Doing it God’s Way

After Saul’s victory over the Ammonite (I Samuel chapter 12) Samuel meet one more time with the nation to make his last speech to them. In I Samuel 13:24,25 Samuel ends his speech with these words: “Only fear the Lord and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.” (KJV) This message was directed to their desire to have a king over them like the other nations. With this decision the people of God turned from the twelve tribes of God where every man did that which was right in his own eyes, to a nation ruled by a king. A point to remember that Samuel was not only a judge but also a prophet, seer, and a man of God. His authority as overseeing the religious matters of Israel did not end with Saul becoming the king.

As recorded in I Samuel 13:1-14 Saul’s self-will and his self-glorification caused him to be denounced by Samuel. It started by Jonathan Saul’s eldest son smiting a garrison of Philistines in Geda The message soon when out in all Israel that Saul had smitten a garrison of Philistines and the nation of fighting men were called together at Gilgal. In the mean time the Philistines also gathered their forces together to a point that cause the men of Israel to hid and flee to other places. Samuel set a time to offer up a burnt-offering to the Lord, but was late. So Saul offered up the burnt offering himself instead of waiting for the priest. When Samuel arrived and confronted Saul about what he had done, he answered that he had to offer up the burnt-offering to be able to rally the troops. Saul had been foolish and did not keep the commandment of the Lord concerning burnt-offerings which were only to be performed by the priest. This was when Samuel informed him that his kingdom would not continue. When you read these verses notice that Saul never shows a repentive heart.

Saul was given the opportunity of being the first king of the nation of Israel. With this opportunity also came the responsibility of being a true Godly leader. One that would follow God’s way and instruct the nation to follow this lead. However, instead of leaning on God and his promises Saul chose the path that he saw best. We see Saul in I Samuel 14:35 again building an altar unto the Lord to keep the troops from eating meat with blood so that they would not sin against the Lord. And at the same tiime he himself was breaking the law. Israel defeated the Philistines that day but it was under the leadership of his son Jonathan. His kingdom survived for now, but at a huge cost to Israel. For we see in I Samuel 14:52 that there were sore wars all the days of Saul and when Saul saw any valiant man he took him to be part of his army. The fathers of Israel lost their strong sons to the king.

Over the years I have witness many people who have taken matters in the own hands. No time to wait on God. In my youth I use to say, when you are good, you are good, but when you are great you are like me. As I look back now on the foolishness of such a statement like that I an amazed that God still loves me and worked in my life to change my walk with Him. However, as I look at young people today who have the same outlook on live, I step back and wonder, will they stay on the path of self-glorification or will they heed God’s interventions and return to walking in His way and giving Him the glory for all the victories in their life. Paul’s life was transformed on the road to Damascus when he faced the Lord. Christ said to him “Saul, Saul, why persecutest me” (Acts 9:4) and Paul who was called Saul at that time answered “Who art thou Lord” (Acts 9:5). Paul realized his zeal against the disciples of the Lord was wrong and he turned from his ways. The choice is yours.

Except you repent

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke chapter thirteen starts with those who were present with Christ stating a discussion about some Galileans that Pilate had mingled their blood with their sacrifices. Jesus asked them “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans?” To this Jesus reply Nay! He the brings up the recent incident of a tower in Siloam falling on and killing eighteen people. Jesus again asked them “Suppose ye that these men were sinners above all those that dwelt in Jerusalem?” Again his answer was Nay? The important lesson here is simple. But, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The key to these verses is that all needs God’s salvation and this comes about through repentance.

Repentance is the first step in being right with God. In Romans 1:18-32 Paul makes the case at the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. As I read these verses I realize that I am guilty of some of the characteristics that Paul writes about in the verses. In verse thirty two he writes”Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” He follows this with Romans 2:1 “Therefore thou art excusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judges: for wherein thou judges another, thou condemns thyself, for thou that judges does the same things.” We are all guilty! Once we realize this there must be a turning away from this ungodliness and unrighteousness. This is repentance.

We live in a world surrounded by ungodliness and unrighteousness of which we are all a part of this whole. The first step in coming to Christ is not changing our ways but realizing our true nature and the ungodliness and unrighteousness we have in our life. It is an easy task to see the ungodliness and unrighteousness in the lives of those around of and overlook our sinful nature. However, the words of Christ in Luke chapter thirteen points to the need for all to repent and turn from our ungodliness. But how can I a sinful ungodly man repent and change my ways? The more I try the more I fail. True repentance is seeing our ungodliness and unrighteousness and realizing that we are on the wrong path and must change direction. How?

Study the Word

Studying the scriptures will helps us find the answers to some of the the most difficult questions that has been troubling us. One of these questions I have had is why God chose Saul as the first king of Israel. As I explore the reasons for the selection of Saul as the first king of Israel I must reflect on the political issues at that time in Israel. The twelve tribes had greatly increased in population, but also there was also a greater force acting upon them and that force was to become more like the countries around them. Samuel serve the twelve tribes as a judge, prophet, and a priest; he did not rule over them as a king. When Samuel was old he set his sons up as judges. His sons however were not honest and walked not in Samuel’s way. Therefore the elders decided they wanted a king like the other nations that surrounded them. So God gave them a king after their own desire. This might be a reason that God gave them Saul, a king like the other nations. Early in life I was told be careful for what you ask for because God might permit it to happen. Saul was the type of king they were desiring so God gave them the king they desired.

After Samuel’s withdrew to Ramah he stilled mourn for Saul. However, God instructs Samuel to stop mourning for Saul seeing that God had rejected him. God then gave Samuel the task to anoint the next king of Israel. Samuel at this time was aware of the way that Saul was ruling and how he had warned Saul that his kingdom would not continue. He also knew that Saul was probably keeping an eye on his activities for Samuel as a priest was still a powerful force in Israel. We see in I Samuel 16:2 that Samuel fear to execute this task that the Lord had given him to complete because of Saul. So God told him to go and to use the occasion as an opportunity to offer up a sacrifice at Bethlehem. Another reason I believed Samuel was afraid to go was that the anointing would cause an uprising to take place in the near future. As I read I Samuel 16:1-13 I realized that Samuel was looking for an adult who might be able to take over the kingdom from Saul in the near future. But God had His own timetable. As someone who has follow the Lord for over fifty years I have realize that waiting on the Lord is one of one of the hardest to learn attributes a Christian can develop in their walk with the Lord.

Why was David in the field instead of at the feast? I believe the simple answer is someone had to watch the sheep while the family attended the sacrifice. David being the youngest was the best choice for this task. However, he was the one that was to be anointed so they sent to fetch him and waited unto he arrived. When he did arrive, Samuel anointed him in the midst of his brethren and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. Samuel went back home and David went back to tending the sheep in the field. Unlike Saul’s anointing there was no other events that happened afterwards. It was probably a relief to Samuel. It is several years later that we have the next reference of Samuel. This reference is found in I Samuel 19:18 when David fled and escaped from Saul and came to Samuel at Ramah.

As we study the scriptures, we must realize that the characters that we study are just like us. They have the same needs as well as fears as we have in the world today. We know that God’s hand is in the affairs of of this world, not men, but we tend forget this in our daily living. As the Lord taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it it in heaven.” God is in control. So, when everyone around you is worried about the affairs of this world understand that God is in control still.

Who is it that you persecute?

Acts 9:5b I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Here in Acts chapter nine as well as Acts chapters twenty two and twenty six we have Luke’s writings on Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. In verse nine Luke paints a picture of what all mankind must face at some point in their life. Do we repent or do we remain on the path of ungodliness? This decision rest on what we believe about Jesus. He is the Savior of the world, or just a figure from history. We must all face this kicking against the pricks in our life. Our conscience (pricks) must wrestle against the truth that we are ungodly and not the god-like creation that God formed in the garden.

In Acts 26:15-18 Paul describes his encounter with Christ as his call to make Paul a minister and a witness to the Gentiles the gospel. The purpose of his message was to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from Satan unto God. That they may receive forgiven of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that in Christ. Before this encounter Paul as a religious leader of the Jews was protecting his religion from the false teaching of Jesus as the promise Messiah. If fact in I Corinthians 15:9 Paul writes “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” He justified his actions as protecting the faith. The encounter with Christ open Paul’s eyes and caused him to turn from his wicked ungodly ways, which he had in the past justified as godly.

So, when I read and study Romans 1:18-32 about the wrath of God being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness I come to the realization that all of mankind fall in this group. Christ was the gift of God to the world to open the eyes of all mankind to their ungodliness and unrighteousness and provided us the way to turn from darkness to light. But then we accept Jesus and the mystery of God’s work in our lives, God will make known unto his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption unto us. This is revealed to us by his Spirit that we might know the truth that is given to us freely by God. So as Christ stated in Luke 13:5 ” I tell you, Nay: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” God has provided the way; we must choose the path.

They are without excuse

So that Men are without Excuse

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what is made, so that men are without excuse.

A story was told of a man who life’s purpose was to seek after truth but after he found it, he turned away and followed his our heart. This is the story of the men that Paul describes in Romans chapter one. Paul’s purpose was to present the gospel of God to all, but not all believe. As we go forth on our journey in this life, we must realize that all men and women will be without excuse on the day of judgment. We must present the simple truth of the gospel as Paul writes in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

What happens to those that reject the gospel? Their life becomes their own, they become the one who controls every aspect of their life. They become wise in their own eyes, but their hearts become darken and they become fools before God. God then gives them over to the sinful desires of their hearts. To me this means God steps out of their life.

Another story was told of a man who life’s purpose was to seek after truth, and when he found it, he realized his sinful nature. But he also found the way of salvation from God. He could now be made righteous by placing his faith in Jesus Christ. This was why we live a daily lifestyle that reflects Christ in us as our hope in glory.

There is only two ways. As in Psalm chapter one there is the way of the Righteous or the way of the wicked. Which story will reflect your life? The choose is yours.

God’s Word

Thank you for the last 150 days. The journey of the last one hundred and fifty days was the result of trying to get a handle on understanding how God works in an individual life. I guess one of most difficult issues that a Christian faces in his or her life is grasping the truth that the God of the Universe can also be a God that can work daily in our individual life. Christians understand how God worked in shaping David, yet by studying David we can also apply (the way) as portray in Psalm one to our own lives. Let’s look at David’s life.

As I look at David’s life, I will start out by considering three verse:
Act 13:22
“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
I Samuel 16:7
“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
I Kings 15:5
“For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.”

This was God’s statements about David’s life from the beginning to after his death. Yet as we study David’s life, we can point to several mistakes that he made and yet God view that only in the case of Uriah the Hittite had he failed to keep the Lord’s commands. I love I Kings 15:5 for it gives me the comfort that it is God the Righteous Judge that will be the one who passes judgement on us after our death. As I have spent the last 150 days studying one Psalm a day, I have learned a lot about David’s life and character. I realized that man looks at my outward appearance and actions, but God knows my heart. David reveals this truth in Psalm 139: 1-6
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
As I search for other views on I King 15:5 many other views point out all the mistakes and sins that were in David’s life. Some have difficulty with this verse, however I believe that it points to David’s life as a life that was lived according to God’s way. There were times in David’s life that the presence of God may have seen to be far away, but look at verses 7-12 of Psalm 139:
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

David had a longing for God. “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
Is this the longing you have for Him?
As I leave the book of Psalms behind and start on another journey, I pray that I might also have a heart like David a man after God’s own heart.

No opinion just truth

!! Timothy 3:16–17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

At age thirteen to pass my evenings away I read books on either World War II or the Bible. It was at this time that I read the entire 10 volume series of The Bible Story written by Arthur Maxwell. These books gave me a great background to help me understand the Bible when I started reading it two years later. My Bible study began the year my father passed away. It was hard for a fifteen year old to understand why someone would take his own life. At that time the Retail Clerk Union gave family members a Bible in a cedar case at the death of a love one. It was the reading of this Bible that I started my search for an understanding of the ways of life. I still treasure this Bible and the notes in it to this day.

As I was listening to last night to the President speaking, I heard his words and the message he was presenting. Afterwards I listen to the commentaries on his speech and a lot of these commentaries were portraying a different message that I had just heard. This truth can also apply to reading God’s Word. The truth about a daily study in the Bible is that it gives us the truth without anyone’s opinion. It is God speaking to you. The Word of God is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is never changing. It is the gift of the scriptures that God has given mankind to show us the way to Him. Yes, Bible commentaries and guides are great resources for us to use in gaining a better understanding of his Word, but so is the hiding of God’s Word in your heart. So, sit down and read the Bible and let the Word of God speak to you.

Psalm 150

Psalm 150

1 Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

As you read this psalm, I hope you will stop and realized that everything in your world is not “All about Me”. However, as you look at this psalm you will see that we are to praise the Lord. As you look at these verses you will get the picture of a modern church service:

  • Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet
  • praise him with the harp and lyre
  • praise him with tambourine and dancing
  • praise him with the strings and flute
  • praise him with the clash of cymbals
  • praise him with resounding cymbals
  • Let everything that has breath praise the LORD

Why Praise God?

For his acts of power

For his surpassing greatness

What is this surpassing greatness? Paul answers this in Ephesians 1:3-14.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him unto a dispensation of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say, in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worked all things after the counsel of his will; to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,– in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

As I finish another reading of the Psalms and Proverbs today, I realize that this month is almost over another month is almost upon me. This month I seasoned my daily readings with the daily devotional by Charles Swindoll title Wisdom for the Way. I found this devotional at the Goodwill store where I buy some of my books. On the inside cover I discovered these words “For Lindsey From the Craig’s May 2001”. The subtitle of this devotional is Wise Words for Busy People. How this book came from the Craig’s to Lindsey and then to me is a mystery, but as I look to the surpassing greatness of God, I realize how God can use a book to influence a person.

On page 62 of this devotional Charles Swindoll starts off the reading by writing “The only way we can come to terms with reality-is by trusting God, regardless.” As I continue to read this devotional, I noticed there were only two paragraphs. The first paragraph centered the words I and me. It is a matter of if I am trusting him, or if I do or don’t allow God in my world as I face each and every issue in my daily routine. The second paragraph centers on the word we. We can’t wait for conditions to be perfect, instead we must go on trusting. This gift of the Craig’s to give Lindsey a treasure to help her along the way is an example of their trusting God to work in her life. Sometimes it might appear that we have fail, however because of the surpassing greatness of God their gift might produce fruit elsewhere. As this simple devotional starts with an individual, the end result because of the surpassing greatness of God will be a group result.

Verse six “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” forces the reader to one conclusion and that is we are to praise the Lord. The journey that begins with the first breathe that a child takes at birth to the last breath we take before we pass from this life to eternity must include the process of praising the Lord.

Psalm 149

Psalm 149

1 Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.
4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.
5 Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.
6 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands,
7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron,
9 to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints.
Praise the LORD.

As we study God’s Word some concepts are hard for us to understand. As I study the attributes of God and focus on His goodness and kindness as well as His great mercies that He has impart not only on my behalf but on to all who call on his name, it sometimes becomes difficult for me to picture God as One who will inflict vengeance and carry out the punishment of the sentence that is written against the those that have not called upon his name. Thankfully for me the message I must give to the world is not this message of the future judgment of God against the wicked of this world, but a new song a message of a way of salvation to all who will believe. As I study these verses, I must realize that there will be a time of judgment ahead, but until then there is hope for anyone that still wants to come to Him. In Jude’s book (the second to the last bible of the Bible) in verses twenty-one through twenty-four we are told to keep ourselves in the love of God and have mercy on those who doubt. So, when I am confronted by others to explain how a loving God could be such a God of vengeance, I will explain to them that I am only beginning to understand the workings of God and that some concept about God is still beyond my understanding. I can compare my understanding of the complete nature of God to that of a 3rd grader’s understanding of calculus. Some things are just beyond my understanding. However, by reading Psalm ten I get a picture of how wicked the evil man truly can be.

This psalm ends with a plea for God to arise and take action against the wicked and evil man and call him into account for what he has done. Then this happens to the evil it will become the glory of all his saints. This day will come when the Lord returns. Why the delay? Peter answers this in II Peter chapter three “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. How then should we live “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you”.

But why don’t the wicked see their coming judgment? The answer can be found in Psalm fourteen, Psalm fifty-three, and Romans chapter three.

Psalm 148

Psalm 148

Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.

He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:

Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:

Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:

Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:

Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord.

Praise the LORD. The theme of a believer’s walk should center on praising the Lord. This psalm focus on all of God’s creation praising Him. For his name alone is excellent and his glory is above the heaven. May your walk today be on praising the Lord.

Psalm 147

Psalm 147

1 Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
6 The LORD sustains the humble: but casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man;
11 the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
12 Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion,
13 for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace toyour borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
15 He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.
19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws.
Praise the LORD.

This is a Psalm to the love of God for the nation of Israel. As we look at the love of God to Israel we can see the type of love that a parent should have for their child. Having seven children myself, I have come to recognized that they have their own individuals’ traits and that they will make their own decisions. As a parent you will have to give up the control of your child’s environment. As a parent we can instruct, guide and lead, however the most important part of training up a child is to model the Godly life.