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Thursday, December 31, 2020

I Samuel 16:13

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

For further study - I Samuel 16:1-13

This portion of I Samuel selected for our devotional reading today is the record of a young shepherd boy being selected to be the second King of Israel. This account follows the account of Saul, the first King of Israel, who failed to follow the instructions of the Lord that Samuel the prophet had given him.

God had told Samuel to have King Saul kill all of the Amalakites, and even their king, King Agag. King Saul failed to obey the Lord, and thus God rejected King Saul as the King of Israel, I Samuel 15:23.

Samuel mourned for King Saul and as he did so the Lord told the prophet to go to Bethlehem and select one of the sons of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, as the next King of the Jewish people.

In our extended reading you can see the record of Samuel's trip to Jesse's home and how he finally got to the son that the Lord wanted to be King over Israel. It is so interesting to see that God's choice was not among those first seven sons presented by Jesse, their father.

Finally, Jesse brought his youngest son, David, a young shepherd boy, to the prophet. That is when the Lord told Samuel to anoint David as the next King of Israel. This appointment was the beginning of a life given over to God.

In fact, God called David, "His friend", and made a covenant with him, the "Davidic Covenant", which would promise the Jews, through the line of King David, that a King would sit upon a throne in the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. And that He would rule and reign from that spot forever.

Of course, the Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, when He returns to earth to set up His Kingdom. The Lord also has already selected King David to be "co-regent" with Jesus at the Temple for the “thousand year millennial kingdom” that is coming, as promised, Ezekiel 34:23-24 and 37:24-25.

The Lord took a little shepherd boy and set him in the place of high service in the plan of God, during his own lifetime. The Lord has also determined for David a place of service in the future. He selected David to be a special servant unto Himself.

By the way, the Lord does that for us as well when we give our all to Him. God has a special “plan” for each of our lives. All we must do is to be available for Him to use us as He has planned. As we spend time in His Word and prayer He will make known what that “plan” is for us.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for saving me and using me in your service as I surrender my will to Your will.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

I Samuel 15:35

And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that He had made Saul king over Israel.

For further study – I Samuel 15:1-35

At the “Jerusalem Conference”, held of course in Jerusalem, a high-ranking General in the Israeli Defense Force made the statement that the problems that Israel is having with the Palestinian people today are because King Saul was not obedient to God as recorded in I Samuel 15. We’ll look at that from the scriptures in a moment.

Before we look at that record let me give you a glimpse of what God did as revealed in I Samuel, chapters 5 to 14. We see that the Lord selected Saul as the first King of Israel, I Samuel 9, and this after Israel demanded a “King”, I Samuel 8.

The “self-will” of Saul is evident in the 13th chapter, which leads up to his decision to disobey the Prophet Samuel. Saul’s disobedience is the subject of I Samuel 15 and the result that was referred too by the IDF General in Jerusalem.

The Prophet Samuel comes to King Saul and tells him to destroy the Amalekites. The Lord, through Samuel, tells Saul to kill all of the men and women, the babies and the infants, plus all of their cattle, I Samuel 15:3.

The record shows that King Saul was not obedient to the Lord and did not only spare the life of the Amalekites, but spared the life of the King of these Amalekites, Agag. The prophet Samuel brought the message to Agag and ended up killing this murderer of the Jewish people, I Samuel 15:33

I want you to read all of I Samuel 15, not just a couple of verses. My journey through the Bible is not a “verse a day to keep the Devil away”. You and I need to spend a number of hours studying this special record of how the Lord provided an opportunity to destroy the Palestinian people of today.

Agag, the king of the Amalekites is a descendant of Esau. This is true because the man Amalek is a “grandson” of Esau, Genesis 36:12. Haman, the “bad-man” of the book of Esther, is an Agagite, Esther 3:1. This family can be traced to the Palestinians of today through the mighty king of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus, Herod the Great (see my CD, “Esau and the Palestinians”).

Even though the Prophet Obadiah foretells the total destruction of the Palestinians, Obadiah 12 to 18, the General was right, the Palestinian problems for Israel today, and the continual fighting among the Palestinians and the Israeli’s is because of the disobedience of the Jewish people.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue until Jesus returns and gives the Jewish people victory over the Edomites, the Palestinians of today. All the current events for this conflict are the indicators that Bible Prophecy is moving closer and closer to fulfillment.

The very next event in Bible prophecy is the Rapture of the Church and there is not one prophecy that has to be fulfilled before the Rapture. All prophecy remaining that must be fulfilled happens after the Rapture. Be looking up, Jesus is coming and it could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the record of your plan for the end of times. As I learn of this plan, let this knowledge help me to live in anticipation of your soon return.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

I Samuel 4:21-22

And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.

For further study - I Samuel 4:1-22

The scripture for today recounts a sad story about how the children of Israel had become so disobedient that the Lord would allow the enemies of Israel, the Philistines, to not only defeat the mighty army that had taken over the “promised land”, but to take their most valued possession, the “Ark of the Covenant”, from them.

This passage reminds the readers that the Ark of the Covenant was where the "glory of the Lord" dwelled among the children of Israel, I Samuel 4:4. The “glory of the Lord dwelleth between the cherubims" on the Ark. The Ark had rested in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle located in Shiloh for almost 350 years.

God had watched the Israelites move into idolatry and disobedience and decided that it was time to chastise them. This account of the attack by the Philistines and the taking of the Ark from the Jewish people is a very sad story.

This passage also records the death of the High Priest Eli and his two sons. The two boys were killed as they were attacking the Philistines, and Eli fell and broke his neck when he heard what had happened.

The sadness of the story is illustrated in the name given to the grandson of Eli. The boy's mother died from grief in the midst of childbirth. The woman attending the birth, I Samuel 4:20, named the newborn "Ichabod" meaning "the Lord has departed from Israel."

Let me remind you that the Philistines of Samuel's day are not the ancestors of the modern Palestinians. (See my study on "Esau and the Palestinians")

The “glory of the Lord” had been dwelling among the Jewish people for almost 400 years, and now would no longer dwell among the Jews for a period of time. It would be over one hundred and twenty years before the Ark would be in the hands of the leaders of Israel and the “glory of the Lord” would return to Israel.

“Ichabod” is not a name that is commonly used. It speaks of a very sad time for the Jewish people when the “glory of the Lord” departed from the midst of the Israelites, leaving them powerless.

This story depicts the past, but, as was the case in New Testament times, the” glory of the Lord”, made manifest in the person of the Messiah Jesus Christ, dwelt among His people. The “glory of the Lord” will dwell among His "chosen people" once again in the future. This future is quickly drawing closer.

God's chosen people, the Jewish people, must turn from idolatry and disobedience and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for the “glory of the Lord” to once again dwell among them.

In order for this to happen the Jewish people must go through what Jeremiah refers to as the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, Jeremiah 30:7. This is the “Tribulation Period”, the seven-year time of great judgment on the earth.

The Jewish people will become His people and He will be their God, Jeremiah 31:33. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled for the Jews. Remember, this “time of trouble” for the Jews, will be preceded by Christians leaving this Earth, to go to be with Jesus in the heavens.

This event, the next prophetic event to happen, the Rapture, could happen at any moment, even today. This is true especially in light of all that is happening with Israel, Jerusalem and the Jewish people today. Keep looking up. 

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to never have "Ichabod" written over me. Help me to be faithful and true to You.
Monday, December 28, 2020

I Samuel 3:20

And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.

For further reading - I Samuel 3:1-21

As we continue our journey through the Bible, we come to the book of I Samuel, which is the record of Samuel, the one who would be not only a priest, but a prophet to the Jewish people as well. Samuel would be used by God to select the first King of Israel, King Saul.

He would also be the messenger from God who would pass along the Lord's command to destroy a people, the Amalekites, descendants of Esau and his grandson, AmalekGenesis 36:12.

Our devotional for today also records how the Lord would call this one who would become a prophet. In fact, the Lord did actually call Samuel a number of times and each time Samuel thought someone else was calling him. Finally, Samuel recognized that it was the Lord calling and he responded, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth."

What a profound statement. It states that Samuel had made the Lord, the Lord of his life and ministry. It also states in verse 9 that Samuel was not enamored with the fact he was a priest and a prophet.

Samuel, in his mind, was a "servant" which made him ready to do whatever the Lord called him to do. This is an excellent example for each of us. No matter our position, we are to be servants. It is also our responsibility to listen to the Lord for His direction and instruction - not to set our own agenda.

Samuel was living in the area of Shiloh, the location for the Tabernacle that housed the Ark of the Covenant for some 350 years. This account dates back over 3,000 years to a time when the Jewish nation was headquartered in Shiloh.

I make mention of this fact because Shiloh today is in a very controversial location in the heart of the disputed territories, sometimes erroneously referred to as the "West Bank." The Biblical terminology for this geographical area is Judea and Samaria. The record shows that God brought the Children of Israel into the Promised Land and gave them the land, including Shiloh, Joshua 18:1.

I remind you that the land is God's land, Leviticus 25:23, and He gives it to whomever He chooses. In fact, this passage in Leviticus, on the land, indicates that God has chosen the Jewish people to be the "caretakers" of His land.

Shiloh will continue to be a center of controversy among the nations of the world at this time in history, but will belong to the Jewish people forever, one day in the future. Until then, there will be conflict.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to be Your servant, ready for Your anytime call to join You in the heavens, at the time of the Rapture.
Sunday, December 27, 2020

Ruth 4:17

And the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

For further study - Ruth 4:7-17

The book of Ruth is a love story, the story of the Kinsman Redeemer. It is the story of a Jewish man taking a Gentile woman to be his wife and thus to fulfill his responsibility as the family member next in line.

This generous act of Boaz would set in place the lineage from Abraham to David through a Gentile woman who would also be in the lineage to Christ, Matthew 1:1-17.

Ruth's son Obed, verse 17, would be the father of Jesse - the father of David, verse 22. David would be the one to whom would be given the promise of the Messiah to be in his linage, a “family member”.

Jesus Christ, is the one who will sit on His (David's) throne forever, II Samuel 7:16. The “Davidic Covenant” is the promise that God gave King David, a forever covenant, that must be fulfilled, and will be fulfilled when Jesus sets up His kingdom at the time of His return to Earth.

This love story is also the background for the prophecy found in Isaiah 59:20, of a Kinsman Redeemer who would come to Zion - to Jerusalem one day to remove the transgression of His people, the Jewish people.

As Christians, we can also look forward to our marriage to the “Kinsman Redeemer”, Jesus Christ, Revelation 19:7-9. Notice that in Revelation 19:7 it speaks of the “marriage” and in verse 9 it talks about the “marriage supper of the Lamb”. These are two different events. In fact, there are three parts to a “Jewish Wedding”, the “engagement”, the “marriage ceremony” and the “marriage celebration”.

We, as Christians are now “engaged” to Jesus and He has gone back to “His Father’s house” to prepare a place for us to live once we’re married, John 14:1-3. At the Rapture Jesus comes to get us and takes us to heaven for the “marriage ceremony” and then the “celebration” begins and last for seven years. 

With the world events happening as they are today it seems that Jesus is about to shout for us to join Him in the air at the Rapture, then we will be “married” to Him. Right now we are waiting for our “Bridegroom” to come. It could be at any time, even today. Make sure your “wedding garment’s”, “our righteous acts”, Revelation 19:8, are ready, the wedding could get under way very soon. 

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the promise of our “marriage” to you. Help us, to be prepared for our “wedding day”.
Saturday, December 26, 2020

Ruth 2:16

And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

For further study - Ruth 2:1-16

The little book of Ruth has a unique way of including how the Lord would use a "kinsman redeemer" to bring into the lineage of the Messiah, through King David, a Gentile woman, a Moabite.

Ruth, the Gentile woman, a Moabite, had married into a Jewish family and soon afterward saw the Lord take her husband in death. Ruth had, through this experience, become very close with her mother-in-law and had chosen to go to live in Israel with Naomi for the rest of her life.

As we read the narrative we see that Ruth and Naomi, her beloved mother-in-law, would return to Bethlehem, hometown of Ruth's deceased husband. The story found in our reading for today is a “love story”, but also the presentation of the Biblical principle of the "kinsman redeemer."

It is the story of how the Lord would allow for a Gentile woman, Ruth, to become a member of the family that had been prophesied to bring forth the Messiah to the Jewish people.

Naomi had a “kinsman” who would play the role of how Christ, the Jewish Messiah, would also reach out and redeem the Gentiles as well as the Jewish people. It is a wonderful story that should be closely studied for your own benefit.

As I re-read this passage for our devotional time today, I was once again amazed at how the Lord continues to move the world and even the smallest details of the world into place for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

Ruth and Naomi came to Bethlehem to live and it was there that Boaz, the “kinsman redeemer”, would fall in love with this Gentile and follow through on his responsibility to marry this non-Jewish woman.

As you know, Ruth would be the great-grandmother of David, King David, who would receive the “covenant promise” of God that one of his descendants would sit on the throne of the Temple in Jerusalem, forever. That One, of course, will be the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ.

I commend to you the entire book of Ruth for your reading as evidence that God's plans for the future will be played out in the lives of people, His people, and even us today as well.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me to be obedient to Your plan for the future in my own life, even as Boaz and Ruth were many years ago.
Friday, December 25, 2020

Ruth 1:16

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

For further reading - Ruth 1:1-16

The book of Ruth is one of the greatest love stories ever written. It is also the story of the "Kinsman Redeemer" which is a type of Christ, as it relates to our salvation. We'll have more on that subject in another devotional.

With these two themes there is also the record of Gentiles and Jews both in the line to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. This is a key component in our “journey through the Bible”, especially as it relates to Bible prophecy.

The Lord will use the love that Ruth had for her mother-in-law and the love that Boaz, the Kinsman, would develop for Ruth to teach us some very important concepts. The integration of Jews and Gentiles in the genealogy to Jesus is one. The other is how two peoples will become one people, through the person Jesus Christ.

I need to develop these thoughts for you by looking at the story line here in the first chapter of Ruth. The scene is a time of famine in Israel about 1,300 years before the birth of Jesus. The location is the little town of Bethlehem and the scene, a Jewish family that included two boys.

Elimelech, because of the famine, took his wife Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion across the Jordan River, to the east, into the country of Moab, a Gentile nation. This Jewish family was assimilated into the Gentile culture as the two boys would fall in love with, and marry Gentile girls, Orpah and Ruth.

With the death of Naomi's husband and their two sons, there is a situation that Naomi must deal with as it relates to her daughter’s-in-law. Naomi offers them their freedom to return to their own families in Moab, the Gentile world from which they had come.

The one daughter-in-law, Orpah, did depart to return home but Ruth told Naomi, "where thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge."

Ruth then made a statement that has great prophetic significance. "Thy people shall be my people and thy God my God." The prophetic impact is two-fold.

The ancestral line from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, which also includes King David is set in place and it includes a Gentile woman, Ruth. Ruth is the great grandmother of King David, Ruth 4:13-22, and in the genealogy to Jesus Christ, Matthew 1:5.

We also see how God will take two people who were at enmity with each other with a "wall of partition" between them and make "one". Out of these two people, being Gentile and Jew, God would make one “new man”, a Christian, out of this union, Ephesians 2:11-18.

The Bible teaches that God has a plan in the future for each of the three members of the human family, Gentile, Jew, and Christian. God has dealt in the past with these three, is dealing with them today and will deal with all three in the future.

The prophetic plan for each family member is now being played out, as foretold in Daniel, for the Gentile; in Ezekiel, for the Jews; and in Revelation, for the Christian. As we watch that plan unfold, we can recognize where we are in God's timeline for the End Times.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to see my part in God's plans for the future even as Ruth did.
Thursday, December 24, 2020

Judges 21:25

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

For further study - Judges 21:1-25

Though this verse describes the days of the Judges, it sounds like a description of the Jews in the state of Israel today. In fact, the phrase "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" is used twice in the book of Judges, Judges 17:6 & 21:25.

There is another similar phrase used several times in Judges, "Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord." Both of these statements come from the fact that Israel had no king then and has no king - no Messiah - no Saviour today.

Therefore, God raised up judges - men like Gideon and Samson - to deliver the Israelites. A complete study of the book of Judges will be a blessing to the student as it will help the reader to understand not only the Jewish people of today, but the life that many are living today.

Many people believe that because Israel is in what is referred to as the “land of the Bible” or the “holy land” that the modern-day state of Israel is as it was in the times of the Bible. They think that the land is filled with a people, the Jewish people, who are the “people of God”.

Remember, God brought the Jewish people, His “chosen people” into the world as the people that would be the example God wants as an “object lesson” to all of humankind. This was the case during the times of the Bible, as recorded in the Holy Bible.

Today, the Jewish people are coming back into the land and the world has taken notice, yet these Jews are not at this time the “people of God’ that He wants them to be.

However, there is a day coming when the Jewish people will have a King and his name is Jesus Christ. But until then, the Jewish people will continue to do that which is right in his own eyes.

In fact, the reality that the Jews are living as they did, doing that which they think is right in their own eyes is evidence that the King of the Jews, Jesus Christ, is about to come back to set everything in order.

Please remember that before Jesus comes as the “King” He will call for us, we Christians, to join Him in the “air”, the heavens, at the Rapture of the Church. This is an event that could happen at any moment, maybe even today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, not to do that which what I think should be done, but that which is “right in Your sight”. We must not do that which is right only in our own eyes - but that which is right in the eyes of our Lord and Savior.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Judges 17:6

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

For further study - Judges 16:23-31

Please notice in our devotional reading for today our key verse is in Judges 17 and the extended reading in Judges 16. I do this to reveal that during this time in history, recorded in the book of Judges, the children of Israel were without a king. As our key verse tells us, the Israelites simply did that which "was right in their own eyes."

A thorough reading of Judges will reveal that the actions of the Jews during that time were not in concert with what God wanted for His chosen people, more on that in a moment.

The book of Judges is the record of a number of Judges that the Lord brought to power to rule over His people. Samson was one of those “judges”, in fact, the thirteenth of the “judges”. You can read the account of his life and ministry, and failures, in Judges 14, 15 and 16.

In our extended reading we see the account of the death of Samson. Having been imprisoned, Samson would go to his death victorious. As a Nazarite, Judges 13:5, this judge constantly defiled his “vow of separation” through "fleshly appetites." However, Samson had a mighty faith in the Lord in a time of apostasy, a faith which God honored, Hebrews 11:32.

The story of Samson's death reminds us of his mighty work for the Lord as he gave his own life to defeat the enemies of God. The truth is that Samson actually slew more of God's enemies in his death than he did in his life, Judges 16:30.

We all are human, like Samson, all with fleshly appetites. But the Lord would have us overcome these appetites with our faith and our close walk with Him each day.

Please notice once again our key verse, Judges 17:6, and the thought that since Israel had no king, “they did that which they thought was right, in their own sight”. We will see in the next couple of books in the Old Testament that God will give the Jews a “king”.

The Jews are today living in a way that they see "as right in their own eyes." There is no “king” for the Jews today. You must remember that the Jewish people came on the world scene in a “theocracy” with God as their “king”. There will be another Jewish King, in the future.

King Jesus is coming and with the conditions of our world today, it seems that it will be very soon. All of us must be ready because before Jesus returns to the Earth Jesus comes in the “sky” to call all Christians to be with Him at the Rapture, and event that can happen at any moment, even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, dear Lord, not to yield to my fleshly appetites, even as I look for You to come and gather me up to be with You forever more.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Judges 7:7

And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.

For further study - Judges 7:1-25

As we read of the victory over Jericho under the leadership of Joshua in our devotional, from the book of Joshua, I was amazed at how the Lord accomplished His promise to Israel and did so in His way. Now in Judges we see an account of God's direction and provision in what seems to be a foolish strategy.

The phrase, "the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord" is used a number of times in Judges to describe the spiritual condition of the Jewish people in the days of the Judges. Because of this, they became vulnerable to the attack of their enemies.

In our reading for today, we see that Israel is being threatened by the Midianites, a very strong enemy who wanted to destroy the Jewish nation. God knew that if He allowed the entire military might of Israel to fight this battle they would become very proud and believe that they had won the victory, not the Lord winning the victory for them, verse 2.

As we read through our extended portion of the text, we see how the Lord trimmed down the Israeli army to a mere 300 men. This process brought Gideon and his entire military force a victory that only the Lord could have given the children of Israel. This is another illustration of how the Lord will preserve His people for His purpose. The Lord has done so now for almost 4000 years.

I have read the last chapter and I know our Lord will continue to do so until He has completed His plan for the Jews. The Scriptures tell us that these truths and record of history, even recent history, gives us proof of His word.

On June 7th every year the people of Israel celebrate the anniversary of the “reunification” of Jerusalem. This reunification of Jerusalem was the result of the Israeli Defense Force capturing the Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount after some 2,000 years.

This victory took place at the end of a "six-day war" with Israel under attack on three sides. Syria from the north, Jordan from the east and Egypt from the south were all defeated in six days, which also included the victory in Jerusalem. This victory for Israel against all odds, militarily, was somewhat like the days of Gideon.

The future will reveal God's provision and protection, as well, because He has a plan for His people, yet to be fulfilled. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for your provision and protection for me as a Christian, which I know will come about because of Your provision and protection for Your people, the Jewish people.
Monday, December 21, 2020

Judges 2:22

That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

For further reading - Judges 2:11-23

Today we come to the book of Judges for our devotions. This is a record of God appointing a number of Judges that He would use to discipline His “chosen people” and at the same time to protect them from the surrounding enemies.

Though He would protect the children of Israel from their enemies, He would use these same enemies to bring His people closer to Him. There are a number of times in the Bible that we can read of where the Lord would use the enemies of the Jews to discipline His people.

The “judges” were actually tribal leaders of the twelve tribes upon whom the Lord laid the burden of “apostate Israel”. These were men and women who represented the Lord God. They were the spiritual ancestors of the ancient Jewish prophets.

The truth be known, these judges were responsible for implementing the needed chastisement on the Jews to produce loyalty and obedience, which would result in security and prosperity, all needed for the survival of the children of Israel.

When God selected the children of Jacob and his twelve sons to be His chosen people, He knew they would not always be obedient and loving as a people. He knew they would sometimes be a stiff-necked, hard-hearted, and hard-headed people.

In fact, that is the way the Israelites were acting at this time in history, as recorded in Judges 2:11. This passage reveals to us that they were actually doing “evil” in His sight and were "whoring" after other gods, verse 17.

If you spend time studying the 4,000 year history of the Jews you will see the “Judges scenario” is repeated over and over again and again. This will also be the case in the last days.

There will be a time during the end times when the Lord allows for seven years of judgment to come upon the Jews for the purpose of turning these rebellious Jews to Jesus Christ as their Messiah and thus their Lord and Savior.

Biblical prophecy reveals to us today the events that will unfold just before the soon appearing of the "Time of Jacob's Trouble", Jeremiah 30:7, preceding the Second Coming of Jesus. Those prophecies, in the scriptures written years ago, are nearing fulfillment.

The Jews must be in the land, in unbelief, before the Lord will bring salvation to them as a nation. That, He has promised to them, in Zechariah 3:9. Salvation for the Jews will come in “a day".

The stage is set for that prophetic drama to begin its final act. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled and seemingly very soon. Keep looking up, and listening for His shout to have us join Him in the heavens.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live in purity for you and thus eliminate Your chastisement.
Sunday, December 20, 2020

Joshua 24:15

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

For further study – Joshua 24:15-31

As I have already mentioned, the book of Joshua is the history of the children of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, as they come into the "promised land". It is also the story of conflicts that followed as the Jews conquered the land.

It is a record of one victory after another as the Lord gives the children of Israel the land that He promised to them as their possession, forever. In the book, this record of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises, we have seen many of the names of “hot spots” today in the land of the Jewish people.

The charge that Joshua gave to the children of Israel 3,500 years ago seems so appropriate for the Jewish people of today. That “charge” from Joshua is found in Joshua 23 and 24. It would be great for you to take the time to read both chapters to realize the work of the Lord in the past and His work in the future are the same.

In chapter 23 the phrase “Lord your God” is used 13 times. Joshua wants the Jews to know that the “Lord” is their “God”. It was then, and is today, good for the Jews to know “the Lord your God” is still in charge and fighting for the Jewish people, Joshua 23:3.

As you read Joshua 23 notice the rest of the passage around the phrase “the Lord your God”, it will be a blessing to you. At the same time realize that these promises are to the Jews then, and today.

Joshua 24:15b
, our key verse in today’s devotional, is the “heart” of the man Joshua, the leader of the Jews at that time in history, as it should be today. Sadly, that is not the case for the present-day Israeli leaders.

However, there is coming a day when the leader of the Jewish people, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, will set in place the chosen people, the Jewish people, the people who will be the people of God.

These people will then realize once again the “Lord your God” is the one that does the fighting for His people. The charge of Joshua then is still good for today, the Jews must believe that in order for His plan to be worked out in their lives.

There are many similarities between the return to the land 3,500 years ago and the Jewish people returning today. The only difference is that it is the “final return” today, an indication that Jesus is getting ready to return to Earth to fulfill His last promises to the Jewish people.

Just this reminder, seven years before He returns He will shout and have all Christians to join Him in the heavens at the Rapture. The Rapture could happen at any moment, even today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, and my family to serve you until you do shout for us to join you in the heavens.
Saturday, December 19, 2020

Joshua 14:14

Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.

For further study - Joshua 14:1-15

The book of Joshua is the history of the children of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, as they come into the "promised land". It is also the story of conflicts that followed as the Jews conquered the land. It is a record of one victory after another as the Lord gives the children of Israel what He told them He would give them 40 years before they arrive to claim His promise.

There is a great lesson in that thought. Sometimes, we ignore God's directives which brings upon us sorrow, heartache and distress. I do not understand why I do not learn His way, His way is the best way.

Our last devotional was from Joshua 6 and it detailed the first victory for the Jewish people as they moved forward to take the land that God had given them. Jericho, as I said, was only the first installment of God’s promise.

Before we come to our reading for today I want to give you several passages that are a record of God’s faithfulness. As you survey the entire book of Joshua please notice that the Lord was giving the Jews the locations that would be considered the “heritage sites” for the Jews of today.

The first mention of the city of Jerusalem, by name, is in Joshua 10:1. “Jerusalem” is mentioned 764 times in the Bible and this city plays a key role in the life of the Jewish people through out history and into the future, even “eternity future”.

Notice, the Lord had directed Joshua to give to the half tribe of Manasseh the location of “Bashan”, Joshua 13:29 to 31. You may not recognize that name but it is the area of what is today the “Golan Heights”. That means that God gave the Jewish people the Golan Heights 3,500 years ago. That should settle the debate between Israel and Syria over the Golan, but it hasn’t.

Our reading for today is a perfect example of my point. When Moses sent out the spies, Joshua and Caleb were the only two to return from their sojourn inside the “promised land” with a positive report.

Because the majority of the spies gave a negative, fearful report of the land and due to their unbelief, the children of Israel wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years before claiming their promise.

However, the Lord did not forget the faithfulness of the spy named Caleb. God instructed Joshua, the leader responsible for dividing the "promised land", to give Caleb the piece of real estate he wanted, the area around Hebron. Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb because this spy had "wholly followed the Lord God of Israel", verse 14.

This whole account is a great spiritual lesson for me and for you also. In our daily lives, we must do all that the Lord directs us to do, "wholly following the Lord."

Before I finish, let me remind you that this land and city that God gave Caleb 3,500 years ago is a center of controversy today. Hebron is the oldest Jewish community in the world founded by Abraham some 4,000 years ago, Genesis 13:18.

Today, there are around 1,000 Jews living in Hebron with 150,000 Palestinians surrounding them and many of those Palestinians are self-proclaimed Islamic terrorists.

Hebron is the second most sacred piece of real estate in the world for the Jewish people. It was purchased by Abraham as a burial site, Genesis 23, and paid for in cash.

There is a great Jewish heritage in Hebron from the past, but the present situation is very controversial and will continue to be so until the Messiah, Jesus Christ, returns to deal with the enemies of the Jewish people.

The little prophetic book of Obadiah reveals the victory given to the Jews over the Palestinians, descendants of Esau, and that happens at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah. The stage is being set for that prophecy to be fulfilled.

It is good to reflect on the past as we look to the future, all under the watchful eye of our Lord. He is still in charge.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me this day Lord, to wholly follow You in all that I do, as You lead.
Friday, December 18, 2020

Joshua 6:2 and 21

And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

For further study - Joshua 6:1-27

It is worth the time you will spend to read our extended reading for today, which is the complete account of the conquering of Jericho. God told Joshua that as He had been with Moses He would be with the new leader of the Jewish people as they would enter the “promise land”.

This portion of God's word is the record of God's beginning phase of the fulfillment of His promises to Joshua. This is an amazing victory over the awesome enemy standing at the entrance of the conquest of the “promise land” for the children of Israel.

Any true military strategist would have warned Joshua against the plan given to him by God. It would have been considered a suicide mission by any evaluation to simply have your religious leaders lead your people in a walk around this well fortified city.

It would have been ridiculous to walk around the city for one day but to do so for seven days and then to shout and think that the walls would come down would be out of the question for any logical leader.

However, God did not set Joshua in place as the leader of the children of Israel to lead the conquest of the land He had promised them because he was a logical thinker but because Joshua was obedient to his Lord.

The rest of the book of Joshua, which records the leadership of God's man for this mission, is a record of obedience and victory. It is the evidence that we must look at and consider, even as we in our own journey through life follow His direction for all the conquests that are promised for each of us as we do follow His direction.

It is interesting that as the children of Israel entered the promise land, it is "Jericho first" on the agenda for God's plan for taking the land. I used that phrase "Jericho first" because this is the phrase used in 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed on the lawn at the White House in Washington.

The peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian people would give to the Palestinians, "Jericho first." For this last 25 years we have seen how that peace treaty has been negated and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people is deteriorating on a daily basis.

What got my attention is the fact that God gave “Jericho first” to the children of Israel and 3,500 years later the Jews gave “Jericho first” to their enemies. This scenario is in perfect alignment with Bible prophecy for these two peoples, the Jews and the Palestinians. (See my study on Esau and the Palestinians)

All the actors are in place and the curtain is about to go up on the final drama as described in Bible prophecy. Keep looking up. Jesus is coming and it could be today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to realize the time of Your return is drawing closer as the current events unfold that are in line with the end time scenario found in Bible prophecy.
Thursday, December 17, 2020

Joshua 5:10

And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

For further reading - Joshua 5:6-15

Today we read the account of the first several days of the children of Israel in the Promised Land. Joshua had been installed as leader after the death of Moses and given the responsibilities of leading the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the area just to the east of Jericho, out in the valley halfway between Jericho and the Jordan River and just north of the Dead Sea to a place that He would name Gilgal.

Even the name of the location where the children of Israel would first encamp, Gilgal, which in Hebrew means "rolling," was significant. It was here that God told Joshua He had rolled away the reproach of the Egyptian bondage, verse 9.

The first act that Joshua led the Jewish people into, once inside the Promised Land, was the “circumcision” of each of the males. The fact is that none of the men who entered the land God had given them had been circumcised, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. The oldest of all the men would have been 39 years of age and none of them had ever been given the mark of God's promise to the Jews, circumcision.

The next item on God's agenda, even before He would lead them to conquer the land, was to begin the “cycle of Jewish feast” that He had given Moses for His chosen people. The Lord had commanded that once they entered the land they were to start with the Passover, the first of the seven Jewish feasts, and complete the entire cycle on a yearly basis.

Through the Jewish feast God was giving the Jewish people a glimpse into the future. The seven feasts all have a historic significance and an agricultural factor to them as well as the prophetic aspect to each of the Jewish feasts.

You remember that in the gospel records of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events actually took place on the Jewish feast days. Jesus Christ was crucified on Passover, John 13:1, was buried on Unleavened Bread, John 19:31 and 42, and resurrected on Sunday, the day the Jews celebrate the Feast of First Fruits, John 20:1 and Leviticus 23:10-13.

Interestingly, Jesus, as He fulfilled the first three Jewish feast days in the proper day sequence, so also He will fulfill the last three Jewish feast days in the proper day sequence as well (See my study "The Feasts of God").

Year after year for the last 3,500 years, the Jews have been observing these Jewish feast days, a constant reminder of what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do for them in the future.

Remember, these feast days are given to the Jewish people. We as Christians can study these Jewish “holy days”, but they are to be observed by the Jews. Those three fall feast days, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles will be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, as were the three spring feast days almost 2,000 years ago.

But let me remind you that before the Lord does fulfill those feast days the Rapture takes place and it could happen any day now, maybe even today. Keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for being a consistent, faithful God who always keeps His promises.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Joshua 4:18

And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

For further study - Joshua 4:1-24 

Before we come to our devotional reading for today I want us to glance at Joshua 2 and 3. In chapter 2 we find the record of the sending of the “spies” into Jericho to meet with Rahab and to determine their “plan of attack” as the Israelites enter the “promised land”.

Joshua 3 is the actual account of Joshua and the children of Israel making ready to walk through the Jordan River on “dry ground”. The details are here for you to study and to see how God would provide this entrance into the “land” even though it seemed impossible.

Joshua 4 is the record of the miraculous entry into the Promised Land by the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua. Those who were entering the "land", were those Jewish people who had not seen the parting of the Red Sea, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, the others had died during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness.

All that would enter into the land that God had promised them had been born during the forty years of unbelief. The reason, of course, for the two exceptions, Joshua and Caleb, was that they, as spies, had reported back to Moses that the "land" was great and that they could enter in right away.

Joshua and Caleb believed God and thus they were given the privilege of entering into God's Promised Land.

Let me remind you that the time of the year when the Jordan River was parted was in the spring, the harvest time, Joshua 3:15-16. The waters of the Jordan River were overflowing their banks, more so than during the rest of the year.

God had directed Joshua to have the priest to bare the "ark of the covenant" to the western shore of the Jordan River and when the waters divided all of the children of Israel followed the priest with the "ark" as they crossed over into Israel on dry ground.

Joshua also had one man from each of the twelve tribes bare a stone from the center of the Jordan River, now dry, and take it to the place where they would "lodge that night", verse 3and lay all twelve of these stones at Gilgal, verse 19.

You'll remember Gilgal, located about two miles from the Jordan River, is the place where the Jews celebrated their first "Passover" in the Promised Land, Joshua 5:10.

Verse 6 of our extended reading says that the taking of the stones from the Jordan River would be a "sign" for the Israelites, an object lesson for the Jews so that they could tell their children of God's love, provision and protection for them.

However, it would not be done for the sake of only telling the children, verses 19-23, but it would be somewhat of a monument to have so that "all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that they might fear the Lord our God forever", verse 24.

Indeed, there are not many people on the earth that don't know the story of God's fulfilled promises to the Jews and His provision of the land as He had promised. Of course, the parting of the Jordan River, like the parting of the Red Sea, displayed the mighty hand of God.

3,500 years ago God took care of His chosen people, He is still doing so today, and will do so into the future, as He said He would. Praise His name!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your love, provision and protection for me as it has been for Your people, the Jewish people, over the last 4,000 years.