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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Song of Solomon 4:16

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

For further study - Song of Solomon 4:1-16

As we come once again to the Song of Solomon or as the book is known in the Hebrew Bible, the Song of Songs, chapter one verse one, we see the Bridegroom speaking. Remember, we must study this book not as an allegory but as a "marriage manual" from the Lord.

Song 3:6-5:1 is a "manual" for the marriage ceremony, which is the second part of a Jewish wedding, following the "engagement" and preceding the "marriage celebration."

One aspect of the marriage ceremony is the "consummation" of the marriage when after being pronounced "husband and wife," the newly married couple have sexual intercourse, which consummates this marriage.

As we read through chapter 4, we see the bridegroom using all of his senses to make love to his new bride, sight, touch, smell and sound. Notice in Song 5:1 the bridegroom encourages the wedding guests, "O friends," to begin the marriage celebration, the marriage has been consummated.

Song 5:2-8:4 in this "marriage manual" is the "how to’s" for the marriage in the days ahead, the continuity of the marriage.

Please allow me to remind you that all Scripture has a "technical interpretation" and/or a "spiritual application." For the technical interpretation we must approach our study of the Bible from a "literal interpretation." Who is the passage speaking to? What is the historic and geographic background and what does the passage mean when taken literally?

A "spiritual application" can allow for us to approach our understanding of any passage from the point of view that we understand what the text is literally saying. However, how can the text be applied to my life and experience.

From the spiritual application of this passage we can see how the Lord Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom, since the "Church" is His bride, how He loves us and will do so forever.

Remember, Revelation 19:7-9 is the prophecy of our marriage to Jesus Christ and the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb," the marriage celebration after the marriage ceremony. The marriage ceremony takes place sometime soon after the Rapture.

By the way, the Rapture could take place at any moment, thus we must make certain we have our "marriage garment" ready for the marriage, Revelation 19:8. That "marriage garment" is our "righteous acts."

PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for the promise of marriage to You, forever. Please help me to prepare my "wedding garment" for the soon coming wedding.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

For further study - Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

As you read through the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes, you are reading the words of a” wise man”, who, by inspiration, pens the “wisdom”, which is “truth” from God.

King Solomon, who wrote Ecclesiastes, is also known as the “Preacher”, verse 9, and in this last chapter states that the end of all matters is “vanity”, verse 8. Solomon says everything is “vanity”.

That sounds a bit perplexing and very pessimistic, but in reality, the Preacher is saying -- if you read the entire book of Ecclesiastes, you will see that what is meant is all of life's ambitions, attractions, attitude and attacks are what is “all vanity”.

In the last two verses of his book, King Solomon summarizes what life should be all about. Verse 13 is the conclusion of the whole matter of life and the exhortation is to “fear God” and “do as He says we should do”.

Then in verse 14 the Preacher reminds us all that “God will bring our every work into judgment”, even the secret things we do. All our works, good or evil, will be brought into judgment.

Every person's works, whether that person be saved or lost, will be brought into judgment. For the saved person those works will be judged at the “Judgment Seat of Christ”, II Corinthians 5:10 and Romans 14:10.

The procedure at the Judgment Seat is for Jesus to judge our works, I Corinthians 3:13-15. We receive “rewards”, “crowns” that then we will cast at His feet in thanksgiving, Revelation 4:10, for the things that our Lord has done for us.

These “good” works are works we’ve done in His power and for His glory. We suffer loss for those works we do in our own power and for our own glory. Jesus will be the judge of all of our works, whether they are “good” or “worthless”.

Let me remind you, we're not saved by works, but “by grace through faith”, Ephesians 2:8-9. However, we're created unto good works, Ephesians 2:10. It is the “works” that we have done for the Lord that He will judge us for at the Judgment Seat.

The “lost” person will also be judged, at the “Great White Throne”, for his works, Revelation 20:1-15. This Judgment is for a lost person, as it relates to the degrees of “punishment”, which the lost person will suffer in eternity future. This will be a terrible time for the lost person.

King Solomon wrote an entire book to tell us what he sums up in two verses, “all is vanity, fear God and do what He tells us to do”. This truth will be very real to each of us at the judgment we face in the “last days”.

PRAYER THOT: Help me to do works for Your glory Lord, and in Your power, in preparation for the coming Judgment.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Proverbs 23:31

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

For further study - Proverbs 23:20-35

This is a unique passage of Scripture in light of the ever increasing number of church members who believe it is alright for them to take a "social drink," have an intoxicating beverage.

On the radio recently, a long time Bible-believing Bible teacher made the statement that he saw nothing wrong with a Christian having a "social drink" . This Radio Bible teacher, the voice of a great, long time ministry, I believe went against not only the Word of God but against the spirit of the Word.

The writer of Proverbs addressed the issue head on. He writes to us to not be "among the winebibbers." Some may say, "I'm not a drunkard”. If that is your response, please keep reading through our entire devotional and the extended reading for today, especially the last 7 verses.

The writer reveals the lifestyle of one who "tarries long at the wine," verse 30. Please notice verse 31. The exhortation is "to not even look at the wine when it is red, when it is moving in the cup." In other words, when the "juice of the vine," the grape juice, in a cup starts to move, the grape juice has fermented and thus it is intoxicating. It is at that time one should not partake of this intoxicating beverage.

There is an interesting restriction that is placed upon the "kings of Israel" found in the last chapter of Proverbs. Proverbs 31:4-5 reveals that Kings cannot drink wine, intoxicating liquid. The reason is that a King that drinks intoxicating beverages would forget the law and pervert their judgment of matters pertaining to the King's subjects.

Our key verse for our reading today has an interesting connection to a prophetic passage for the last days. Zechariah 12:2 refers to Jerusalem as a "cup of trembling" which is "apocalyptic literature." In apocalyptic literature, the writer of Scripture is using a "symbol" to communicate an absolute truth.

In light of our key verse, verse 31, a "cup of trembling" would mean that Jerusalem will be "intoxicating" to those who control it in the last days. Those who have control of Jerusalem and in particular the Temple Mount, are, and will be intoxicated with that power as we move closer to the return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem to build His temple on the Temple Mount.

Such is the description of the situation at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem today. Moslems control the Temple Mount, which is the most sacred piece of real estate to both Jews and Christians in the entire universe. These Moslems have become “intoxicated” with that power. Bible prophecy is moving very close to complete fulfillment.

PRAYER THOT: Thank You, Lord, for instructions for my daily life and the standard I should keep as I await Your soon return to earth.
Monday, July 28, 2008

Psalm 83:1

Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

For further study - Psalm 83:1-18

This is a very important Psalm in the "last days scenario" that is found in Bible prophecy. Combining this chapter along with Daniel 11:40-45 and Ezekiel 38 will give you an understanding of how the nations will align themselves against the Jewish State of Israel in the last days.

I must remind you that there is no prophecy of private interpretation, II Peter 1:20, therefore these three passages of prophetic scripture that I mentioned above, and many other passages in God's Word, enlighten us to how the nations form a coalition to destroy Israel in the last days.

In this passage the Psalmist is actually praying and the very first verse sets the scene for what is the theme of this prophetic passage.

The Psalmist wants the Lord to awaken to the fact that these nations are making plans to try to remove Israel from the face of the earth. Thus he wants God to protect them and destroy the attacking enemy.

Verses 2 and 3 record the prayer alerting the Lord of the enemies of Israel, and thus enemies of the Lord Himself, relaying to Him that these enemies are ready to go after Israel, having developed a plan.

Verse 4 states that these enemies of God and Israel want to destroy Israel so that “the name of Israel will no longer be remembered”.

By the way, verse 4 is almost a quote from Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech to over 4,000 Arab and Islamic leaders in Tehran when he called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth and be forgotten forever.

These are the names of some of the enemies of Israel that you will recognize. The Edom, in verse 6, is the Palestinian people of today. The Ishmaelites of that same verse are the people of Saudi Arabia. Tyre, listed in verse 7, is modern-day Lebanon.

I believe I have given you enough names of nations who are today preparing to join with other nations to form a coalition of nations aligned against the Jewish State of Israel.

We are living in Psalm 83. These nations mentioned, plus those mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11 are making ready for their attack on Israel. This attack takes place in the first six months of the seven year long Tribulation Period after the body of Christ, Christians, have departed earth at the Rapture.

With the nearness of this coalition of nations attacking Israel upon us, the Rapture, which happens before these nations attack, the Rapture must be very close at hand. Keep looking up!

PRAYER THOT: Your time clock dear Lord, Israel, is about to be attacked, which indicates the Rapture must be close at hand. Even so come Lord Jesus, today!
Sunday, July 27, 2008

Job 40:2

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

For further study - Job 40:1-24

This portion chosen for our devotional reading today is a continuation of the conversation between God and Job. Back in Job 38, the Lord responded to Job's concerns of how he was being treated with "where were you, Job, when I created the world especially the earth?" The Lord was reminding Job that He created all things and could take care of him. Again, Job 40 is simply a continuation of that conversation.

As we eavesdrop on the talk between God and Job, we can learn some very valuable information about the Lord's Creation that will prepare us for the onslaught of questions from the so-called "educational community" of our present-day world.

Let me remind you that Peter warned that there would be those who would deny the Second Coming of the Lord and do so based upon their misunderstanding of how “man” and all of creation came into existence, II Peter 3:3-8.

Here in Job, we have the record of the creation by God of the "chief of the ways of God" in creation, verse 19. The creature described in this passage of Scripture is none other than the "dinosaur" referred to as the "behemoth," verse 15.

The writer of this book, Job, records the Lord's words that introduced to the world this "colossal beast," the "dinosaur." Notice the detailed description of this massive animal that ate grass, as an ox would, verse 15. This creature had a tail like a cedar log, verse 17, his bones like bars of iron, verse 18.

The writer of Job places this massive animal near Jericho lying in the Jordan River and seemingly drinking all the water of the river, verse 23. In the animal world, Job is told that the “dinosaur is the chief of all animals” and that which the Lord wants to show off to mankind. Let me remind you that the Lord created dinosaurs on the sixth day of creation before He created man, Genesis 1:24.

Though many of the dinosaurs had disappeared from the earth, soon after the Flood, 4500 years ago, there are still some around today. They are mostly found in Florida and are called alligators.

God's detailed information on His creative acts 6,000 years ago recorded in Job 38-41 gives us the Bible information to combat those who deny that our Lord Jesus Christ created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, Colossians 1:16 and Exodus 20:11.

The Creator thus then can tell the creation of the future He has planned for them.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you, Lord, for the assurances we have as we acknowledge Your creative acts and Your plans for the future as revealed to us in Bible prophecy.
Saturday, July 26, 2008

Esther 4:14

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father' house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

For further study - Esther 4:1-17

Though the name of God is not mentioned in this book of Esther, His presence and protection of the Jewish people is repeatedly implied. As we read through the first three chapters of Esther, we can see the hand of God in what happens. The scripture reveals the desire of Haman to eliminate all the Jewish people of the world and we see God's intervention.

Early in the story, Queen Vashti refuses to entertain King Ahasuerus' provincial leaders as they met together at the palace. The removal of Vashti and the entrance of Esther onto the “stage of the kingdom” was setting in motion a very significant drama that was played out some 2,500 years ago.

The fact that Esther was a Jewish woman had gone unnoticed by the King and his court. With the naming of Esther as the new Queen, God had a plan He set in place for the protection of all the Jews of the world.

I love the two phrases associated with Queen Esther's rescue operation. The first is "for such a time as this." The other being "if I perish, I perish." These two thoughts illustrate how God, though not mentioned, is implied.

The fact that a Jewish girl could become the queen to a Gentile world leader had to be of God. Esther's willingness to die for her people displays the love that only God can give someone. God's hand is definitely involved in all that takes place in this drama.

This record of God's protection of His people is only a chapter in the Bible, which gives an account of a long list of times that God interceded on behalf of His people. The reason that this is significant is the promise that God made Adam and Eve. God said from a woman would someday come a Messiah, Genesis 3:15. God also made promises, or covenants, with the Jewish people that are eternal and cannot be broken.

The entire book of Esther is a record of God's intervention in the affairs of men who try to eliminate the Jewish people. God will keep His promises to the Jews and protect them until these “promises” are fulfilled. This is the essence of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

PRAYER THOT: Lord, please give me the strength to do Your will no matter what the circumstances, even if it means I will perish.
Friday, July 25, 2008

Nehemiah 8:8

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

For further study - Nehemiah 8:1-18

This chapter in Nehemiah is an exhortation for each of us to read the Word of God, come to an understanding of the Word, and then to obey the Word. Nehemiah 8:8 tells us how this can happen. The verse explains the process that Ezra, the scribe, used in order for God's Word to be understood and obeyed.

First the people would read the Word. Notice how they would read from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The teacher, Ezra, would stand behind a pulpit, Nehemiah 8:4, and the people would stand as Ezra would read the “holy scriptures”, Nehemiah 8:5.

When someone tells me, based upon Nehemiah 8:4 that I must stand behind a pulpit to preach, I remind them that they must then stand while I preach based on the next verse.

Notice after the Word was read, Nehemiah 8:8, that Ezra would give the sense of the Word. In other words, he would do a Bible study with the people so that they would understand what was being read.

It is interesting to note that the people had a respect for God's Word, as indicated by the fact that they stood as the Word was read. We must first respect God's Word before we can really understand what God is saying to us through it. When we respect and understand His Word, then we will obey His Word, as we see happening in this passage, Nehemiah 8:9-18.

Did you notice the time of the year that the passage takes place? It is in the fall of the year, Nehemiah 8:2, the first day of the seventh month. That is the day that the Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Notice also that as the people read and understood God's Word, they realized that they were to observe the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, Nehemiah 8:14-18. The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated by reading the Word each day, Nehemiah 8:18, in addition to living in their “thatched huts” for the seven days of the feast.

This chapter gives us an understanding of how we are to relate to God's Word. It also looks into the future with the mention of the two Jewish feast days, Trumpets and Tabernacles.

These two Jewish Feasts foretell of the time of the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to the Earth. Christ will come back to the Mount of Olives on the Feast of Trumpets. And the Millennial Kingdom will begin on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Nehemiah 8 is a great chapter that reminds us of the importance of reading, understanding, and obeying God's Word. But also it reminds us of things to come, Bible prophecy that will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord to read Your Word, understand it and obey it.
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ezra 7:10

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

For further study - Ezra 7:1-10

Ezra is the author of the book, by his name, and most likely the author of I and II Chronicles. He is a scribe and will not only record the history of Israel but will serve at the Temple in Jerusalem.

In Ezra 1-6, we see the record of the rebuilding of the second temple by almost 50,000 Jews that came back from the Babylonian captivity when the Babylonian Empire fell. Zerubbabel led these Jews back to their homeland and was the “general contractor” in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

With the Temple up and operating God now calls Ezra the Scribe to journey back to Jerusalem and become the Scribe at the Temple to lead the study of the Word of God. Ezra was well studied, "a ready scribe," Ezra 7, verse 6, in the “law of Moses”, the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament.

God opened the heart of the Persian king to allow Ezra to return to Jerusalem to do his “priestly duties”. Verse 6 tells us that was the case because the "hand of the Lord his God was upon him" (Ezra).

Our key verse lays out for us Ezra's approach for teaching the Word of God which is also a great pattern for us to follow. Notice that in verse 10, Ezra "prepared his heart" first. Only a "prepared heart" will seek to know the Word of the Lord. Before Ezra would preach and teach the Word, he would "do it." Ezra knew he could not teach that which he was not willing to live by for his own life.

The final step in the process was the "teaching." Many times we put the cart ahead of the horse. We want to teach without first preparing our hearts. As we, I, seek to know the Word we must be living our lives by His Word before we venture out to teach it to anyone. What great principles we can appropriate for our own lives and ministries for today from the book of Ezra.

Before we leave our reading for today, I want you to notice a portion of two verses, verses 6 and 9. Ezra, before he returned to Jerusalem to be the scribe in the newly rebuilt Temple, was living in Babylon.

Ezra 7 is a record of events over 80 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire, Daniel 5, and the city of Babylon is still standing. Babylon the Empire fell in 539BC but Babylon the city did not fall. Babylon was a thriving city some 80 years after the downfall of the Babylonian Empire.

The significance of this information is that the prophecies of Isaiah 13 and 14, Jeremiah 50 and 51, Revelation 16 and 18 about the destruction of Babylon had not been fulfilled 80 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

The destruction of Babylon foretold in Revelation 16:17-21 is a yet future event that will be fulfilled at the end of the Tribulation period. In fact, the destruction of Babylon is the last thing the Lord Jesus Christ does before he comes back to the earth, Zechariah 14:4.

By the way, Biblical Babylon is located in Iraq on the shores of the Euphrates River today. It is the place where Antichrist will rule and reign over a “one world economic, political, governmental system” in the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period. The stage is being set for these Bible prophecies to be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: As I understand current events in light of Biblical prophecy, help me, Lord, to live in light of Your soon return.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

For further study - II Chronicles 7:1-22

As we come to II Chronicles 7 you will notice the similarities between this passage and the passages in I Kings 8 & 9. However there are some differences that we will look at in our devotional reading for today.

The chapter begins with the record of the end of King Solomon's prayer, the fire coming down from heaven and consuming the burnt offering and sacrifices. These events are the same as what is recorded in I Kings 8 , "the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord", verse 1.

The children of Israel witnessed this happening and when they did they bowed before the Lord to worship Him, giving testimony that His mercy endureth forever. What a great promise that is for us, even today.

As I read through the record of King Solomon and the priest and all the people offering sacrifices before the Lord to honor Him, I am reminded of Romans 12:1 where Paul's exhortation is for each of us to offer our bodies as a "living sacrifice" unto the Lord. That's what we must do today.

In the Romans passage, notice the next verse, verse 2. Paul says "be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." That transformation takes place as we study His word and let it conform us to His image.

It's that same exhortation that Jesus Christ gives to King Solomon. In a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus unto the King, verse 12, Jesus warns the King that he and the people of his kingdom must honor, obey and praise the Lord or they will be disciplined, punished.

The punishment would be the Temple being destroyed, Solomon would lose his kingdom and the children of Israel would be taken out of the Land. Bible history tells us that all three of these things did happen.

King Solomon went after "other gods", the children of Israel were taken out of the land and the Temple was destroyed. However, there is a great promise to the Jewish people found in this passage, it's verse 14.

I know that American Christians have applied this verse to themselves and their nation but the technical interpretation of this passage is for the Jewish people.

The Jews must call upon the Lord, humble themselves and pray, seeking His face. They must turn from their wicked ways, then the Lord will hear in heaven and the Jews will hear from heaven as He forgives their sins and heals their land.

Though this promise and prophecy is in its beginning stages today, the Jews must follow through and the Lord will fulfill His promise and prophecy.

By the way, the Lord has chosen the place of Solomon's sacrifice and Temple for His own, verse 12, a dwelling place in the future where He will dwell among His people forever. That promise and prophecy will be fulfilled also, seemingly in the near future.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord, to humble myself, call upon You, seeking Your face and turn from wicked ways.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Chronicles 21:24

And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.

For further study - I Chronicles 21:18-30

Our extended devotional reading for today is the account of King David purchasing the threshing floor from the Jebusite, to be used as a place for an altar upon which David could offer sacrifice.

You might recall that King David had conquered the Jebusite's stronghold known as “Jerusalem” and made it the "political capital" of the Jewish people, II Samuel 5.

In II Samuel 6, David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem and then made Jerusalem the "spiritual capital" of the Jewish people. Jerusalem would be the location where David's son would build the first temple.

The threshing floor that Ornan, the Jebusite, owned was the location that King David wanted as a place of “sacrifice” and the King of Israel was willing to pay “cash money” for that piece of real estate.

You'll notice in our extended reading that the Jebusite, Ornan, wanted to give King David this exact location for the place of this altar that the Jewish King wanted for offering sacrifices. When Ornan offered to give the land to King David, the king refused saying that he would not offer sacrifice unless he paid for this sacrificial site.

Let the record show that King David paid cash money for Ornan's threshing floor, 600 shekels of gold, approximately $100 in present day currency. It is important to see that King David did not take this site as a gift but instead paid cash money for the location, which was on the peak of Mount Moriah.

Remember, Mount Moriah is the spot where Abraham offered his son Isaac to the Lord, Genesis 22:2. Mount Moriah is also the location where King Solomon built the first temple, II Chronicles 3:1.

This location, Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, is where the next temple will be built during the Tribulation Period, Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; II Thessalonians 2:4; and Revelation 11:2.

This sacred spot where the first and second temples stood and where the next two temples will also stand is the piece of real estate that a Jewish King purchased for "cash money."

That should settle the question of ownership of the Temple Mount, but it doesn’t. The Temple Mount will be the “center of controversy” until the Antichrist has a temple built on the spot where Jesus Christ will one day build his millennial Temple prior to the 1,000 year Kingdom.

The only problem for building a Jewish temple today up on the Temple Mount is a gold-domed building, a Muslim religious center; however, the Jewish temple will be built there one day, not too far into the future.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord to recognize the times in which we are living and to look for Your soon return.
Monday, July 21, 2008

II Kings 18:3

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

For further study - II Kings 18:1-12

Have you ever heard someone refer to the book of Hezekiah in the Bible? I often say, " in Hezekiah 3:16," in jest with people. Today, we are not in the book of Hezekiah, but II Kings, which is the record of Hezekiah as King of Judah, the revival under Hezekiah and the victory in Gaza for this King of Judah.

After the reign of King Solomon, I Kings 11, the Twelve Tribes of Israel divided into a Northern and a Southern “kingdom”. The ten tribes who went to the north were known as “Israel”. The two tribes in the south were “Judah”.

There were a number of Kings over Judah until the Babylonian captivity and Hezekiah was one of the greatest. He was great, not because he was a military genius or an astute politician, he was both wise in military activity, verse 8, and adept in the political arena. But Hezekiah's greatness came because, "he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord," verse 3.

The result of Hezekiah's "right living" led to a “revival” among the Jewish nation. The children of Israel had been misusing the "brazen serpent" that God had given the Jewish people for salvation, Numbers 21:5-9. This idolatrous activity took place all the way to the days of Hezekiah, over a thousand years after the brazen serpent in the wilderness wanderings.

The Jews were not "looking to live" on the brazen serpent but instead they were "burning incense" to the serpent. Hezekiah broke the brazen serpent into pieces to stop this idolatry. Hezekiah also removed the "high places," broke the images set up there, and cut down the groves, which all were symbolic of idolatrous worship.

Revival had broken out in Judah and it started with their King and worked its way down to the people. In contrast, this account reveals the defeat of the ten tribes in the north, Israel, by Shalmaneser, King of Assyria. They were defeated because they did not obey the voice of the Lord and transgressed the Mosaic Covenant, verses 9-12.

Before we conclude our devotional thoughts for today, please notice Hezekiah's victory over the Philistines in Gaza. The "Gaza" in this passage is the same as the "Gaza Strip" in modern times. God did give Judah, King Hezekiah, this piece of real estate almost 2,700 years ago.

Let me hasten to remind you that the Philistines of Biblical times are not the Palestinians of today. The Palestinians of today come from the line of Esau, Jacob's twin brother. (see my audio series Esau and the Palestinians)

It is so interesting that God gave the Jews victory over their enemies that were headquartered in Gaza. What goes around, comes around and will continue to do so in the future. Obadiah 14-18 tells of the victory that the Jews will have over the present residents of Gaza at the time of the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

That time is quickly approaching - keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, dear Lord, to be like King Hezekiah and to do that which is right in Your sight.
Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Kings 9:3

And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

For further study -I Kings 9:1-9

In fulfillment of God's promise to David, II Samuel 7, King David's son Solomon did build the temple, the first permanent dwelling place for the worship of the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

I Kings 5 is the record of Solomon's preparations to build the Temple with the gathering together of the manpower and materials. I Kings 6, Solomon begins the building of the Temple. I Kings 7 is the story of the building of the home of Solomon.

Notice in I Kings 7:1, it took Solomon 13 years to build his house and according to I Kings 6:38 it only took 7 years to build the Temple. Solomon had a very interesting priority. I Kings 8 reveals that Solomon brought the "Ark of the Covenant" into the Temple. What a day that was when the "Glory of the Lord filled the House of the Lord."

As we come to our devotional reading for today, I Kings 9:1-9, we see recorded the second pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus to King Solomon, the first being in Gibeon, I Kings 3:5. The Lord tells the King of Israel that He had heard his prayer and supplication, verse 3. The Lord also said that Solomon's permanent "worship center", the Temple, was to be "hallowed" by Him.

The Lord added that He would put His name there at the Temple, forever, and that His eyes and His heart would be there "perpetually". The Lord then makes a promise and gives a warning to the King.

In verses 4-5 the Lord promises Solomon that if He would walk before Him as his father David had done, and do according to all that the Lord commanded him to do, King Solomon's kingdom would be established forever, as He had promised his father David.

However, there is a "but", verse 6. The Lord tells Solomon that if he or his children turn from following Him, do not keep His commandments and if they follow after other gods, then Israel would be cut off out of the land that He had given the children of Israel.

The Lord also told Solomon the Temple would be destroyed, a result of the children of Israel failing to follow and obey Him. Solomon was told that people of the world would look at Israel as a "proverb and byword".

These worldly people would ask why Israel was not in the land and why was the Temple destroyed. The Lord answers that question in advance, "because the people of Israel forsook the Lord their God", verse 9.

This prophecy that Jesus gave to Solomon was fulfilled, in fact fulfilled, twice. In 586 BC Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon's Temple and took the Jews out of their God-given land. Some seventy years later the Jews returned to the land and built another Temple, Ezra 1-6.

Then, because of additional disobedience, the Lord followed through on His promise again and had the Roman Army destroy the Second Temple and disbursed the Jews out of their land. When God makes a promise, He keeps that promise.

The Lord made another promise, that He would bring the Jews back into the land in the last days and give them another Temple. This scenario found in God's prophetic word is in the process of being played out in our world today.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord, to walk before You daily and do that which You direct me to do as I await Your return.