are placed in front of the Temple of the Lord.
The Lord reveals that he sees as good, the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.  'But like the poor figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,' says the Lord, 'so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. I will make them abhorrent and an offence to all the kingdoms of the earth.' Daniel and his 3 friends had been exiled to Babylon in 605; now in 597 Ezekiel and a few others had been exiled. It is clear that the Lord's plan for them was in high contrast to that of Zedekiah and Jerusalem who would continue their refusal to hear the Word of the Lord and be like figs too bad to eat. The next 11 years would be problematic and end with an 18 month siege, death or enslavement and the destruction of the city and the Temple.
What is God's plan for the UK today?  Will it be like the good figs or the bad figs?
Jer 27,28
Prophesy - true or false?
Unpopular or popular?
Jeremiah told to make and wear a yoke to illustrate his prophecy to Zedekiah and the visiting envoys of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon, that 'This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Tell this to your masters: With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.'
They were warned that if they refused God would destroy them. Also: do not listen to your prophets ... they prophesy lies. The truth is that everything that Nebuchadnezzar left in the Temple and the palace they will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them,' declares the Lord. 'Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.'
Hananiah, a popular false prophet said that Jehoiachin and the treasures would return within two years. So Jeremiah said, "Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you ... Therefore, this is what the Lord says: 'I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord'." He died that very year.
This proved the truth: "The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true."
But it did not cause anyone to realise that Jeremiah spoke God's true word.
Jer 291-23
Letter to Exiles in Babylon
    (605 + 597)
False prophets had told the exiles that God would soon bring them home.
Jeremiah had to reveal the truth:
      1.      This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. So build houses and settle down.
      2.      Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you.
      3.      When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.
Cyrus would allow the Jews to return in 538 BC. This would be 67, 58 and 47 years from the 3 exiles in 605, 597 and 586 BC. If 'for Babylon' the years are taken from 586 when the Temple was destroyed to the completion of the Temple rebuild in 516, it would be exactly 70 years.
The most significant fact of this letter was to emphasise that it was Almighty God who carried them into exile, and it was He who would choose when to bring them home.
The same Almighty God would repeat this when the Jews were exiled again by Rome in 70 AD and their return 2,000 years later - today.
Jeremiah's letter from the Lord was important then and it always is. As the righteous man Job bravely proclaimed, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."  Job 121
Jer 2924-32
A simple message
to a false prophet
Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, even though I did not send him, and has led you to believe a lie, this is what the Lord says: 'I will surely punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. He will have no one left among this people, nor will he see the good things I will do for my people, declares the Lord, because he has preached rebellion against me.'
Like the unbelievers in Sinai who were told that they would die in the desert and not enter the promised land; so the Lord tells the false prophet Shemaiah and his family that they will never return to Judea from Babylon.
What is God's word to those who preach similar lies today?
Jer 37,38
Zedekiah asks for prayer,
but doesn't like the answer.
Zedekiah asks Jeremiah to pray for him. Jeremiah not deceived by man who only wanted to escape punishment and replies: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of me, 'Pharaoh's army, which has marched out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt. Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture it and burn it down.
Jeremiah arrested when they thought he was deserting to the Babylonians.
Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. Then King Zedekiah sent for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked him privately, "Is there any word from the Lord?" "Yes," Jeremiah replied, "you will be handed over to the king of Babylon."
Jeremiah did not change his message because he was put in prison.
And Zedekiah did not change his ways when told the word of the Lord. Though he did release Jeremiah to 'house arrest', where he continued to prophesy.
Zedekiah made no effort to stop officials who wanted to punish Jeremiah.
They lowered him into muddy cistern, but Ebed-Melech rescued him.
Zedekiah again questions the prophet privately, but did not like what he heard.
Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.
Jer 301-11
God's covenant with Israel stands firm; his judgement will be completed.
"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,' says the Lord."
But the coming day would not come until the punishment was complete >50 years. This true prophecy was to be written in a book, one that needed to last for centuries. It would be partly fulfilled in 537 BC when the Jews returned from Babylon. It is being fulfilled today as jews are still returning to Judea.The 'return' is not only to the land, but to righteousness and to honouring the Lord God.
There is a significant warning the return will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. This attracts much opposition from most of the world.
'I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. I am with you and will save you,' declares the Lord. Though forgiven, sin may retain a price tag. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.
Jer 3012-24
Only the Lord can heal the incurable wounds.
This is what the Lord says: "Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. ... because your guilt is so great and your sins so many. ...
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds," declares the Lord, "because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares."

However medically skilled man is enabled to become, he can never heal the disease of sin. God's justice requires the perfect sacrifice that only his Son being crucified could and has satisfied. Ths forgiven and made righteous, God promises: 'I will bring him near and he will come close to me' ... declares the Lord. 'So you will be my people, and I will be your God. ...
In days to come you will understand this.'
Began fulfilment in Lu 2432,45
Fulfilment continues today, and even includes us Gentiles.
Such is the grace and kindness of Almighty God.
Jer 311-15
A repentant nation is gathered
God reveals a very different future.
"At that time," declares the Lord, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people." Almighty God did not create this world and choose the Jewish people to see it all disappear in the fire of judgement.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. ..."
This is what the Lord says:
"Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations.
Make your praises heard, and say,
'O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'
See, I will bring them from the land of the north
      and gather them from the ends of the earth. ...
They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son."

In ~600 BC when good news was almost unknown, God reveals his future plan.
They will return chastened and repentant.
'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd. For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. ... They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.'
But there would also be a time when Satan would try to snuff out the new born Son of God and kill all the babies under 2 years.
"A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
Herod fulfilled this brief but ghastly prophecy. It was not the end of the story. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "When I bring them back from captivity, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: 'The Lord bless you, O righteous dwelling, O sacred mountain'. ... "
At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.
It is not surprising that such truth was so welcome to the weeping prophet.
"The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will plant the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the offspring of men and of animals. Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant," declares the Lord.
What grace and kindness is revealed in these hope building words of truth.
Jer 3131-40
The new covenant.
"The time is coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant."

The old covenant was conditional upon keeping the Law.
The new covenant is based upon being 'born again', on believing God's Word,
      on the forgiveness Jesus gained for us, not on our endeavours.
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,"
      declares the Lord.
"I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people. ...
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Almighty God reveals that this covenant will never be revoked.
      That his covenant with Abraham is everlasting.  Gen 173-8
      We would do well to remember this when considering the nation of Israel.
This is what the Lord says,
      "He who appoints the sun to shine by day,
      who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night,
      who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar– the Lord Almighty is his name:
      "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the Lord,
      "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me."

This is what the Lord says:
      "Only if the heavens above can be measured
      and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
      will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,"

      declares the Lord.
 Jer 3135-37
Even many Christians think that God gave up on the Jews after Calvary.
It is true he exiled Judah to Babylon when they rejected him in the days of Jeremiah, but God kept his promise to bring them back to their land.
It is true that he exiled the Jews again when they crucified the Son of God, but again he is keeping his promise to gather them - not only to their land but gathering them to the Lord their God.  See Ezek 34,37 and Zech 12,13
Almighty God always keeps all his word.
Jer 32
588 BC. Jeremiah buys a field.
This apparently foolish story has much to reveal about the true wisdom of God!
Zedekiah had rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar who responds by a siege of Jerusalem. Jeremiah was imprisoned in the royal palace because he prophesied that the siege would be successful and Zedekiah taken to Babylon. God told Jeremiah that his cousin would come and say, 'Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.'
Anathoth was 2 miles NE of Jerusalem and was a campsite for the Babylon besieging army. Jeremiah obeyed God. He gave the witnessed and sealed deed of purchase and a copy of it to Baruch in their presence and instructed him:
'This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.'
Jeremiah asks God for an explanation; and the gracious God tells him:
"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am about to hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. ...
The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth ...
You are saying about this city, 'By the sword, famine and plague it will be handed over to the king of Babylon'; but this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, 'It is a desolate waste, without men or animals, for it has been handed over to the Babylonians.' Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord."

Almighty God did fulfill this promise in 537 BC when the Jews returned from Babylon. But it is again being fulfilled today after a 2,000 year Roman exile that started in 70 AD. God assured Jeremiah that his covenant was everlasting and he would never stop doing good to them.
One day in some archaeological dig, Jeremiah’s jar with the deeds will be found, buried deep in the rubble on which modern Jerusalem is built.
Great will be the rejoicing at the faithfulness of the Lord God of Abraham.
Jer 33
Still 588 BC
The word of the Lord came to him a second time.
"This city ... will be filled with the dead bodies of the men I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness."
The Lord God exercises both mercy and judgement, love and anger.
Jerusalem had chosen to reject every warning Jeremiah had delivered to them over the last 40 years. So God's anger was entirely justified. But even in his anger he tells them that a day of mercy and grace will come.
"Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honour before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it. ...
In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness. ...
This is what the Lord says: 'If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them'."

In the midst of his just judgement, the Lord God did not want them to be in any doubt as to his faithfulness.
This truth will be of great benefit to us in the days of the Great Tribulation.
Jer 34
Personal warnings to Zedekiah
Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, 'This is what the Lord says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. Yet hear the promise of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the Lord says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; you will die peacefully.'(in Babylon).
After Jeremiah reminded Zedekiah about granting freedom in 7th year, the officials agreed but then went back on their word. Zedekiah was too weak to enforce it. So the Lord proclaimed that because they have violated my covenant they will fall by the sword, plague and famine ... Their dead bodies will become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth. It is a tough, but oft repeated truth that those who reject Almighty God and his word, will in due time suffer the consequences.
Jer 21
Another warning to Zedekiah
Tell Zedekiah, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ...
I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in anger and fury and great wrath. I will strike down those who live in this city–both men and animals–and they will die of a terrible plague. After that, declares the Lord, I will hand over Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. ...
Furthermore, tell the people, This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life.'

No one can claim that Almighty God does not give us clear warnings.
Zedekiah and Jerusalem took no notice.  As always, God fulfilled his word.
Jer 391 - 406
The Fall of Jerusalem. 586
The Word of God is fulfilled.
His care for his servants is revealed.
While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him: "Go and tell Ebed-Melech the Cushite ... I am about to fulfill my words against this city ... But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be handed over to those you fear. I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord."
When Babylon had broken through part of the city wall Zedekiah fled with his officials, but were soon caught by Nebuchadnezzar. He saw his sons being killed, then he was blinded and taken to Babylon.
They then destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple as the Lord had prophesied.
Nebuchadnezzar gave these orders about Jeremiah ...
"Take him and look after him; don't harm him but do for him whatever he asks."

When the commander of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, "The Lord your God decreed this disaster for this place. And now the Lord has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him. But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don't come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please."
Jeremiah chose to stay at Mizpah.  Why?  What governed his instant decision?
Some 9 years earlier God gave Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs - some good and some really bad. (Jer 24). Jeremiah was now about 60, nearing retirement. He had been just been assured of comfortable retirement in Babylon and God had promised it would be well for the exiles there. But God had called him to a life of preaching the truth that the people rejected and made him universally unpopular. But such is the love of God for sinners. Besides the exiles in Babylon already had Ezekiel as prophet and Daniel as PM. Jeremiah knew his mission was not yet completed, so he stayed.
Then the commander gave him provisions and a present and let him go.
The Commander had far more respect for the word of God than Zedekiah.
Jer 52
More detail of the fall of Jerusalem
So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
But the story of God's chosen people does not end in Babylon.
50 years later the Jews would be released and return for the next 'chapter'.
Jer 407 - 413
More murder
Gedaliah appointed governor of Judea by Babylon and lived in Mizpah.
Johanan warned him: "Don't you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life?" But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.
7 months later Ishmael came with 10 men and killed Gedaliah and all the Jews who were with him.
Jer 414 - 4430
More rebellion
Jeremiah taken to Egypt.
Johanan seeks word of God from Jeremiah. They even made an oath to obey whatever they were told. But, like the people in Joshua's day (Josh 2419), they still chose to disobey when they did not like what God said.
They took Jeremiah with them down to Egypt - and as a result "As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives. For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed."
And it was so.  Why do men find it so hard to keep the word of the Lord?
How often he must have prayed, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Jer 46-51
Judgement of the nations.
God's word to Egypt, Philistines, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar and Hazor, Elam and especially Babylon. "Babylon must fall because of Israel's slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon. ... Then say, 'So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring upon her'."
Babylon fell to Darius the Mede in 538 BC, and will fall for ever in Rev 18.
Although disaster had come upon Jerusalem, the Temple and the Jews,
Almighty God reminds them of his promise to restore them.
"Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, for I am with you," declares the Lord. "Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished."
Jer 5231-34
The surprising close.
These last 4 verses of Jeremiah an irrelevant anticlimax.
Several chapters earlier Jeremiah was taken to Egypt, and that was the end.
Not told what happened to him. Book is not about Jeremiah,
      but about God’s judgement upon Judah and the nations.
Jer 52 reminds us about the fall of Jerusalem
     and with Jehoiachin in Babylon who put aside his prison clothes
     and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table.

i.e. Remember the judgement, and also remember it is not the end.
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Important because none of Jehoiachin’s children will be king.  Jer 2228-30
Who would? Jesus! “The Lord our Righteousness”.  Jer 235,6
Jeremiah ends with hope and a reminder of this promise.

The world mess ends in Kingdom of God being established.
If the line of David dies out, the promise of God fails - but that cannot be!
Answer?
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! It will not be restored until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to him I will give it.’  Ezek 2126,27 The line continued as in Math 112-16 but none would be king, except Christ.
     The only righteous Branch. Jer 235 He is coming soon!
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  Ro 321,22 The Righteous King will reign and turn our wretchedness to truth.
     He will rescue us.
     This slender thread is strong and will complete the promise.
     This is how this book of judgement ends - in glorious certain hope.
     The truth that God will fulfill his promised plan.

 

Lamentations         [Contents]

This book is 5 poems that lament the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
There is total anguish and just punishment.
And yet within there is also a faint glimmer of hope.
There is no end to God’s faithfulness and his eternal covenant.

Lam 1 How lonely sits the city that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations!
She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks.
Judah has gone into exile ... and hard servitude
because the LORD has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions
O LORD, behold my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!
Zion stretches out her hands, but there is none to comfort her.

Lam 2 The Lord has swallowed up without mercy all the habitations of Jacob;
in his wrath he has broken down the strongholds of the daughter of Judah.
He has killed all who were delightful in our eyes;
he has poured out his fury like fire.
He did not restrain his hand from destroying.
Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions.
The LORD has done what he purposed; he has carried out his word.

Lam 3 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape
though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite,
until the LORD from heaven looks down and sees.
I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit.
You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.

Lam 4 The holy stones lie scattered at the head of every street.
The precious sons of Zion.
The LORD gave full vent to his wrath; he poured out his hot anger.
This was for the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed in the midst of her the blood of the righteous.
The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished.

Lam 5 Our fathers sinned, and are no more; and we bear their iniquities.
The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning;
for Mount Zion which lies desolate.
But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations.
Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!

My faith has found a resting place, Not in device or creed;
I trust the Ever-Living One, His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died, And that he died for me.
Enough for me that Jesus saves, This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to him, He'll never cast me out.

 

Ezekiel         [Contents]

Ezek 11-28  (593 BC)
How is God described?
What does this teach us about God?
What other features are symbolised?
Flashing lightning, brilliant light, fire. See also Is 61-7
Almighty God is enthroned. Whole earth is full of his glory = Creation.
Isaiah pleads for mercy. See ... your guilt is taken away. Commissioned.
4 living creatures, wheels, eyes. God sees and moves everywhere.
Ezek 22 - 321
To whom was he sent?
Scroll had two meanings?
What warning given to watchman?
Sent to a rebellious, stubborn nation by the Sovereign Lord.
Word of God is sweet to eat, but bitter because people would not listen.
See also Jer 1616  Rev 109-11
Watchman accountable if he does not warn people of impending doom.
Ezek 322 - 517
Clay model of besieged Jerusalem.
Cut and weigh hair and beard. Why?
Ezekiel made dumb except when God gave him his prophetic word.
390 days on left side for sin of Israel + 40 days for Judah. Extreme famine.
Burn ⅓, Cut with sword and scatter ⅓, burn ⅓, but keep a few strands.
God says I myself am against you for the sins of Jerusalem and your idols.
Ezek 61 - 727
Why is the Lord so angry?
What refrain frequently occurs?
What warning for careless indifferent?
Will wealth be able to save?
Idols. Worshipped for what they hoped to gain from it. Lust ... and greed which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. Col 35,6
"Then they will know that I am the Lord." (x 54 in Ezek)
"The end is now upon you ... Disaster ... Doom." Too late to repent!
Almighty God repeats this stark warning for the wicked today. Beware!
Ezek 81-18 (592 BC)
Vision of glory c.f. forms of detestable idol worship.
Elders said "the Lord has forsaken the land." True or false?
70 elders provoke God's jealous anger - they worship idol in darkness.
Starving (?) women mourn death of 'vegetation god'.
25 men (priests) with backs towards Temple and Almighty God.
True - Therefore I will deal with them in anger ... I will not listen to them.
False - After exile, the repentant would return to Jerusalem.
Ezek 91 - 1022
Who was spared judgement, and why?
What were burning coals used for?
All who grieved over sin and pleaded for mercy.  Rev 73 c.f. Amos 66
Believers in Jesus find protection in his blood. Passover  Exd 1213
But all the wicked are destroyed - also Jerusalem and Temple. Jer 14
Contrast use of coals here with  Is 66,7 which purged his sin.
The fire and the glory of God came and departed.  104,18
Ezek 111-25
Meat in pot safe from fire?
What did God plan for city c.f. exiled?
God's Glory left Temple in stages?
No! The Lord will judge and houses about to be destroyed.  2 Kgs 2518-21
Smug Jerusalem to be destroyed; those exiled (605 and 596) will return,
and their hearts no longer divided or like stone. They will be my people.
Glory left  83,4 93 104 1019 111,3
Promise of return  2039-44 3921-29
Sees Glory returning  434-7 and never to leave.
Ezek 121-28
How was double prophecy fulfilled?
False prophets scoffed; how?
People would be exiled or killed and 'prince' (king) caught, blinded and exiled to Babylon.  2 Kgs 252-21
Said it would not happen, or only in distant future. But God said, "Now!"
Same scoffing today about tribulation and 2nd Coming of Jesus.  2 Pe 33-10
Ezek 131-23
What will God do to false prophets?
In what way are they false?
Why does such falsehood anger God?
False prophets told lies. Practised wickedness and said it did not matter.
Prophesied 'peace, when there is no peace', no judgement - only love!
But there is no real peace with God; no testimony of relief for guilt of sin.
'Propitiation for our sins' remains an unknown phrase.  1 Jn 22 410  Heb 217
Such teaching makes the Cross at best only a selfless example to follow,
instead of the only way to appease God's anger by a perfect sacrifice.
Their false message easily gained popularity and riches; but it was a deception, a delusion - like papal indulgencies that are still sold today!
They build a flimsy whitewashed wall, but it will fall and destroy them.
3 times in Math 24 Jesus warns us not to be deceived by false prophets.  141-23
Will God guide the unrighteous elders who came to Ezekiel?
Would Abraham's plea save Lot or Sodom?  Gen 1816-1929
Only if they first turn away from their idols and repent of their wickedness.
God has an eternal covenant with Israel, but that does not mean they can presume they will never be punished if they turn away from God. Even the presence of Noah, Daniel and Job (or Jeremiah) would not prevent God sending sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to destroy Jerusalem.
Ezek 151-8
What is going to happen to God's vine?
"When I set my face against them you will know that I am the Lord. And I will make the land desolate, because they have been unfaithful," declares the Lord God. We all have to learn that 'the wages of sin is death'.  Ro 623
But men will not always the objective of God's hand.  Amos 46-13
Ezek 161-63
What was God's justified complaint?
Did he ignore their sin?
What did he have to do transform them - and us?
a. Israel did not remember their inheritance of God's rich blessing. v22
b. They preferred the wickedness of the world to Almighty God. v32
Their sin was worse that the Amorites and Sodom whom God had destroyed.
They were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned ... and did detestable things.
Thus You will bear the consequences of your lewdness. You despised me!
Yet God confirms he would make atonement for them. What amazing grace!
UK today has despised our Christian heritage. Will God be merciful to us?
Ezek 171-24
In this allegory what sin is revealed?
Zedekiah, enthroned by Nebuchadnezzar, broke his treaty by bribing Egypt.
No man can frustrate the plans of Almighty God. My servant Neb' will execute my judgement. 'I' x 9 in v19-24  Prov 1921  Is 4611  Jer 259  Hab 16
Ezek 181-32
Israel questioned God's justice. Why did they have to suffer for the wickedness of others? Why do disasters and suffering affect all men?
No easy answers to 'fate' (disasters, disease etc), whether for good or ill.
The hand of God is often shrouded in mystery. Sometimes it is obvious.
Moses, Joshua and Caleb had to suffer 40 years in desert because Israel sinned. This chapter does not answer questions about what happens to us in this life. It is concerned with God's justice for our eternal destiny.
1. The soul that sins is the one that will die. v4,20
2. The man who is righteous will surely live. v9
3. If the wicked man turns from his sin he will not die. v21
4. If the righteous man commits sin he will die for it. v26
Therefore O house of Israel, ... declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! ...
Get a new heart and a new spirit ...
I take no pleasure in the death of anyone. Repent and live! v30-32
Israel did not listen in the days of Amos.  Amos 46-12
Jerusalem did not listen to Jeremiah or Ezekiel in Babylon. God is just.
In UK we plead for mercy, but can we expect God to abandon his justice?
Ezek 191-14
A Lament.
Who were these 3 evil kings?
1. Pharaoh Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt 609BC 2Kgs 2331-34
      Jehoiakim submitted to Babylon in 605 but then rebelled. (also Jer 36)
      This evil king thrown over city walls. 598BC.  Jer 2219  2kgs 2336-247
2. Jehoiachin reigned 3months, taken to Babylon. 597BC 2Kg 248-15
3. Zedekiah taken to Babylon 586BC  2Kgs 254-11
Ezek 201-44
God's people rebelled in Egypt, the desert and in Canaan. Why?
Why didn't God judge them then?
How will it all end?
They rebelled by desecrating the Sabbath and by worshipping idols.
UK has done the same. We do not respect Sunday and rest in wonder at God's Creation and his salvation; but honour Evolution Theory + ourselves!
God delayed his judgement for his Name's sake. Even in Babylon he tells them his judgement is not for ever. They would one day listen and obey.
Later they would reject the Saviour, thought him unnecessary, no guilt of sin, and he didn't come to defeat the Romans. But today they have returned to their land again, and we again await their repentance and God's mercy.
Ezek 2045 - 2132
Whose hand was upon the sword?
In such times is all hope destroyed?
It was the Sovereign Lord who wielded the sword. (see 171-24)
When the Lord brings 'Ruin', we are reminded it is not the end of the story.
I will make it a ruin! It will not be restored until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to him I will give it. v27 The Lord will come again.
He will establish his kingdom on all his land.  Heb 27-9  Gen 4910  Lu 2125-28
Ezek 221-31
What sins are listed?
How much does this matter?
Detestable idol worship + excuse for lewd acts, contempt for elderly and aliens, desecrate Sabbath, adultery, bribery, excessive usury, and worst of all you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign Lord.
God repeats that such wickedness will cause God to pour out his wrath!
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. v30. His wrath was only with great reluctance.
Ezek 231-49
What did these two prostitutes do?
What warning does this have for UK?
Oholah (Samaria) lusted after Assyrians who destroyed her. v5-10
Oholibah (Jerusalem) was worse and lusted after Babylon. v11-21
      Both sisters began their idol worship in Egypt. V3
Therefore Oholibah ... I will stir up your lovers (Babylon) against you. v22
Since you have forgotten me ... you must bear the consequences ... v35,49
UK has had the Word of God in English for almost 6 centuries. But in the last 50 years we have repeatedly insulted/ignored God and his commandments.
Our gov. (with Church approval) has legalised abortion and homosexuality, joined the evil-based EU, desecrated the Sabbath, taught evolution theory as truth, encouraged greed and debt ...
      We are without excuse and can thus expect God's judgement.
      When it comes, will we know that he is the Sovereign Lord ?
Ezek 241-27
Cooking pot boiled dry,
      and even the remains burnt.
When and why did God enable Ezekiel to speak again?
This very day Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem. God's warning was fulfilled.
Ezekiel told not to mourn the death of 'the delight of his eyes', for God said, I am about to desecrate my sanctuary, the delight of your eyes. v21
You will not mourn but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. Ezekiel will be a sign to you. v23,24
Their mourning would not bring any relief - or rebuild the Temple.
Only when the news came of God's destruction of Jerusalem, would Ezekiel speak again.
Ezek 25, 26
Why does God also judge Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia and Tyre?
How must we also avoid such sin?
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Gal 67 See also Jer 46-51 and Is 13-23.
Each nation rejoiced at the downfall of Judah and saw an opportunity to strike their enemy when he was down with revenge and malice.
But Israel remains God's chosen people.  Ps 941-3,22,23  Is 269b 271
The church today should remember this and not act with superiority.
      Also be careful not to think 'thank you I am not as other men are!'
Ezek 27, 28
Tyre's view of herself c.f God's view?
Tyre's trade enabled her prosperity and beauty to become the envy of many;
but it turned to pride, self-sufficiency and sin - as it usually does!
They were content without God, like 19th C. England who thought that they 'ruled the waves' and boasted 'the sun never set on her empire'. In the grace of God we were also enabled to send out many effective missionaries. God's verdict: You have come to a horrible end and will be no more.  2736 2819
May God's judgement lead us into humble and righteous dependance.
Ezek 29 - 32
Why was the Sovereign Lord angry with Egypt?
And judge thus judge them?
      And all others like her.
1. Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. ... Because you said, "The Nile is mine; I made it."  299   God hated such arrogance.  306,18
2. They betrayed Israel when she called and paid for help.  2917-20       It seems that God gave Babylon the spoils of Egypt because after 17 years.
      But they got nothing from defeating Tyre.
One day Egypt's destruction will lead to their knowing God is Lord.
      296,9,16.21  308,19,25,26
One day Is 1919-25 will be fulfilled!  What a day!
Egypt was proud. Compared with tall majestic cedar of Lebanon.
      And like arrogant, demonic Babel! Thus God cut it down.  3212
      He will also judge all those who shelter under this evil tree (EU).  3118
Not only Egypt, but also Assyria, Elam, Edom and Sidon.  3217-30
Ezek 331-20
God's justice made clear.
God's watchman has a profound duty to warn.
This justice of God is very similar to  181-32
Ezek 3321-33
Jerusalem had fallen. Did Ezekiel's message change?
The people in Jerusalem presumed God's gift of land was still theirs.
But God would make it a wasteland because of all their sin. v29
The people in Babylon heard God's word but failed to obey it. v31
Soon they would realise God's judgement of Jerusalem was true, and that the prophet (Jeremiah and Ezekiel) had spoken the truth.
But then it would be too late.
Ezek 341-31
True c.f. false shepherds
I will make with them a covenant of peace.
(see file 'Ezek 34')
False shepherds only cared for themselves; true shepherds give themselves to search, rescue, tend, feed and strengthen their precious flocks.  Ps 23
The 'Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep'.  Jn 101-18  1 Pe 51-4
This Covenant is the New birth; the presence of Jesus gives us forgiveness, freedom, peace, protection and his righteousness. What a Shepherd!
Ezek 351 - 3615
Edom had 3 sins and judgements.
1. Harboured ancient hostility. Therefore bloodshed will pursue you.  355,6
2/3. Coveted land of Israel, jealous of God's gift and rejoiced Israel exiled. So God will make himself known in Israel, 'my people', Israel will return and once more prosper, but Edom will be made desolate.  359-15 368-12
This is now being beautifully fulfilled. But the surrounding nations,
      and even distant people are jealous of the Jews!
Ezek 371-14
Who were the bones? Why so dry?
Could they live? And where?
      If so, how?
This chapter is one of the most enlightening in the Bible. Almighty God does the seemingly impossible; he brings abundant life to the dead.
These bones are the whole house of Israel. Primarily the Jews, Abraham and his descendants with whom God had made an everlasting covenant.
In 586BC God had justly destroyed Jerusalem and even his own Temple.
When all hope of life had gone, he prophesies life and return to their land.
Prophesies to dry bones + prophesies to the breath (the Spirit). Dry bones 'heard' and gathered and the Spirit brought the revelation and life of God.
This forgiveness and life can only come because Jesus laid down his life.
Ezek 3715-28
Who were the whole house of Israel?
What is God's ultimate plan for them?
This word reveals it is Israel who had been exiled by Assyrians in 712BC and Judea that had been either killed or exiled to Babylon. Today they are seen being gathered together by God - like he had gathered the animals to Noah! - and are being drawn back in their own God-given land, on the mountains of Israel (Judea, 'West Bank').
The two nations (Israel and Judah) and being bound together again and best of all are slowly becoming a holy people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them for ever. v28 Very soon Almighty God will fulfill this everlasting covenant of peace. v26. All today's sin and war will be over.
Ezek 38,39
Gog / Magog battle is only mentioned here and Rev 20. Its timing in Rev 20 is clearly after the return of Christ in Rev 19 when the Beast and his False Prophet are thrown into hell. Then Satan is chained for 1,000 years and only when released can he instigate this war. He is defeated by Christ. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  Rev 2010
This timing of the battle at the end of the Millennium is confirmed in Ezekiel by the fact that Israel was living in unwalled villages as a peaceful and unsuspecting people.  3811 Israel has always been hated by the wicked world for the last 4,000 years! Peace will only come when Christ returns.
Ezekiel records that Israel took 7 months to bury all the Gog bodies and then used their wooden weapons as fuel for 7 years.  399-16 This suggests a different timing.
Zech 12 and 14 reveal how all nations under the Beast hate God's elect; they attack Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation and are defeated by the returning Christ. This battle is instigated by the satanic Beast; the Gog battle in Rev 20 is led by Satan himself.
Whatever the timing these chapters confirm the hatred of Satan and his wicked followers for the all whom God has chosen and created and is contrasted with the compassion, grace and power of Almighty God.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel," declares the Sovereign Lord.  3925-29
Ezek 401 - 4312
Ezekiel given important instructions.
Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see ... that they may be ashamed of their sins.  404 4310
Ezek 4313 - 4431
What do these regulations teach us about Christ and his offering?
The Altar had to be cleansed. Christ alone is the perfect sacrifice.
The east sanctuary gate was shut. Only Christ could enter and lead us in.
No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary. v9
Only faithful priests could enter. Christ is our faithful high priest.  Heb 1019
The daily sacrifices all point to the one now complete sacrifice of Christ.
      Heb 723-28 911-15 108-14
Ezek 45,46
Division of land and Offerings
Prince (king, ruler) given fixed land - not more, and no oppression.
Use accurate scales, bring special gifts, make atonement for sin, observe Passover and Sabbath. Live in righteousness, justice and truth.
Ezek 471-12
Water flowed from Temple to the E.
How did it bring life?
Holy of Holies (Sanctuary) was in the West
      So why is C of E altar/Table placed in the East?
In Zech 148 the river is seen flowing both East and West.
In Rev 22 the River of Life flows from the throne, but no direction revealed,
In Rev and Ezek the trees on both banks are shown to give fruit every month and the leaves for healing will not wither. Ezek reveals the water makes Dead Sea fresh and enables many kinds of fish to thrive.  Ps 464.  Is 3321
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."  Jn 737
The presence of Jesus and his Spirit brings eternal life.
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! ... Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. ... As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, ... so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; ... Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, ... This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."  Is 551-13
Ezek 4713 - 4835
Division of land.
Ezekiel is shown the land divided to all 12 tribes, includes exiled (lost) Israel.
God gives tribal responsibility, not 'communism', and includes aliens.
City is named: The Lord is There. And indeed he is, and always will be.

 

Daniel         [Contents]

Outstanding leader and prophet - one you can trust.
And one I would love to hear his answers to questions of my curious mind.

Dan 11-21
605 Daniel taken to Babylon
Remained there for 66 years.
After Nebuchadnezzar routed the Egyptians at Carchemesh, Jehoiakim submits.
Daniel and 3 friends selected for 3 year university training in Babylon.
Daniel resolved not to defile himself. This would be a life principle.
As a teenager he showed determination, humility and tact in not wanting to eat meat and wine that had been offered to idols.
Daniel + 3 have names changed. For significance of this see Bible study notes.
Though an exile he was chosen by Nebuchadnezzar, and later Darius, to be PM.
Dan 11-49
God reveals future world empires
Nebuchadnezzar was a young powerful warrior with dreams he didn't comprehend. So he told his 'wise men' that they had to tell him both the dream and its meaning - on pain of death! An unfair and impossible demand. Almighty God introduces himself to the king by doing this impossibility, by giving the answer to Daniel.
His muddled variety of dreams were joined into one simple vision. God then told him 2,500 years of future world history! "There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come."
The statue of gold, silver, bronze and iron - the future world empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, is just the beginning of the dream. Next, of great significance, is the statue's feet. They were a weak, unstable mix of iron and clay. (Today we are beginning to see this in world governments.) But of far greater importance is the last part of the dream. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand. And this 'stone' would smash the whole statue, which was then seen to be blown away like chaff in the wind.
The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. ...
The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future.
The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.

All this truth Almighty God chose to reveal to a pagan, super-power ruler who was just starting his march upon the world stage. A proud king, who after 40 years with Daniel, was humbled as he bowed before the King of Kings.
The first 3 chapters of Daniel tell the story of God's dealing with this man. And the 4th chapter is the testimony written by Nebuchadnezzar of how he became a servant of the most High God.
In these days of instability, strife and approaching tribulation, the reliable revelation of God's plan in this chapter to establish his eternal kingdom, will prove to be of huge benefit to suffering believers.
Dan 31-30
What was burnt in the fiery furnace?
Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were not even singed!
Nebuchadnezzar was deeply moved by the revelation of his dreams, but emotions often change far quicker than does the heart of man. In just a few months, his had concentrated upon the head of gold, and all the rest of the dream was forgotten. He constructed a huge 90ft golden image a short distance to the west of Babylon so that the rising sun reflected its glory. And he commanded everyone to worship the image. (I wonder if the image resembled Nebuchadnezzar?!) Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (to keep to their proper Hebrew names) refused. In fury the king had them thrown into the overheated furnace. So hot that even the picked soldiers who threw them in were consumed. Nebuchadnezzar was more than a little amazed to see the three men walking in the flames, and a 4th man was walking with them, even brighter than the fire. Such is the brilliance of Almighty God. Only the ropes that bound the men - and of course Nebuchadnezzar's pride, were burned! For the second time the hand of God had greatly impressed this mighty king.
The three Jews were promoted.
But there is no mention of the statue being removed. The lack of real repentance did not cause the Lord God to give up on his servant Nebuchadnezzar. There had to be one more step before he was truly humbled. The next chapter reveals this final step in the fascinating story of Almighty God dealing with one of the world's greatest despots.
Daniel is not mentioned, so he was obviously away somewhere.
Dan 41-37
Nebuchadnezzar is truly humbled.
This is the only OT chapter (a full testimony) to be written by a Gentile.
Nebuchadnezzar sees the truth: the Most High God ... his kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation. Not like Babylon!
He tells how God warned him in a dream about a felled tree that Daniel correctly interpreted. But 12 months later he ignored what the Most High had said.
He spent seven times living like an animal; but was then restored. He concluded:
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Jewish tradition teaches that Daniel maintained the king's reign while waiting for his restoration. A very different conclusion from that of his successor, Belshazzar!
Dan 51-31
A blasphemous banquet,
Babylon falls.
If Belshazzar knew that the Persians were not far away; he did not care - he thought Babylon was totally secure. So he gave a great party for 1000 to prove it. They drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. And they drank from the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem to celebrate that Babylon was greater than Almighty God - Such public blasphemy would be catastrophic - immediately!
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. As God's verdict was being written where everyone could see it clearly, the hall would have suddenly become silent.
But no one could understand the words. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified. Daniel was summoned and knew immediately the meaning. But refusing all reward, he first reminded Belshazzar about Nebuchadnezzar and the 'Tree' and thus how he learned that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes. But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. ... Therefore ... MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.
    Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
    Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
    Parsin: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

God had arranged for the Persian engineers to divert the Euphrates so that their army could march up the dried river bed into the city of Babylon. That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain.
The day will come when the publicly blasphemous EU* (and UK if we insist in remaining part of it) will be destroyed in a single hour !!  Beware !!
Jer 518 and Rev 188,10   All Rev 17 + 18 and Dan 5 have much in common.
The wise will learn and obey - "Come out of her, my people ..."  Rev 184
The Lord God has placed Dan 4 and Dan 5 next to each other for good reason.
Let us all learn from the life conclusion of these two kings.

* See EU advert of Babel 'Many nations, one voice', EU parliament building at Strasbourg designed on 'Babel', 'woman on the beast' statue outside EU Council building in Brussels. The Pergamon pagan altar transported to Berlin. (for starters!)

Dan 61-28
Daniel and the Medo-Persian king.
Daniel 1-6 is all about how God ordered the events in Babylon with a succession of kings - Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and now Darius - using his servant Daniel.
Almighty God made him to be a righteous man with clearly exceptional talent. A Jewish exile from a defeated enemy, Daniel now over 80 years old was chosen by Darius to be one of the 3 chief administrators in his kingdom. Amazing. And it caused jealously and hatred on a big scale. Knowing that Daniel prayed 3 times a day to his God for Jerusalem (he had done so every day for over 60 years), they devised a deceitful plan that resulted in one of the most well known Bible stories. Daniel spent a whole night with an angel and a pride of hungry lions who never touched him. Like the other kings, Darius was impressed and delighted. He came to the same right conclusion as Nebuchadnezzar, "For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end."
And Daniel left a legacy that one day a Messiah would come to reign in Jerusalem. A legacy that may have brought the Magi to come to find Christ, in Bethlehem.
Dan 71-28
4 kingdoms, 10 kings + another king
War against the saints until ...
then everlasting Kingdom of God.
The book now moves from Daniel's present (553 BC) to the far distant future.
It starts with a similar vision of the statue that God revealed to Nebuchadnezzar.
      The 4 empires of Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greece and finally Rome.
4 great beasts are these same 4 empires, as God sees them,
      they came up out of the sea; out of the chaos of Gentile endeavour,
      wicked, satanic, destructive and terrifying. As also the beast in Rev 13.
      c.f. as man sees them as gold, silver, bronze, iron and cultured !
Lion with wings, one wing torn off, stood on two feet, given heart of a man.
Bear, 3 ribs in its mouth, told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!'
Leopard with 4 wings, 4 heads, given authority to rule.
4th beast so terrifying it had no name, iron teeth to devour victims, trampling feet.
      Different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
      Then another little horn grew and uprooted 3 /10 horns.
            It had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
Then the Ancient of Days took his seat.

      The beast was slain and other beasts stripped of authority for short time.
      Son of man given authority and glory and all nations worshipped him.
            His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away.
Daniel troubled and given the interpretation:
'The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever.'
Daniel wanted to know more about the 4th beast, the 10 horns + the boastful horn.
As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favour of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
Explanation: 4th kingdom will devour the whole earth.
      10 horns are 10 kings who will come from this kingdom.
      Another different king will arise and subdue 3 of these kings.
      He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints for 3½ years.
      He will try to change the set times and the laws.
      But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely
            destroyed forever. And the sovereignty ... handed over to the saints.
      His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.
Daniel was deeply troubled.

And so should all men be who read this earnestly wanting to understand it.
Trying to change the set times and the laws could be:
      Same-sex Marriage, Evolution (c.f. Creation), Abortion murder, Euthanasia ...
      Each of these are now satanically changing civilisation.
      There is much more to come, especially war against the saints!

Dan 81-27
The Ram and the Goat
and the Master of Intrigue.
Dan 8-12 were written in Hebrew (1-7 in Aramaic). 551BC Daniel ~70.
Ram with 2 horns - Medes and Persians. Did as he pleased and became great.
Goat strikes ram furiously and destroys it.
      It's single horn (Alexander) broken and 4 horns replace it.
      One of them (Selucids) grew and attacked 'Beautiful Land' (Israel).
      Took away the daily sacrifice, prospered ... and truth was thrown to the ground.
      How long will it take ... ?
            2,300 evenings and mornings ... then sanctuary will be reconsecrated.

      Antiochus' priest offered pig to Zeus on Temple altar 164 to 167 BC x2/day
            for 1150 days. Then defeated by the Maccabees.
            Now celebrated in the Jewish feast of Hanukkah.
            All exactly as revealed to Daniel 400 years earlier.
As before, Daniel wanted to know more, so God sent Gabriel to tell him about king Antiochus and also about what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. ...
"In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.
He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. ...
The vision ... concerns the distant future."
The rule of the Beast and his False Prophet in Rev 13 and his defeat by the returning Jesus Christ in Rev 19.
Dan 91-27
Daniel now 80, pleads with Yahweh,
the covenant keeping God of Israel.
Begins with true heartfelt contrition. "We have sinned and done wrong ... All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. ... all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favour of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. ... Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. ... O Lord, see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. ... O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay."
So God sent Gabriel again. "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given."
The answer Almighty God gave was the most significant verse in the OT.
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city
      to finish transgression,
      to put an end to sin,
      to atone for wickedness,
      to bring in everlasting righteousness,
      to seal up vision and prophecy and
      to anoint the most holy."

We may not be able to discern the precise time of the 'seventy sevens', but it is sufficient to know that Almighty God had a definite time for both the redemption and for the coming of his eternal and righteous kingdom.
This glorious truth is the legacy that Daniel left (see notes on Dan 6).
Gabriel then continues to tell him some details as to how this will come to pass.
From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens', and sixty-two 'sevens'. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
      There were several decrees so the start date in uncertain. 7x (7+62) = 483.
            Does this refer to the birth or crucifixion of Jesus?
            Is the 'times of trouble' the rule of Rome?
The Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.
      The Saviour was willing to be crucified stark naked to redeem us.
The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
      Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. Jews exiled.
The end will come like a flood:
War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

      World destruction by proud, greedy men continues in spite of pleas for peace.
He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
            'He' is the satanic world ruler, who breaks any covenant, who persecutes Christians and who reigns for half of the final 7 years. (See also Dan 7,8)
      His rule is ended, not by man, but by the return of the King of Kings.
All this Gabriel revealed to Daniel 2,500 years ago!
Dan 101-21
536 BC
Daniel mourns for 3 weeks.
Daniel sees a glorious angel on the river bank. He comes and speaks to him: "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. ... Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come. ... Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince."
The angel strengthens Daniel.
Dan 111-35
Precise prophecies from the
Persian kings to Antiochus IV.
These prophecies are so accurate that some claim they were written much later. But the angel revealed them all to Daniel in the first year of Darius the Mede.
Dan 1136-45
More revelation about the last days.
The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed. He will engage in 'World war', invade Israel and annihilate many. ...
He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain.
Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

It will be the Lord God himself who will return and defeat this wholly satanic being.
      Rev 19   Zech 12 and 14
Dan 121-13
The ‘Book’ is sealed until the end.
Then its truth is seen.
"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book–will be delivered. ... But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. ... Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end." This great truth will encourage the saints, Jew and Gentile, and enable them to stand, as did the Reformation martyrs who were burned, and many since. The righteous will be victorious and overcome them by the blood of the Lamb.  Rev 1211
But we must be ready for the last 3½ years when the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed. ... None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
The book is sealed to keep it safe and to guarantee its authority.
Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. But not wisdom!
The wise will be alert, expectant, prepared; not deceived nor distracted.
The Word of God will instruct us, but we need to read and believe all of it.
May all believers become diligent concerning these truths revealed to Daniel.
They remain God's chosen instrument to save us
      in these days of great tribulation.

 

Hosea         [Contents]

Hosea began preaching in ~760 BC at the same time as Amos. Same message, but very different style. Northern tribes of Israel were enjoying prosperity, moral decay, and had rejected God. They focussed on creation, not the Creator. Religion flourished; but it was the worship of 'Mother Nature', Baal and Astarte and golden calves at Bethel and Dan. Like the bronze bull and calf outside the new stock-exchange building in Frankfurt. Hosea's life and experience would mirror much of the relationship between Almighty God and Israel. Hosea means "salvation of the Lord." He hated the life-style of Israel, he pleaded with God. But what would God do? What could he do? This book has a surprising answer to both these questions.

Hosea 11-11
Hosea's wife and children
The word of the Lord that came to Hosea ...
God spoke to Hosea clearly. As with other prophets there was no mistaking his voice, no doubt about what he had heard.
"Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom,
      for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord."

This was not what this young, righteous man wanted to hear!
How could his marrying a prostitute honour God?
      And what has it got to do with Israel forsaking the Lord?
      But he obeyed.
So he went and took Gomer, (married her) and she conceived and bore him a son.
But when it came to naming the child, I expect there was little agreement.
The Lord said to him, "Call his name Jezreel,
      for in just a little while ... I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel."

They had a second child, a daughter with a significant name!
"Call her name No Mercy,
      for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all."

There was an addition to the Lord's explanation that concerned their rival, Judah:
But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword. The only way to save Judah, or any man, would be by the blood of the crucified Son of God.
Their 3rd child was a son.
And the Lord said, "Call his name Not My People,
      for you are not my people, and I am not your God."

This name may well have a personal application. Hosea was probably not the father.
      We find in Hos 3 that Gomer had gone back to whoredom.
But in the national sense, the northern tribes of Israel would be cast off,
      exiled for their unrepented sin.
"Yet", a little word with a hugely important prophetic revelation:
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God."
Such is the extent of God's grace and mercy, he reveals that 'No Mercy' is not the end of the story. There will come a day when even rebellious, immoral Israel will return to her Lord and Redeemer. Amid all the anguish of an unfaithful wife and a broken marriage, God tells Hosea it can, and will, be restored. But the road will be rough.
Hosea 21-13
The Lord pleads and punishes
Here we find the Creator, the Lord of Glory pleading with man - amazing!
"Plead with your mother, plead—for she is not my wife, ...
      For their mother has played the whore ...
Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her,
      so that she cannot find her paths. ...
      And I will put an end to all her mirth ...
      I will punish her for she went after her lovers and forgot me,"
      declares the Lord.

Love weeps, but Justice demands punishment.
We find them alternating or together throughout the history of Israel.
      Read the roller-coaster book of judges.
Ask why, how, and when
      does the Lord stretch out his hand to a disobedient people?
Hosea 214-23
Mercy
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
      and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. ...
      And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth ..."
"And in that day, declares the Lord,
      you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.' ..."

All the idols will be burnt and the gift of righteousness appreciated.
I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land ...
      In the kingdom of God there will be no war, no pain, no death, no sin.
And I will betroth you to me forever
      in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.
      I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.

What a day that will be!
How can it come to pass?
Hosea provides the answer.
Hosea 31-5
Redemption
The Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel ..."
So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.

The 'other man' did not love her; there is no love in Satan's deception.
To win her back he had to pay a price. Hosea paid a modest price.
      Jesus had to pay the very maximum. Death on a roman cross.
Hosea insists on one thing from Gomer:
      "You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore,
            or belong to another man; so will I also be to you."

And not just for 'many days', but for ever.
      The Lord expects us to consistently live in righteousness and truth.
So we find interwoven in Hosea's life, God's plan of redemption.
      And the answer to why? and how?
God also reveals to Hosea when?
      Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
Of course it is true for individuals - Jews and Gentiles, that God reveals his mercy and redeems us now. But in the 'latter days' when 'the times of the Gentiles' are complete, then 'all Israel will be saved'.  Ro 1125,26
For Hosea this glorious day of national righteousness and truth must have seemed a long way off. And for us, living 2,750 years later, it still seems distant as the world-wide wickedness and deception grows. Let us hold fast to the Word of God, revealed and proven to be true.
Hosea 41-19
God's accurate accusation
The Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land:
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land.
There is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, adultery and bloodshed. ...
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ...
      you have forgotten the law of your God.
My people inquire of a piece of wood ...
      they have left their God to play the whore.
Conclusion? A people without understanding shall come to ruin.

The last days will be the same, only worse.  See 2Tim 31-5
      And the consequences will be the same, only worse.
      Why are men so blind and deaf and arrogant?
Hosea 51-15
God's warnings ignored
Hear this, O priests! ...
With their flocks for sacrifice, they go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him.

Religious activity will never save a man who refuses to repent.
Blow the horn, ... Sound the alarm ...
      Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment.

Even all the Tribulation events will not cause men to cry for mercy.
      After the 7th trumpet has sounded loud and clear, God sends 3 flying angels.
            The 1st with a loud voice warns the whole earth that the hour of his judgement
            has come. But stubborn, foolish men will always ignore the warning.
Hosea 61 - 814
False hope
False repentance
Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us ...
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up ...

They vainly thought that their sacrifices would bring quick, easy healing,
But their love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.
It had no heartfelt substance, no real repentance;
      only mild regret that hopes to escape the consequences of sin.
      Like a costless, cross-less salvation that is often preached today
So Hosea told them what God expected:
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
      the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. ...
They dealt faithlessly with me.
They do not consider that I remember all their evil. ...
They do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him, for all this. ...
They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds.
With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction.
      I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
 (The golden calves in Bethel and Dan)
Hosea 91 - 1015
The consequences of sin
Rejoice not, O Israel! ... for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.
They shall not remain in the land of the Lord.
But go into exile.
The days of punishment have come; ... because of your great iniquity. ...
My God will reject them because they have not listened to him;
      they shall be wanderers among the nations. ...
Israel is a luxuriant vine ... The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built.
Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. ...
Hosea 111 - 1316
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
In spite of their determined sinfulness, God still yearned for Israel.
      He would never give up his love or his covenant with them.
The more they were called, the more they went away;
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; ...
      and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
      and I bent down to them and fed them.

Almighty God would have to punish them by exile.
They shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king,
      because they have refused to return to me.
I will not again destroy Ephraim. ...
I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast. ...
I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death.
      O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting?
      Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
Hosea 141-9
Final words of wisdom
There is only one solution. Hosea finishes as he began - a plea for repentance.
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
      for you have stumbled because of your iniquity
.
When they cease from idol worship, then they will find mercy.
I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily. ...
They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow.
Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
      whoever is discerning, let him know them;
      for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them,
      but transgressors stumble in them.

Here is wisdom.
Why does it take so long to impact our hearts?

 

Joel         [Contents]

There is no accurate date for when Joel ministered, or where. But from the text it is quite probable that he preached primarily to Jerusalem at or soon after Amos and Hosea ministered in Israel. He prophesied concerning the judgement of God upon Israel and Judah in his day and especially in the last days.

Joel 11-12
'Locusts'
As with all true prophets he spoke because The word of the Lord that came to Joel.
He uses a recent locust devastation to reveal God's judgement.
Many were deaf to the idea that Israel and Judah deserved any judgement.
Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
      What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten.
      What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten,
      and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten.

This had actually happened, but it was symbolic of the devastation that would soon
      be ordered by the Lord by an attacking nation. (Probably Assyria)
For a nation has come up against my land, powerful and beyond number;
      its teeth are lions' teeth ... It has laid waste my vine ...
      and gladness dries up from the children of man.
Joel 113 - 217
Call to repent
Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests ... Consecrate a fast ...
      and cry out to the Lord.
Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes. ...
To you, O Lord, I call. For fire has devoured the pastures ...

But the people seemed deaf to the warnings of Almighty God.
      How could he alert the sleeping, rebellious people?
Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!
      Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
            for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,
            a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Their like has never been before, nor will be again after them.

This prophecy may refer to the Assyrian onslaught on Israel,
      but primarily it must be to the last days.  (See Math 2421)
The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. ...
For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?

Having given his warning, the Lord God makes yet another plea for us to repent.
"Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart,
      with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
      and rend your hearts and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
      slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love."
Joel 218-27
The day of restoration
On that day Israel will look upon him whom they had pierced; and mourn.
      They will repent and see the cleansing fountain. Zech 1210 - 131
Then the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. ...
      and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.
"Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God,
      he has poured down for you abundant rain.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
      my great army, which I sent among you. ...
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
      and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
      And my people shall never again be put to shame."
Joel 228-32
My Spirit on earth
"It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; ...
And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Joel 31-16
Gathered for war
At the end of the tribulation Jesus will return to win the war and save Israel.
"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land."
Very few nations have any respect for Israel; but they're still God's 'chosen people'.
The UN and most world leaders have done their best to divide the land of Israel;
Land which Almighty God gave to Israel by unconditional eternal covenant.  Gen 177,8
God tells Israel:
      Consecrate for war; ...
      Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears.

      For the last time!
God tells the nations:
      Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
      for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
      and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.

Almighty God will prove the accuracy of his word to all the world.
      None will be able to doubt his faithfulness and power to do what he says.
Joel 317-21
The glorious future
"So you shall know that I am the Lord your God,
      who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. ...
Egypt shall become a desolation and Edom a desolate wilderness,
      for the violence done to the people of Judah.
But Judah shall be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem to all generations.
I will avenge their blood, blood I have not avenged,
      for the Lord dwells in Zion."

This must surely be the best promise for Zion, that the Lord will dwell with them.
      Perfect security, no more deceit, surrounded by love, truth and righteousness.

 

Amos         [Contents]

In ~760BC the northern tribes of Israel had enjoyed 30 years of peace. Jeroboam II was the 14th of 20 evil, idol-worshipping kings. They worshipped Baal for prosperity and Asherah for sex. They were wealthy, morally corrupt, spiritually smug and ignored Almighty God and his commandments. But God had made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants and was determined to give them every opportunity to repent before he punished them. So he sent a trio of prophets - Amos, Hosea and Joel to warn Israel.

Amos 11,2
The Lord roars!!
Amos was from Tekoa, 10 miles S. of Jerusalem, so from Judah. A foreign farmer.
He began to preach: "The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem ..."
No softly, softly approach, but direct and above all - true.
Almighty God was not pleased with Israel, his chosen people
Amos 13 - 23
Surrounding nations
God starts with the charges and punishments against 6 surrounding nations.
1.      Damascus. Extreme cruelty
        thus fire, destruction and exile.
2.      Gaza. Sold defeated enemies as slaves.
        Thus Philistines will die and fortresses destroyed.
3.      Tyre. Sold defeated enemies as slaves.
        Thus fortress will be destroyed.
4. Edom. Angry and stifled all compassion.
        Thus fortresses destroyed.
5.      Ammon. Ripped open pregnant women to extend borders.
        Thus fortresses destroyed.
6.      Moab. Burned bones of Edom's king.
        Thus death and fortresses destroyed.
What does God say about the cruelty and motives for all the various wars today?
Amos 24,5
Nearer home
What about Judah and their sin?
"For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
 Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his decrees,
      because they have been led astray by false gods,
I will send fire upon Judah that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem."

Judah may be 'chosen', but they would not escape punishment.
Amos 26-12
Amos hits the 'bullseye'
Israel had probably listened with smug agreement to the charges and punishments
against the other nations. Now the searchlight of the Sovereign Lord fell upon Israel.
The charge sheet was longer, more detailed. But how would they react?
They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals.
They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground
They deny justice to the oppressed.
Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name.
They lie down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge.
In the house of their god they drink wine taken as fines. ...
You made the Nazirites drink wine and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.
Amos 213 - 315
The verdict
If it was right for the other nations to be punished; why not Israel?
So God declared:
"Now then, I will crush you ... the swift will not escape ..."
Therefore I will punish you for all your sins. ...

Crime and punishment go together as darkness and light together make a day.
      Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
      Does a lion roar in the thicket when he has no prey?
      When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?

So also
      Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
      without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

And now Amos was warning the people of Israel.
      The lion has roared– who will not fear? ...
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
"An enemy will overrun the land;
      he will pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses. ...
I will destroy the altars of Bethel
I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house."

This is the same punishment that God would justly mete out to the other nations.
Amos 41-5
More crime and punishment
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan ...
Amos was not shy to call a spade by its name.
You women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
      and say to your husbands, "Bring us some drinks!"
And the verdict?
      "The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks."
      This was how the Assyrians would take them away as a line of slaves,
            some 15 years later. What a transformation from their present lifestyle!
      But that is what comes when people ignore God's warning.
Amos 46-13
I gave you ... yet you have not
      returned to me
The Sovereign Lord sent a series of trials / disasters upon Israel
hoping that they would see them as the corrective / warning hand of God.
1.      I gave you empty stomachs in every city ...
2.      I also withheld rain from you ... One field had rain; another had none ...
3.      I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew ...
4.      I sent plagues ... I killed your young men with the sword ...
5.      I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah ...
        Yet you have not returned to me.
        Therefore ... prepare to meet your God, O Israel.

The people never thought that their God would do such a thing.
Perhaps they even blamed God for their misfortune.
Repentance and pleading for mercy never entered their minds.
Amos 51-17
Invitation declined.
Content without God
Their unwillingness to hear God or to admit any personal fault would lead to death.
Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again.  Exiled Israel never returned after 722BC.
This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel: "Seek me and live ..."
Such a gracious invitation was a day of opportunity; but it was rejected.
You who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground ...
You hate the one who reproves in court and despise him who tells the truth.
You trample on the poor ...
You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice ...

Yet the Lord continues to plead with them:
      Seek good, not evil, that you may live. ...
      Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

They stubbornly refused
Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:
      "There will be wailing in all the streets ...
      There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst."

What about today? Will anyone hear the Lord and respond in tears.
Or will we fail to learn from this sad story?
Amos 518-27
The Day of the Lord
      Darkness, not light
Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! ...
      That day will be darkness, not light.
I hate, I despise your religious feasts ...
      though you bring me burnt offerings ... I will not accept them.
Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols ...
Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,
      says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

There is no possible excuse.
This just judgement requires no explanation.
Amos 61-14
"Woe to you"
Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
      and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
      you notable men of the foremost nation ...
      You dine on choice lambs ... You drink wine by the bowlful ...
But you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile;
      your feasting and lounging will end.

For ever!
Blind to their sin and its consequence.
No cry to God for mercy.
Such is the way of pride and complacency.
The Lord God Almighty declares:
      "I abhor the pride of Jacob ...
      I will stir up a nation against you, O house of Israel ..."
Amos 71-9
Locusts, Fire, Plumb line
How did Amos react to preaching God's judgment all the time?
Locusts
This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts ...
When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out,
      "Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!"
So the Lord relented. "This will not happen," the Lord said.

Fire
The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, "Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!"
So the Lord relented. "This will not happen either," the Sovereign Lord said.

Plumb line
The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, "What do you see, Amos?"
"A plumb line," I replied.
Then the Lord said, "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. ... with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam."

There comes a day when the Lord no longer listens to pleas for mercy.
      Remember Abraham pleading for Lot in Sodom.  Gen 1816-33
      And Jeremiah pleading for Jerusalem.  Jer 716-29 1114 1411
Amos 710-17
Persecution
Amaziah the priest of Bethel (where there was a golden calf idol.  1Kgs 1228,29) complains to Jeroboam II, and says to Amos: "O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom."
Amos 81-14
Summer fruit = the end
Amos is shown a vision of a basket of summer fruit, and is asked what he sees?
He replies, "A basket of summer fruit."
Then the Lord said to me, "The end has come upon my people Israel ..."

The significance is completely lost in English. In Hebrew summer fruit = 'qayis' and end = 'qes'. This whole vision is about the immanent end of Israel.
"Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord God, "when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it. ... they shall fall, and never rise again."
To never to hear the Word of the Lord is death.  This is the end.
Amos 91-10
Bethel destroyed
Amos is given vision of God destroying the temple of Bethel (+ golden calf).
Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
      and shatter them on the heads of all the people;
      and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
      not one of them shall flee away; not one of them shall escape.

So it would also be for arrogant, God-rejecting, idol worshipping Israel.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out ...
And I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good. ...
"Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
      and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
      except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," declares the Lord.
Amos 911-15
The restoration of Israel
Amos ends with a bright, but distant, hope
      that the Lord will in the end restore Israel.
"In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches,
      and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old. ...
I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
      and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them ...
I will plant them on their land,
      and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,"
      says the Lord your God.

Today we see Israel restored to their own land,
      but only gradually being restored to the Lord their God.
The Lord Almighty is faithful and will complete this promised task.
The day will come when Israel will be a holy nation.

 

Obadiah         [Contents]

Written shortly after Babylon had destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC. The Edomite descendants of Esau saw this as an opportunity to take over the Judean villages, capture the fleeing Jews and hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar. Almighty God was sent this prophet to warn Edom against such wicked opportunism.
Obed 11-14
Edom warned by God
Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom:
      Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised.

Why was God angry with Edom (and much of today’s world)
The pride of your heart has deceived you.
Edom’s neighbour had been destroyed, but they saw it only as an opportunity
      to pillage what the Jews had left behind, not as God’s judgement ...
You have no understanding ...
God declares he will therefore destroy the wise men out of Edom
      because of the violence done to your brother Jacob.
      in the day of their ruin; do not boast. ... do not gloat over his disaster.
      do not loot his wealth ... do not hand over his survivors.

Why does the world so often hate Israel and support their Arab neighbours?
      Oil wealth and financial opportunity + careless of God’s choice of the Jews.
Obed 115-18
The consequences
Edom refused to realise that the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations.
The world remains deaf to this warning; totally careless.
The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Esau stubble,
for the LORD has spoken.
Saviours shall go up to Mount Zion and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.

When Christ came as Saviour, most of Israel rejected him. But God has not given up on the people he chose 3,000 years ago. He will very soon return to Zion. His people will repent and this prophecy will be fulfilled. Jesus will be their king, and also king of all the world that he created and nurtured all these years.
See Zech 12,14 and Rev 19 - and more in between!
Deaf Edom’s gain will only be temporary. Edom will perish like stubble.
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?  Math 1626

 

Jonah         [Contents]

Jonah was a most interesting prophet / preacher. For all his personal up and downs, his honesty and life reveal much about how the grace of the Lord God is poured out. He is a practical answer to the question Jesus asks, "Which of the two did what his father wanted?"  Math 2128-32 The will of God is often established in unexpected, extraordinary ways.

Jonah 11 - 210
Jonah flees, but God does not
The book opens with a dramatic statement: The word of the Lord came to Jonah.
We are not told how or anything about the life of Jonah that led to this. Had he been praying for the people of Nineveh? Did he have a friend who lived there? Had he been seeking God about his future? Of this the scriptures are silent. But we are told in a single clear sentence what God said to him. "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."
He didn't like God's plan. Either because he knew that whenever God announces judgement there is always a hope that men will repent and he could then have mercy. (42  Jer 187) Or he was afraid what the Ninevites might do to him. Either way he gave God's plan a very low mark. In fact Jonah ran away from the Lord!
Did he really think he could?!  Jonah had some lessons to learn. Although there were many widows in Israel, Elijah was sent to a widow in Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel but Elisha was directed to heal Naaman, the Syrian.  (Lu 425-27)
To Jonah, the grace of God is seen to be extensive; he was willing to teach him.
The first lesson commenced. The Lord sent a violent storm. The sailors feared for their lives, prayed to their gods and threw the cargo overboard. Jonah was asleep below - which surprised the Captain. The cast lots to find who was the guilty one. It was Jonah. They asked him what they should do? "Throw me into the sea," he replied. So they did, and the raging of the sea grew calm. But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Some provision!! Saved from drowning in the sea, to be suffocated in a fish!
But the surprising purpose of God was about to unfold.
In the fish Jonah, prayed, repented and died. His final, and correct conclusion was:
"Salvation comes from the Lord."  And it did.
The Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.  Alive!
Just as he would later command Lazarus, who was 3 days dead, to "Come forth!"
And in proof of these two being raised from the dead, Jesus used the sign of the prophet Jonah to show what was going to happen to him. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  Math 1240
Jonah 31-10
Jonah preaches to Nineveh.
They repent and are spared
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you."  Same as before, unchanged.
Almighty God is not going to revise his plan because a foolish man did not like it.
But this time his response was different. Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. He had learned at least one lesson from the God of grace.
What was the message of God to Nineveh? It was very simple - and just.
"Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned."
Imagine saying that at Hyde Park Corner, in Westminster Abbey, or in Parliament asking "How does the Prime Minister intend to avoid Almighty God destroying London in 40 days time?"
But God knew Nineveh, and it wasn't like London.
The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.  Their repentance was real and no one abstained.
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
And they were Gentiles too!
It is true that their repentance did not last and about half a century later they would be destroyed by Babylon. But this generation were spared.
Jonah 41-11
Jonah's response
But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.  Why?
Basically God was compassionate; but Jonah was not.
Perhaps Jonah felt foolish because his prophecy did not come to pass.
But it is much more likely the city was grateful for the warning than thinking Jonah was a fool.
Jonah wanted nothing better than to die.
But God had compassion for the sulking Jonah, as well as the Ninevites.
First he asks Jonah a straight question: "Have you any right to be angry?"
The sovereignty of divine grace provokes many questions; not always answers!
      There remain many biblical mysteries - be honest.
      e.g. God is always just, but why do wicked prosper?  Jer 121
      God could show mercy to Jonah, but why to Nineveh?  Grace is always amazing.
      The Pharisees never understood why Jesus chose to dine with Zachaeus.
      Ditto the elder brother didn't enjoy the prodigal's return.
Jonah had no right to question God's grace to the undeserving.
His answer to God's question remains hidden, but he didn't stop his angry sulk.
So the Lord God provided a vine (an instant vine) and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. Was this happy conclusion the end of this extraordinary story.  No!

At dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint.
So, once more Jonah wanted to die.
The way God teaches us can sometime seem very strange. But he knew Jonah, as he also know us. Again he asks Jonah the question: "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"
The defiant Jonah answers, "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die."
Almighty God then quietly explains the situation and his compassion for Nineveh.

There the story ends.
But may I suggest that even for Jonah there was a happy ending because otherwise there would be no one who could give us this honest account. We would be much the poorer if we were unable to learn just how full of mercy and grace our God is and how patient with our foolish ways. He is so kind, so patient and forgiving.

 

Micah         [Contents]

He prophesied to Judah and Israel from ~ 750 to 700 BC during the time when the northern tribes of Israel were permanently exiled by Assyria and when Judah nearly fell too.

Micah 11-16
When men reject God
      judgement comes.
Hear, you peoples, all of you ... for behold, the LORD is coming ...
And his coming was not for a cosy chat!
Judah had not taken significant notice of Isaiah: even Jerusalem was a 'high place'
      and Israel had rejected the word of God from Amos and Hosea.
God was not going to ignore their sin, their idolatry and wickedness.
Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country ...
      All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces ...
      For her wound is incurable.

The rebellion was not only in Israel: it had spread to Judah, to Jerusalem.
So:  I will again bring a conqueror to you ... they shall go from you into exile.
What will Almighty God do to UK and the world that today heedlessly ignore him?
The answer is revealed both in the prophetic Scripture and in history.  Beware!
Micah 21-13
Power corrupts
Woe to those who devise wickedness ... when the morning dawns, they perform it.
They covet fields and seize them ... they oppress a man and his house.
In that day they shall ... moan bitterly, and say, "We are utterly ruined."

They did not believe this; they thought: disgrace will not overtake us.
      But a day comes when corruption destroys the proud and the powerful.
Yet in the last days the gracious Lord says, "I will gather the remnant of Israel.
      Their king passes on before them, the LORD at their head."

      In this day Israel will repent and welcome their returning King.  Zech 1210 - 131
Micah 31-12
Soon it would be too late.
Hear, you rulers of the house of Israel! ... You who hate the good and love the evil.
      They will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them.

How did Israel come to this disastrous state? They missed the day of opportunity.
Isaiah, down in Judea, had prophesied: "Come, all of you who are thirsty, come ...
      Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near."
 Is 551,6
Again Micah cries, Hear this, you rulers of the house of Israel,
      who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight.

As in the poem, The Listener by Walter de la Mare:
      "Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller, knocking on the moonlit door ...
      For he suddenly smote on the door, even louder, and lifted his head:
      "Tell them I came, and no one answered, I kept my word," he said.
The Lord is still calling to his world today - even in pandemics.
      But soon it will be too late.
      Why do men so readily reject God and miss the moment of opportunity?
            Deceived, distracted, deaf; proud, desire power, peace and popularity, ...
Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray ...
      The seers shall be disgraced, ... for there is no answer from God.

Micah does not give up on God’s commission; he continues to preach:
      Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob ...
            "Its priests teach for a price ... No disaster shall come upon us."

            But the priests were false deceivers; wrong. Almighty God was right!
So he continues: Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field;
            Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins.

      And so it did.  Twice. One and six centuries later; 586 BC and 70 AD.
Micah 41-8
God’s kingdom promised
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains.
One day God has promised that the longing of righteous men will be fulfilled.
The glorious Kingdom of God will be established for Jews and Gentiles.
Many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways."
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares ...neither shall they learn war anymore.
They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
      and no one shall make them afraid,
      for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
In that day, declares the LORD, I will gather those who have been driven away.
The LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore.

This beautiful vision was given to Micah when he was surrounded by wickedness, idolatry and the brutal Assyrian war machine. Such is the grace of God.
However he did not live to experience it; neither have we 2,700 years later!
      But the vision is sure and certain.
      The longing that God has put in our hearts he will be completely fulfill.
      Just as he has already fulfilled the provision of our crucified Saviour.
            Maranatha!!
Micah 49-13
Before that great day,
      Judah will be exiled to Babylon
Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, ... for now you shall go to Babylon.
There you shall be rescued; there the LORD will redeem you
      from the hand of your enemies.

There is then a leap in time to the last days:
Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, "Let her be defiled ..."
But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan.

Today this is being fulfilled. Almost all the world is against modern Israel - see the UN voting and their support of the Palestinian Arabs. Even very few Christians understand that God’s covenant with the Jews is both unconditional and eternal, especially concerning the land of Israel. (See Gen 1513-20 177,8) The Church cannot just take over the promises God made to Abraham and his descendants thinking that God has finished with the Jews post Calvary. Replacement Theology that ignores God’s covenant with the Jews and many other scriptures was one of the issues that caused the sad splitting of GCC and subsequently the senior pastor leaving.
Micah 51-15
God’s answer to sin
Jerusalem would be saved from destruction by Assyria, but not from Babylon.
God would send a mighty Saviour from the the little town of Bethlehem:
      But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel.
He would not come until another seven centuries had passed. And then the Deliverer would be crucified! The Ruler would not come for at least another 2,000 years.
We eagerly await his imminent coming today. And he shall be their peace.
Only he can bring peace and righteousness to this war-stricken world.
Meanwhile when the Assyrians invade and destroy Israel, Jerusalem would be delivered. He shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land.
And he did! The angel of the Lord slew 185,000 Assyrians in one night.  Is 3736
But even this mighty act would not turn the hearts of Judah to the Lord.
It would be many years before the remnant of Jacob would be like the dew from the Lord and bring the Gospel of Jesus in the midst of many peoples.
The Jews would then bring light and truth and salvation to the Gentile world. They would open the kingdom of heaven to all who would believe in this Saviour.
Micah 61-8
What does the Lord require?
The Lord did not want thousands of meaningless sacrifices, but righteous people.
What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,
      and to walk humbly with your God?

The problem is that men cannot meet this requirement without being 'born again'.
And to be 'born again' required the perfect sacrifice that only the Son of God could make.
Micah 69-16
Destruction of the wicked
The voice of the LORD cries to the city:
      Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales ...
      Your rich men are full of violence;
      your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,
      making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

Such is the judgement of Almighty God upon all who reject him and do evil.
      And not just in 700 BC.
It may seem that through history the wicked prosper and the powerful deceive.
      But their reign is only temporary.  (see Ps 733,37)
      They will be denied entry into the eternal kingdom of heaven.
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?  Math 1626
"Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! ... since in her heart she says,
      'I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
      For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
      death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire;
      for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”
 Rev 182-19
Today, the voice of the Lord still cries out to his fallen world. But who will hear?
      The Lord waits patiently for the few that will hear. What grace!
Micah 71-17
Living ready for the end;
      Confident in the Lord
The final establishment of the kingdom of God is not in doubt; but what we think and do meanwhile is important. See the 4 stories Jesus told in Math 2436 - 2546
These days will be tough and confidence in God’s faithfulness will be vital.
The godly has perished from the earth. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well. The prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier.
The wise are ready and prepared in these days.
But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation;
      my God will hear me.
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise;
      when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.
Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me,
      "Where is the LORD your God?"
As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them marvellous things.
      The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might
They shall turn in dread to the LORD our God, and they shall be in fear of you.
Micah 718-20
A final reminder
      of pardoning grace
Let us never forget this great truth:
      Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity. He will again have compassion on us;
      You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
      You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham,
            as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.
God’s mercy and grace have been repeated down through the centuries of history.
      His Word and his faithfulness have been tested and always found reliable.
In the darkest days remember, be assured,
      that the story ends well for all who believe in Christ Jesus.

 

Nahum         [Contents]

Nahum prophesied in Judah about 60 years after the 722 BC exile of Israel to Assyria, who were still the dominant and bitterly cruel world power. His message was primarily directed to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. But this small book has a timeless prophetic warning. Almighty God deals with all wicked rulers, empires and false religions. Later in Babylon God would use Daniel to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘statue dream’ in which all the world empires would be destroyed by the ‘little rock’ which would blow them away like chaff before establishing the eternal righteous Kingdom of God.
Jonah had preached in Nineveh much earlier and they had repented, but in 660 BC it was very different.

Nahum 11-6
God’s wrath on Nineveh
An oracle concerning Nineveh.
The LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies ...
      the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.
Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger?
      His wrath is poured out like fire.

Assyria was extraordinarily cruel to all its vanquished enemies, including Israel.
God was using his prophet to:
1. Warn Assyria that justice was soon to come upon them.
2. Give Judah assurance that their enemy was about to be destroyed.
Nahum 17 - 22
Judah must call on the Lord
Now was the time for Judah to repent too!
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble;
      he knows those who take refuge in him.
Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news ...
Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows. ...
For the LORD is restoring the majesty of Jacob.
Nahum 23-13
Destruction of Nineveh
Desolate! Desolation and ruin!  Hearts melt and knees tremble ...
Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts.
Nahum 31-19
Woe to Nineveh
      (And Judah)
Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder ...
Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts. (an awful repeat)
There will the fire devour you; the sword will cut you off.
There is no easing your hurt; your wound is grievous.
All who hear the news about you clap their hands over you.
For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil?

All Assyria’s enemies who had suffered her cruelty would rejoice;
      at least now they would see a measure of justice.

But Judah did not repent either.
      They learned nothing from God’s warning to Assyria.

Jeremiah began preaching to Judah in ~625 BC, and Zephaniah 5 years earlier.
      but Judah took no notice of God’s prophets.
Nineveh was destroyed by Babylon + Medes in 612 BC
Jerusalem, under Jehoiakim, had to surrender to Babylon in 605 BC
      and was completely destroyed 20 years later. Today the world rejects the just hand of Almighty God in judgement of wickedness.
It largely ridicules the truth of God’s creation, even his existence
      and certainly his Word and his commandments.
Few see God’s controlling hand in natural and man induced disasters.
This little book lies overgrown with weeds in the churchyard.

 

Habakkuk         [Contents]

Jehoiakim came to the throne in 609BC; a young and evil king, nearly a century after N. Israel exiled by Assyria.
Judah was prosperous, unjust, violent, immoral and idolatrous. And it greatly distressed Habakkuk.
Almighty God gave this prophet the single answer to his two honest, ancient and continuing questions.

Hab 11-4
How long, O Lord?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
The earnest prophet prayed continuously; but God seemed not to hear.
Jeremiah had been preaching in Jerusalem for 20 years, but the people were deaf.
Why?
UK has been electing governments for decades hoping for peace and prosperity,
      but like Judah, we become less holy and more wicked.
Many Christians have prayed earnestly like Habakkuk - asking the same questions.
How can we sing while the nation and the world blaspheme and ridicule God?
Why doesn't the Almighty Lord act to make his creation righteous?
Hab 11-11
God's Unbelievable Answer
God tells Habakkuk that his answer will be found by observing other nations.
Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.
I am raising up the Babylonians ...!!

That was God's answer.
In 'raising' them up, they would come and destroy Jerusalem and God's Temple.
What sort of unjust answer is that?
As God had warned, Habakkuk was indeed amazed.
Hab 112 - 21
Habakkuk complains
O Lord, you have appointed them to execute judgment ...
Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves ... ?

So what is the prophet, who cannot yet understand God's truth, going to do now?
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts;
      I will look to see what he will say to me ...

This was definitely not a defiant 'we'll see who's right ...' act.
      It was much more 'I will stand and watch carefully, please show me.'
Almighty God respected this humble, honest response of his well chosen prophet.
Hab 22-20
God Explains his Answer
He first instructs the prophet to write down the answer. He wants us to know it too.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Firstly the answer was not just for Habakkuk's day, but also for the 'last days'.
Days when the wicked will be puffed up; his desires are not upright –
      but the righteous will live by his faith.

The wicked will be drunk ... arrogant ... greedy ... violent ... blasphemous ...
      Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain ... with bloodshed.
      Has not the Lord Almighty determined ...
            that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
      For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
            as the waters cover the sea.
      Of what value is an idol ...
      But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

God tells Habakkuk that a day will come when wickedness will be no more,
      a day when all will be righteous, when his dreams will be fulfilled.
      But it will not be when Babylon comes, or when earth's empires expire;
      it will only come when the King of kings comes and establishes his kingdom.
Habakkuk now sees this glorious truth - which most today are still blind to.
Hab 31-19
Habakkuk Prays
I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.
Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations.
You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness ...
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.
Habakkuk understands that this great day is as distant as it is certain.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
      though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
      though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
      yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
      The Sovereign Lord is my strength ...
God has answered the prophet's questions - and he is satisfied.
We will be too, if the Almighty has revealed it to us.
For the children of God the Lord had first to come as Redeemer;
      and then later to return to complete their salvation.  Heb 928
      Only this will bring the righteous Kingdom of God that Habakkuk so longed for.
      Nebuchadnezzar brought the judgement of God upon Jerusalem;
            but this did not change the hearts of the people to become holy.
Our God is never in the business of disappointing his children, or his prophets.

 
Zephaniah         [Contents]

Manasseh’s long and evil reign had a disastrous affect upon Judah and made idolatry the national norm. Zephaniah was not afraid to declare the Lord’s just judgment upon this. Neither was Jeremiah, his contemporary. King Josiah strove to reform Judah, but the people refused to follow his lead.

Zeph 11
In the days of Josiah
640-609 BC.  The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah.
This opening phrase is important. What he preached was not his own ideas, not his own slant on the state of the nation. And God’s word didn’t just come out of the blue. God chose his man, and that man was earnest for the glory of God. He hated the national and careless wickedness.
Zeph 12-6
Judgement on Judah
The Lord declares ... I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests ... those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD.
Judah sought personal prosperity and had to be reminded that the consequences of sin is total destruction. Never a popular message.
Zeph 17-18
On that day
The day of the LORD is near ...
On that day the Lord will punish Judah for many listed wicked ways.
The judgement will be sooner rather than later - don’t put off repentance.
The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast ...
      a day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish,
      a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom ...
      because they have sinned against the LORD.

Zephaniah is shown there will be a greater judgement in the last days, when:
      all the earth shall be consumed;
      for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.
Zeph 2
Enemies also judged
Before God judges all their enemies, Judah must be prepared; therefor:
      Seek the LORD ... seek righteousness; seek humility;
      perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.

Enemies judged: Gaza, Ashkelon, Cherethites, Canaan, Philistines, ...
      Moab and Ammon will be like Sodom and Gomorrah,
      Cushites shall be slain, Assyria a desolation.
Zeph 31-8
Rebellious Jerusalem
Just in case Judah should think only their enemies will be judged, Zepaniah returns
      to Jerusalem and their plight.
Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled ...
      She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction.
      She does not trust in the LORD; she does not draw near to her God.
      Her judges are evening wolves
      Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy
      Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD ...
And the waiting will not be long. The judgement is certain.       Jeremiah preached for 40 years but no one heeded him or Zephaniah.
      Then the Lord’s patience ended and Babylon completely destroyed Jerusalem.
Zeph 39-20
Restoration promised
The Lord has also planned a day of restoration,
      however unlikely it may seem - either then, or today.
At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech,
      that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD.
On that day ... I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones.
      I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly.
      They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD ...
            and none shall make them afraid.

How will this come about? There is only one way - The Lord himself will return.
      The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst ...
            at the time when I gather you together
      For I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth.

We await that great and promised day when ‘all Israel will be saved’.  Ro 1126,27

 

Haggai         [Contents]

He prophesied in the 2nd year of Darius Hystapis (522-486 BC). Cyrus had allowed the Jews to return from Babylon 16 years earlier. They started to rebuild the Temple, but stopped because of local opposition.

Hag 11-15
Rebuilding the Temple
Haggai heard what the Lord Almighty says, "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the Lord's house to be built.' " ... "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured," says the Lord.

Zerubbabel the Governor, Joshua the High Priest and all the people obeyed.
They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God.
So the Lord was glad to tell them, "I am with you."
What better news can any people receive from the Lord God?
Hag 21-9
God promises his presence
Just a month later the word of the Lord came to Haggai to tell Zerubbabel and Joshua "Now be strong ... for I am with you. This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear."
"In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory," says the Lord Almighty.
By earth's standards the 2nd Temple had nowhere near the size, the gold or bronze of Solomon's Temple. Even after Herod had enlarged it, 500 years later, it's glory was very small in comparison.
Jesus, 'the desired of all nations' did come. But the only glory he received was to be crucified! This was God's plan as there was no other way that men could be forgiven and be saved. Now he reigns in the glory of heaven; but not yet on earth.
However the day is coming soon when 'he will shake the heavens and the earth'.
He will return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, defeat Satan's Beast, imprison Satan and fill his creation with glory.
As the writer to the Hebrews later confirmed:
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken–that is, created things–so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."  Heb 1226-29
Almighty God will definitely fulfill his word to Haggai. He will 'fill this house with glory', his creation and his people. And they will experience 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the Lord Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the Lord Almighty.
What a day it will be when all deception will be replaced with truth, and all people will be holy, just and righteous. No more war and no more pain. This will be the promised glory of the Lord that will fill his people, the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Hag 210-19
God's blessing promised
Another two months later the word of the Lord came to Haggai, "... consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord's temple. ... I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me," declares the Lord. ... "From this day on I will bless you."
And again the word of the Lord came: "I will shake the heavens and the earth. ...
I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel," declares the Lord, "and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you."

So Zerubbabel came into the genealogy of Jesus. Math 15

 

Zechariah         [Contents]

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah in the same year as Haggai - 520 BC

Zech 11-6
The need to repent
The Lord was very angry with your forefathers. Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the Lord Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the Lord Almighty.
Then they repented and said, 'The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.'

It is rare that a man admits he deserves God's wrath, that he is totally unable to make himself righteous and thus needs a Redeemer.
What joy there must have been in heaven to see Israel repenting of their sin.
The rest of this book tells us what God delights to do with forgiven people.
After three months God gives his prophet 7 visions in a single night!
1. Man among the Myrtle trees
            Zech 17-17
He is shown a horseman in red, with two others in brown and white behind him, tells him they are the ones the Lord had sent to go throughout the world. They reported that the world was at rest; still under the peaceful yoke of Persia. For Israel to be truly free they needed the Persian empire to be overthrown - and then the Greek and finally the Roman empires.
"Therefore, this is what the Lord says: 'I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,' declares the Lord Almighty." Jesus Christ did come to Jerusalem and he did build 'his house', his Temple, his Church. But the building is not yet complete. It soon will be! For the Lord said, "Proclaim further ... The Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem." Zechariah would have to wait just 3½ years for the 2nd Temple building to be finished. He did look with favour upon the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem and were now wholeheartedly rebuilding the Temple.
But we are now seeing the greater fulfillment of this prophecy. The Jews have returned after 2,000 years of Roman exile. The faithful Lord is about to comfort Israel with salvation and choose Jerusalem - much to the annoyance of most of the rest of the world. Soon he will return in person to establish his righteous kingdom.
2. Four Horns and Craftsmen
            Zech 118-21
He is shown 4 Horns and is told "These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem." Then he sees 4 Craftsmen who are to terrify and destroy the 4 horns that had scattered Israel. In due time (the next 2,500 years) the 4 world empires would be overthrown - just as God had revealed to Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar in his 'statue of gold, silver, bronze and iron dream' in Babylon some 80 years earlier. Dan 2 The dream in which the 4 great world empires would be destroyed by 'the little rock' that would become the eternal, righteous kingdom of God.
3. Man with a Measuring Line
            Zech 21-13
I looked up–and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand! I asked, "Where are you going?" He answered me, "To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is."
Then the angel who was speaking to me left, and another angel came to meet him and said to him: "Run, tell that young man, 'Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,' declares the Lord, 'and I will be its glory within.'
The Lord God tells the angel, not about Jerusalem at that time, but what Jerusalem will be in the future - 'A city without walls', at peace, totally protected by God himself and with the glorious presence of God as King within.
Ezekiel sees this same picture of Jerusalem and its people living in peace.  Ezek 3810,11
Jerusalem = 'City of peace'. But from king David 1004BC to Rome in 37 BC Jerusalem changed hands 17 times. And from 70 AD to 1967 it had a further 21 different rulers. See website 'History of Jerusalem'. So this prophecy clearly refers to a time of peace yet to come. The dream of its name will surely come.
Then the Lord tells him, "Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north," declares the Lord, "for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven," declares the Lord. "Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!"
But Zechariah had already returned from Babylon; he was in Jerusalem. So this instruction must be for some future day. Today! When nearly half the world's Jews have not yet returned to Israel. Living in 'Babylon' also means living in the wicked world system as revealed in Rev 17,18. Almighty God wants his people to leave Babylon. "Come out of her, my people, so that you do not share in her sins."  Rev184
Finally the Lord tells Zechariah, and us, "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the Lord. "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you." So even we Gentiles are included in God's gracious invitation to live with him in Jerusalem. It is now over 50 years since I sent him my affirmative response to his RSVP. And though the world is beginning to be shaken and wickedness abounds, yet I will rejoice and be glad in the Lord!  Hab 317,18
4. High Priest Cleansed
            Zech 31-10
Zechariah is shown Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
First, the Lord reminds him that he has chosen Jerusalem. Do we need reminding?
Satan's prime objective is to accuse and thus destroy all men. No man can stand before God and not be justly accused unless he has been forgiven, cleansed by the perfect blood sacrifice of Jesus. So Almighty God proves that Joshua is forgiven, and there is nothing Satan can accuse him of.
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.
The Lord God confirms to Joshua that he taken away his sin, he is now clean.
The clean turban is to ensure that Joshua knows in his mind he is forgiven.
As Paul taught the Romans, In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Ro 65-11

The Lord God also wanted to ensure that it was not only Joshua who could be cleansed, but all who call on the name of the Lord and plead for mercy.
" 'Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day." The Messiah, the Branch, the Stone, would come and make the single and perfect, complete sacrifice for sin. But the land of Israel would not avail themselves of this provision. Only a few would do so. But the 'single day' will come when all Israel will be saved. I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."  Ro 1125-27

5. The Gold Lampstand and
      Two Olive Trees
            Zech 41-14
Zechariah was so caught up with the first four visions that an angel had to 'awaken', alert him to see the next vision. He sees a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.
But what do these symbolise. Zechariah need help here, and so probably do we!
The angel tells him: This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty. ... "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it."
The 2nd Temple may seem small, but it would be completed. Later it would also be enlarged by Herod. But it would not last. The Romans would destroy it 70 AD.
The Lord God was also referring to another Temple raised not by human might but by his Spirit. Jesus tells us how his body would be destroyed, but his Father would raise it again on the third day. And when his body was raised a great multitude of believers would be raised with him.  Jn 219-22  Ro 64,5
And that's not all. The angel explains the two olive trees that have two gold pipes that pour out golden oil. ... These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth. They serve the Lord by pouring out the oil of God's mercy and grace - in abundance. The seven lights are the seven eyes of the Lord, which range throughout the earth. No one is too small or insignificant; each one is seen and precious in the sight of Almighty God.
6. The Flying Scroll and
      the woman in a Basket
            Zech 51-11
After the first five visions some may feel it is unfortunate to finish it with such a note of judgement. Some preachers may prefer to leave it out, but the Lord God knows best.
He sees it as a necessity; and therefore so should we.
The fly scroll declares for all to see, and none to avoid seeing it; all thieves and those who swear falsely will be destroyed. And the iniquity of the land is like a woman in a basket with a lead cover that is taken to Babylon - and there we are later told it would be destroyed in a single hour!  Rev 181-8
7. Four Chariots
            Zech 61-8
Now he sees 4 powerful chariots with red, black, white and dappled horses, coming out from between two mountains–mountains of bronze!
They go throughout the earth. Black went N, white went W, and dappled went S. (Not told if red went E). "Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north."
When the first four seals are opened by the Lord in Rev 6 there are the same coloured horses though in a different order. Could there be a connection?
I currently have no idea what this last vision means.
Zech 69-15
Messiah will be Priest and King
It was a highly prophetic act to put a crown on the head of Joshua, the High Priest.
The Lord Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. It is he who will build the temple of the Lord.'
This foretells that though the Messiah Jesus as High Priest would offer himself a perfect sacrifice and thus fulfil what the Levitical sacrifices could never achieve, he would also be the long awaited eternal King from the tribe of Judah.
Like Melchizedek. See Heb 7.
The Temple and the Kingdom he would build would be righteous and eternal, and filled with forgiven saints rejoicing in the glorious presence of their faithful God and Saviour.
Zech 71-14
Purpose of Fasting?
After 2 years, the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?"
Were they really desiring the presence of God in their lives, or did they fast hoping God would reward it by giving them a better life - like those who worship idols.
God had told them (through Jeremiah) that they should 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.' But they refused. So they had been exiled and this is how they made the pleasant land desolate.
As they rebuilt the Temple, Israel was told to remember what Jeremiah had told them about justice and mercy - both to show between themselves and to see the justice and mercy of Almighty God.
We must do so too. 'Economy of the truth' is common today and so is it's chief partner, deceit. It we refuse God's instruction, our 'green and pleasant' land will also become desolate.
Zech 81-23
The Lord will bless Israel
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her."
This is what the Lord says: "I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain."

Almighty God always means what he says and does what he promises.
How will the presence of God be observed?
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there."
With great joy I witnessed this when visiting Jerusalem in 1991. But the fulfillment is not yet complete; the heart of the people is not yet righteous and obedient.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God."
Today only just over a half of the Jewish people live in Israel. More will return.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Just as I had determined to bring disaster upon you ... so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment ..."
Sadly deceit is still common, God's truth about salvation is still only believed by a few. Justice is too often lacking - and not only in politics.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come ... And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him ... and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.' "
What a day that will be!
It is over 2,500 years since God spoke these words to Zechariah and to Jerusalem. So their fulfillment must soon be completed.
As our eyes see increasing wickedness and a world-wide growth in hatred for Israel, let us hold these words close to our hearts and rehearse them in our minds.
The Lord remains both powerful and faithful, whatever foolish men may say.
Zech 91-8
Judgment upon Israel's enemies
The Lord will take away the possessions of Tyre and destroy her sea power.
Gaza will lose her king and writhe in agony.
Foreigners will occupy Ashdod.
The pride of the Philistines will be cut off.
Ekron will be like the Jebusites.
But I will defend my house against marauding forces.
      Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.

We await this great day.
Zech 99-13
Your King comes to you
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! ... See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.

This, the Lord has done; he entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
      But on the Mt of Olives as the looked down on Jerusalem, Jesus wept.  Lu 1941
Why? Jesus explained,
"If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. ... your enemies will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."  Lu 1942-44
At that time the Jews did not recognise Jesus as the Son of God, as King.
But he is coming again; and this time they will recognise him.
Then the Lord will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. ...
The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people.
They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.
How attractive and beautiful they will be!

They will know the truth, and the truth will set them free.
They will be a righteous and holy people, rejoicing in their God.
And we Gentiles will be so glad to see them honoured in that day.
Zech 101 - 113
The Lord c.f. idols
The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

c.f.
The Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the house of Judah ...
From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg ...
I will strengthen the house of Judah and save the house of Joseph.
I will restore them because I have compassion on them. ...
Surely I will redeem them ... they will return. I will bring them back.

Lies and deceit c.f. the Lord's revelation of truth and his gift of righteousness.

 

Malachi         [Contents]

The Jews had returned from their exile in Babylon, the rebuilding of the Temple had been completed (516 BC) under the leadership of Joshua and Zechariah. The people expected God to restore the covenant blessings; but he didn’t.
God knew their hearts and sent Malachi to tell them to repent: the priesthood had become corrupt, worship had become ‘routine’, divorce was widespread, social justice discarded and tithing was neglected. Prophets don’t have an easy life.
Yet Almighty God never threatened to abandon the Jews or annul his eternal covenant. But as he would later write, "The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."  Heb 126

Mal 11-5
Loved or hated by God
The two sons of Isaac were like ‘chalk and cheese’; Jacob, the younger (by a few minutes) yearned to inherit the Covenant God gave to Abraham. Esau, the ‘original macho man’ was quite careless, he despised it and when hungry he sold it for a single meal! (Gen 2529-34) Now, 5 centuries later, God saw that Judah had become like Edom, the descendants of Esau. They said, "We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins." But the Lord of hosts says, "They may build, but I will tears down ... they will be called ‘the wicked country ..."
And he warned them, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
Mal 16 - 29
Priests’ polluted offerings
The first question God asks the priests was simply if a son honours and respects his father, "Where is honour ... where is my fear?" Their attitude had become casual.
The priests offered cheap animals that were blind or sick. What a contrast to Abel who offered the very best; such was his gratitude for God’s forgiveness.
Then he tells them, "My name will be great among the nations (even Gentiles!), but you profane my name. They insulted the Lord God with their blemished sacrifices.
He reminds them, I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honour to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you ...
the lips of a priest should guard knowledge ... but you have caused many to stumble ... therefore I make you despised and abased before all the people.

The responsibility that God gives to priests and prophets is awesome.
There is no place for any of us to stand before the Lord casually or with pride.
God was pleased to honour the ministry of such men as Augustus Toplady whose constant cry for mercy and grace was rewarded with forgiveness and a church filled with people who were in like manner redeemed.
Mal 210-17
People worshipped idols
Abomination has been committed in Israel.
      What had the people done? They worshipped idols.
Today the idol is money. Whether the problem is Corona or Brexit
      the main argument always seems to be the economy.
Israel wept because God did not prosper their work.
      And divorce was increasing.
UK is currently passing new ‘no fault’ divorce law to make it quicker and easier.
God was seeking godly offspring, not broken relationships.
God still yearns to see faithfulness and truth.
But the people, not knowing he difference between good and evil declare:
"Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them."
In UK homosexuality has been legalised, babies murdered in abortion and God’s creation is rejected in favour of the Evolution Theory lie.
God is not pleased.
Mal 31-5
God will respond
God will not ignore man’s wilful, inexcusable sin.
"Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. ...
      But who can endure the day of his coming
      He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver
      Then I will draw near to you for judgment.
            against those who ... do not fear me," says the LORD of hosts.

Why did Israel, and why have we, chosen to discard our godly heritage?
We have had the Word of God in English for almost 500 years.
      So we have no excuse. And it is also freely available on the internet.
Mal 36-15
So ‘Return to me’
The prophet tells Israel the truth: From the days of your fathers
      you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them.

The most gracious God then gives them an opportunity:
      Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.
      God then adds, and prove it by bringing your tithes to me.
Furthermore he makes them a promise, in the day that you ‘return to me’:
      your vine in the field shall not fail to bear and
      all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight.
Mal 316 - 46
The Day of the Lord
      is coming
A ‘Book of Remembrance’ was written of those who feared the Lord.
And in that day you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked.
For you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.
Malachi’s final prophecy was that Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
Jesus said that John the Baptist fulfilled this - if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  Math 1114
There will be a second ‘awesome day’ when Jesus returns to his earth.
Rev 11 reveals two witnesses who will prophesy with great power for 1,260 days.
They will be killed by the evil Beast and resurrected after 3½ days.

 

Matthew         [Contents]

        [Contents]

Genealogy is very important to the Jews, so Matthew begins his gospel with this to justify the right of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, great David's greater son, the King of the Jews. His lineage proves he is legally a rightful heir.

Math 11-17
Genealogy of Christ
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham
      and the Son of God - the longed-for promised Messiah.
There are some surprising female names included in the list:
      Rahab the harlot, Ruth the Moabite and Bathsheba (Uriah's wife).
      Also Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) who was cursed. None of his children became king and
      Jesus was legally of David's line, but physically the Son of God by virgin birth.
The list includes some good and some very bad individuals.
      But part 1 of the promise of God was fulfilled;
            we eagerly await part 2, the return of Christ as King of his earth.
Math 118-24
The birth of Christ
God chose Joseph and Mary very carefully.
Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together,
      she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Mary knew this extraordinary miracle to be the truth.
Others needed more than her word to be convinced.
Joseph was assured by an angel,
      who also told him about the purpose of God's action:
      "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
            because he will save his people from their sins."

He believed this truth.
      He took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Yeshua = 'the Lord saves').
But the redemptive cost by which our sins can be forgiven - crucifixion -
      was not revealed to him at this time.
Math 21-12
The Magi
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
They came from the east, Persia, so travelled west. They didn't 'follow' this star.
The knew from the prophecy of Daniel that the Messiah would be born in Jerusalem. So that's where they went. What was 'his star in the east'? From star chart programs there are no obvious multi conjunctions of the planets in Leo or ??? Whatever it was, they saw it rise just before sunrise in the east, then disappear in daylight. And they were right, it was the moment God had chosen to be born on earth!
The chief priests were able to tell them that the birth would be in Bethlehem - but where in Bethlehem? The eastern 'star' now moved and hovered over the stable where Jesus was born. So the Magi found the exact place. They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  Their gifts had been carefully chosen and had prophetic significance.  2 Ch 924  Song of S. 36
Almighty God warned the Magi not to return to Herod, who had a very different objective concerning the birth of his Son, Jesus.
Math 213-18
Herod murders the children
Almighty God knows everything that has ever happened and also all the future. He sends an angel to warn Joseph about Herod's intentions: "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."  And he instantly obeys - he does not wait until morning.
Matthew had a good knowledge of the prophets comments; This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son."
When Herod realised the Magi were not going to tell him where Jesus was, he was furious and murdered all the children under 2 who were in or near Bethlehem.
Again this fulfilled a prophecy: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."  Although there will no more be tears in the new creation, I expect this brutal act caused God to weep too.
Math 219-23
Return to Nazareth
Herod died painfully in 4 BC. Only then did an angel go to Egypt to tell Joseph in a dream, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." Being afraid to return to Judea, they went to Nazareth, where they had originally come from (Lu 126 24,39), so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. There is no direct OT reference to this, but many that the Messiah would be despised or separated. Nathanael used this common assumption that no good could come out of Nazareth (Jn 146) and this is what was spoken of by the prophets.
Math 31-12
John Baptist and Repentance
Matthew reveals that the prime message of John Baptist was: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." His commission was to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of God. Jesus began his ministry with exactly the same instruction (417). At the heart of almost all historical revivals is the fact that ordinary and wicked men alike are on their knees crying, "God have mercy on me!" This is so much more than giving up one or two bad habits and trying 'to folllow Jesus'. But rather, it brings into full view the just judgement of Almighty God for my sinful life and the awful realisation that there is nothing I can do to avoid it. Many evangelists today (often using the Alpha Course) skip past this essential door to eternal life.
John Baptist thought truth was much more important than being popular. He did not wear fine clothes or eat rich food. He fully proclaimed God's truth. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Like people flocked to hear the Wesley brothers, Whitfield, Augustus Toplady, J.C.Ryle, ...
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that ... every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." With such words it should not be a surprise that Jesus commends John as being the greatest of all the prophets (Lu 728).  He prepared the way faithfully and well.
Math 313-17
Jesus Baptised
Jesus came down to John at the Jordan to be baptised. John naturally thought it should be reversed. But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. When Jesus went up out of the water:
1. The heavens were opened to him (to John).
2. He (John) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him.
3. Behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Quoting from Ps 27 Is 421)
The apostle John records John Baptist saying, "The reason I came baptising with water was that he (Jesus) might be revealed to Israel."  Jn 131
What needed to be revealed?
That to 'fulfill all righteousness', sin needed to be forgiven. So John Baptist cried out, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  Jn 129
Our baptism is a witness to the world that Jesus has taken away our sin.
His baptism was a witness to the world (and especially to John) that he had come to achieve this, and thus bring true righteousness to sinful men.
No wonder his Father was so pleased.
Math 41-11
Satan loses the battle
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
These temptations were part of God's plan.
They were not to test Jesus, but an opportunity to achieve such a decisive victory that would prove to all that he is the Son of God.
Jesus recounted the experience to his disciples so that they would learn how to follow his example.

1. "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
Satan tried to sow doubt, as he did with Eve. "Did God really say ..."  Gen 31
Jesus answered with the truth about satisfying hunger:
"It is written,'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'."
Later he would tell his disciples: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."  56
And again, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  633

2. Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone'."
For the second time Satan tried to cause doubt. He did not misquote Scripture, but he did mis-apply it, twice.
Jesus knew his tricks and immediately replied:
"Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test'."
He reminded Satan who was Boss. We are under the authority of Almighty God. He orders our days and that of all his creation. That authority is not for our ease and privilege, but to enable our obedience.

3. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
Having failed twice when trying subtly, Satan now reveals what he really wants - to be worshipped. So Jesus dismisses him; again using the Word of God:
"Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve'."
With the grace and power of the Sovereign Lord, we too can discern, resist and overcome the devil. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 47

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Math 412-17
Jesus moves to Galilee
When Herod Antipas (tetrarch of Galilee and Perea) arrested John Baptist who had condemned his marriage to Herodias (the divorced wife of his half-brother), Jesus went to Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali.
This fulfilled the prophecy: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.  Is 91,2
During the next 3 years Jesus spent much time in Capernaum and did many 'mighty works' there. (1123) The 'Light of the world' shone brightly, but only a few had eyes to see the truth that he so clearly revealed. (Jn 666) This was largely due to their failure to obey his instruction:
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
60 years ago it was common in many UK cities to see men with such a banner with these (or similar) words witnessing in the streets. Most, if not all, of our national problems today stem from the refusal of this once so privileged nation to heed God's warnings.
Math 418-22
Jesus calls 4 fishermen
Walking beside Galilee Jesus saw Peter and Andrew. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going a little further he called two other fishermen, James and John. And they too immediately left their father and their nets and followed Jesus. How different from two other Jesus called who each replied, "Let me first go and ..."  Lu 959-62
Jesus expects a wholehearted response from all whom he calls. Any halfheartedness reveals a heart that has no appreciation of who is calling!
Math 423-25
Jesus peaches and heals
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Not surprisingly, as reports circulated, large crowds came and he healed them all!
Math 51-12
Jesus taught the crowds
Jesus had great compassion and power to heal the sick in body. But even more for the whole world that is universally 'sin-sick'. How could these be saved?
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The first step towards salvation is to realise just how desperately poor we all are. Not financially, but 'in spirit'. A most prevalent and popular teaching today is to tell men the satanic falsehood "stand up for yourself, be proud of yourself, promote yourself, assert yourself ..."  To enter the kingdom of God a man must confess his sinfulness, his inability to be good, his abject poverty. A man can have all the intellect, wealth, power, health, popularity and be content without God, but this is everlasting poverty. Admitting this is an essential first step.

2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Crying is common to all men. It may be in bereavement, pain, shame, broken relationship ... Jesus is not offering an automatic escape from all of these in this life. But in his everlasting kingdom there will be no more crying, no more tears. The problem is how may a man enter this glorious kingdom? Jesus tells us that with the understanding of our spiritual poverty comes the revelation that sin has a consequence that affects our eternal destiny - heaven or hell! This admission of guilt is surely something to mourn about; far more than all the tears of physical discomfort.

3. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Meekness is often seen as weakness. It isn't. It is the willingness to admit our ignorance and having the earnestness to learn. Meekness is the expression of humility regarding ourselves and the unbending confidence in the truth of Almighty God. The converse is arrogance and pride, and an unwillingness to admit sin.
Jesus has given us his Word to enable us to learn. To sinners on the way to salvation, he is delighted to open the eyes of the meek and reveal his truth so that we may believe, trust and obey.

4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Our goals in life are important. The desire of the soul that God has begun to operate on will long to be 'good', to be able to please God. His ambition will be changed from selfish pleasure, popularity, achievement, wealth, power ... He will hunger for righteousness and truth, faithfulness and obedience to God. He will learn it is better to give than to receive; his treasure and his heart will be with God.
In this life our hunger will never diminish, but we are promised that one day we will be like Jesus, our Lord and Master.

5. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
See the parable that Jesus told in  Math 1821-35 about the servant who owed a large debt, pleaded and was forgiven, but hounded one who owed him a small debt.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Immorality and perversion have alwa