And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the
make it plain upon tablets, that he may run
that readeth it.
(Habakkuk 2:2 -
Biblical and Prophetic
Perspective For Our Times
whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he cometh in his own glory,
and the glory of the Father,
and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 - ASV)
I have set
Jehovah always before me:
Because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
(Psalms 16:8 - ASV)
Mark can be reached
Contents On This Page
Samuel Part 25
Samuel Part 24
Samuel Part 23
Samuel Part 22
Samuel Part 21
Samuel Part 20
Samuel Part 19
Samuel Part 18
Samuel Part 17
Samuel Part 16
Samuel Part 15
Samuel Part 14
Samuel Part 13
Samuel Part 12
Samuel Part 11
Samuel Part 10
Samuel Part 9
Samuel Part 8
Samuel Part 7
Samuel Part 6
Samuel Part 5
Samuel Part 4
Samuel Part 3
Samuel Part 2
- Our Place
- Seal Number Three
- Wicked Counsel
- Hewn Down
- In Praise Of Humility
- A Matter Of Trust
- Malak Elohim (Angel
Of the Lord)
Fearlessness Of Faith
- Lawfare And Spiritual
- A Curse
1 Samuel Part 25
went up the ascent to the city,
they found young
going out to draw water,
and said unto them,
Is the seer here?
(1 Samuel 9:11 - ASV)
We left off last time and Saul and his servant
could not find their animals and consequently had
decided to go and ask the Prophet (seer) if he
could help them find them.
They find some young women who
were at the well drawing water and asked them
where he was. This was customary of the women in
those times as they would go and get water for the
family or the farm. I suspect the local well was
the place where young men and
women would meet to flirt with one another
back in those days. But that was not what was on
their minds right now, they were on a job to go
and find their animals and the seer could help.
they answered them, and said,
He is; behold, he is before thee:
make haste now,
for he is come to-day into the city;
for the people have a sacrifice
to-day in the high place.
(1 Samuel 9:12 - ASV)
They came to the right place and
the women were most helpful and let them know that
if they hurry, they can catch him for there was to
be a sacrifice on that day. Samuel was probably
just coming off of his duties as the local circuit
judge and had come to fulfill his duties as
Priest. We don't know what feast it was and
remember, the ark was no longer in the Tabernacle
because of the Philistines. Samuel's place is
still of the greatest importance here. It is quite
possible that it is only Samuel that provides the
real link between God and his people. He appears
to be the only one God recognizes and being his
representative in those days.
as ye are come into the city,
ye shall straightway find him,
before he goeth up
to the high place to eat; for the people
will not eat until he come,
because he doth bless the sacrifice;
and afterwards they eat that are bidden.
Now therefore get you up;
for at this time ye shall find him.
(1 Samuel 9:13 - ASV)
This passage is rather
interesting in that we note that some will
feast that were bid to come. Samuel was key as
no one would eat until he blessed the
they went up to the city;
and as they came within the city,
Samuel came out toward them,
to go up to the high place.
(1 Samuel 9:14 - ASV)
Sometimes it's little things I
notice in scripture that enlighten me. Saul could
have said, "Let's not bother him today, he's
clearly too busy to deal with us and our little
problem. C'mon, let's go and track along those
hills yonder and see if the animals are
there....". But no, they were
determined to get to the seer, even if it was a
feast and sacrifice day.
Now Jehovah had revealed
a day before Saul came,
To-morrow about this time
I will send thee
a man out of the land of
and thou shalt anoint him
to be prince over my
and he shall save my
out of the hand of the
for I have looked upon my
because their cry is come
(1 Samuel 9:15-16 - ASV)
The Lord had already revealed that
he would send someone to be King ('prince over
my people'). This is so often the case with
prophets. The Lord often tells them things in
advance. Sometimes they are meant for general
consumption, other times private, but the Lord
here revealed his plan to Samuel so that he would
be prepared. The KJV uses the phrase 'in his ear'
to describe the method of divine communication.
The word had the connotation of hearing (241
in Strong's Hebrew
Bible Dictionary). The
distinction here is probably to distinguish it
from a vision or a dream. Here the Lord spoke
directly to his servant Samuel.
A key part of this is that Israel was clearly
still having a lot of problems with the
Philistines and this king, whom the people wanted,
would be the one to free them from their yoke. A
man from the tribe of Benjamin was going to show
up and Samuel's job was to anoint him King.
It is so important to make this clear distinction
again. Samuel did not choose Saul. God did. Samuel
was merely the instrument God used to 'seal'
Saul's rulership. This is the office of a real
prophet, He does not do things presumptuously, he
does not 'take authority' that is not his to take
(like choosing Kings). No, he is merely an
instrument to do the will of God, even if the
purpose of God's actions are not clear or he may
not be personally in agreement with. Remember,
Samuel was deeply hurt by the people's desire for
a King. But Samuel had his orders from the God he
served and there is no mention of any hesitation
on Samuel's part to do what the Lord required.
And when Samuel saw Saul,
Jehovah said unto him,
Behold, the man of whom I spake to thee!
this same shall have authority over my
(1 Samuel 9:17 - ASV)
The Lord was speaking directly to
his prophet again and the word was, to paraphrase
it, 'That's him, That is the man I told
you about yesterday. This is the man who will be
king'. I do think it noteworthy that Saul
seems to have been one of those people who took
little notice of public affairs. Clearly he had
never seen Samuel before.
The final stanza of the last verse is a bit
peculiar. Translators use the word 'authority'
over my people. But the word is less clear. It is
the word 6113 In Strong's
Hebrew Bible Dictionary. Yes, it can mean
reign but it also has the connotation of
restraining or stopping.
Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate,
and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the
seer's house is.
And Samuel answered Saul, and said,
I am the seer; go up before me unto the
for ye shall eat with me to-day: and in
I will let thee go, and will tell thee
is in thy heart. And as for thine asses
were lost three days ago, set not thy
mind on them;
for they are found. And for whom is all
that is desirable in Israel? Is it not
and for all thy father's house?
(1 Samuel 9:18-20 - ASV)
We see here clearly that the two
had never met before as Saul did not recognize the
seer by face. Samuel gave him an answer, realizing
who this man was and would be and gave him his
instructions, paraphrasing it 'Hang around for
a while and have dinner with me and you can
leave in the morning, I will tell you what you
want to know, and don't worry about your
animals. They have already been found'.
The phrase that he would tell him
'all that was in his heart', indicates that
he would reveal more to Saul than just his lost
animals. What is noteworthy in this passage is
that when they go up to the High Place, he was to
go before Samuel. This was a tremendous
act of honor and may have been done to
prepare the people and Saul for what was getting
ready to happen.
In the last stanza of verse 20,
Samuel remarks on the honor that shall be bestowed
upon Saul and his fathers house. Once again, this
appears to be done to prepare Saul for greatness
so that he could prepare himself mentally before
the formal anointing. Sure Samuel could have told
him he as going to be king. But Instead, he was
giving him some hints that something very special
was getting ready to happen to him. Being King was
probably the last thing on his mind as Israel had
never had a king, and his apparent ignorance of
Samuel seems to indicate a considerable lack of
political knowledge on Saul's part. One almost
gets the impression that Saul may have been seen
as kind of country 'bumpkin' and though from a
good family, he just was not with the 'in crowd'
in a political and social sense. These little acts
seem to be made to prepare both the people and
Saul for the changes ahead.
1 Samuel Part 24
was a man of Benjamin,
whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel,
the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath,
the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite,
a mighty man of valor. And he had a son,
whose name was Saul, a young man and a
and there was not among the children of Israel
a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders
and upward he was higher than any of the people.
(1 Samuel 9:1-2 - ASV)
last chapter ends with a very important spiritual
milestone in the history of the apostasy of Israel.
It was a time when they rejected God as being king
of his people and wanted a man to take his place,
like all the nations around them. The deeper
spiritual issue was one of rejection. Rejection of
God's rulership and provision. They saw how everyone
else was doing it and wanted to mimic the idolators
in the region. The Lord knew the hearts of the
people and where their attitude would eventually
Well, the Lord would fulfill his
word and give them a King, since that is what they
wanted. That man was going to be Saul. Saul did not
come from the line of the tribe of Judah, but rather
from the tribe of Benjamin.
His father was known as a mighty man
and quite probably a man of property and who may
have had his own troop of men. Saul was a good
looking man and quite tall. By the description, we
can deduce that he was basically the most handsome
man in the kingdom. Add to that he was taller than
anyone else, he looked the part. The men could look
up to him, the women would swoon and clearly had the
bearing that makes a person appear to be a king. If
this were a Hollywood movie, Saul fit the bill of an
A-list actor who was known for playing romantic,
heroic leads. The name Saul means asked (7586 in Strong's Hebrew Bible
Dictionary). A fitting name as a king
was what Israel had asked for. God was giving the
people everything they desired, but not what was
best for them. But they got a good looking, notable
man - the son of a man with a great reputation
ruling over them.
asses of Kish, Saul's father,
were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son,
Take now one of the servants with thee,
and arise, go seek the asses.
passed through the hill-country of Ephraim,
and passed through the land of Shalishah,
but they found them not:
then they passed through the land of Shaalim,
and there they were not:
and he passed through the land of the
but they found them not.
(1 Samuel 9:3-4 - ASV)
This is a passage about an incident of lost asses.
This was hardly anything of note and something that
probably happened quite regularly to many animal
herders in those times. Why is it covered here?
Because of the divine appointment that is to follow.
At times we may seem like we are on a wild goose
chase and wonder why we have to go here or go there,
take care of this annoyance or that errand but
sometimes, there is a divine appointment in the most
mundane of matters. This will prove to be one of
them. The search for the sheep will lead Saul to his
destiny. Saul may have been looking for his animals,
but he was going to find something much more
they were come to the land of Zuph,
Saul said to his servant that was with
Come, and let us return, lest my father
leave off caring for the asses, and be
anxious for us.
And he said unto him, Behold now,
there is in this city a man of God,
and he is a man that is held in honor;
all that he saith cometh surely to
now let us go thither; peradventure
he can tell us concerning our journey
whereon we go.
(1 Samuel 9:5-6 - ASV)
This apparently was no minor
search. According to some commentators, this was a
mountainous region. They covered quite a bit of
ground and nothing turned up. Saul here proposed
to go back home because his father may cease to
worry about the animals and rather start worry
But Saul's servant has an idea.
There is a man of God he knows of who lives nearby
whom they can ask about the whereabouts of the
animals. Here we can ascertain that when this
question was asked, they were near the city of
Ramah, where Samuel lived. Samuel as we read, had
an excellent reputation, not only as a man of God,
but as one of honor. Men of God in those days
still were highly regarded and respected. As we
find later, this becomes less and less the case as
the years wear on. Some would later be told to be
silent, some imprisoned and others killed. When a
nation that once respected God gets to that point,
God's judgment is often not far off.
said Saul to his servant,
But, behold, if we go, what shall we
bring the man?
for the bread is spent in our vessels,
and there is not a present to bring to
the man of God:
what have we? And the servant answered
and said, Behold, I have in my hand
the fourth part of a shekel of silver:
that will I give to the man of God,
to tell us our way.
(1 Samuel 9:7-8 - ASV)
Saul here asks what can we give him
if we go to him? This may seem a bit out of place, a
man of God giving his word for a gift, but not
totally. There are several reasons that this could
be so. This may have been the custom of the times
rather than paying for a prophecy; where a person of
inferior social rank does not go to a superior
without some kind of gift.
It was customary and perhaps could be taken as a
slight if it was not done. So Saul was concerned
about what kind of gift was to be given, since they
were out of bread. What could they give Saul? Saul's
servant, again has a good answer, he has a little
pocket money he can give Saul. The problem of the
gift was solved.
in Israel, when a man
went to inquire of God, thus he said,
Come, and let us go to the seer;
for he that is now called a Prophet
was beforetime called a Seer.)
Then said Saul to his servant,
Well said; come, let us go.
So they went unto the city
where the man of God was.
(1 Samuel 9:9-10 - ASV)
Here the author of the book lays out the
interchangeable nature of the terminology between
seer and prophet. They are basically the same thing
but more and more, the word prophet is used to
describe such men, though the word seer did not fall
into total disuse. Yet this passage may have been
placed in the book later by scribe to help avoid any
confusion. Some think Jeremiah or Ezra may have done
it. But the word seer is appropriate because they
often see things that others don't. Seers were
important because remember, in those days there was
no frequent vision (1
This whole passage seems almost
unnecessary, but in it we find something most
interesting. That God uses men, often unbeknownst to
themselves to be of use to him. Saul's servant was
indeed fulfilling God's purpose by guiding Saul to
the man of God. He could not possibly have known
that it would lead to his master becoming King. Yet
he fulfilled God's purpose by advising Saul. How
many times has someone not even knowing it, helped
us on our way to God's purposes? Even children can
be used of God in this manner! While the context may
not fit exactly, the passage out of Zachariah comes
to mind 'For who hath
despised the day of small things?'... (Zechariah 4:10a).
1 Samuel Part 23
will appoint them unto him for captains of
and captains of
fifties; and he will set some to plow his
and to reap his
harvest, and to make his instruments of war,
and the instruments of his
chariots. And he will take your
daughters to be perfumers,
and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
(1 Samuel 8:12-13 - ASV)
We left off last time when Samuel
had just begun to tell the people what to expect
when they get their new king. The people were not
going to go into this without being solemnly warned
about what it would mean.
In short, this was the system of
governance that was widespread in the region for
centuries. It is what the Israelite nation had to
live under as slaves in Egypt. This is what they
were crying out for, lusting for if you will; to be
like the nations around them. They no longer wanted
God ruling over them.
will take your fields, and your vineyards,
goes on to describe just what a king will do,
all of the burdens he will put upon the people.
The last stanza is most telling, where Samuel
warns them that they will be his servants. The
word for servant
has the connotation of being in bondage. In
short, Israel was exchanging their service to
God for that of a king. But what is not
mentioned here in this warning section are the
dynastic wars and succession issues and
conflicts that often plague monarchy's. Who
rules? Who will follow? - 'Should 'we'
kill the king so that his successor comes to
the throne who will put 'me' in a high
position?'- This is the problem that
besets monarchies then and even now.
and your oliveyards, even the best of
and give them to his servants. And he
the tenth of your seed, and of your
and give to his officers, and to his
And he will take your men-servants,
and your maid-servants,
and your goodliest young men,
and your asses, and put them to his work.
He will take the tenth of your
and ye shall be his servants.
8:14-17 - ASV)
Samuel is warning them and basically telling them in
today's vernacular, 'you won't be able to say
you were not warned when these evil's befall you'.
shall cry out in that day
because of your king whom ye shall have chosen
and Jehovah will not answer you in that day.
(1 Samuel 8:18
Another warning is clearly stated by
the Lord's man. One day you're going to regret this
decision, cry out to the Lord but he won't be in a
listening mood... at all.
I read this whole passage like this (in a more
colorful fashion) - 'If you want to lay on
that bed of nails you may do so, but when the
devil comes and sits on your stomach loaded
with a bag of bricks on his lap, don't come
crying to me, you made your choice'.
people refused to hearken
unto the voice of Samuel; and they said,
Nay: but we will have a king over us,
that we also may be like all the nations,
and that our king may judge us,
and go out before us,
and fight our battles.
(1 Samuel 8:19-20
The people just would not
listen, being afflicted with what can only be
called 'hard head syndrome'. Godly
counsel and sound advice are not heard. They
wanted what they wanted and clearly were not
concerned with the ultimate price.
But in this passage we
can see why Samuel was so hurt, they wanted a
king to judge them. Judge was Samuel's job. The
people may have thought that Samuel had too much
of an interest in keeping things the way they
were and forgot all the hard work he had done
and the miracles the Lord had done for them.
They may have thought Samuel was just conjuring
up images of disaster to keep his job. But the
Lord knew their hears, they were not rejecting
Samuel, but the Lord (8:7).
But despite all the warnings and
pleadings, they just were not going to listen.
Samuel heard all the words of the people,
and he rehearsed them
in the ears of Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 8:21
So after he sounded the people
out, he went to the Lord and told him what they
said. Here Samuel was acting as intermediary. Of
course the Lord knew what was said, but the
response of the people had to come through
'official channels' - that being the Lord's
prophet and judge, Samuel. We see this kind of
divine order throughout the Bible, even with the
angels who watch and report to the Lord.
Jehovah said to Samuel,
Hearken unto their voice,
and make them a king.
And Samuel said unto the men of Israel,
Go ye every man unto his city.
(1 Samuel 8:22 -
The Lord was going to grant their
request. So Samuel, being a dutiful servant of the
Lord does as he is commanded, he listens to the
people and prepares to anoint a king over them.
It seems clear that this
is not what Samuel wanted, but was obedient to
the Lord, his God. But as stated in an early
section, this is going to mean a whole new form
of government, from a theocracy to a monarchy.
But my own view is that Samuel is not totally
blameless in all of this. I won't denigrate the
Lord's most trusted and faithful servant, but
keep in mind that it was the corruption of his
sons that helped bring this all about.
So Samuel dismisses the assembly
of people and tells them to go home, you want a
king? You'll get one.
Yet even in this act of
semi-rebellion, there will be some good come out of
it. Eventually, the Messiah will come and will be a
king; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and bring
in his own Monarchy both to Israel and the world -
Even in our rebellion, God can eventually bring
We will continue our look at the
book of Samuel, next week, God willing!
1 Samuel Part 22
Jehovah said unto Samuel,
Hearken unto the voice of the people
in all that they say unto thee;
for they have not rejected thee,
but they have rejected me,
that I should not be king over them.
(1 Samuel 8:7 - ASV)
The prophet, any prophet, they too
have feelings and clearly after all the years of
serving the people of Israel, this was a cold slap
in the face to Samuel, Israel no longer wanting
him to judge them, but rather have a king like the
idolatrous nations around them. This was something
deeper than just a personal 'hurt'. No, Israel's
desire was going to totally upset the political
and social order and move the nation out of a
theocratic regime into a monarchical one. So
Samuel's sadness was probably on multiple levels.
But in the above verse, the Lord comforts his
servant and lets him know that the problem does
not ultimately lie with him. It lies with the fact
that they have rejected the Lord from being their
king. Always trust the Lord to get directly to the
root of any matter, should he choose to reveal it
to us. Here, he revealed this thing to Samuel, who
brought the matter before the Lord in prayer.
The Lord's answer however, does
not address the behavior of Samuel's sons, who
were clearly quite corrupt. Why is this? I can't
say for sure, but the reason Israel gave for the
change in rulership may have been in reality,
merely an excuse, and not a reason and the Lord
saw this. The real issue is that they wanted to be
like the heathen around them and have a king.
to all the works
which they have done since the day
that I brought them up out of
even unto this day,
in that they have forsaken me,
and served other gods,
so do they also unto thee.
(1 Samuel 8:8 -
The Lord then goes on to explain
to his servant why this is so. God knows the heart
and ways of his people. We notice from this
passage that God clearly sees that idolatry is
very much with Israel. They may or may not be
paying lip service to the Lord, but what they did
in secret was also known to the Lord. It was a
pattern of rebellion he had long put up with from
his people, since the days he brought them out of
Egypt. In short, what the Lord was telling Samuel
was that they had rejected the Lord, not Samuel.
therefore hearken unto their voice:
howbeit thou shalt protest solemnly
and shalt show them the manner of the
king that shall reign over them.
(1 Samuel 8:9 -
You want to punish someone?
Sometimes the best way to do that is to give the
exactly what they are asking for. This is what is
going to happen to Israel. God was going to give
them their desire. But since it was not a godly
one, there was going to be considerable trouble
found in conjunction with what they wanted. Once
Israel rejected God's government, something else
was going to come in its stead. There was a long
pattern of rebellion against God (as noted in the
Lord's response) and now it was about to give rise
to something that is laid out for us in the books
of Kings and Chronicles, as well as the prophets -
a pattern of rebellion, idolatry and wickedness,
both by many of her kings and her people. God
sometimes does grant requests like this one, but
more out of exasperation than because it is the
best thing for us.
Consider the young women who has fallen head over
heals in love with someone and prays and prays for
that someone to marry her. God see's that this man
is no good and will leave her, break her heart and
mistreat her if they ever get hitched. But the
woman wants what she wants and won't stop until
she gets it. God may indeed grant the request of
that women, and bring her a lifetime of sorrow,
tribulation and pain. In this case the saying 'be
careful what you wish for' is applicable.
The young woman may get her answer, but woe to her
if she does... "with cadent tears fret channels
in her cheeks". This is one reason why when
we pray we should always add on to it 'thy
will be done' and yield ourselves to the
divine will and not desires based on our fallen
So the Lord is going to lay it out
to them what a King is going to be like. He is not
going to sugar coat it at all. But he is going to
warn them and make sure they go into this thing
with their eyes wide open. This is an answered
prayer that will be a teaching lesson rather than
the blessing they thought it would be. We should
be careful what we ask of God. He is
Samuel told all the words of Jehovah
unto the people that asked of him a
And he said, This will be the manner of
that shall reign over you: he will take
and appoint them unto him, for his
and to be his horsemen; and they shall
run before his chariots;
(1 Samuel 8:10-11 -
So Samuel begins to lay out to the
people, according to the word of the Lord, just
what they are asking for and just what they are
going to get. He left out nothing, but was
obedient to the Lord in relaying to the people
what they can expect.
Prophets and leaders who serve the Lord often have
unpleasant duties to perform. They must often
relay a message that the hearers may not want to
listen to. Is this not how the Lord charges his
prophets (see Jeremiah
1:7)? Yes it is and Samuel was
doing his duty before the Lord. That duty is often
being the bearer of not so great news, warnings
and even threats from the Lord.
So he begins to lay out all of the
things kings will do once enthroned.
We will continue our look at the book of 1 Samuel
next week, God willing!!
1 Samuel Part 21
And it came to pass, when Samuel was
that he made his sons judges over Israel.
(I Samuel 8:1 - ASV)
As we left off last time we found that
things were good under the Judgeship of Samuel. The
Philistines were no longer the threat they once posed
and there was peace. Peace is good, but when there is
too much of it, people forget, become complacent and
forget the God who brings it to them. There was peace in
the realm but as we shall see, that is not going to be
enough for the children of Israel. They want something
else. What is that? We shall see.
In verse one, Samuel was getting old
and his sons were judges. This is also what Eli did
with his sons. Both seemed to be creating a
hereditary 'judgeship'. This is not wrong in and of
itself but a father can be blind to the faults of
the sons he loves and may have great difficulty in
correcting them or even removing them from an office
for which they are ill suited. Physical features may
be hereditary, but faith often isn't.
Now the name of his first-born was
and the name of his second, Abijah:
they were judges in Beer-sheba.
And his sons walked not in his ways,
but turned aside after lucre,
and took bribes, and perverted justice.
(I Samuel 8:2-3 - ASV)
Here we have the names of his sons.
We do not have the name of his wife. His sons were
probably placed in this position to help Samuel in
his old age. It may not have been easy for him to
travel the circuit, so in Beer-sheba, they acted in
his stead. Beer-sheba is located on the southern
border. This arrangement may have existed because it
may have been too far a journey for Samuel in his
So Samuel's sons turned aside to do evil
in their jobs. They took advantage of the situation and
betrayed the trust that was placed in them. Bribery,
perverting justice - these things were completely
contrary to the purpose of being a judge and the Mosaic
law. They, like Eli's sons before them, did evil in the
sight of the Lord.
This is so typical of so many people. The fastest way to
find out the character of a person, any person is
to give them a lot of money or give them a lot of power.
Very quickly the inner person shows itself and too often,
what is displayed is often as ugly as can be. This is so
sad. It is not clear how long his sons judged nor is it
clear that Samuel was aware of these things. But being a
judge and having such responsibility, he should have known
and made it is business to know.
Then all the
elders of Israel gathered themselves together,
and came to Samuel unto Ramah; and they said unto
Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not
in thy ways:
now make us a king to judge us
like all the nations.
(1 Samuel 8:4-5 - ASV)
This is one of the saddest points I
think in the Old Testament, no not the saddest,
but one of them. Here God has given them peace on all
sides and now they want a king. Now on one level their
desire for change is understandable, given the behavior
of Samuel's sons. But to desire a King? This was a
mistake, perhaps a better request would have been that
he appoint a new Judge, for this was the
political-religious order that the Lord had established.
But there was an underlying wicked intent here.
Israel was to be set apart and different
than the neighboring nations. God wanted it that way.
But clearly the people did not, for if we look at the
last verse we see that Israel did not want to be that
special nation to the Lord. They wanted to be like
This I think is such a telling passage and it is one
that is not often remarked upon. I will try and do that
here. When we come to Christ we are set apart, we are to
be different and something special to God. As a
consequence of that, God often uses unusual ways for us
to demonstrate our faith in God. It may be the work we
do or our living arrangements. We sin greatly, I think
when we try and be like the world. When we try and keep
up with the Jones' and do things 'like everybody else'.
This is a sin individually as it is collectively. This
is the sin that Israel sinned here. The nations did not
have the Lord ruling over them. They had kings. This is
what Israel wanted, to be like the world, to dependent
on anything except the Lord and to look to
something other than the Lord for strength and
salvation from their enemies. Here, they wanted a King.
This is a sin in our lives when God gives us a seemingly
humble job to do and can't buy the things we think we
should have and for us to look about and compare what
God provides for us with what the lost man has. Perhaps
one has a job as a janitor or waitress and you don't
make that much money. God knows your needs, but let not
the lust for being like everyone else be what
drives you. Being like everyone else means that you must
rely on everything other than the Lord when things go
awry. You want God's protection in times of trouble?
Then do what he asks you to do and be where he wants you
to be, even if that place is not the greatest, from a
Think on God's servant Nehemiah. He left the Kings
palace to go and live in Jerusalem and had to sleep with
a sword by his side in a very dangerous situation. He
could have stayed in his soft job giving cups of wine to
the emperor, but he didn't. This is often what service
to God means. It can often mean difficulty, it
can mean being a social or political outcast, it can
mean meager wages, it can mean trouble on every side.
But it also means God's divine protection as you do the
will of God. What? You think running this site is a
picnic? That I have not had a load of trouble from
others just for doing this humble site? People I have
known for years have belittled me and my work here. But
to me this is a positive signpost. If such don't
like what I am doing, I must be doing something right in
God's eyes! It is kind of like making sure you are
heading north... by knowing where south is and going in
the opposite direction! So to those of you who have been
hurt like this by others - don't be discouraged if your
old buddies or certain of your family members treat you
like dirt, people you have helped and served then turn
on you - such as those who don't know Christ or once
knew him and fell away. It may hurt a bit at first, but
like a hangnail, once you get rid of it, the annoyance
goes away. It's a hard lesson, yes it is. But learn
your lesson, learn it well and don't be a student
who needs a remedial course in the 'university of
emotional bumps and bruises'. Then you can press on in
Christ! This is just part of any true walk with Christ -
there is a cost and often the first thing that
needs to go are many of your relationships. As we move
into these most dangerous end-times, this is something
that I feel led to make plain to all who know the Lord
and who reads this. Turn your back spiritually on this
world. You and it are heading in opposite spiritual
Israel wanted to be like the world.
Love not the
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
(1 John 2:15 - ASV)
Without digressing much here, this is
one of the main problems I see with mainline
Christianity. It tries too much to be like the world,
rather than being something wholly different. Watch a
modern so-called Christian and one who makes no such
profession and you will be hard pressed to find any
difference at all. This kind of worldly mimicry is I
think, one of the key stepping stones to lukewarmness
and later apostasy. Christians who really want to walk
with Christ would do well to make a clean break
spiritually and mentally with the morals, fads, fashions
and ways of this increasingly decadent and godless
But today's fascination with the world can be seen in
the way Christian celebrities are the focus of so many
believers. This is the way the world works, famous
people more and more set the social agenda. This is what
is happening to modern Christianity. Like the world they
are getting their direction from people who often have
little to no real spiritual foundation or growth, they
just have fame and a pretty face and people hang on to
their every word.
These things ought not to be so, but they are and these
trends see no signs of abating. But he who seeks to be
like the world will eventually get exactly what he wants
as well the very same fate as those who love this
thing displeased Samuel,
when they said, Give us a king to judge us.
And Samuel prayed unto Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 8:6 - ASV)
As the verse makes clear, Samuel was most upset about
this request. It is not clear why, but the following
verse may give us a hint. It was that he felt like all
these years of work serving Israel, they were now
rejecting him. This had to have hurt Samuel deeply. So
as any man of God does, he comes to the Lord in prayer.
We will get to the answer to that prayer in the next
section, God willing!!!
1 Samuel Part 20
So the Philistines were subdued,
and they came no more within the border of Israel:
and the hand of Jehovah was against the Philistines
all the days of Samuel.
(1 Samuel 7:13 - ASV)
So the Philistines who had pretty much
had the run of Israel were now brought low, humiliated
in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary).
For the time being, they did not trouble Israel. The
reason? God had raised up a leader who listened to and
obeyed him and whom the people listened to and
respected. In this, there is a blessing and in this
instance, the blessing was that the enemies of Israel
could not trouble them any more. This does not mean
that the Philistine presence was completely removed.
As we shall see they were still a nuisance later on.
But this seems to have been the result of the people's
rebellion against God being their king and wanting a
man to rule over them instead, as we shall see in the
coming chapters. The key to understand here is that
this deliverance of Israel gave them release from
their oppressors. Samuel's judgeship was key to this
peace and this clearly is the main thrust of the text.
But one aspect of this that should be kept in mind
here. That as long as Samuel was judge (leader of the
people) things were good. Samuel was still around when
Saul reigned, but in those days, Samuel was no longer
leader of the people, but was only a prophet,
magistrate and perhaps at least in some respects, high
So in short, what this passage is saying that as long
as God's first choice of leadership was in place, they
had no problems with the Philistines. When the second
choice arrived (King Saul) problems began to appear,
as we will see later in the study. Samuel's title of
Judge remained even after Saul became King, but he was
no longer the de-facto ruler of the people, that was
to be the King's job.
And the cities which the
Philistines had taken from Israel
were restored to
Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath;
and the border thereof did Israel deliver
out of the hand
of the Philistines. And there was peace
between Israel and the Amorites.
(1 Samuel 7:14 - ASV)
So the Lord was with Samuel and the
people here and gave them peace from their enemies. It
also appears that there were significant military
conquests involved here as well because the cities
mentioned above (Ekron and Gath) were Philistine
cities as we noted in the previous passages. Each were
hit pretty hard when they brought the Ark to them. The
passage also makes clear that peace existed with the
Amorites as well. So Israel had subjugated the
Philistines and there was peace with the Amorites. It
may even be possible that Israel and the Amorites
worked together to deal with a common foe, the
Philistines. The Amorites were one of the more
powerful military powers in the region in those days.
all the days of his life. And he went from
year to year in circuit to Beth-el and Gilgal,
and he judged Israel in all those places.
And his return was
to Ramah, for there was his house;
and there he judged
and he built there
an altar unto Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 7:15-17 -
Samuel was in reality what we now call
a circuit Judge. He would go from place to place to
judge cases that needed to be heard. In the above
passages, the cities where he held court are
mentioned. The idea seems that those who were close to
these cities could come at certain times of the year
and have their cases heard. This was the key purpose
of such judges. This is the kind of Judge we often see
in those old Westerns when law and order in some
places was something that was not all that common.
Samuel was the pivotal figure here in
these days and it was his faith and relationship with
God and God's favor upon him that set him up in this
position and gave Israel peace.
The last passage shows us where he
lived. Samuel was not one of the prophets who lived in
the wilderness or roamed around as some wanderer with
a staff in his hand and a hairshirt. No, he had a home
that he lived in and it was in Ramah. It is here he
also built an alter unto the Lord. It is not clear
where else if anywhere, that religious rituals were
being performed for Israel. Eli's house was gone,
Shiloh was a waste and this may have been the central
place of worship. We just don't know the make up of
worship at that time. What is known is that Samuel did
build an altar here and did offer sacrifices to the
Lord, having served under Eli for many years, he knew
exactly how this was to be performed. But Samuel was
about to fall into the same trap that Eli fell into
and we will get to that in the following sections, God
1 Samuel Part 19
And when the Philistines heard
that the children of Israel
were gathered together to Mizpah, the lords of the
went up against Israel. And when the children of
Israel heard it,
they were afraid of the Philistines.
(1 Samuel 7:7 - ASV)
After Samuel gathered the people together at
Mizpah, they repented and then consecrated themselves to
the Lord there. The Philistines heard of it and decided to
nip the threat they perceived in the bud. We don't know
the whole situation here, but I strongly suspect that the
Philistines had occupied Shiloh and other parts of Israel
for many years, so their gathering to Mizpah would hardly
go unnoticed. Runners were probably sent to Gath, Ashdod,
etc., to tell them what was going on and the Philistines
armed for war, perhaps thinking that some kind of
rebellion or invasion may have been at hand.
This time, when Samuel gathered Israel it was for
repentance and a coming back to their God. But this may or
may not have been known or even believed by the
Philistines who only knew they were gathered together and
under a leader (Samuel).
But the Israelite's were very afraid of them, this was
because of what happened at the battle of Eben-ezar, years
before. They lost the battle and the Ark then.
And the children of Israel said
It's amazing what a little trouble can bring about. Look
at the change of heart, those who had just gotten rid of
their idols now are crying out to God to save them from
the dreaded Philistines. What is interesting about this is
that Samuel was not known as a warrior, he was a prophet
and Judge and they clung to him for leadership in this
time of woe. Here they knew that their salvation would not
come from men at arms, but from the Lord of Hosts.
Cease not to cry unto Jehovah our God for us,
that he will save us out of the hand of the
(1 Samuel 7:8 - ASV)
took a sucking lamb,
and offered it for a whole burnt-offering unto
and Samuel cried unto Jehovah for Israel;
and Jehovah answered him. And as Samuel was
offering up the burnt-offering, the Philistines
drew near to battle against Israel; but Jehovah
thundered with a great thunder on that day
upon the Philistines, and discomfited them;
and they were smitten down before Israel.
And the men
of Israel went out of Mizpah,
Once Samuel prays and offers a sacrifice to the Lord (one
that was acceptable to him), the Lord answered the prayers
of the people by scattering the Philistines. This is the
result of an episode of successful intercessory prayer.
The thunder seemed to have been enough to scatter them in
fear. This probably was not the kind of thunder that is
associated with rain, but seems to be something very
different as hardened warriors would hardly be frightened
of a thunderstorm. Whatever it was, it allowed the
Israelite's to beat them in battle and peruse them to
Beth-car. The site, the Bible Atlas (.org) has a
map of where that probably is on a map, if you are
interested. Beth-car means house of pasture or house
of the lamb.
and pursued the Philistines, and smote them,
until they came under Beth-car.
(1 Samuel 7:9-11 - ASV)
Then Samuel took a stone, and set
Samuel, who was now the de-facto leader of Israel erects a
stone of remembrance, so that people will remember what
God did for them here.
Mizpah and Shen, and called the name of it
saying, Hitherto hath Jehovah helped us.
(1 Samuel 7:12 - ASV)
How often do we forget the Lord's salvation! He saves us
time and again, pulls us out of traps the enemy lays for
us and protects us and often from our own stupidity and
folly, yet what do we do? We often forget the Lord and his
past wonders for us!! We should set reminders around us of
what God has done for us because if we don't, we might
very well forget.
How did the Psalmist put it?
might set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep his commandments,
And might not be as their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that set not their heart aright,
And whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
Jehovah, O my soul,
It is a constant and fatal failing in us all when we
forget God's past salvation! We must never ever do
that. Give thanks to God for the things he did for you
yesterday, a year ago, 20 years ago... never forget God's
past acts of love and salvation towards us.
And forget not all his benefits:
(Psalms 103:2 - ASV)
We will continue our look at Samuel next week, God
1 Samuel Part 18
And the men
of Kiriath-jearim came,
and fetched up the ark of Jehovah, and brought
it into the house of Abinadab in the hill,
and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of
(1 Samuel 7:1 - ASV)
men came down and got the ark as they were bid by
the people of Beth-Shemesh. We don't know much about
Abinadab. Many believe that he was probably a
Levite, as they were the only ones anointed to
priestly functions. This was the opinion of
Josephus. Nor can we be certain as to why the Ark
was not taken back to Shiloh. Commentaries offer
speculation, but nothing that gives a clear
explanation. The explanation that seems to make the
most sense is that the Philistines probably still
occupied the city after the last battle, and this is
why it could not rest properly in the Tabernacle.
But the text does not offer any clear explanation.
But I think there probably had to be some clear
extenuating circumstances because the people now
knew first hand what it meant to show it and the
Lord any form of disrespect. Eleazar was set apart
and sanctified with the awesome task of watching
over the Ark.
And it came
to pass, from the day that the ark
abode in Kiriath-jearim, that the time was
for it was twenty years: and all the house of
lamented after Jehovah. And Samuel
spake unto all
the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return
unto Jehovah with all your heart,
then put away the foreign gods and the
Ashtaroth from among you, and direct
your hearts unto Jehovah, and serve him only;
and he will deliver you out of
the hand of the Philistines.
(1 Samuel 7:2-3 - ASV)
Weather or not this was initially
intended to be a temporary arrangement or not, the
Ark's sojourn in the town of Kirath-jearim lasted
twenty years. Just because they brought the Ark back
did not mean that the Philistines ceased to occupy
Israel. Whatever was going on, the Philistine threat
and presence still existed even after they brought
back the Ark of the Covenant.
But Samuel was still around and after two decades, he
makes an appeal to the people, who clearly began to
long for a return the good old days and now wanted to
return to the Lord. Now clearly there was no other
'leader' of the people as the old Priesthood of Eli's
house was 20 years gone. But Samuel was clearly now
the spiritual leader of the people and thus he began
to speak to the people about what they needed to do if
they wanted the Lord to dwell among them as he did
before. Here Samuel seems to take on the role of
prophet, priest and judge of Israel.
If they are serious about coming back
to the Lord, then they had to turn to him with all of
their heart. The first thing it meant was to turn away
from and get rid of all of those foreign gods. Two are
mentioned specifically, Baal (Baalim) and Asthoreth.
Baal, being associated with sun worship (male)
and Ashtoreth being associated with the moon - (female).
If they would put those Gods away from them, then the
Lord would deliver them. But they had to dedicate the
national religion back to the Lord and to him alone.
children of Israel did put away
the Baalim and the Ashtaroth,
and served Jehovah only.
(1 Samuel 7:4 - ASV)
It took them a while, but now they decided to go back
and worship the Lord - only. Clearly this was not
happening before, otherwise Samuel would not have had
to rebuke them here. So for 20 years, they were
probably still worshiping these other gods. But now
their hearts had changed. It is amazing what years of
chastisement can bring upon a people and how they
slowly begin to change their attitude. How long it
lasts is another matter entirely.
Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpah,
and I will pray for you unto Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 7:5 - ASV)
After there were clear actions (not
just words) of repentance - the putting away of these
foreign gods - Samuel said that he would then pray for
them to the Lord. The name Mizpah means watch
tower or look out. It was a place used
when there were great events or emergencies in the
times of the Judges (see Judges
So Samuel, after these acts of
repentance prayed for the people. Here he is acting as
an intermediary between the people and God, a priestly
function. Now when Samuel prayed, things happened.
There are some people whom God has given special favor
in prayer and Samuel, by his life dedication to the
work of the Lord was one of those.
gathered together to Mizpah,
and drew water, and poured it out before
and fasted on that day, and said there,
We have sinned against Jehovah.
And Samuel judged the children
of Israel in Mizpah.
(1 Samuel 7:6 - ASV)
At this great gathering, they did a few things in the
assembly. First they drew water and then poured it
out. The meaning of this is not clear. I know of no
parallel for this ritual in the OT. Some look at this
passage differently imputing that they poured out
their hearts as if it were water as a sign of
penitence and sorrow (see Psalms
). All of this may have happened
on the Feast of Tabernacles. Thus the children of
Israel also fasted and confessed and repented of their
sins against the Lord.
It is at this time that Samuel is formally called a
judge. He may have had the stature of one before this,
but it is here that he is actually called one. Here
his role seems to be three fold, to be a civil judge,
that is a magistrate of people's complaints, to
marshal the nation to arms and to intercede on behalf
of the people to God.
We will continue our look at Samuel,
next week God willing.
1 Samuel Part 17
And the Levites
took down the ark of Jehovah,
and the coffer that was with it,
wherein the jewels of gold were,
and put them on the great stone:
and the men of Beth-shemesh
and sacrificed sacrifices
the same day unto Jehovah.
And when the five lords
of the Philistines had seen it,
they returned to Ekron the same day.
(1 Samuel 6:15-16 - ASV)
The Priests get the Ark from off of the
cart and the gifts and move them to the great stone.
What this stone was (exactly) is not clear to me. But
they offered a sacrifice to the Lord here. It apparently
is of some note to those who lived in those days.
The Lord, here may not have been as pleased as they
thought about this. In the previous passage from last
week. We saw that the Israelite's had sacrificed those
animals that brought the Ark back to Israel, in spite of
the animals clear natural inclinations. I don't believe
the Lord was too pleased with this, not just out of pity
for the animals, but these were female cows and this was
forbidden in the Law (see Leviticus
1:3 and Leviticus
22:19). They also did it in a place
they should not have (Deuteronomy
12:5-6). Their sacrifice, while
made with good intentions (to give thanks to God) was
nevertheless not within the parameters of what was
acceptable to God.
Brothers, there is a right way to do things and a wrong
way and this is a key lesson for then and now. Those of
us who wish to be acceptable to God must learn the right
way to do things and to make sure we do them.
The Philistine Lords who followed the
cart saw things went well and returned to their home.
are the golden tumors
which the Philistines returned for a
unto Jehovah: for Ashdod one, for Gaza one,
for Ashkelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron
and the golden mice, according to the number
of all the cities of the Philistines
to the five lords, both of fortified cities
and of country villages, even unto the
whereon they set down the ark of Jehovah,
which stone remaineth unto this day
in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite.
(1 Samuel 6:17-18 - ASV)
By the way, the name Beth-Shemesh means roughly house
of the sun
. It was originally a Canaanite town and
may have been one of the ancient Heliopolis' that
populated the region in those times. This great stone
again, is a bit of a mystery to me, but the word
translated stone is the word Abel
and given its
meaning could mean a stone of lamentation, as some
commentators note; perhaps so named for what is about to
come to pass in the narrative.
And he smote of the men of
because they had looked into the ark of
he smote of the people seventy men,
and fifty thousand men; and the people
because Jehovah had smitten the people
with a great slaughter. And the
men of Beth-shemesh said,
Who is able to stand before Jehovah,
this holy God? and to whom shall
he go up from us?
(1 Samuel 6:19-20 - ASV)
The Lord clearly was not pleased
with the kinds of curiosity that had overtaken the
people of Beth-Shemesh. I think this is a clear
lesson for all of us. There are things that the Lord
has kept secret. He has revealed some things to us,
but others he has hidden. Still others he shares
with those whom he loves and trusts. Some things are
just not for the masses and others are reserved for
those who are anointed to carry out certain tasks.
Did not Christ keep many of the meanings of his
saying in parables? There was a purpose behind it (Luke 8:10ff). Some things he is going to tell
us and others he is not. Some things are for our
eyes to see and our minds to comprehend and others
are not. There are things that are secret (Deuteronomy 29:29)
and trying to find out those secret things can land
us in a world of trouble, witness what happened
But there is a spirit about
today that I call the 'peeping tom' spirit. People
get into other people's private affairs and even put
webcams around their homes to get a peek at what is
going on. Corporations make billions spying on
people and getting into their personal business.
It's the same spirit - the spirit of nosiness, the
busybody and the tattle tale. Here God makes it
clear what he thinks about those who stick their
nose into his business.
God was pretty harsh with this people.
The key difference between what the Philistines did and
what they did was simple. The Israelite's knew better -
their law told them what they should do and should not
do. With knowledge comes responsibility. Why not just
poke around the Holy of Holies just for kicks?
The Jews knew better. Those who take such liberties are
playing with the fire of the Almighty there is no way
they cannot get burned. The curiosity that these men
displayed was not only unwise, it was completely
Then they became sore afraid
of the Ark and wanted it to be taken away. But how?
Who can do it? And where? Their curiosity now
changed to deep reverence and probably outright fear
And they sent
messengers to the
inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying,
The Philistines have brought back the ark of
come ye down, and fetch it up to you.
(1 Samuel 6:21 - ASV)
So they sent messengers to one of the frontier
cities - to the City of the Forests (the
meaning of Kirath-Jearim). It used to be called the
City of Baal (Kirjath-Baal - see Joshua 18:14). It is surmised by some
commentators that since Beth-Shemesh was situated on
a plain and Kirjath-jearim was on a hill, it was a
safer place for the Ark. The phrase 'come ye down
and fetch it up to you' is in keeping with
I notice one thing missing from this
passage and that is any mention of the reason why
they wanted them to take it and what had just
happened to them.
We'll see how the men of
that city respond in the next update, God willing.
1 Samuel Part 16
and take the
ark of Jehovah, and lay it upon the cart;
and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him
for a trespass-offering, in a coffer by the side
and send it away, that it may go.
And see; if it goeth up by the way of its
to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this
but if not, then we shall know
that it is not his hand that smote us;
it was a chance that happened to us.
(1 Samuel 6:8-9 - ASV)
We left off last time and the religious
establishment inside Philistia were explaining their
proposed solution on how to end the plague that literally
threatened the continued existence of the nation. They
laid out the procedures they should take from the exact
method of transport to the type of gifts that should be
given; a situation made necessary because of their making
off with the Ark of the covenant.
Again, there clearly was a very healthy respect for the
God of Israel now. Here the Philistine Priesthood makes it
clear that this was also a test to see if this was indeed
the hand of the God of Israel or no, that was heavy upon
them. If there was any doubt in their minds, this would
And the men
did so, and took two milch kine,
and tied them to the cart,
and shut up their calves at home;
put the ark of Jehovah upon the cart,
and the coffer with the mice of gold
and the images of their tumors.
(1 Samuel 6:10-11 - ASV)
They took the advise of their religious establishment and
did as they were bid.
Look at how God works. It really is amazing how he got
both the heathen to turn and respect him as well as
chastise his own people. Clearly he did not want the
Philistines to gloat simply because they won a battle that
God was determined to see Israel lose.
God knows how to get people's attention. In this case both
Israel and Philistia.
And the kine took the straight
way by the way
The cows went
to where they were supposed to go without anyone
guiding or steering them. God can and will speak to
animals. We saw that in the book of Jonah. Of note in
this passage is that the lord's of the Philistines
also went to make sure that the cows would do what
they were supposed to (and perhaps to make sure the
gold treasures were not absconded with by others).
to Beth-shemesh; they went along the
lowing as they went, and turned not aside
to the right hand or to the left;
and the lords of the Philistines went after
unto the border of Beth-shemesh.
(1 Samuel 6:12 - ASV)
And they of Beth-shemesh were
This had to be a
sight for sore eyes! The Philistines were returning the
Ark. It was probably completely unexpected.
their wheat harvest in the valley;
and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the
and rejoiced to see it.
(1 Samuel 6:13 - ASV)
And the cart
came into the field of
They were overjoyed and offered up a thank offering to God
for this event. They sacrificed the cows that brought the
Ark. Was the Lord pleased with all of this?
Joshua the Beth-shemite, and stood there,
where there was a great stone:
and they clave the wood of the cart,
and offered up the kine for
a burnt-offering unto Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 6:14 - ASV)
We will find out in the next installment, next week God
1 Samuel Part 15
They sent therefore and gathered
all the lords of the Philistines, and they said,
Send away the ark of the God of Israel,
and let it go again to its own place,
that it slay us not, and our people.
For there was a deadly discomfiture
throughout all the city; the hand of God
was very heavy there.
(1 Samuel 5:11 - ASV)
We left off last time the Ark was moving
from Philistine city to city with the same disastrous
results upon the people who dwelt in those cities.
Something of interest is noted in
the Pulpit Commentary that I think should be
mentioned. They remark that what appears to have
transpired between Israel and Philistia was in
essence a 'religious war'. That when Israel brought
the ark to the battlefield, it in essence became a
religious war and one where from the battlefield
side of things, Israel was soundly defeated. It also
notes that with Eli dead, the reigns of government
probably fell upon Samuel. But Israel's loss here is
particularly noteworthy as it remains etched on the
history of the nation for years to come - see Psalms 78:60-64 and
This had to be a most trying time in
Well, whatever 'victory' the
Philistines thought they achieved was hardly a
religious one, God was making himself plain to them.
Their gods were no gods and the Lord - he alone is
God. The Philistines probably had no idea why God
forsook Israel and frankly as we see from the
previous passages, they had other things on their
mind - like surviving this plague the God of Israel
had brought upon these powerful cities. The war
trophy they 'won' was going to cost them the life of
their very nation if it was not returned to where it
They finally saw the light, moving
the ark about from city to city was not the answer,
the answer was to send it back to Israel!!
And the men that died not
were smitten with the tumors;
and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
(1 Samuel 5:12 - ASV)
This was a deadly plague. It was
killing people and those that were not dead were in
pain. This verse shows us just how deep the
suffering was. There had to be wailing, crying and
all manner of lamentations because of pain as well
as relatives and friends who were dying or dead.
And the ark
of Jehovah was in the country
of the Philistines seven months.
And the Philistines called for the priests
and the diviners, saying, What shall we do
with the ark of Jehovah?
show us wherewith
we shall sent it to its place.
(1 Samuel 6:1-2 - ASV)
This went on for many months. It
took them a while to figure out that the situation
was not going to change until they did something. It
should be noted that the word 'country' in verse one
could be rendered 'field' and that it is possible
that because no more cities would receive the ark,
it rested on an open plain.
So given the situation and the
clearly religious nature of the plague that was upon
them, they called for their soothsayers and
religious establishment to tell the leaders what
they should do. "How should we send this Ark
back?", seems to be the thought here. The way
it is phrased is not so much if but how should they
do it. They were probably afraid that whoever they
sent might wind up dead on the way or they might do
it in some way that makes matter worse.
The answer they give is quite wise
given the circumstances. But remember, their key god
was now smashed up in their temple as a direct
result of the ark, so they probably had a developed
a very healthy respect for the God of
Israel. Even healthier than before - remember at the
battle the Philistines were most concerned when they
saw the ark arrive at the battlefield. Who knows,
maybe some of these priests who advised the kings
had prayed a (secret) prayer to this awesome God of
Israel who in turn them gave them wisdom to speak
before the leaders. What was going on in Philistia
had to have a profound effect on all,
particularly the priesthood. I suspect this or
something similar is what happened because the
answer the religious leaders give is particularly
And they said, If ye send away
the ark of the God of Israel,
send it not empty; but by all means
return him a trespass-offering:
then ye shall be healed,
and it shall be known to you
why his hand is not removed from you.
(1 Samuel 6:3 - ASV)
They must show they realize they
sinned - this is the meaning of a trespass/sin
offering (817 in Strong's Hebrew Bible
Dictionary). They must make
one to the Lord to be healed from this thing.
Moreover, they can know by this that it really is
the Ark and their theft of it that is the cause of
the plagues and not some coincidence.
Then said they, What shall be
trespass-offering which we shall return to him?
And they said, Five golden tumors,
and five golden mice, according
to the number of the lords of the Philistines;
for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.
Wherefore ye shall make images of your tumors,
and images of your mice that mar the land;
and ye shall give glory unto the God of
peradventure he will lighten his
hand from off you, and from off your gods,
and from off your land.
(1 Samuel 6:4-5 - ASV)
So the Priests tell the rulers what to
do. It's interesting that nowhere except here is there a
suggestion of the plague of mice. We don't know if this
was just your regular field mouse or something more
vicious, like rats. A plague of rats is no small matter!
Wherefore then do ye harden your
Priests who were clearly familiar with the Jewish
Exodus made it plain that if they want to be
stubborn about it, they have an example of one who
was also stubborn against this God.
as the Egyptians and Pharaoh
hardened their hearts?
When he had wrought
wonderfully among them,
did they not let the people go,
and they departed?
(1 Samuel 6:6 - ASV)
If these priests and even the
leaders had any lack of respect for this God before,
they certainly did not now.
Now therefore take and prepare
you a new cart,
and two milch kine, on which there
hath come no yoke; and tie the kine to the cart,
and bring their calves home from them;
(1 Samuel 6:7 - ASV)
The priests here show the leaders
how to do this thing with proper reverence. First
they were to make a new cart, not just borrow one
used for other purposes. No, they would make a new
one and also use two un-yoked kine (probably a mark
of respect). But there is something else here of
considerable note. The priests clearly wanted to
make sure that the leaders knew that this was God
directing the animals. The animals would not have a
yoke and their young were to be left behind. The
natural inclination of the animals would be to go
back and look out for their young. But so they know
that the God of Israel was behind this, when the
cows left, they would go to Israel and deliver the
ark instead. In short, unless God guided these
animals, they would return to the fields.
This was a big test and the
priests who said this were taking a big risk. In
those days those who gave kings bad advice often
came to bad ends themselves.
I just suspect that after Dagon fell
down and all these disasters befell the people, that
some of these priest may have (in secret) rent their
clothes and cried out to the God of Israel to see what
they should do, but that is just my own personal
suspicion. When God moves in such a way and there
is no remedy at hand that man can think of - many do
finally come to their senses.
What about today?
1 Samuel Part 14
left off last time with the Ark of the covenant
creating havoc among the Philistine city of Ashdod and
on their god, Dagon.
therefore and gathered
all the lords of the
Philistines unto them,
and said, What shall
we do with the
ark of the God of
Israel? And they answered,
Let the ark of the God
of Israel be carried
about unto Gath. And
they carried the
ark of the God of
(1 Samuel 5:8 - ASV)
So the men of Ashdod were in a quandary,
they did not know what to do with what they thought was
a great war prize, but now was a serious burden on and
threat to their city. They had to be most concerned
about what was going on, with their god smashed up and
everyone ill. So now they had to decide what they were
going to do with it. They decided to carry it to Gath,
another one of the cities of the Philistine Pentapolis.
This would be kind of like carrying it from New York to
Chicago; a new city, but the same nation. The result?
And it was
so, that, after they had carried it about,
the hand of Jehovah was against the city
with a very great discomfiture:
and he smote the men of the city,
both small and great;
and tumors brake out upon them.
(1 Samuel 5:9 -
Moving the ark from 'NY to Chicago' resulted in the
exact same conditions, their were serious health issues
(tumors/hemorrhoids) once the Ark arrived. The word
translated discomfiture in the American Standard
is the Strong's word 4103
(Strong's Hebrew Bible
y) and it also means a tumult, confusion
or even destruction. In short, there was a panic in the
city over the ark and what it was doing to the city.
So they sent
the ark of God to Ekron.
And it came to pass, as the ark of God
came to Ekron, that the Ekronites
cried out, saying, They have brought about
the ark of the God of Israel to us,
to slay us and our people.
(1 Samuel 5:10 - ASV)
I get the impression what while these
were all Philistine cities, there may have been
significant rivalry between them and this is why they
sent the Ark from one to another, with the same
What may have added to their confusion was that the
god they prayed to was all smashed up in their temple
because of the Ark. So not even their religion/god
could help them. From Ashdod to Gath and now Ekron
disaster struck. The Ekronites had clearly heard what
was going on and they were scared to death of the Ark
coming to them.
Brothers and sisters, don't let anyone tell you that
God cannot and will not curse people, places and
things. He can and will. This episode was to teach the
Philistines a key lesson as to the power of the God of
Israel and that they should not gloat over their
victory over Israel. Israel's loss was not about
Philistine military power or their god Dagon, but it
was about the sins of Israel and the abominations of
the Priesthood symbolized by the house of Eli.
I see in this an important lesson. I believe that one
day, God is going to allow many a Church to fail, fall
into disrepute, get destroyed in natural disasters and
many pastors to be killed. This will be for the same
reasons he allowed disaster to fall upon Israel. The
sins reached to heaven and was a serious stench before
God's throne. God did not want his name associated
with the sins of Israel or Eli and he does not want
his name to be associated with many of the
abominations going on in many Western churches today.
Understand, I know many pastors are doing right and
really are trying hard to serve God in these most
difficult times. But many more are not, they simply do
not have any desire to obey the Lord in all things and
thus, lead their sheep astray. Religion is
entertainment or a game or a way to have social
position or a way to make money with such pastors and
Church leaders. God and serving him in spirit and in
truth is not within the purview of their
But the heathen who just won a
'victory' over God's people have found that in reality
that their 'victory' had a cost that none of them even
I think of the book of Revelation and
the days when the saints of God are killed for not
serving the beast system, not taking his mark and not
worshiping his image. The devil's servants may think
they have won some great victory over the Lord when
they start beheading his people in mass executions (Revelation 13:15; 20:4). But
look at what he brings upon them in those days, which
I do not think are so very far off.
And I heard a great
voice out of the temple,
saying to the seven angels,
Go ye, and pour out the seven bowls
of the wrath of God into the earth.
And the first went, and poured out
his bowl into the earth; and it became
a noisome and grievous sore
upon the men that had the mark
of the beast,
and that worshipped his image.
And the second poured out his bowl into
and it became blood as of a dead man;
and every living soul died,
even the things that were in the
(Revelation 16:1-3 - ASV)
The Philistines were merely a tool God
used to chastise his own people. The beast system is
merely a tool God will use to try us, to refine us and
later to glorify those of his who endure to the
end. Indeed, those days will be sent to try all
who dwell upon the earth (see Revelation
3:10). The Philistines however had
something working in their favor, God was not finished
with them. But for those who take the Mark of the
Beast? God is indeed finished with them in a most eternally
another angel, a third, followed them,
saying with a great voice, If any man
the beast and his image, and receiveth
a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand,
he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath
which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his
and he shall be tormented with fire and
in the presence of the holy angels,
and in the presence of the Lamb:
and the smoke of their torment goeth up
for ever and ever; and they have no
rest day and night,
they that worship the beast and his
and whoso receiveth the mark of his
Here is the patience of the saints,
they that keep the commandments of God,
and the faith of Jesus.
(Revelation 14:9-12 - ASV)
So let us focus in on the awesomeness
of God and the power, wisdom and righteousness of his
ways. He has a plan brothers and while the devil and
his children will one day dance on the graves of
Christ's followers and claim some demonic victory, be
assured that God has a recompense for those who attack
his people and try and do them wrong.
The Philistines had a 'victory' over Israel, but it
was not one that brought them any comfort. Nay, rather
it only gave them tribulation, sickness and death.
Troubles that they had no idea were possible before
they went into battle.
1 Samuel Part 13
Philistines had taken the ark of God,
and they brought it from
Eben-ezer unto Ashdod.
(1 Samuel 5:1 - ASV)
The location of Eben-ezar is not
clear, but some place it at or near the the modern
town of Kafr Qasim. So the Ark was taken from the
battlefield and to one of the five key cities of the
Philistines, Ashdod. The others are (FYI) Askelon,
Ekron, Gath and Gaza. So after they won the battle
they brought the Ark to one of their key cities.
This was a monumental event and the Psalmist talks
provoked him to anger with their high places,
And moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
When God heard this, he was wroth,
And greatly abhorred Israel; So that he forsook
the tabernacle of Shiloh,
The tent which he placed among men;
And delivered his strength into captivity,
And his glory into the adversary's hand.
He gave his people over also unto the sword,
And was wroth with his inheritance.
(Psalms 78:58-62 - ASV)
The Psalmist (Asaph) wrote on the events above and
again, it should be stressed that the Lord was sore
displeased with both the house of Eli and Israel at
And the Philistines took
the ark of God,
and brought it into the house of Dagon,
and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod
arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon
was fallen upon his face to the ground
before the ark of Jehovah. And they took Dagon,
and set him in his place again.
(1Samuel 5:2-3 - ASV)
So the Philistines brought the Ark of the Lord
back to their home and set it in their temple where their
god, Dagon was located. This was almost certainly some
kind of idol or graven image. This idol was known to look
like the head or face of a man along with arms and hands,
but with the body of a fish. According to Fausset's
Bible Dictionary, this god corresponds to a female
version called Atargatis, which is has a woman's body but
a fish's tail. It is according to them, where we get the
whole idea of mermaid's from.
So they set the Ark in their temple where Dagon was and
when they got up in the morning, the Dagon idol had fallen
prostate before the Ark.
This had to be unnerving to the Philistines, though their
immediate reaction is not recorded here. They did however
set the idol back on its pedestal. Perhaps, they thought
it might have been some kind of coincidence that his
happened to their deity.
And when they
arose early on the morrow morning,
was fallen upon his face
This time the same thing happened, only worse. This time
the hands (power/strength) of the god were cut off. This
clearly shows that their god had no power, it was broken
and smashed up right in his own temple before the
Ark of the Lord. The idols made by men have no power and
never will. This is what is demonstrated in this passage.
It's also interesting that the Philistines did not attempt
any mischief to the Ark. They did not try and destroy it
or deface it. As we saw in the earlier passages, they had
a healthy fear and respect for it and the God it
represented (1Samuel 4:8).
to the ground before the ark of Jehovah;
and the head of Dagon and both the palms
of his hands lay cut off upon the threshold;
only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
(1Samuel 5:4 - ASV)
In fact, it may not be an overreach to say that their
respect for it allowed it to be placed in the place they
considered sacred, the temple of their god. So when they
saw this, it had to have a big effect on them. They had
triumphed over Israel on the battlefield and this may have
made them conclude that their god had triumphed over the
God of Israel. That is, until this happened.
Keep in mind that anyone who came into the temple could
trample on the remains (rubble) of their god which was now
located on the threshold.
neither the priests of Dagon,
So this episode had a profound effect on the religious
life of the Philistines. They did not want to step over
pieces of their 'god' and defile him.
nor any that come into Dagon's house,
tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod,
unto this day.
(1Samuel 5:5 - ASV)
But the hand
The word tumors is often rendered emerods (hemorrhoids) in
other versions. So the Philistines were having a rough
time of it. Nothing but trouble since the day they
captured the Ark; their god smashed up, the people with
hemorrhoids; others destroyed. The Lord was dealing with
them. Sooner or later they would put two and two together
and figure out that the Ark did not belong with them.
was heavy upon them of Ashdod,
and he destroyed them,
and smote them with tumors,
even Ashdod and the borders thereof.
(1Samuel 5:6 - ASV)
And when the
men of Ashdod saw that it was so,
The Philistines it seems may not have known the God of
Israel, but they did have a key thing working in their
favor. They had common sense. They understood the power of
this God and respected him enough to make sure that the
Ark did not remain with them in Ashdod.
they said, The ark of the God of Israel
shall not abide with us;
for his hand is sore upon us,
and upon Dagon our god.
(1Samuel 5:7 - ASV)
But this was an important war prize and one that clearly
they wanted to keep. So they decided to take it to another
one of the key cities of the Philistines, this time to
Gath. We'll get to that part of the book next week, God
1 Samuel Part 12
We left off last time just after the
Ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines
and Eli's wicked sons were killed. The Lord was most
annoyed with their behavior and other than the
warning they got from their father Eli, it is not
clear the Lord even bothered to send a prophet to
them to warn them. Folks, there are some categories
of sin that really make the Lord angry and put
people in the category of those who are not and will
never be appointed to salvation, but are
reserved for judgment. There is a category of fallen
angels to whom this applies - see 2 Peter 2:4.
In Thessalonians we see the same
theme in the last days, where a spirit of deception
falls on men whom God has reserved for judgment (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). Why? They, like Eli's son's had
pleasure in unrighteousness. They were having good
time doing that which deeply displeased the Lord and
did not want to be bothered with what God had to say
ran a man of Benjamin out of the army,
and came to
Shiloh the same day,
his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
And when he
came, lo, Eli was sitting
seat by the wayside watching;
his heart trembled for the ark of God.
the man came into the city,
told it, all the city cried out.
Samuel 4:12-13 - ASV)
The news of what just happened at the
battlefield was just now getting to Shiloh, where Eli
had his seat. A man came running up clearly in
distress. As all of us Bible students know, a person
with rent clothes and dirt on his head is one that is
showing distress. He was in the army that was routed.
Eli was deeply concerned about the commotion, but did
not quite yet know exactly what happened, but we note
that his concern was a godly one. The passage does not
describe worry over his wayward sons. No, he was
concerned about the Ark of the Lord. I think this
speaks volumes about Eli. He had some issues, but they
seem mostly to stem from his indulgence of this sons
and his abdication of his own responsibilities to
control his sons who were also Priests serving under
him. But he seemed genuinely to love and esteem the
Lord. Once the calamity of the day's events were
relayed to the people, they cried out. The word means
like a cry of agony (2199
in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary). Clearly
there was no little commotion because of the report.
Eli heard the noise of the crying,
said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult?
the man hasted, and came and told Eli.
was ninety and eight years old;
his eyes were set, so that he
could not see.
4:14-15 - ASV)
Eli hears all the noise but clearly
did not know what it was all about. He was blind and
may have been like most older people, hard of
hearing as well. So he asked what's going on.
And the man
said unto Eli,
I am he that came out of the army,
and I fled to-day out of the army.
And he said, How went the matter, my son?
And he that brought the tidings answered
and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines,
and there hath been also a great slaughter
among the people, and thy two sons also,
Hophni and Phinehas, are dead,
and the ark of God is taken. And it came to pass,
when he made mention of the ark of God,
that Eli fell from off his seat backward
by the side of the gate; and his neck brake,
and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy.
And he had judged Israel forty years.
(1 Samuel 4:16-18 - ASV)
The long and short of it is that the
soldier runs down the days events to Eli, tells him of
the fate of his sons and the Ark, Eli fell back in shock
and died after breaking his neck. He was a Judge of
Israel for 40 years. Now a judge was not just a
religious figure, he also had political and 'moral
authority' power as well. Remember, there was no king in
Some think that he was basically a
weak ruler who let things deteriorate under him.
Moreover he may have been afflicted with a spirit of
indecision and even moral cowardice. Eli, may not
have been a wicked man, but he lacked the key
quality of any leader; to bring order and discipline
to those he has charge over. In this with this
Priest-sons, he was an abject failure.
daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife,
was with child, near to be delivered:
and when she heard the tidings
that the ark of God was taken,
and that her father-in-law and her husband were
she bowed herself and brought forth;
for her pains came upon her.
(1 Samuel 4:19 - ASV)
The passage is self explanatory. She
heard all of this awful news, her husband was dead and
also her father in law, the battle lost and the ark
taken, she had her baby and as the following passages
tell us, she died.
the time of her death the women
by her said unto her, Fear not;
thou hast brought forth a son.
But she answered not, neither did she regard it.
she named the child Ichabod, saying,
is departed from Israel;
ark of God was taken,
of her father-in-law and her husband.
said, The glory is departed from Israel;
ark of God is taken.
(1 Samuel 4:20-22 -
She brings forth a son and names him
Ichabod. Meaning the glory has departed. Clearly
it was meant to be a sign to Israel as to the horrible
day and the defeat of the army and capture of the Ark. I
think the passage also shows that in her dying breath,
Phineas' wife may have been a good woman who on some
level genuinely feared the Lord. But when the Lord
judges a house, that is what he does and clearly he was
getting rid of the House of Eli. In one day, Eli,
Hophni, Phineas and his wife die.
In this chapter we have seen a great deal transpire. But
basically it is merely the fulfillment of what the Lord
promised to do because of the sins of the house of Eli.
But this passage shows a side of God's
character that we just don't hear much about in today's
'easy beleivism' Christianity. Yes, we serve
the same God as Samuel did. He has not changed and
yes, people can go too far. We gentiles who are
often being spoon fed 'baby food' spiritually would be
wise to remember the admonitions of the Apostle Paul.
for if God
spared not the natural branches,
he spare thee. Behold then
goodness and severity of God:
them that fell, severity; but
goodness, if thou continue in his
also shalt be cut off.
Yes, there are two sides to God's
character. But this part of God is hardly a mystery. He
lays out to us all the things that please him as well as
what angers him. How God deals with us is based mostly
on our own behavior.
Yes, to the modern world full of touchy-feely
emotionalism and populations that more and more are
wholly lacking in character, these things seem like an
anachronism. But God allows man to go his own way so
that he can eat the fruit of his own doings. This is
what he did with Hophni and Phineas and it is what he
will do to this generation as well. Those who
continually mock the Lord and spurn him will pay dearly
for it. Pastors and Priests who behave in the way those
two men did, let them beware - God see's it all. YOU ARE
NOT GOING TO GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING. Ministers will give
account to the judge and he will be most exacting and if
you have any doubts about it...
1 Samuel Part 11
And the word of Samuel came to
Now Israel went out against the Philistines
and encamped beside Eben-ezer:
and the Philistines encamped in Aphek.
(1 Samuel 4:1 - ASV)
Verse one should be clearly linked up
with the last passage of chapter three, where the Word
of the Lord came to Samuel (discussed last week). Samuel
is acting under the direction of the Lord and gives the
command to all Israel.
Now before we move forward let us
remember that there was no king in Israel. The political
order was probably not very firm. It was the age of the
Judges and Eli was old, feeble and could not control his
sons. So this was probably seen as an opportune time for
Israel's foes to gather. One of those foes was the
Philistines. God also used them to chastise Israel when
they went astray (see Judges Chapter 13).
We don't know the exact location of
the site, though some put it near at the city of
So Samuel gets a word from the Lord and
Israel prepares for battle. Now, before we move on let
us keep a key aspect of all of this in mind. The
Lord's purpose. What was the Lord purpose here? Is
it what we think it is or has he already stated it for
us and we have forgotten it?
Samuel, who was now known as a prophet now commanded
some authority with the people, enough to get them to
come out to fight against the Philistines.
And the Philistines put
in array against Israel: and when they
Israel was smitten before the Philistines;
and they slew of the army in the field
about four thousand men.
(1 Samuel 4:2 - ASV)
The Philistines put on their battle
gear and prepared to fight Israel. Israel then
marching to the command of the great prophet goes out
Israel was defeated. They lost the
battle and lost 4000 men in the process. This was
a sound defeat and remember for a small nation
like this the loss of so many men was very
the people were come into the camp,
the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath
Jehovah smitten us to-day before the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of
Jehovah out of Shiloh unto us,
that it may come among us,
and save us out of the
hand of our enemies.
(1 Samuel 4:3 - ASV)
The Israelite's were confused and
confounded. Why did the Lord do this? What happened?
Why did he forsake us? So they asked for the Ark of
the Lord to be brought forth. This was a symbol of
their special relationship with the Lord. The
problem is that the people had begun to look upon
the ark as a kind of 'charm' or a magic
talisman, rather than a symbol of the covenant
(which has privilege AND responsibilities) they had
with God. But it was the evil living of the people
and their sins as evidenced by men like Eli's son's
that separated them from this God they now only call
upon when they are in trouble. So they wanted the
ark of God with them as their 'protection' from the
people sent to Shiloh;
and they brought from thence
the ark of the covenant of Jehovah of hosts,
who sitteth above the cherubim:
and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas,
were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
(1 Samuel 4:4 - ASV)
So they sent a message to bring the
Ark to them to Shiloh where the Ark was. But with the
Ark were the spiritual twiddle-dee and twiddle-dum
of Hophni and Phineas, two men with whom the Lord had
a very special controversy. The people thought that by
bringing the ark to where they were, that was going to
save them. This we see from the following verse.
the ark of the covenant of Jehovah
came into the camp, all Israel shouted
with a great shout, so that the earth rang
(1 Samuel 4:5 - ASV)
There was great joy when they saw
this as they thought their troubles were over.
Surely the Lord would protect them now that the ark
was with them! The problem is that while the Ark was
holy, two abominations were in charge of it. Men
whom the Lord had pronounced a curse upon (1Samuel 3:13) and
whose sins would never be forgiven (1 Samuel 3:14).
the Philistines heard
the noise of the shout, they said,
What meaneth the noise of this great shout
in the camp of the Hebrews?
And they understood that the
ark of Jehovah was come into the camp.
And the Philistines were afraid, for they said,
God is come into the camp.
And they said, Woe unto us!
for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
Woe unto us! who shall deliver us
out of the hand of these mighty gods?
these are the gods that smote the
Egyptians with all manner of plagues
in the wilderness.
(1 Samuel 4:6-8 - ASV)
When the Philistines figured out
what was going on they were very afraid. They had
heard about the God of Israel and were most unnerved
by this turn of events. In military purely terms,
the bringing up of the ark was a massive morale
booster to the Israelite's, but it was a real
challenge to the morale of the Philistines. The fame
of God's deed's in the past for the Israelite's were
well known. Men can fight other men, but not the
dreaded God of the Israelite's. They had heard of
the exodus, the plagues on Pharaoh. They probably
could not think of worse news to hear.
and quit yourselves like men,
O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants
unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you:
quit yourselves like men, and fight.
And the Philistines fought,
and Israel was smitten,
and they fled every man to his tent:
and there was a very great slaughter;
for there fell of Israel thirty
(1 Samuel 4:9-10 - ASV)
But the Philistine commanders rallied
their troops and gave them a good reason to fight. You
want to be a sold off in an Israelite slave market with
your wife and kids? Then quit ye like men and fight!!
That is what they did and won a victory over Israel.
It was a slaughter and they lost
30,000 men. All that cheering was for naught. The
ark was not a magic talisman or rabbit's foot to
wear around Israel's collar. It was something that
was a great honor to possess but also one that
carried with it great responsibilities. As the book
of Judges showed, Israel demonstrated a pattern of
being very lax in those responsibilities and that
laxness was clearly represented here in the person's
of Hophni and Phineas. The Ark for Israel in those
days? It's kind of like a very evil man carrying a
Bible with him thinking it is going to protect him.
The Bible in and of itself won't protect you from
anything. The God of the Bible if one obeys him,
And the ark
of God was taken;
and the two sons of Eli,
Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
(1 Samuel 4:11 - ASV)
The ark was taken and Eli's son's were
now dead. This is just as it was foretold they would be
on the same day (1 Samuel 2:34).
Now we see that the purpose of the
Lord was already revealed in chapter three. He was
going to deal with Eli's house and clearly he was
none too pleased with how Israel was behaving in
those days either. So Samuel's call to Israel was
perfectly in keeping with the Lord's will. It was
just not in keeping with what Israel wanted or
But keep in mind something
here. The last verse in chapter three said that the
Lord revealed something to Samuel and how it was
revealed (by the Word of the Lord). What is missing?
We are not told what that word was. We can get a
hint from the previous passages as they related to
Eli's house, but the passage just does not say what
it was. Second, the Lord did not promise anyone a
victory here as no such promise is recorded. Samuel,
may have known exactly what was to come to pass, yet
he was faithful, even knowing that by obeying the
Lord, his stature in the eyes of the people could
suffer considerably because of it. He called Israel
to battle and they lost. This certainly could open
him up to charges of being a false prophet.
Sometimes the job of a prophet is most difficult and
many men of God have been castigated for being a
false prophet because things did not turn out the
way the receiver of the message wanted or thought it
We will continue our look at the book of
Samuel next week, God willing!!
1 Samuel Part 10
And Samuel lay
until the morning,
and opened the doors of the house of Jehovah.
And Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.
(1 Samuel 3:15 - ASV)
We left off last time and the Lord was
had given Samuel his first word. When the Lord speaks
to us in such a fashion we cannot mistake it. We note
that Samuel heard an audible voice, a voice so clear
he thought it was Eli who called him.
So the Lord had a word that was for
Eli but delivered via his servant Samuel. Keep in mind
that Samuel though young, could not have been
unmindful of the antics of Eli's sons. He lived with
Eli and his family and surely knew what transpired.
So Samuel lay in the bed till morning, probably awake
considering what just happened to him. The word for
him to deliver was not a good one and it was probably
not one that he wanted to transmit at all, Eli being
so close to him.
Samuel did what he was commanded to
do, though hardly with any joy. This is the burden of
any prophet or bearer of God's message - including
those who preach and teach the gospel. He has to be a
bearer of news and often carries with him information
that is most troubling and difficult to carry that few
will believe or want to believe. At least not until
they find that what the prophet said was true and they
are facing the ax, the hangman's rope or are wandering
in some wilderness because their homes and communities
have been blown to bits. They were warned about those
things when they refused time and again to repent,
stop doing evil and rather start doing right. Often
the message of a prophet has to go and deliver his
unwelcome message to are those in authority, or it
could be a person he respects (like here), or to a
nation or people.
So Samuel got up out of bed and opened up the temple
doors, which was clearly one of his daily tasks. But
he was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. Yes, that is
the correct translation, he was frightened of this
The unwritten part of this is that Samuel had not yet
shared it. He did his duty in the Temple but had not
yet shared this thing with Eli. Now I don't think for
a second that Samuel was going to disobey the Lord and
not tell him, but I also think he was probably
thinking about how to tell Eli - when and how,
The problem is solved for us in the
called Samuel, and said, Samuel,
my son. And he said, Here am I. And he
What is the thing that Jehovah hath spoken
I pray thee, hide it not from me: God do so
and more also, if thou hide anything from
all the things that he spake unto thee.
(1 Samuel 3:16-17 - ASV)
Sometimes problems like the one Samuel had on how and
when to tell Eli work themselves out. When God wants
to get the message to someone, he will make a way.
Remember, Samuel was very young and certainly had a
lot of respect for Eli, so telling him would not only
have been difficult emotionally, but he probably felt
it would seriously overstep the bounds of their
relationship. The problem was solved here, Eli
specifically requested that the word be revealed to
And Samuel told him every whit,
and hid nothing from him. And he said,
It is Jehovah: let him do what seemeth him
(1 Samuel 3:18 - ASV)
Samuel was obedient and gave him the
word of the Lord... all of it. Eli, having served the
Lord for many long years submitted to God's will. This
word was hardly a shock to him as he had already
gotten a similar word before. This is a mark of a man
of God, he submits to God's will. Remember Job (vs
It is not an easy lesson. What happens if you get
sick... cancer and the doctor tells you have about a
year left... chemo is out of the question and there is
nothing they can do? How are YOU going to react - not
Samuel, not Job, not Daniel, not Moses... but YOU?
This is a test. A major one. How are you going to
react? Curse God? Try and 'get back' at him by
withholding your service or your offerings? Throw a
temper tantrum? How you react shows your level of
spiritual maturity; if you are in infant, a child, an
adolescent, young adult or full grown in Christ. Eli
having served God long, submitted. He had his faults,
clearly, But he was not going to rebel against the
And Samuel grew, and Jehovah
was with him,
and did let none of his words fall to
And all Israel from Dan even to
that Samuel was established to be a prophet of
(1 Samuel 3:19 - ASV)
Samuel was being known as a prophet by all Israel. His
words were well respected. The phrase 'fall to the
probably means were never useless of
vain. Like an arrow, it always hit its mark and never
just fell to earth. It may also mean that when he
uttered a prophecy, it always came to pass.
It was clear that the years when they
apparently had no prophet of the Lord in Israel around
(see vs 3:1), they did now or would soon as Samuel
came of age. The phrase Dan to Beersheeba
represents the utter northern parts of Israel to the
appeared again in Shiloh;
for Jehovah revealed himself to Samuel
in Shiloh by the word of Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 3:21 - ASV)
The Lord once again appeared to Samuel
by his word. Now I have long suspected that this
passage may be referring to Christ. Why? Because the
Lord spoke to Samuel by the Word of the Lord.
Who is the word of the Lord?
the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with
All things were made through him;
and without him was not anything
made that hath been made.
In him was life; and the life
was the light of men.
(John 1:1-4 - ASV)
Take that view for what it is worth, but Christ, as we
see above was (existed) back then and was fully part
of the Godhead. It may have been he who delivered this
message to Samuel.
Samuel is about to embark on some of
the important tasks of his prophetic ministry in the
1 Samuel Part 9
In that day I
will perform against Eli
all that I have spoken concerning his house,
from the beginning even unto the end.
For I have told him that I will judge his house
for the iniquity which he knew,
because his sons did bring a curse upon
and he restrained them not.
(1 Samuel 3:12-13 - ASV)
We left off last week in the middle of the
Lord's very first direct message to Samuel. It was a
hard one and one he had to deliver to what was almost
certainly his 'second father'. But deliver it he did (in
upcoming passages) and I think passed a very important
test for any true prophet and man of God (including the
office of Pastor). That being delivering a hard message
to people we like or perhaps are a bit afraid of. Being
a prophet is one of the most difficult and thankless
jobs God gives to his servants. But Samuel even before
he was born was set upon the path of a life of dedicated
service the the Lord.
Something of note in the above versus is
that Eli knew of these things. So Eli knew what was
going on and he did not put a stop to it, which was the
responsibility of his God charged office. He failed and
let considerable evil go on under him. The Lord marked
The Lord here tells Samuel of the word he
has spoken against Eli and his house and it is indeed a
fearsome judgment. Why do I say that... are not all
judgments by the Lord, brother Mark? Yes they are, but
some more so than others. What sets this apart are two
phrases the Lord uses in the above passage.
The first that he is going to Judge his
house forever. The word forever (5769
Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary) should really
make us sit up and take notice. This is an eternal
judgment. This is not going to be
forgiven. God was very angry.
I think it important to spend some time on
this and the following passage. Just because God is not
rebuking and chastising people on a daily basis does not
mean he does not see great wickedness and sin. He see's
it. God's patience with us is to give us space to
repent, consider our ways and repent. What was
going on in Eli's house had gone on for years, perhaps
decades. God saw it all. He was neither blind nor
impotent and believing so is the key mistake
recalcitrant sinners make when they commit sin with
impunity - knowing what they are doing is wrong and
doing it anyway. Now what Eli's sons did was not only
sinful, it was blasphemous and abominable. So this is no
little sin in God's eyes. By their actions, they put the
Lord and those who are in his service in considerable
disrepute in the eyes of the people. The religion of the
Lord was being connected in their minds with the very
great wickedness of Eli's sons.
Then there is the fact that they were
warned once before by the man of God in Chapter two.
Nothing changed. So now the Lord repeated his warning.
This may have been because of the eternal nature of
God's judgment on the House of Eli.
My own view is that what they did
was very much akin to or the same as the only
unpardonable sin we have in the New Testament. It is
the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It too
carries with it an eternal curse.
Therefore I say unto you,
Every sin and blasphemy
shall be forgiven unto men; but the
against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
And whosoever shall speak a word against
the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him;
but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit,
it shall not be forgiven him, neither in
nor in that which is to come.
(Matthew 12:31-32 - ASV)
Let us dispense with this notion of
God being some eternal 'forgiveness machine'. He
isn't. Forgiveness while freely granted to people
who repent, is a divine privilege and offered to us
because he loves us so. God will forgive - he wants
to forgive our sins and have us walk in the light.
But there are times and things that God will simply
not forgive and these are two examples. A third? The
mass rebellion of the angelic host against God eons
ago. God has put no plan of salvation in place for
For if God spared not angels when
but cast them down to hell, and committed
them to pits of darkness,
to be reserved unto judgment;
(2 Peter 2:4 - ASV)
Yes God's creatures man or Angel can
go too far and put themselves on the list of
the damned. Note I said they put themselves on that list
by their actions, Eli's son's and these angels; their
actions demanded a powerful punishment from the Lord. In
each instance it is almost as though they were taunting
Why the harsh divine reaction? I cannot say for sure, but
I strongly suspect because of examples. He wants to set an
example to the future (men and angels) what some sins will
mean and that if you think God will change his mind and
forgive you a few years later so just go ahead and sin,
you are pitifully mistaken. It's kind of like 'don't go
down that road or you will be lost forever and God
himself will make sure of it'.
I think such accursed people are treated
so for our example so we don't make the same mistake and
commit such abominations and presumptuous sins against
the Most High God. If I had to put all of this in simply
and bluntly I would say this - don't mess with God, his
honor, his messengers or his Holy Spirit. Doing so is an
act of spiritual suicide with eternal consequences.
Eli's sons messed with God's honor and
probably his Holy Spirit and thus we see the kind of
curse that falls on them.
I have sworn unto
the house of Eli,
that the iniquity of
shall not be
expiated with sacrifice n
or offering for
(1 Samuel 3:14 -
Here the Lord reiterates the eternal
nature of this judgment, lest there be any mistake or
doubt about what the Lord is going to do. He is going to
eternally curse Eli's house and there shall never be any
forgiveness for it or them. No sacrifice, no offering
shall cleanse his house of their crimes before the Lord.
Sacrilege - brothers, this is one way to get on God's
eternal bad side. To profane his temple, his Spirit, his
ways in a stubborn and blasphemous manner. This will buy
a soul a one way ticket into hell fire.
This is what Eli's sons purchased with
their actions, a one way, non-refundable,
non-negotiable, non-disposable ticket into the flames of
the Judgment of the living God.
I hate to talk on this negative subject, but these
things in the Old Testament are put here for our
examples. This example I think is meant particularly for
men who are put into any kind of office or place within
the Church. We would all do well to heed it be we
Deacon, Priest, Bishop, Pastor or Prophet.
God is watching.
We will continue out look at this book next week, God
It has been a while since I have written
anything here on the public page that was not straight
I assure you all this site is still very busy with events
of the day as they effect believers and biblical prophecy.
Issues recently covered over the past few weeks?
- Various Items
- Biological Watch
- 1 Kings Part 4
- Persecution Watch
- China Watch
- 1 Kings Part 3
- Middle East Watch
- Health Watch
- 1 Kings Part 2
- Tech Watch
- Prophetic Update
- 1 Kings Introduction
- Law News
- Persecution, the SCO and Beyond
Each of these issues are covered from a practical,
biblical and prophetic perspective. I realize the
frustration many of you have with not being able to access
much of this material. I really do. On some level I share
it. On another, I have to do as I am bid by my God who has
straightly charged me about sharing too much of my
material on the public site.
Please understand I am not bragging or getting puffed up
because frankly, I am not real wild about this ministry
God has given me, but I will humbly and
consistently obey the Lord. I have had many people tell me
just how darn good my analysis is and this from people who
have long worked in important positions. But as you all
know this landed me on a hit list of some pretty powerful
people in government. I admit I was somewhat disobedient
in that God had been warning me about a few things; one
thing in particular - that was sharing my analysis with
the wrong people, bad people and evil people. So I had to
come correct and do as God commanded. Splitting the site
up like it is between public and private is the result of
that gentle divine rebuke.
But as you all can see takedowns, censorship, and other
less legal methods of censorship are being practiced with
reckless abandon here in the so-called 'free nation' of
Before those of you who think that freedom (and a free
press) is some bad word or that you can take away one
man's freedom and not destroy your own, let me ask you a
question and then give you the answer to it.
Q: What do you call a person who is not
A: A slave
In our times, truth is being censored so that false
narratives and evil policies can be pushed forward by
powerful forces in our world. This is true in Communist
China as it is becoming true in America today. If you
speak truth to power, they have a thousand and one ways to
get you and get you they will unless God himself
steps in and stops them. In case you were wondering,
framing, false imprisonment and death are also forms of
censorship. If you don't believe me, go and do a news
search on what is happening to journalists in Mexico and
how many have been killed. These brave men and women are
not getting killed for traffic violations, or spitting on
the pavement. They said or were going to say something
someone did not want said, so censorship took the form of
a hail of bullets.
But God made it clear to me a few years ago that the focus
of the site would change... before it did. The Church has
a big, big problem and it is not just the pitiful lack of
discernment in the issues of the day, but just plain old
Biblical knowledge. Basic Christian doctrine is being
tossed out for the fluff of politics. A great many
Christians (so-called) are just utterly Biblically
ignorant. And poking around the web, I see that decent
Biblical studies are not that easy to find. Some pastors
have some decent and at times, excellent things. A few
bloggers are doing right, but Biblical Christianity is
dying because in far too many places, it just isn't being
Now I am no teacher of Bible studies. I am
just a blogger. But I have been a Bible and Bible Prophecy
student for most of my adult life (with a several year
lapse in my early adulthood). I know the scriptures well
and what I don't know, I can easily find out. Moreover, I
know I have sharp analytical and detail oriented mind. It
is one of the gifts God has given me. I have gifts and
each of you have them too. Some are natural and others are
spiritual, but whatever your gifts have, you should
develop and use them to God's good purposes. Now my
God given and blessed brain works like this - I get the facts
(not propaganda or emotional/political claptrap), I ferret
them out and dissect them, I dispense with emotion and
analyze those facts. Then and only then do I come
to any conclusion - firm, tenuous or non-committal
conclusion - I don't know or I am not sure
is often a perfectly honest and legitimate result of
detailed analysis. Additionally (I think this important
too) I am unconcerned with the opinions of malicious
detractors, the ill-informed, the brainwashed or my
enemies. At times, I find such opinions mildly
entertaining and I certainly don't spend any time worrying
about them. It is this intellectual aloofness that helps
one keep one's eyes on the facts and not let social,
political or employment considerations dissuade one from
pure intellectual and/or spiritual honesty - in short,
TRUTH, a bad word in these days of incessant propaganda
and systematic censorship.
Brothers and sisters, I think this is very important in
these times because I am here to tell you that propaganda
is so pervasive and so effective that I think in many
cases in this once great nation, the condition is
irreversible in a hundred million minds. Call it
brainwashed beyond repair. These kinds of people don't
want the truth or anything resembling it if it does not
feel good or put money in their pockets. Thus falsehoods
more and more prevail in our nation today.
Our Lord warned us of a time of enormous deception; a
delusion of enormous power. The first step to falling for
any delusion is thinking you can't be or haven't been
fooled. The second is being willing to accept a
comfortable lie in place of an uncomfortable truth. Once
that happens, it all goes downhill from there.
You are going to make enemies when you know and seek after
truth - hard truths and uncomfortable truths. On this I
would say that a man is known by his friends and
his enemies. There are some folks on this
earth whose enmity is something I can wear proudly. That
sounds like kind of a hostile attitude to take, but think
about it. I don't want the devil as a friend. I would not
want to party with Hitler, Goebbels and Goering. I don't
want a buddy who is selling dope to kids. There are just
some folks whose love and friendship I would find
contemptible. As a Christian, I know that if the world
loves me, I am doing something wrong. If the world thinks
I am a wonderful person, then I have missed God somewhere
along the way. If you serve God and are not attacked from
time to time, you had better make sure you are walking the
walk and not just talking the talk.
If ye were of
the world would love its own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.
(John 15:19 - ASV)
We are going to be hated by all men one day for our faith
in Christ (Mark 13:13).
They are going to kill us quite, quite dead for our faith
in Jesus. Stop trying to get around it and thinking it is
only for those believers on far off lands. It is going to
come here one day too.
But that is OK with me. God has something better for me in
his Kingdom and I don't want to spend any more time down
here with what humanity is rapidly becoming than my God
has ordained and I am useful to him. I am not
going to trade eternity with a God who really loves me for
another year or two dealing with some of the nut jobs
running this freak show called earth.
So God wanted me to shift focus for the public site. I
don't want to sound insulting (truly) but from here on, it
is milk and mush on the public page and meat and
bread for the private as it is a very small group of older
people who have walked the walk, got the scars and are never
going to look back. They will pray. They
can get past the fake news, false narratives and get some
background on the issues of the day that many in power
will take great pains to keep out of the public
consciousness. This group will pray wisely rather
than doing so amiss (James 4:3).
This is important because these are days when popular
narratives are often constructed to demonize our friends
and praise our enemies and the average person (and
Christian) simply has no clue because no context and no
deeper background is given them... and God help anyone who
tries to provide it!
I think I said this a few years ago, but it bears
repeating. God was adamant that I no longer cast peals
before the swine. At first I took the passage of scripture
as a suggestion, then I realized it was a commandment and
the threat of the swine I was trying to help turning on me
was not an idle one (Matthew 7:6).
The internet is changing and frankly I had to change with
it. America is changing and I had to make adjustments for
her continuing spiritual descent.
Finally, some of you wonder why I have kept this site so
basic looking. No cool looking menu's, no big databases,
no beautiful pictures... just basic text. I will tell you
and you other bloggers out there, take note.
I do this because this site has in the past been under
various levels and kinds of cyberattack. I won't get into
the methods only to say that now, I have kept this site as
basic as I possibly can and keep it functional. Complex
scripts, massive databases, easy to use content management
systems? They can be very, very useful, but with some
there are always those vulnerabilities that creep in or
perhaps in some cases, are designed with. As this site is
a one man show, I just don't have time to deal with a lot
of tech issues. Having had to deal with such issues in the
past and knowing how time consuming they can be (depending
on the issue), I just would rather not deal with them. So
this site has adhered to the KISS principle in site
management. Simple - dead simple is much
harder to hack and mess with. Not impossible, never
impossible, just far less of an attack surface to exploit.
Look, I have been blogging over 20 years and have a lot of
experience that ONLY comes from running your own
site for a long, long time - on my own with no staff
I will close by saying this to my brethren in Christ
You should consider carefully how you and who you interact
with online, particularly the tech services you use. Do
you know one of the ways people get into trouble that you
often don't hear about? I will tell you - blackmail and
Do you know who the tech company you do business with is
sharing data with? If you have an important job and are
trusting a major firm with your emails, texts, pictures
and other personal data, I can only say this - in some
instances you don't know (exactly) who many of these
companies are sharing data with because they don't tell
Read the stories about how some countries hostile to the
US are getting US citizens of their ethnic origin to go to
work for them while working in the US or tell them to come
back home. They often are not shy about warning them of
their family members back home suffering horribly if they
So I ask you all to be careful. A deer in the headlines is
just two moving headlamps away from becoming roadkill. So
please do not become roadkill and think twice before you
venture across the 'digital highway'.
This is a brutal world and brutal people use the internet
too. Keep that in mind while you surf, share and interact
God bless and keep all of you who love our Lord and serve
him in Spirit and in Truth and may you each walk in love,
peace and joy in Christ.
1 Samuel Part 8
And the child
Samuel ministered unto Jehovah before Eli.
And the word of Jehovah was precious in those
there was no frequent vision.
(1 Samuel 3:1 - ASV)
Now we leave off the coming judgment
of Eli's house and deal with the young child, Samuel
and his call. Samuel was growing up and was learning
the ways of the Lord. Again this is in total contrast
to Eli's son's. Clearly the Lord had not lost
confidence in Eli as he allowed this special child to
be instructed by him. This says a lot about Eli. He
made some dreadful errors of judgment with his sons.
Nevertheless, he was an upright man and clearly was a
man who did the will of the Lord. Commentators think
Samuel was about 12 years old at this time and was
able to do many of the basic functions of servant in
Then the author notes an important aspect of those
times. The word of God was precious (rare), it was not
heard much at all. Prophets must have been very scarce
and the fact that the man of God who came and spoke to
Eli before had no lineage, name or any other reference
to who he was, is noteworthy. In short, there were
hardly any prophets. The phrase no open vision probably
means no vision that was published or promulgated at
large. In short, there were no generally recognized
prophets whose word was spread about and was trusted.
Why this was is not clear from the passage, but was
probably due to a general decline in the religion of
The verse seems quite anticipatory of God getting
ready to make a change to that situation. That there
may not be a prophet around now, but Samuel's call was
designed to solve this problem.
And it came to
pass at that time,
when Eli was laid down in his place
(now his eyes had begun to wax dim,
so that he could not see),
and the lamp of God was not yet gone out,
and Samuel was laid down to sleep,
in the temple of Jehovah,
where the ark of God was;
(1 Samuel 3:2-3 - ASV)
This passage is pretty self explanatory.
Eli was going or was completely blind. He was getting
ready for bed. The Lamp of God is something the Lord had
commanded in his temple in the book of Exodus (27:20) that it should
always be burning. Samuel was also in bed. This helps us
to better understand the exchange that is to come. Eli
is asleep in his place and cannot see anymore. Samuel is
in another part of the Temple dozing off and suddenly he
hears someone calling him. Since Eli was infirm this was
probably a regular occurrence. When Eli needed
something, it was probably usual for him to call on
Samuel for assistance.
and he said, Here am I.
(1 Samuel 3:4 - ASV)
Samuel gets his first call from the
Lord. Clearly he did not know the Lord yet. He knew
his ways and was taught of Eli but he did not have
any personal relationship with the Lord yet. Samuel
answers, but not to the Lord...
ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I;
for thou calledst me. And he said, I called
lie down again. And he went and lay down.
(1 Samuel 3:5
Samuel thought it was Eli who was
calling him so he came running to him only to find
out it was not him.
And Jehovah called yet
And Samuel arose and went to Eli,
and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me.
And he answered, I called not,
my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not
yet know Jehovah, neither was the word of
yet revealed unto him.
(1Samuel 3:6-7 - ASV)
This happened yet again and here we see why
there was confusion, he did not know the voice of his
called Samuel again the third time.
And he arose and went to Eli, and said,
Here am I; for thou calledst me.
And Eli perceived that Jehovah had called the
Therefore Eli said unto Samuel,
Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call
that thou shalt say, Speak, Jehovah;
for thy servant heareth.
So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
(1 Samuel 3:8-9 - ASV)
Eli after three occasions finally figures out that the
Lord was calling Samuel and told the boy what he should
do and how he was to respond.
came, and stood,
and called as at other times, Samuel,
Samuel. Then Samuel said, Speak;
for thy servant heareth.
And Jehovah said to Samuel,
Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which
the ears of every one that heareth it
In that day I will perform against Eli
I have spoken concerning his house,
from the beginning even unto the end.
(1 Samuel 3:10-12 - ASV)
So this time, Samuel knows what to do. Now what is
interesting is that the ASV says the Lord stood
and called. The word stood is probably better
rendered presented himself or perhaps revealed
for if the Lord had come and actually stood before
Samuel in previous occasions, he would hardly have
needed to go and run to Eli about what he wanted. The
word in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary is 3320. Samuel follows
Eli's instructions and then proceeds to hear the word of
This had to be a hard word for Samuel, for Eli was like
a second father to him. He taught him everything he knew
about the Lord and how to care for the Temple. Yet his
very first word from God is a pronouncement against him.
Now this is a 12 year old boy and the Lord is going to
use him but in so doing he is going to test him.
Will he like Eli, prefer human relationships to his
divine responsibility? This is what Eli did. Will Samuel
make the same mistake?
The word is a harsh one. It was mostly a confirmatory
prophecy of what the Man of God had already pronounced
against Eli's house (1Samuel
2:27). Clearly nothing had really changed
and consequently, the word was going to be fulfilled,
from beginning to end. What God is going to do is going
to make people sit up and really take notice. The phrase
God uses is to make their ears tingle. The word means to
rattle or to make the ears red with shame or as with
teeth to make them chatter with fear. The Lord here is
making it plain that what what he proposes to do will be
no little thing.
We will get to the rest of God's first word to Samuel in
the next section, next week, God willing!!
1 Samuel Part 7
But Samuel ministered before Jehovah,
being a child, girded
with a linen ephod.
Moreover his mother made
him a little robe,
and brought it to him
from year to year,
when she came up with
her husband to offer
the yearly sacrifice.
(1 Samuel 2:18-19 - ASV)
Here the behavior of Samuel is
contrasted to Eli's wicked sons. This young child was
already wearing the Ephod worn by Priests. This was
probably a kind of girdle that covered the shoulders
that was used by certain members of the Priesthood,
particularly the High Priest. This was most unusual to
have a child wear it, but shows that Eli was not going
to go against the Lord's will who performed such a
miracle for Hannah and who had dedicated this child to
the Lord. This child would be brought up correctly and
in such a way that clearly signified a life of dedicated
service to the Lord. It is noteworthy that it was
Hannah's faith and prayer that brought this all about
and because of the mothers faith in God that Samuel came
to be. How many powerful men of God owe their ministries
and godliness much to godly mothers who trained them up
in the ways of the Lord from an early age? We have to
remember this as well, that Samuel could not perform
these functions in the Temple were he not born into the
Tribe of Levi (see 1
mother made him a little robe,
and brought it to him
from year to year,
when she came up with
to offer the yearly
sacrifice. And Eli blessed Elkanah
and his wife, and
said, Jehovah give thee seed
of this woman for the
petition which was asked of Jehovah.
And they went unto
their own home.
(1 Samuel 2:19-20
Here we see the mothers continuing love and
influence over Samuel. The word robe here is one that is
like a long tunic, perhaps like one worn by kings or
prophets. From this, we can surmise that something special
was expected of Samuel and service to God. This
expectation was due to much more than ordinary motherly
hopes; she knew it was the Lord who provided this child
and she could not have been unaware that dedicating a
person as a Nazarite for life was not only unusual, it was
As we can note from the passage, Hannah and her Husband
remained faithful to the Lord and kept his sacrifice.
Something here that I note is that Hannah did not go back
on her promise to the Lord. She kept it. She could have,
after a few years passed thought twice about her promise
and begun to prevaricate and even doubt it was the Lord
who did this thing for her as the enemy so often does with
us, "...yeah, hath God said?" or "God didn't do
that for you! That was just luck or fate or providence!"
How many souls have gone astray after the Lord did
many miracles for them after heeding the hissings of the
serpent in their ears! How many blessings have been lost
by taking the devil's advice and forgetting the things God
has done for us! Too many. Hannah and her husband were not
that way. Yet Hannah may have now wanted a child to rear
and be in the home with her, but this she did not have as
her child was ministering in the Temple.
Eli, the High Priest gave them both a blessing because of
her faith in God. It was faith and obedience (keeping her
word to the Lord) that got her this blessing from the
Lord. Do you want a blessing from the Lord? Two things are
essential, faith and obedience.
visited Hannah, and she conceived,
God continued to bless Hannah and if she wanted children
around the house to raise, she got her request. She who
was once barren and wept to the Lord about it now has a
house full of children! See how the Lord does those who
come before him humbly in faith and trusts fully in him!
and bare three sons and two daughters.
And the child Samuel grew before Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 2:21 -
Now Eli was
very old; and he heard
Eli was getting up there in age, some commentators figure
he was about 90 when the events described happened. He was
probably having a very hard time overseeing things in the
Temple and taking care of day to day affairs because of
his age. Eli was probably relying in his sons to take over
things when he got old, but this simply was not possible,
not with their wicked behavior. They had turned the Temple
of the Lord into a brothel!! The women referenced here may
have been spinners, weavers or those who did washing who
worked adjacent to and in conjunction with the Temple and
its affairs. But frankly, we cannot know for sure, but it
does appear that Anna (from the NT - Luke 2:37) was one of
these women. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
Commentary thinks they were some kind of ascetic or
holy order of women who ministered outside of it. The Book
of Exodus speaks of such women (Exodus
all that his sons did unto all Israel,
and how that they lay with the women
that did service at the door
of the tent of meeting.
(1 Samuel 2:22 -
This is a tragic affair and it is sad that Eli's rebuke or
even discovery of this did not occur earlier. These two
men had done enormous damage to the reputation of the Lord
and his Temple with their behavior. It is not improbable
that these two men got their examples from some of the
foreign gods that were en vogue in the region at the time,
like Ashtoreth. The worship of these foreign gods was
nothing new, it was an issue Moses had to deal with during
the Exodus and the practices of the priests of these gods
were probably not unknown to Eli's sons.
And he said
unto them, Why do ye such things?
Eli clearly had a soft spot for his sons. But here he
rebukes them for the things he has heard. What is unclear
is weather or not he was just now hearing about these
things when he was old, or weather he had heard such
things in the past and did not mark them. I suspect that
he probably heard of these things and did nothing or very
little, but now they probably had grown more brazen,
knowing that dad would be gone before too long. He appeals
to them rather than sternly rebuking them. He says that
their job was to intercede for those who sin, how can this
happen when they behaved the way they did? How can God
forgive and help his people when the Priests are steeped
in wickedness? This is the gist of his argument. Clearly
they were not going to listen to dad; that old fuddy-duddy
who was clearly 'behind the times'. Nope, they were going
to return to the tabernacle and get them some more 'sweet
stuff' from the women in the spinners tent!
for I hear of your evil dealings from all this
Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I
ye make Jehovah's people to transgress.
If one man sin against another, God shall judge
but if a man sin against Jehovah,
who shall entreat for him?
Notwithstanding, they hearkened
not unto the voice of their father,
because Jehovah was minded
to slay them.
(1 Samuel 2:23-25 -
Oh the recalcitrant heart, the hard heart and mind that
will not repent! They get locked into sin and abominations
and will not let go of it. This was the case here. Here
were men who were supposed be of God and doing his work
and look at their activities!
Well, as we see in the last passage, the Lord see's it
all. He is not unmindful of the wickedness of men, not of
men who make no religious profession, not of those who
serve him or of those who claim to. He see's it all and we
make a horrible error when we think the actions of such
people will not require a most severe recompense from the
This appears to be one of those divine 'hardening of the
hearts' that come upon some whom the Lord has made up his
mind to deal with. Remember Pharaoh and the way he
behaved? Both have gotten the Lord pretty angry and as
such, he had already made up his mind what he is going to
do. He is going to deal with these two men in a way they
will not live long enough to profit from, he is going to
This is a side of God's character that is lost on many of
the west's Christians. They don't know this side of God's
character. Listening to some of these preachers you get
the impression that God is some eternal wish granter ...
just rub your Jesus lamp and he will grant your wishes, or
is merely the 'forgiveness rubber stamp' - commit
any sin you want, he will forgive you. They seem to think
that he has no unique personality of his own. They don't
seem to realize that God has called us to know him and his
ways... all of them, not just the love and forgiveness
side of him, but the other side as well. How did the
Apostle describe our God?
for our God
is a consuming fire.
This is a rather frightening characterization of God, but
it is apt. It is this holy and fierce side of God's
character that is missing in NT believers because they are
usually only taught the love and grace side of his
character. There is another side to God and the passage
above gives us a strong hint that it is a no nonsense side
to his makeup and a you had better pay attention to it,
part of God. He was going to take both of the sons of Eli
'out', he was just that angry.
(Hebrews 12:29 - ASV)
I am always reminded of the incident of Ananias and
Sapphira in Acts. That incident alone should show us all
that the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the
New. Sacrilege, blasphemy, attacking God's people will win
a person a one way ticket to death and hell fire. I hate
to talk so hard about these things, but God is not joking
about hell. He is going to send the fallen host of angels
there; those angels (this is who it was created for;
see Matthew 25:41)
who rebelled and brought so much pain, suffering and
destruction to creation as well as every man and woman
there who refuses to repent and continues on in their sins
and abominations to that place... guaranteed. That
unrepentant habitual liar, that murderer, that rapist,
that fraudster, that blasphemer... well, let me tell you,
God has not forgotten about you. No sir.
Such are very much on his 'to do' list. Eli's son's were
about to face the God they mocked with their behavior in a
most unpleasant fashion. Hophni and Phinehas did not know
it yet, but they were dead priests walking.
And the child
Samuel grew on,
Clearly the author here wants to contrast the lives and
behavior of Samuel, with Eli's sons. God clearly had his
hand on Samuel's life.
and increased in favor both with Jehovah,
and also with men.
(1 Samuel 2:26 - ASV)
In closing this section today on this book, I think it
wise to point out this important fact. None of us is
indispensable in God's work. When ministers begin to fail
and don't do right, God can and will raise up someone who
will. We see this here. The Lord knew about Eli's sons
even if Eli did not, or pretended not to. God saw it and
made other arrangements for the office of High Priest. He
was not going let Eli's son's run his Temple - they would
probably expand its use as a whore house.
So we see that Hannah's barrenness was a part of God's
purpose. To get her to come to him and request a son whom
God would use to get his temple back in line. God knew
Hannah and her husband were godly people and could be
trusted to do his will. Hannah could not have known this
when she was in distress, she just knew she was being
mocked for being barren. God often uses our afflictions
for reasons we have no idea about and may never know this
side of heaven. This is why we should mark Hannah and how
she dealt with her problem which had no human solution -
she came to the Lord in sincere prayer.
We will continue our look at this book again Next week,
1 Samuel Part 6
poor, and maketh rich:
He bringeth low, he also
He raiseth up the poor out of
He lifteth up the needy
from the dunghill,
To make them sit with
And inherit the throne of
For the pillars of the earth
And he hath set the
world upon them.
(1Samuel 2:7-8 - ASV)
continue our look at the book of 1 Samuel with Hannah
continuing to glorify God and his power and
righteousness in her prayer. God has the power to bring
low, and lift up, make great and humble. It is in God's
power and fully within his divine prerogative to put a a
man on a throne or in a homeless shelter, should he
choose to do so. Look at David, who would one day be
anointed by Samuel, whom Hannah bore. David was a lowly
shepherd and God put him as King over his people. God
can protect and he can destroy; help or hinder; bless or
curse. In this prayer Hannah, having received from God
her humble request acknowledges this about the Lord.
Yes, God can put a man low or lift a man out of the
dungheap. Look at what he did to Job. He was rich,
became poor and then was made rich again. God was in it
will keep the feet of his holy ones;
But the wicked shall be put to silence
For by strength shall no man prevail.
They that strive with Jehovah shall
be broken to pieces; Against them will
he thunder in heaven: Jehovah will
judge the ends of the earth;
And he will give strength unto his king,
And exalt the horn of his anointed.
(I Samuel 2:9-10 - ASV)
Yes, Hannah clearly knew her God. This is
amazing in many ways because remember, there were no Bible
texts for ordinary people to read in those days. The Holy
books were kept by the Priests. There was no 'Bible Store'
to go and buy the law nor internet to download it. Yet and
still from the preaching and sermons she had heard and her
own experiences, she knew the Lord, his power and his
She knew that to strive against the Lord is utter folly.
Paul learned this when he was asked if it was wise to kick
against the goads (Acts 26:14).
He was fighting God's power in those days. A man who
fights against God and his purpose has lost before he even
begins. The final stanza acknowledges God's power in
judgment and that God will give strength to his king. This
is a most interesting passage and one that is powerfully
prophetic. Why? Because at the time she prayed this
prayer, there was no King in Israel and no anointed one
who reigned. The word Anointed is the same one we
use for Messiah (4899 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary).
Yes, brothers God does keep the feet of his saints. He
watches over them and guides them. How did the prophet
Isiah put it?
ears shall hear
a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it;
when ye turn to the right hand,
and when ye turn to the left.
(Isaiah 30:21 - ASV)
those of you who seek, honor and obey the Lord know
that he knows who you are and your situations. He will
guide you in his way and in due time. Hannah learned
this as she had to wait for a child, but what a child
she had and what a blessing that child was to Israel!!
went to Ramah to his house.
And the child did minister unto Jehovah
before Eli the priest.
(I Samuel 2:11 - ASV)
This prayer obviously took place
at Shiloh and Elkanah's wives probably went with him.
The passages indicates that at some point in time,
Samuel was left at least partially in the care of Eli,
who let the child minister in the Temple. His tasks
probably were probably commensurate with his age and
abilities, he may have lit the candles or did other
menial tasks in the Temple. Clearly he was to learn
the ways of the Priesthood from a very early age and
he had Eli, the High Priest as his teacher. We can see
why Samuel was later in life, such a mighty man of
God. Blessed are the parents who raise up a child in
the ways of the Lord. Even if they one day depart from
him in early adulthood, they often come back later in
Now the sons
of Eli were base men;
they knew not Jehovah.
(I Samuel 2:12 - ASV)
Now the scriptures give a bit of contrast which
will become clear later. Eli's sons were base men. The KJV
translates it more accurately as sons of Belial.
It means worthless or wicked person. Their names were
Hophni and Phinehas. I think if we had to find a word that
is in our common vernacular to describe them we would
probably call them 'scumbags'. They did not know God and
had no regard for him or his ways.
And the custom
of the priests with the people was,
that, when any man offered sacrifice,
the priest's servant came, while the flesh was
with a flesh-hook of three teeth in his hand;
and he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron,
all that the flesh-hook brought up the priest took
So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites
that came thither.
Yea, before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant
and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh
to roast for the priest; for he will not have boiled
flesh of thee, but raw. And if the man said unto him,
They will surely burn the fat first,
and then take as much as thy soul desireth;
then he would say, Nay, but thou shalt give it me now:
and if not, I will take it by force.
And the sin of the young men
was very great before Jehovah;
for the men despised
the offering of Jehovah.
(1Samuel 2:13-17 - ASV)
What this was was rank rebellion against the
commandments of the Law which gave instructions on how
this was to be done (Leviticus
7:31-35; 7:23-25). In this kind of thing
one gets the impression that they not only did not regard
the Lord, but openly scorned him.
But the effect on the people was very significant. People
despised the offering of the Lord for this very reason.
How many times have people been turned off from
Christianity in our times by pastors who live like kings,
while taking money from the humble and the poor? This does
indeed turn many people off from religion in general and
Christianity in particular. What this does is give the
enemy an opportunity to disparage Christ, his followers
and the gospel message. It opens up God to blasphemous
remarks by reason of those who claim to represent him. How
many souls would have come to God if it were not for many
of the 'serpents in the pulpit' that have existed in
Brothers, there is a powerful lesson here for those who
serve God in any capacity. Weather it be from the pulpit
or the pew, we must honor God in what we do and what we
have and what we give. The people here were willing to
give their offering to the Lord, but when they saw how
those who represented him were acting, they held it in
Men can only rebel against God for so long. He will only
bear with the sins of Church leadership and laity for so
long. We must not take God's forbearance for granted.
Provoking God to anger is a most unwise thing to do. This
is exactly what these to men were doing.
your fathers tried me by proving me ,
And saw my works forty years.
Wherefore I was displeased with this
And said, They do always err in their heart:
But they did not know my ways;
As I sware in my wrath,
They shall not enter into my rest.
(Hebrews 3:9-11 - ASV)
men tried God just as the ancient Israelite's did. How
do you think our God feels about some of the things
going on in the Church today? Brothers I think he has
or is in the process of forsaking a great many of
them. He does not want to be associated with many of
them in any possible way. I want to digress here just
for a moment because I think it important.
would not let the rebels in the days of Moses enter
his rest is very significant. In the times of Samuel,
it was at Shiloh that the Ark was kept. Shiloh also
means a place of rest or tranquil. This was where Eli
ministered as well as his sons committed their
God set his ark there, but those who were put in
charge of it and ministering to God and his people
sorely displeased him. The prophet Jeremiah warns the
people what happened to Shiloh and what would happen
to them if they did not repent.
But go ye now
unto my place which was in Shiloh,
where I caused my name to dwell at the first,
and see what I did to it for the wickedness
of my people Israel. And now,
because ye have done all these works,
saith Jehovah, and I spake unto you,
rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not;
and I called you, but ye answered not:
therefore will I do unto the house which
is called by my name, wherein ye trust,
and unto the place which I gave to you
and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.
And I will cast you out of my sight,
as I have cast out all your brethren,
even the whole seed of Ephraim.
(Jeremiah 7:12-15 - ASV)
uses the fate of Shiloh to describe what will happen
to his generation. The kinds of sins that these men
committed - they are not forgotten by the Lord. He
see's the things going on in the Church and with her
But he also
knows that none of his ministers is perfect. Let us be
wise and discern though in our times when we
see men of God 'fall'. I have seen many times people
who are accused of various crimes and sins and know
that the enemy has targeted them for destruction
sometimes by evil elements operating in government or
by other enemies of the gospel. Sometimes their sins
are real, other times they are set ups or clearly
exaggerated. But some ministers are honorable enough
to step back and rather than let the Gospel be mocked,
they decide it is better not to let a demonically
inspired controversy undermine God's purpose. Today,
the devil and his ministers live to set up
minsters for sexual sins and other things that make a
negative splash in the headlines. Hell's ministers
cackle with glee when this happens. This is one reason
I don't like to post those 'scandal' stories that are
often found on the web.
the scandals we hear are real, others are not.
these men did was real and there was no excuse. The
result? God eventually disassociated himself from
Shiloh. I wonder what he is going to do with modern
day Laodicea? Perhaps spew it out of his mouth/vomit
it up - (Revelation
3:16)? If he did these
things to Israel, the natural branch, what in the
world do you think he will do with the wild olive
shoot (gentiles - see Romans
11:20ff)) whom he has graciously
allowed onto the tree of salvation?
two priests did was a deep affront to God and I don't
think it requires further comment.
We will pick
up this commentary next week, God willing!
you all in Christ!!
1 Samuel Part 5
And Elkanah her
husband said unto her,
Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have
only Jehovah establish his word. So the woman tarried
and gave her son suck, until she weaned him.
(1 Samuel 1:23 - ASV)
not going to argue with his wife over this and seems
to have deferred this matter into her keeping. Clearly
Elkanah saw that the hand of the Lord was in this. For
now, he had a male heir by the woman he clearly
preferred. So Elkanah went up to offer sacrifice and
to give thanks to the Lord. Elkanah, we can see was a
man of faith in God. In times of what was certainly
increasingly religious depredations (as we shall see)
and apostasy, Elkanah kept faith with his God and did
not wickedly depart from him. He wants God to
establish this miracle that has come about, '...only Jehovah establish his word'.
And when she
had weaned him, she took him up with her,
This was a
woman, yes even household that kept their word.
Particularly to the Lord. This is something I have
always striven to do. Be a man of my word. It's a rare
thing these days. People, particularly Americans are
so flippant about their word, so nonchalant they
rarely keep it. My rule of thumb has been this - if
someone in these troubled times promises to do
something, expect him to do the exact opposite. This
rule of thumb naturally does not always work, but it
does often enough that I tend to remember it when
someone makes a commitment to me. How did the Psalmist
with three bullocks, and one ephah of meal, and a
bottle of wine,
and brought him unto the house of Jehovah in
Shiloh: and the child was young.
And they slew the bullock, and brought the child to
(1 Samuel 1:24-25 - ASV)
Lead me, O
in thy righteousness because of mine enemies;
Make thy way straight before my face.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is very wickedness;
Their throat is an open sepulchre;
They flatter with their tongue.
(Psalms 5:8-9 - ASV)
been my experience. It was one of those things that
foreigners I knew have noted and made very plain to me
when I lived overseas when they were commenting on my
countrymen. Keeping one's word says volumes about a
man's character. The fact that Hannah did not lie
before the Lord and was determined to fulfill the
thing she promised shows a woman of character -
character so lacking in our modern world. Hannah was
not waiting around, procrastinating and making excuses
to fulfill her word. She got right to it.
that she brought three bullocks is probably
significant. Some commentators think three were used
because only two were required for the annual offering
and the third would have been a special thank
offering. Others think one was for a burnt offering,
one for the vow and the other a peace offering.
The key is
that she did as she had vowed and went up to Shiloh
and brought with her the sacrifice and the child for
dedication. They offered it up and then presented the
child to the High Priest, Eli.
the man who keeps is word to the Lord. Vows are
forbidden to us Christians, but keeping one's word is
not. To do otherwise is to be false.
But in so
keeping her word, she not only got herself a son that
she so desired, but also one of Israel's greatest men
of God, Prophet and Judge who was to guide Israel
through some difficult and rapidly changing times.
And she said,
Oh, my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord,
brings the child before Eli, she has to remind him of
the incident that her presence in the tabernacle has
brought about. Who the 'he' (1931
in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary) is in verse
28 is not clear (who worshiped). We do not know for
certain that Elkanah was with Hannah when this
occurred, but he may have been. So the 'he' could
refereed to either Elkanah or Eli, who thanked the
Lord for hearing her and his prayer. Remember Eli also
requested God do this thing for her (1:17).
I am the woman that stood by thee here,
praying unto Jehovah.
For this child I prayed; and Jehovah hath given me
which I asked of him: therefore also I have granted
him to Jehovah;
as long as he liveth he is granted to Jehovah.
And he worshipped Jehovah there.
(1 Samuel 1:26-28 - ASV)
lifts up her voice in praise and prayer to the Lord.
prayed, and said:
thanks to the Lord for what he has done for her. She
was clearly very happy that the Lord had taken away
her shame and given her this gift she so very much
desired. In this she was enlarged over those who
scorned her; those who were her enemies. This is one
of those uncommon Psalms/prayers that are recorded
that were made by women (think Miriam, Deborah and
My heart exulteth in Jehovah;
My horn is exalted in Jehovah;
My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;
Because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is none holy as Jehovah;
For there is none besides thee,
Neither is there any rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:1-2 - ASV)
This is as
much a Psalm of thanksgiving as it is one of praise
and prophecy. Clearly Hannah knew God and had put her
faith fully in him. In that he has done this miracle
for her, she lifts up her horn and voice in praise to
his name and his ways. In times of growing religious
apostasy, she acknowledges that only the Lord, he is
Talk no more
so exceeding proudly;
humble circumstances and what it meant to be mocked
and laughed at. She also knew that it was folly to be
proud and arrogant when God sits on high. Hannah could
not have forgotten the verbal stings and harsh words
spoken about her to her face and behind her back
because of her barrenness. They spoke in pride and
arrogance against a humble daughter of the Lord who
put her trust in him.
Let not arrogancy come out of your mouth;
For Jehovah is a God of knowledge,
And by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty men are broken;
And they that stumbled are girded with strength.
(1 Samuel 2:3-4 - ASV)
God knows how
to raise up the humble and abase the proud, let the
arrogant man beware!! God can break the bows (arms) of
the mighty. This is a word for anyone, anywhere who
puts his faith in arms of warfare of any kind or in
his money bags. God can and often does break them and
cause those who think they are strong to stumble and
begin to tell you how the Lord looks out for me! I
stand today only because of the power and
grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! God has
protected me in this very humble ministry and kept me
by his power ALONE! So I know how Hannah feels - I
give thanks always for his grace, love and power to
protect his saints from the power of their enemies,
both temporal and spiritual!
When was the
last time you thanked the Lord for the times
he saved you and protected you from your enemies?
were full have hired out themselves for bread;
acknowledges that God can raise up and humble,
strengthen and even humiliate the proud. There are
those who once 'had it all' and now had to work for
others just for sustenance. The barren woman who had
to bare shame all of her life, she can bare children -
And they that were hungry have ceased to hunger:
Yea, the barren hath borne seven;
And she that hath many children languisheth.
Jehovah killeth, and maketh alive:
He bringeth down to Sheol, and bringeth up.
(1 Samuel 2:5-6 - ASV)
God knows how
to bring the proud and arrogant low, brothers and
sisters... don't you even worry about it!!
He can take that loud mouthed, blowhard who has been
mocking and castigating you and put his mocking behind
in a homeless camp, should he so choose. How did
Hannah prevail? She put her trust in the Lord. That is
how you and I prevail when our enemies rise against
us. God will vindicate our trust in and obedience to
him, in his way and in his time and to
continue Hannah's prayer of thanksgiving next week,
1 Samuel Part 4
And Hannah answered and said,
No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit:
I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink,
but I poured out my soul before Jehovah.
Count not thy handmaid for a wicked woman;
for out of the abundance of my complaint and my
have I spoken hitherto.
(1 Samuel 1:15-16 - ASV)
at Hannah was incorrect. He made an assumption he
should not have and impugned her character with his
words. Eli, who was acting as High Priest, his words
clearly troubled Hannah. So she, with great respect
towards his office, explains her problem and corrects
his assumption that her presence in the Temple derived
from lingering at the wine cask.
She also did not want to be reckoned with the
daughters of Belial. The reference to Belial (wicked
woman) is that to a reckless, worthless and wicked
person. It is not impossible that Eli thought she
might have been a hooker who may have come into the
temple or stood without from time to time. This
problem will be described later (1Samuel
2:22). So Eli's original thought was
probably based on previous experiences with women who
wandered in drunken looking for business. No, not this
time. The Law and religious life at this time was
probably not being practiced by many or even most
Israelite's at the time. So Eli's assumption while
wrong, was probably not unfounded when based on such
Hannah had come into the temple of a broken heart and
to earnestly seek the Lord about her problem.
answered and said, Go in peace;
and the God of Israel grant thy petition
that thou hast asked of him.
(1 Samuel 1:17 - ASV)
Eli answers her kindly and accepts her
gentle corrective rebuke. Again, this was probably not
a common thing for such a woman to come into the
temple as Hannah did, wholly to seek the Lord and
place a supplication before him. So Eli blesses her
and hopes that God will hear her prayer. It is not
clear if his words were merely a blessing or a
And she said, Let thy handmaid
find favor in thy sight.
So the woman went her way, and did eat;
and her countenance was no more sad.
(1 Samuel 1:18 - ASV)
Having found favor with Eli, she hopes that it
will continue. She was clearly encouraged by her prayer
and the kind words spoken by the High Priest. Oh what a
good and kind word of encouragement can bring,
particularly when spoken by an anointed man of God!!
Hannah was indeed encouraged.
And they rose
up in the morning early,
and worshipped before Jehovah, and returned,
and came to their house to Ramah:
and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife;
and Jehovah remembered her;
(1 Samuel 1:19 - ASV)
Let's remember that the whole purpose of them being in
Shiloh was to go up to worship the Lord (1Samuel 1:3). So they
arose that morning, worshiped the Lord and then went back
home. Today, we don't talk much about these kind of
pilgrimages. The Christians in earlier ages did perform
So husband and wife slept together and God indeed did hear
and it came
to pass, when the time was come about,
that Hannah conceived, and bare a son;
and she called his name Samuel,
saying, Because I have asked him of Jehovah.
(1 Samuel 1:20 - ASV)
Yes, the Lord hears the prayers of the humble soul who
puts his faith in him. Yes, he does. I cannot tell you the
times God has heard my prayers. Indeed, I got an answer to
one of mine (prayed with the group of insiders) on the day
I wrote this (which was back in late 2019).
Well, back to Samuel...
The name itself means 'heard of God'; Shema El (8085, 410 in Strong's
Hebrew Bible Dictionary). Hannah clearly did
remember from whom this blessing came and named her son
accordingly. Unlike so many who get something from the
Lord, Hannah did not forget her prayer nor her promise to
And the man
Elkanah, and all his house,
In the following year after the Lord heard Hannah's
prayer, the annual pilgrimage to Shiloh was to be made.
Clearly this was a pious house. But Hannah did not go by
reason of the infant. The last phrase in verse 21 'and his vow' is not clear.
There is no mention of any vow regarding the child in the
narrative made by Elkanah. But this may refer to the law
on women and vows found in the book of Numbers 30:3ff. Thus, the
vow to the Lord may have been obligatory on the husband. I
confess I am no expert on these nuances in
the Mosaic Law and make no claim to be. But my cursory
reading of the passage is that if the husband did not
repudiate the vow or remains silent regarding it, he is
bound by it.
went up to offer unto Jehovah the yearly sacrifice,
and his vow. But Hannah went not up;
for she said unto her husband,
I will not go up until the child be weaned;
and then I will bring him,
that he may appear before Jehovah,
and there abide for ever.
(1 Samuel 1:21-22 - ASV)
Hannah's unwillingness to go to Shiloh was not excuse
making. Her intention was to take him later and dedicate
him there to the Lord and there he should always serve the
We will continue our look at this wonderful book as God
1 Samuel Part 3
And her rival provoked her sore,
to make her fret, because Jehovah had shut up
And as he did so year by year, when she went up to
the house of Jehovah,
so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not
(1 Samuel 1:6-7 - ASV)
This is the result of Polygamy. There is always
going to be enmity. John Gill (1697-1771) in his
exposition of the Bible notes that this was the same thing
that happened to Socrates, who also had two wives. So
here, the barren wife was always being provoked by the
wife who could bear children. This provocation seems to be
more than just a few snide remarks, but the words used
here seem to indicate that she was loud and boisterous
with her complaints and taunts. The word for provoke is 3707 in Strong's Hebrew Bible
She may have been quite haughty and used violent words to
her. The description seems to indicate that they may have
had some heated quarrels. This went on for years, not days
or weeks. Hannah had borne these reproaches for a long,
long time. Hannah probably cried herself to sleep many
times and often would not even eat.
People can be so cruel. One can see the true spirit of
people when you give them a blessing or more particularly,
some money. You want to know what people can be? Give them
some money or some power or merely hold the promise of it
out if they do some kind of evil or treachery. You'll
often see the real person then. Here, Peninnah had a
blessing that the Lord had withheld from Hannah and rather
than just be thankful and kind; gentle and generous with
Hannah, there was this cold hearted taunting and
provoking. Instead of sympathy and kindness, Peninnah
showed contempt for the less fortunate.
Hannah suffered, but her travails did not go unnoticed by
her husband who truly loved her and did his best to
comfort her as in the following passage.
her husband said unto her, Hannah,
why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not?
and why is thy heart grieved?
am not I better to thee than ten sons?
(1 Samuel 1:8 - ASV)
Clearly these two shared a special love for one another
and Elkanah did not want her to fret. What the passage
seems to indicate is that Elkanah may not have been aware
of the deep animosity or perhaps, was only now becoming
aware of how deeply hurt Hannah was over the taunts of the
sharp tongued woman. It seems clear that what is happening
here is that Hannah had the special love of the husband
that Peninnah did not and this aroused her jealousy. So
she threw Hannah's barrenness in her face whenever she
could. The idea of the last stanza may be that to say that
no matter how many sons the other bore, his special love
for Hannah was not diminished.
This is a troubled, tumultuous household. But his can be
expected when someone departs from God's divine order. We
don't know why Elkanah decided to marry two wives. There
may have been a shortage of men in those days. Or, perhaps
slightly more likely is that Hannah was the first wife who
bore no son, so he married Peninnah in order to get a son
(not totally unlike Abraham). Then came marital/domestic
rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh,
We don't know the circumstances of her eating. It may have
been the daily meal for which she had finally partaken or
it could have been some kind of feast that was ongoing.
But whatever it was she did not stay long, she ate and
then decided to leave. She went to the House of the Lord
and Eli the Priest was there, sitting upon his seat. The
word for seat has the connotation of a throne or perhaps
seat of judgment.
and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest was
upon his seat by the door-post of the temple of
And she was in bitterness of soul,
and prayed unto Jehovah, and wept sore.
(1 Samuel 1:9-10 - ASV)
Who was Eli? He was a direct decedent of Aaron (via his
fourth son). He also appears to have acted both as Judge
in Israel and probably as High Priest. So here she is in
the tabernacle crying her eyes out before the Lord about
the way she had been treated. God hears the prayers of
those so afflicted and in trouble (see Psalms 50:15).
And she vowed
a vow, and said, O Jehovah of hosts,
Now, in NT times, vows for us are forbidden (Matthew 5:34). But back in
those days, they were not. They were a solemn pledge. Here
the vow is that Hannah would keep her end of an agreement
with God. She is making a promise to God that if he will
hear her prayer and grant her a son, she will in essence,
dedicate him to the Lord and his service.
if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of
and remember me, and not forget thy handmaid,
but wilt give unto thy handmaid a man-child,
then I will give him unto Jehovah all the days of
and there shall no razor come upon his head.
And it came to pass, as she continued praying before
that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in
her heart; o
nly her lips moved, but her voice was not heard:
therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be
put away thy wine from thee.
(1 Samuel 1:11-14 - ASV)
The idea of the razor not touching his head was to set him
apart as a Nazarite. These were special men who dedicated
a set period of time to a specific purpose for God,
usually not longer than 100 days (Eaton Bible
Dictionary). The laws concerning Nazarites can be
found in Numbers chapter six. They often set their
own time period for this service and during it, they would
not shave, thus marking them out. They were not hermits,
just dedicated to a purpose. The practice carried on long
after those days. Even in the Gospels (Luke 1:15) and the book of
Acts (21:23ff) we see
this custom still practiced.
Hannah here dedicates this potential son (she had not
received it yet and had to wait upon him by FAITH) to the
Lord's service for his whole life. This is unusual in that
these vows were usually not lifelong binding.
But during her prayer Eli was keeping an eye on her,
thinking she had been lingering at the wine bottle too
long and wandered into the temple in an unsanctified
fashion. He incorrectly rebukes her, not that he should
not have rebuked her if she had been drunken, but that he
made an assumption that he should not have. We should not
make negative assumptions about people. It's easy to do,
but often we can be dead wrong, as Eli was here.
We shall continue our look at Samuel as the Lord wills!!
1 Samuel Part 2
Now there was a
certain man of Ramathaim-zophim,
of the hill-country of Ephraim,
and his name was Elkanah,
the son of Jeroham, the son of
Elihu, the son of Tohu,
the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite:
(1 Samuel 1:1 - ASV)
Here begins the genealogy of Samuel and
a look at his family. Elkanah was his father and he is
said here to be from the Tribe Ephraim, but his ancestry
from Zuph would make him a Levite. Kiel and
Commentary on the Old Testament gives
a good background to this genealogy for those of you
interested. I will not bore you with it here. The name
of place Ramathaim-zophim means two high places
(Ramathim) where as Zophim means watchmen or watchers.
It was probably a location of two hills where men stood
watch against foreign invaders. But it could also mean
that it was a place of the prophets. Of note, the fact
that this book begins with the pronoun 'Now' (or 'and')
has led many to believe that this book in reality is a
continuation of the Book of Judges. Also of note is that
some seem to think that Samuel's father represents the
fifth generation of settlers that came out of Canaan.
This city is usually known as Ramah and is where Samuel
was born (Samuel 1:19-20
worked (Samuel 7:17
and died (Samuel 25:1
and he had
two wives; the name of the one was Hannah,
and the name of the other Peninnah:
and Peninnah had children,
but Hannah had no children.
(1 Samuel 1:2 - ASV)
Now on to Elkanah's marital situation. Polygamy was not
strictly forbidden (Deuteronomy
). But Abraham's experience should
tell us all that the practice is fraught with all manner
of trouble. Often it's the 'two against one'
Someone winds up out in the cold. The names of his wives
were Hannah and Peninnah. Hanna's name means favored
Peninnah's name means pearl
Verse two begins to describe the source of strife and
trouble in this polygamous arrangement, it was the fact
that one had children and the other did not. So while
Polygamy is certainly frowned upon today and is illegal
in most countries, back then it was practiced. We should
remember that there are passages in the NT that suggest
(though not necessarily proves) that some Christians may
have had more than one wife, but that this marital
situation precluded people from certain offices in the
Church (1Timothy 3:2; 3:12;
). Keep in mind that Paul
recommends that people remain in the situation where
they were called. (1Corinthians
). Understand here, I am not
endorsing polygamy in any way shape or form. I am only
saying that firm and incontrovertible scriptural
commands against it in any and all instances will be
difficult to find. My personal view is this - Marriage
is trouble (1Corinthians 7:28
polygamy... double trouble!!!
man went up out of his city from year to year
to worship and to sacrifice unto Jehovah of
hosts in Shiloh.
And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and
priests unto Jehovah, were there.
(1 Samuel 1:3 - ASV)
So Elkanah was a pious man. We don't know if he had any
office in the Priesthood, but what we do know is that he
was not like many others who worshiped other gods, but
he served the Lord. Shiloh was the place of worship
because this was where the Ark of the covenant was.
Males were to attend the major feast days of the Law (Deuteronomy 16:16
many probably did not do that. There was probably
considerable religious disorder in those days. In short,
most probably did not observe this requirement, but
Elkanah did, marking him out as a man who truly revered
Of note, the name of God Lord Of Hosts
for the first time in this passage. The term clearly is
a reference to an army or military numbers but some
think it also denotes his command over the hosts of
heaven as well. Such a meaning would have particular
significance to those who worshiped the hosts of heaven
as this title demonstrates that he is Lord over them as
well and should be the true object of worship and
The last part the verse introduces two priests of the
Lord and the name of their father, Eli. Eli's sons were
notorious as we will see as we move through the book.
And when the
day came that Elkanah sacrificed,
he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons
and her daughters, portions: but unto Hannah
he gave a double portion; for he loved Hannah,
but Jehovah had shut up her womb.
(1 Samuel 1:4-5 - ASV)
is about the offering to the Lord that he was making and
not about any inheritance. Elkanah was making this
offering in accordance with the old Law (Deuteronomy 16:10-11). He
gave to the Lord offerings regarding Peninnah and her
children, but with Hannah, he gave a 'worthy' one. Many
modern translations translate this a 'double portion'. The
double portion is clearly indicative of a very special
love he had for Hannah. But Hannah was barren. This
barrenness will be a key part of the next few verses of
the narrative so let's leave off here and continue on with
this in the next section.
I thought that I would begin a look at an old
time prophet who came long before the major and minor
prophets we have in the Old Testament. I am going to take
my time with this book like I did with Job.
I hope you get a lot out of it and remember this all of
you - God will fulfill his words, but he usually is
in no hurry to do so. We humans are the ones constantly in
a big hurry and impatient. God isn't. He see's the end
from the beginning. We do not. Let us always remember that
and wait patiently on our God. God has his own plans that
he often simply does not share with us fallen and sinful
This is a very
old book. It was written long before Rome was founded
but may have been complied later. The book is also
referred to by some as the first book of the Kings. It
covers the establishment of the monarchy and the acts
of her first king, Saul and David's rise to the
throne. But we call it the book of First Samuel
because he is one of the key people both in the book
and in the events therein.
not certain of the authorship. Because it contains the
events of his life, it may have been written by
Samuel. Some think so. But it may have been written by
Nathan the prophet as he is known to have written some
history of the Kings (see
Other theories exist that it may have been written by
Ezra or even Jeremiah. Though some have opined that
Jeremiah may have merely been a compiler. But this is
all conjecture. We don't know for sure who wrote it,
but it seems to me that the first part of the book
that dealt with Samuel's life, who was not a King, and
the fact that the book is largely a history of Kings -
this may lend some credence to his authorship, at
least the first several chapters. But I think that
Samuel's authorship or at least his strong influence
on perhaps an unknown writer is clear in that it shows
how Samuel was really a key instrument of God in the
formation of the Kingdom of Israel. His ministry marks
a transition from the times of the Judges to the times
of the Kings. Samuel is considered the last of
Israel's Judges, who was preceded by Eli of whom we
will talk about in the parts of the book that deal
life of the ministry of the Judge/Prophet Samuel is
the important spiritual and religious transition of
Israel described in the book, from a tribal state with
judges set up over them to one of a monarchy. This is
a very important transition for reasons that will
become apparent. Israel - God's vision of Israel, was
that she was to be a nation of citizens who were close
to God and served him. In short, he wanted them to be
a kingdom of priests (Exodus
in their lust to be like the world around them, they
wanted a King.
But the book is a fascinating read in
that it's history is rich with faith, tragedy,
disobedience, hope, despair, war, hero's, villains and
much more, given to us in a rich prose that is not only
spiritually enlightening, but also quite engrossing and
dramatic. The story moves quickly but is detailed enough
where the narrative is clear but it never gets bogged down
in too much detail, (though my comments may at times!).
So on that note, we will start to look at this book
probably next week. I will try and have an update for you
on it (most) every week as we move through the rest of the
In loving and humble service to the Living God and his son
Job Conclusion Part II
We will finish up the study in Job today with a
final look at suffering.
Some commentators have stated that one thing that Job
seemed to have been lacking in his character was that
until the Lord spoke to him face to face, he simply had
not fully submitted to the will of the Almighty, whatever
that will may be. We must not be too hard on Job as the
religious thought and theology of those days was very
rudimentary, as we saw in the lengthy debate in the text.
They all thought that if you did right, good came your
way, without exception. The whole idea that God would
allow such evil to befall Job not because he was evil, but
in essence because he was righteous and good was
beyond their theological understanding. Nor could they
comprehend a key principle that we in the New Testament
era probably take somewhat for granted.
And we know
that to them that love God
all things work together for good,
even to them that are called
according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 - ASV)
all things including sufferings; they work together
for our good. But as with all promises like this,
there is a condition. In order for such things, even
the troubles we endure to work for our good we have to
love God, and be called according to God's purpose. So
this does not hold true to the lost and those who know
not God. In short, God allows these things into our
lives to test us, mold us, guide us, help us and teach
But Job was deeply beloved of God so this trial taught
him some important lessons. Not least of which
according to some commentators, the character trait of
submission to God's will, even if we don't like the
situation we are in or must suffer. If belong to him,
God is in it. He was involved in Job's ordeal and
allowed it. Job thought God had forsaken him and
without any cause was punishing him. He could not have
been more wrong.
This is the fallacy of looking at
things the way they appear to the natural mind and our
human eyes. As we saw in Job, there is a spiritual
world which our natural mind cannot see or comprehend
but deeply effects our lives. It was Satan's
accusation that brought on Job's troubles and Job was
utterly unaware of the controversy that took place in
heaven. This is often how things go for us down here.
But we must remember that we as saints, are involved
in spiritual battle with the Lord's enemies and like
any warrior, he is going to have to fight and take a
few 'hits' from time to time. There is no way around
it if you are in the thick of battle.
Paul lays this theme out again and
again in his letters. Paul was no stranger to
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;
who comforteth us in all our affliction,
that we may be able to comfort them
that are in any affliction, through the comfort
wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto
even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ.
But whether we are afflicted,
it is for your comfort and salvation;
or whether we are comforted, it is for your
which worketh in the patient enduring
of the same sufferings which we also suffer:
and our hope for you is stedfast; knowing that,
as ye are partakers of the sufferings,
so also are ye of the comfort.
For we would not have you ignorant,
brethren, concerning our affliction
which befell us in Asia, that we were
weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power,
insomuch that we despaired even of life:
yea, we ourselves have had
the sentence of death within ourselves,
that we should not trust in ourselves,
but in God who raiseth the dead:
who delivered us out of so great a death,
and will deliver: on whom we have set
our hope that he will also still deliver us;
ye also helping together on our behalf
by your supplication; that, for the gift
bestowed upon us by means of many,
thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf.
(II Corinthians 1:3-11 - ASV)
Paul knew what it was to suffer
and face death. He faced it many times. He also knew
despair. But Paul knew his God and the path he had set
him on and he was by no means ever going back. He
pressed forward in full confidence in the God who
raised Christ from the dead.
Yes, this is all New Testament.
Job and his friends did not understand these things.
But we do.
But suffering is hard. But as hard as it is, God wants
us to as much as we can, be joyful in difficult times.
Count it all joy, my brethren,
when ye fall into manifold temptations;
Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh
And let patience have its perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in
But if any of you lacketh wisdom,
let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally
and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him.
(James 1:2-5 - ASV)
word translated temptations can mean a trial or
adversity or temptation. James is telling us to count
it joy. How did the early Church look at persecution?
They were doing God's work, but had to stand trial for
their actions and were beaten for it.
him they agreed:
and when they had called the apostles unto
they beat them and charged them
not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them
They therefore departed from
the presence of the council, rejoicing
that they were counted worthy to suffer
for the Name. And every day,
in the temple and at home,
they ceased not to teach and
to preach Jesus as the Christ.
(Acts 5:40-42 - ASV)
Yes, it can be hard to rejoice in
such circumstances, particularly when your back is
covered in bruises and welts, but this is what the
early Church did when facing persecution and hardship.
Job's story is one of faith, endurance but also one of
human failings and God's ultimate mercy to those who
keep faith with him. Job was not ever, ever going to
forsake his God. No matter how confused and hurt he
was during his trial, he was going to maintain his
confidence in God.
This to me is the key message of Job. We don't
understand why things are the way they are. Why am I
writing on the internet like this? I don't
particularly like it, but it is what I have been
commanded to do. God has had my back through many
trials and attacks against me and this very humble
ministry. There are times when God just wants us to
wait on him in very difficult circumstances. This is
what Job had to do and thus we have the phrase
'patience of Job'. Waiting like this can be very
difficult and in and of itself, can be a serious trial
of our faith.
Some of you have lost jobs, incomes, been dissed by
your families, hated, mistreated at work, mocked by
your Church buddies, have to deal with health issues,
family issues, financial issues. Sometimes these
things last a long time, longer than we want or
expected. Remember Job. Sometimes, all
God really wants to do is to get us to be totally
dependent on him. It's a lesson that was and is
hardest for me for I love independence and freedom.
Having to rely totally on anyone for anything is
contrary to this part of my nature. But God has had to
teach me humility in this and to depend totally on
him. I can tell you this - sooner or later, he will
one day teach it to you as well, if you are to be of
any use to him.
So let us remember Job and how he suffered but also
remember why he suffered (the devil) and that
God allowed it and that God, after having taught Job a
thing or two (like submission and humility), blessed
him twice as much again. Why? Because he loved and
respected his servant Job.
I exhort you all to aspire to be that kind of servant,
one that God loves and respects. A person who can
honestly be called in the corridors of Heaven, the Friend
Friends will go the second mile for one another. This
is what Job's faith demonstrated during a trial for
which he was utterly confounded as to the reason for
it. He stood by his God.
Can you do that? Will you?
Time will tell, though I think many of you will pass
with flying colors and stand before God with great
shouts of joy and thanksgiving on the day of our
Salvation and look at the trouble we had to endure as
very light compared to what God has in store for all
who love him.
Here ends this commentary on the book of Job.
Job Conclusion - Part I
that exposition took a very long time and I am
sure many of you may not have gotten much out of it. I
did. It had been many years since I studied that book
with any depth. I discovered many nuances about the
book that I had either not known or had long
forgotten, while doing this study.
One thing I will never forget. When going though the
most difficult trial of my life years and years ago, Job 13:15 (as
read in the KJV) was the verse that kept me going. It
is the passage that any saint who is facing serious
trial and even death should never forget. That even if
the Lord should require our lives, we must continue to
put our trust in him.
In the New Testament, this thinking is laid out for us
(Revelation 2:10; 12:11). But
in the times of the Old Testament and before, which is
when this book was almost certainly written, such a
sentiment was not well known. As we moved through the
book we saw the simplistic theology of Job's friends
and their refusal to face facts on suffering,
prosperity and poverty that stared them in the face.
No, the wicked are not always punished in this life
and no, the righteous are not always rewarded. Job
knew he was innocent of any crime that could have
caused him to deserve his fate, but could not convince
his friends. He only had his confidence in God to
There may come a time in our lives when we are faced
with similar circumstances. How do you think that
foreign pastor feels when he is given a heavy sentence
for preaching the gospel? When these things happen,
sometimes the sheep scatter and the shepherd is left
all alone. How does one deal with this? Or with those
who are in the Church who begin to mutter harsh things
against such a pastor and begin to malign and slander
him for being a 'criminal' while he sits in chains for
serving the Lord? Like Job, such a pastor is being
punished by the devils ministers for doing right. For
Job, he too was being punished by the devil and his
ministers for doing right - serving God and pleasing
him. This is the way the devil operates. He will
reward those who do great wickedness and punish those
who do right. Look at the rewards that organized
criminals have. The money, the mansions, yachts, sexy
women and other toys the devil lays out for his
children. Herein lies a major fallacy in much of
today's western religiosity and prosperity teachings.
We tend to measure the success of a pastor by the size
of his Church, the amount of money in the Church
coffers and the number of attractive, wealthy people
he can get into his pews on Sundays. We measure things
materially - not spiritually. We can all be somewhat
guilty of this. You can almost hear the
thinking..."He doesn't have a big new car and runs
that old ramshackle church on the wrong side of
town. He must be 'off' in his doctrine". We make
a horrible mistake when we look at the material goods
as a measure of a man's godliness. It is the same
basic mistake that Job's friends made. They saw Job's
circumstances and immediately assumed he had committed
some horrible sin.
Let us keep in mind that the Lord gave Satan a free
hand to deal with Job to see if he would curse God.
All the horrors that Satan could conjure up were
thrown at Job and even in this most horrible
affliction, he maintained his faith and kept his walk
with God. What Job endured and the way he came through
it, shows a remarkable man of God. God was correct
when he praised Job so, in the court of heaven! This
in many ways was a test of Jobs faithfulness. His
motivation for serving God and his faithfulness.
Another word for this kind of faithfulness is loyalty.
God was testing Job's loyalty. Now let me ask you this
- are you loyal to God and Christ Jesus? Will you
withstand your trial or do like Peter did when he
denied the Lord (Matthew
26:34)? Who is it that is with Christ
at the end of this age? What words are used to
describe them (Revelation
17:14)? Look at it like this. God is
looking for people he can depend on to assist him in
running things once the devil is locked up and his
followers/assistants are sent packing. He wants to see
who he can trust. Will you be among them, or will you
be like those angels who turned and later rebelled
against God? The simple question is - can he trust
I think another important thing we can also take away
from Job is this - when we suffer, we often have to do
it alone. Those around us can be hindrances. Job's
wife who exhorted him to curse God and die and his
friends whose accusatory tongue he had to deal with
for the weeks or months of his ordeal - they were no
help to him, "...Miserable
comforters are ye all." (Job 16:2b)
We have all heard the saying
'grace under pressure'. That is what Job displayed and
something we must all strive for as well. That when
trials come we must be ready to endure sufferings as
Job did, patiently, in faith and a determination to
stand with God, no matter what. Can you do
that? This is going to be a lesson that we may all
have to ask ourselves as the system of Antichrist
rises and persecution becomes more significant in our
world. Many in far off nations understand this. We
Americans? Most of us do not. Perhaps in a book level
understanding, but not in a 'fires of trial'
level of understanding. As this new system continues
to rise before our eyes, however we may all obtain a
healthy dose of both levels of understanding.
One thing I have learned to do when under trial is to
detach myself as much as I can from my temporal
circumstances. I try and move my mind into positive
things, peaceful things and hopeful things. Here I
find Paul's advice to be most telling.
And the peace
of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be
and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(Philippians 4:7-8 - ASV)
This helps. Be positive, even in
midst of your trials. I try hard not to dwell on my
problems, no matter how hard they are. Try and keep
your mind free from the worries of your particular
trial. Another thing? I try my best to stay way from
negative people. Folks who are always negative,
critical, argumentative and hateful. When I see them
coming, I try and make sure they don't see me as I
head in the other direction!
Now some of these things are much harder to do if one
is in prison or in serious pain. But for many of us,
the other trials we must deal with, these things can
be done and often help refocus the mind back on God,
the source of our strength, rather than the trials we
I find that we must often make our face like flint (Isaiah 50:7) and
despite all the 'slings and arrows of outrageous
fortune' that we must endure (as Shakespeare put
it), we must push forward toward our goal in Christ.
Yes, our inheritance in God. What did God say
to his friend, Abram (for his name was not yet
After these things the word of
It is God
himself who is our reward, to be welcomed into his
family as one of his sons - that should be our primary
goal and what we need to focus on when we are going
through the fires. What we have to endure down here in
this present age is not worthy of comparison for what
God has in store for us.
came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not,
I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great
(Genesis 15:1 - ASV)
For I reckon
that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed to us-ward.
(Romans 8:18 - ASV)
let none of us ever forget that our Lord showed us the
path to life is not strewn with roses and flower
petals, but that it is marked with sacrifice and yes,
But we behold
him who hath been made
a little lower than the angels, even Jesus,
because of the suffering of death crowned
with glory and honor, that by the grace of God
he should taste of death for every man.
For it became him, for whom are all things,
and through whom are all things, in bringing
many sons unto glory, to make the author
of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
(Hebrews 2:9-10 - ASV)
Yes, brothers, the book of
Job is certainly for us today. While it is one of the
oldest books known to man, it is still very relevant
for us today. Particularly for us Christians who live
in this age, where more and more of us must suffer for
We will look at the final part of the conclusion to
Job next week, God willing!
For the body is
not one member, but many.
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand,
I am not of the body; it is not therefore
not of the body. And if the ear shall say,
Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body;
it is not therefore not of the body.
If the whole body were an eye,
where were the hearing?
If the whole were hearing,
where were the smelling?
But now hath God set the members
each one of them in the body,
even as it pleased him.
(1 Corinthians 12:14-18 - ASV)
Let us look at something that we all who know the Lord
should be asking ourselves from time to time. What is my
place in Christ? What is my job in the body and in the
It is easy to get down and a little depressed because we
are not all 'great men of God', duly praised by the
corporate Christians and Social Media storms. We can
perhaps feel a little useless if we are not the big 'rock
star' whose name is bantered about the media as some
'Christian light' and not getting the praise and attention
they do. It is easy to wonder why we have not been chosen
to be a big name pastor or evangelist; a famous musician
or famous humanitarian, parading our 'good works' for all
to see. It is easy to feel kind of insignificant and even,
well... useless to God.
But we should never feel that if we are indeed walking
with Christ. Fame and a million Social Media followers
does not make a true man or woman of God. A Christian
'idol'? Yes, in many cases. But it is hardly proof of a
man who has been born again, broken and is in the process
of being remade into the image of Christ - who was
exceptionally humble. Such true men of God know the value
of true humility and don't seek fame for fame's sake. They
seek Christ for Christ's sake. This brothers and sisters,
is a tell tale sign of those who are in the public eye who
are really Christ's or those who are just in it for
themselves or for the 'others' they are secretly working
for - a major problem in Christendom today.
But we must not let fame and fortune, the masses pointing
and telling each other what a 'wonderful' person that
person is to become our guide. Such things happening
to us quite frankly, is not a very good sign.
Woe unto you,
when all men shall speak well of you!
for in the same manner did their fathers
to the false prophets.
(Luke 6:26 - ASV)
Let us be careful and never let ourselves become 'fame
The better way to go is to find out what God wants us to
do, find out where he needs us and then go there and do
Let us say that you are a talented Christian musician and
singer. I mean you are really good, and famous musicians
and agents have told you as much. You have been offered a
major contract with a label and all the marketing and
support those people can offer to launch your career. Yet
God wants you out on the mission field. He tells you to
forsake your dreams of fame and fortune and to go and
preach the gospel in the Congo. What is that person going
to do? This is the kind of test the Lord will often place
before those who really want to serve him. It is really in
some ways, a test of motivation. What are you placing
first, your career and your future as a major 'Christian'
artist or God and his kingdom?
Does the world really need yet another 'Christian'
singer/pop star making records today? I would say that it
needs another one like a person needs a third hand or a 6th toe on each foot. So one
has to ask oneself what is their real motivation for
seeking such a career? I say this not to denigrate artists
and those people who are famous that God has called to
such things, but to show you the mentality and outlook
that we must all take if we are to be of any use to God
and his kingdom. We have to put him first and as often as
not, it will entail some kind of sacrifice on our part -
away from self and towards Christ. We must not love
ourselves more than our place in Christ and we must not
love this world, its pomp or glory or the trinkets the
devil will surely put in our path that would lead us away
from our mission in Christ.
One thing the Lord has been speaking to me about privately
is that I need never concern myself with what others think
about me. Not friends, not family - not anyone but God
and to a lesser degree, what other true believers in
Christ think. This is so important particularly in these
times where such contempt for the gospel and Christians is
growing, we just have to cease concerning ourselves about
what the world thinks about us. I would go so far as to
say this - if the world, lost souls, unsaved family and
associates all think you are wonderful and great, you are
probably on very shaky ground, spiritually. Let me ask you
this, could a real Christian have been acceptable to the
residents of Sodom? Were they praised when they lived in
Nazi Germany? No. So as our world now is more and more
taking its moral cues from the spirits of darkness, let us
consider carefully whom we should please - God or man; the
God of all things or the King of Sodom; Jesus Christ or a
future Adolph Hitler? These are key questions because I
don't see the world getting any better, spiritually or
morally speaking, but worse... much worse.
So what is your place in Christ? Are you chosen to be a
deacon? A pastor? A prophet? An interpreter of tongues? A
missionary? An evangelist? A scribe? How is God using you?
How will he use you in the future? You may be little more
than the forgotten pastors assistant today, but if you are
faithful, you may find yourself standing before the God of
all things being given a special charge from God, as Moses
was. Or be called to be a prophet like Samuel or Elijah;
or be called to lead a nation not yet created for God's
people in these end times. I don't know where your job is
and I don't know where God will eventually lead me. But
this I know, what he has given me to do today, that I will
do. The rest will be revealed due course.
May God bless and keep each of you in Christ and guide
each of you into the ministry that best serves his
One would have hoped that during this time of
conflict and war, that the Church could be a real
instrument for healing, peace and some kind of
reconciliation. But sad fact is, that the seeds of this
current war could be seen germinating in the Church a few
years back. There was a schism, many of you may remember
back in 2018, involving Ukrainian Church and the Russian
Orthodox Church. For those wanting a quick take on this,
Wikipedia's entry is pretty good (2018
One could see a serious problem back then. I won't get
into the politics of all of this. Rather, what I do want
to say today is that what I see is a very serious problem
with what calls itself Christianity today. It's a problem
that has been with the Church for a very long time. In my
perusals into history, I do like to look into the history
of Byzantium. This is where Orthodoxy really comes from,
the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. As you all know,
there as a much earlier schism between east and west long
ago. The Eastern Church refused to be ruled by the Pope in
Rome (the West), the two excommunicated each other and the
schism continues to this very day, though the mutual
anathema's were reversed back in the 1960's. Nevertheless,
the split remains. This is known as The Great Schism.
Even within the Church in Russia, there a serious crisis
brewing within it.
One of the big problems today in my humble view is that
the Church, or what calls itself the Church is too tied in
with the temporal political order. This is very true in
Russia, where the Orthodox Church has long been closely
tied in with the Government. This was true during both the
Czarist era as well as the days of the old Soviet Union.
Many of the priests were really spies for the government.
Just before the Bolshevik revolution, a Father G. A. Gapon
(1870-1906) was a very popular working class hero,
but it turned out that his movement was heavily influenced
by the Russian secret police. The Church in Eastern Europe
during the communist era has a long history of this kind
of thing. But truth be told, such things are not
completely unheard of here in the west. The Church is a
power in any society and consequently those who run state
security will often have their eyes on the Church and any
religious group, person or entity that they cannot
control, intimidate or otherwise co-opt.
Look at how China is dealing with Christians. Look at some
of the things going on in Russia to Christians who worship
outside of the State approved Orthodox Church. Great
change can be fomented with religion. But we must not
mistake temporal political change wrought by the
administrative Church for God's will. The Church may claim
to speak for God, but I think we all can see in our times,
that this is not often the case, much of the Church having
lost its spiritual way.
I have long seen much of the modern Church and its
administrative, political, and financial structures as
being probably the greatest impediment to many believers
being able to act in concert with God and the Holy Spirit,
rather than the passing political whims of the temporal
state and the temporal desires of religious leaders. I
think this has been a key problem with the Church since
the days of ancient Rome and Christianity's general
acceptance in Roman society. As time passed, a high office
in the Church could be a path to weave ones way into
political power. A low born person could move up the
hierarchy, get some influence and as you all know, the
Church became very rich in the Dark and Middle ages as
well as during the Renaissance. Religion was big business.
Need I remind you of the splendid wealth some Churchmen
possessed back in those days?
But you see, I think a key missing ingredient the Church
has today is independence from temporal state affairs.
Mind you, it cannot ignore key issues going on around it,
but it should do so with an eye towards the Kingdom of
Heaven and the will of God, not the desires or dictates of
the State. Christ was very clear that he called us out of
this world. Yet much of the Church too often appears to be
not just too close to the world, but married to it. It is
supposed to be the future bride of Christ and instead,
spiritually speaking - parts of it are 'available' for
I think this is why there are some of these schisms. The
Churches in a great many places are just too close to the
state, so they follow state policy - consciously and
unconsciously - rather than building up the brotherhood in
Christ for his kingdom, they too often build up
the state, often for godless activities.
But not all schisms are bad. When a body of believers
decide to leave a denomination because of key doctrinal
issues based solidly on scripture, and wish to hold onto
scripture, this is not a bad thing. For we Christians are
duty and honor bound to serve God first, not the
Church first. Churches are run by men and men are often
mistaken, corrupted, compromised or just plain evil.
Now back in the Middle ages, ordinary people could be
excused for following the Church when it went in the wrong
direction. Why? Because there were no Bibles in the hands
of people. Only the Church and its priesthood had the
Bible. The people had to rely on Church interpretation of
scripture. This put tremendous power in the hands of the
Church to interpret or deliberately misinterpret
things in order to serve the state, the king or the
emperor. In return for the favor of the Church, the state
rewarded the Church with wealth and power.
But today, the Bible is translated into most, but not
every language. People can read the scriptures for
themselves. Men and women who have been born again and
have the Holy Spirit within them (probably not
such a great number today) can read the Bible, get
guidance and use their discernment as to what is right and
what is not and if their Church is really doing God's work
More importantly with this great gift of being able to
read the scriptures, comes greater responsibility. We
cannot claim ignorance when the Church goes off the rails
and we continue to condone those actions by silence or by
continuing membership in a Church that no longer follows
the commands of Christ; or is more concerned about its
status within the state, than its status with God.
So these days, I don't see many Church leaders as being
true representatives of Christ or God, but many rather
being state sponsored interlopers who have interjected
themselves for the advantage of state or self-centered
So where are the true apostles, the true workmen, those
who are truly dedicated, not to their respective nations,
racial groups, or social-cultural subsets, but rather are
dedicated to God, Christ Jesus and his work? How did Jude
put this most important theme? Contending, not for the
state, but for the faith.
while I was giving
all diligence to write unto you
of our common salvation,
I was constrained to write unto you
exhorting you to contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for
all delivered unto the saints.
(Jude 1:3 - ASV)
These are times when there are various ways some men
within the Church are departing from the faith, the basic
and fundamental faith delivered to us by the Apostles. Not
just on points of doctrine, but I think also in
fundamental priorities. Serving God, Christ and spreading
the true gospel as delivered by the Apostles, living
righteous and humble lives - these things should be
priority number one. But since the days of Ancient Rome,
those priorities have been slowly eclipsed by the things
of this world. In short, I just think too many Churchmen
are in love with this world, rather than the Kingdom of
Love not the
So where do I think the real root of many of these schisms
come from? Men who have other priorities than Christ.
Often, they just want more power for themselves or more of
this world's pomp, wealth and glory.
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh
and the lust of the eyes
and the vainglory of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away,
and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.
(1 John 2:15-17 - ASV)
So brothers, I write this piece today so that we are not
shocked at many of the schisms that are taking place
within the Church. In the end, there will be two groups -
those that serve Christ and do his will and commandments
and those that do not. The name 'Church' won't mean a
thing. There will be Saint's and Ain'ts.
Let you and I make sure we are Saint's because only the
Saints are going into the Kingdom.
The others, ain't.
they that wash their robes,
that they may have the right to come to the
tree of life,
and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers,
and the fornicators, and the murderers,
and the idolaters, and every one that loveth
and maketh a lie.
(Revelation 22:14-15 - ASV)
Seal Number Three
And when he
opened the third seal,
God's grace and peace be upon you all who are reading this
and who truly serve the Lord.
I heard the third living creature saying,
Come. And I saw, and behold, a black horse;
and he that sat thereon had a balance
in his hand. And I heard as it were
a voice in the midst of the four
living creatures saying,
A measure of wheat for a shilling,
and three measures of barley for a shilling;
and the oil and the wine hurt thou not.
(Revelation 6:5-6 - ASV)
I am sure you have all been following the news and
consequently. I will not burden you with repeating what
you already or should already know. Things have not yet
gone, but seem on a very serious trajectory to spinning
out of control.
But let us look at the above passage. We see what
is in store for the world when the seven seals are opened.
What is listed above is the opening of the 3rd seal. Now before I begin
I am not at all saying that this seal has been
opened. What I am saying is that sky high food prices will
be a key factor in the last days.
Let us look at a couple of things here. First the color of
the horse is Black. This color is often used to signify
calamity (see Lamentations 5:10;
Jeremiah 14:2; Ezekiel 32:7, etc). Clearly
what is going on is a major famine and it probably is the
direct result of the previous seals/horses - conquest and
war. Again, it is not my intention to impute this passage
to events now transpiring, but I suspect we are close
enough to those seals being opened up that we need to take
note of what saith the scriptures for the last
The prophetic imagery above shows that food is
being measured. This may very well indicate some kind of
food rationing (a balance). People only get one
quart of wheat for a days wage. What about the other
necessities of life? Exactly... what about them how can
people get by when all they earn just goes for food? This
is a time of bare sustenance existence. Something has
happened to make this come to pass and the order of the
seals indicates (but does not necessarily prove) it is
I have been scanning articles on the web and come
away with a real concern being echoed in the world's power
centers for not just a serious rise in the price of key
agricultural commodities (wheat, fertilizer, etc) but also
that this kind of price rise could lead to unrest and
perhaps even a new spate of turmoil in poorer nations by a
genuinely angry populace seeking enough to eat at prices
they can reasonably afford.
I have been reading about how some US farmers are
scrambling for fertilizer. The fertilizer issue existed
before the current crisis and now will only worsen. Do
your own news searches on the topic and see what you find.
Things are not good right now on the food front... this before
the current crisis. Head on over to the Food Security
Cluster and read their reports on Haiti, Yemen, etc.
Go over to the Famine Early Warning System and
read about the situation in Ethiopia
and parts of Nigeria,
to name a couple.
This is nothing many of you don't already know. Food
prices are going to rise unless some solution is found and
I don't see one on the horizon; not even close. This will
deeply effect the poorest and most vulnerable. Famine in
Afghanistan? Well, perhaps not yet, but there are warnings
about it. The UN Secretary General told the world recently
that millions are still at risk in Afghanistan, according
to news reports. Thanks to donors, a catastrophe was
averted, but the deeper problems remain and will surely
rear their head once again soon.
Also on the food and famine front is a warning no one
should ignore. The chairman of one European chemical
company warned the west what could very well happen to the
German economy. Already, according to the articles I read,
that company has already reduced the production of
fertilizer. This is not a good thing. He warned of an
economic catastrophe and compared it to the end of WW2.
Brothers and sisters, these are some difficult times and
this crisis is going to cause a lot of problems all over
the world. Many of those problems may be things that hit
people out of the blue. They just won't realize how much
their jobs and livelihoods are going to be vulnerable to
the economic backlash heading their way. It could get very
ugly, particularly in Europe. Think about things like
Diesel. Most trucks use it. How does food get from A to B?
I will tell you. Trucks. I read a story recently that
talks about the possibility of rationing diesel fuel. This
could be devastating on jobs, production and yes food
Well, all I can say is this. We need to keep our eyes open
on this whole affair. Things have been bad in some parts
of the world, but look to worsen considerably. For we who
live in the US, it is not time to hit the 'panic button',
but for those who live in places around the world already
food insecure... well, let us pray accordingly.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I think God has been most
patient over many long years as the western world
continued its spiritual and moral descent and mostly for
the sake of his many saints who live within those borders.
I don't think he will sit still much longer without some
kind of real chastisement; Covid-19 being I think a
preliminary kind of attention getter for the world. This
is why I think we saints who live in these times and
within the US and west need to make sure that we are doing
what God would have us do, so that our names are written
down in that book of remembrance (see Malachi 3:16) I mentioned
the other day (for insiders) - so that the Angel of the
Lord, who bears the Lord's sword and shield can protect us
from those who would do us harm. We do not know what the
Lord has planned for the US, Russia, Ukraine; Eastern and
Western Europe or the rest of the world. But the 'sin
meter' and 'wickedness scales' in many places are reading
into the red zone, so let us be wise and take heed.
Brothers, what this nation needs is a spiritual awakening,
followed by sincere repentance. But I don't see that
happening until the discomfort level rises most
significantly in the US. Yes, we as a nation need to
repent. I read a little piece over at the Christian
Post about John Perkins, the Christian minister and
Civil Rights activist - he has a message for America. You
may want to check it out.
God bless and keep you all in Christ!
FYI - We will
probably continue our look at the Book of Job, later
this month, God willing!.
These are opinions and comments often based
on fast moving events. Things change and so
can the information as well as the basic
narrative. Please make allowances for
inadvertent errors, omissions and/or a basic
change in the facts as presented in the
major and alternative media on which these
comments are based.
Additionally, this is not any
kind of professional medical, investment,
financial or any other kind of advice and
should not be construed as or acted upon as
Spirit lifted me up,
and brought me unto the east gate
of Jehovah's house, which looketh eastward:
and behold, at the door of the gate
five and twenty men; and I saw in the midst
of them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur,
and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah,
princes of the people.
And he said
unto me, Son of man,
these are the men that devise iniquity,
and that give wicked counsel in this city; that
The time is not near to build houses: this city
is the caldron,
and we are the flesh.
11:1-3 - ASV)
The prophets were having a hard time getting the people
to believe and prepare for what God had in store for
them. Some of the reasons for this were false prophets
and evil counselors among the people. The prophets were
saying one thing and the evil advisors; those who
carried what we will call 'the Devil's narrative',
said another. People by and large, when they are in a
reprobate spiritual state, listen to the devil. This
passage is very interesting as it is part of a larger
vision of Ezekiel's vision of the Glory of the Lord and
the cherubim (chapter 10).
This word appears to be broadly addressed to the
militarists in Israel, the super-patriots - the kind of
folks who are always calling for war, if I can use a
modern analogy. The idea seems to be that they believed
that city was militarily impregnable and that God was
with them... he would not let the city fall.
This was the opposite of what God's true prophets were
warning the people. The reference to the caldron appears
to be an oblique reference to what Jeremiah said in his
prophecies (Jeremiah 1:13).
The idea was that like food that is boiled in a pot they
would not leave the city until they died. These men may
have seen themselves as we kind of now look back at the
Alamo. But unlike the Alamo, these were people whom God
had pronounced a weighty and most unpleasant judgment
upon. They were going to build houses and live securely
despite what the 'doom and gloom' prophets told them...
or so they thought. Only unlike the movies, there would
be no calvary charging in that will bring overall
victory to the cause. God had other plans and he was
going to carry them out.
prophesy against them,
prophesy, O son of man. And
of Jehovah fell upon me,
and he said unto me, Speak,
Thus saith Jehovah: Thus have
O house of Israel; for I know
that come into your mind. Ye
your slain in this city, and
filled the streets thereof
with the slain.
Therefore thus saith the Lord
Your slain whom ye have laid
in the midst of it,
they are the flesh, and this
city is the caldron;
but ye shall be brought forth
out of the midst of it.
Ye have feared the sword;
and I will bring the sword
saith the Lord Jehovah.
(Ezekiel 11:4-8 - ASV)
God had other plans for this wayward and
wicked people. When God has had enough, he has had
enough. They had their plans, but God knew them all. God
calls them out over all the innocent people they killed;
God's prophets they killed... God remembered. He was not
going to forget... this was an outstanding 'account'
that God was getting ready to collect upon... and as is
noted in Chapter 10, this particular action was
particularly noteworthy for the glory of the Lord had
arrived on the scene. I just don't think the Israelite's
knew just how angry God was with them, though he had
warned them time and time again.
Have you ever been around someone who never listens and
never learns? Who is so contrary they almost seem
learning disabled? People
whom it seems that the only way they ever seem to learn
is when serious misfortune or near unendurable pain hits
them? For example - you tell them over and over again to
drive more carefully. They don't listen and then one day
they are laid up in the hospital all cut up and may not
ever walk again after an accident in which they were
fully at fault. Ever known anyone like that? I have.
Watching their behavior would make a good comedy movie
were not the results of their hardheadedness often so
tragic. They not only won't learn, they simply and
stubbornly refuse to.
This was the state Israel was in. Warning was not going
to help. God had sent enough of this prophets to warn
them. So, God had a different school to send his people
to - we will call it the school of the unholy
sepulcher... the place where the spiritually unfit
and the morally recalcitrant get taught their final
lesson... that does not do them a bit of good after
having 'learned' it - their 'diploma' is engraved on
Would not listen
would not learn,
so my new instructor
is named the worm.
worm dieth not,
and the fire is not quenched.
(Mark 9:48 - ASV)
They were afraid of war. Well, now God has pronounced
the judgment of war upon them. Brothers, war can be a
horrible judgment. I was listening a bit last night
about the last days of the Civil War and General's
Sherman's march to the sea. In it the author recalls
Sherman's words 'war is hell'. He is right and the
longer quotations (easily found on the net) are most
worthy of the read. Wikiquotes has a page that can
be found by searching on Letter To the City of
Atlanta Sherman 1864 wikiquotes
that letter to Atlanta on that page.
Many people don't understand that, except via the images
we see on TV, which often are very heavily censored.
those in the Army, Marines
and Special Forces - who served in battle - they know
what war is. Those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and
other unnamed places in combat... they know that war is
nothing to be played with. They can tell you stories...
if you can drag them out of them of friends who were
standing next to them one minute cracking jokes and the
next minute parts of them were scatted all over the
battlefield. They can tell you of rape, people shrieking
and groaning in pain with wounds that would make most
people's stomach turn just looking at them; of murder,
children running screaming for pain and loss... I could
go on and on.
Today in the western world... this new generation... I
don't think really understand this... not really. Far
too many think war is a new show they can watch on cable
news or a new video game and often don't factor in the
enormous suffering war brings on others. In short, to
them war... it is something that happens to other
people. But when war comes close to home, it's a
different story and this is what was getting ready to
happen in Israel. Those who remained there could talk
proud, make patriotic noises, beat their chests in
defiance and arrogance, but war was coming and their
defeat was guaranteed. So to anyone anywhere who is
calling for war let me say this.... be careful what you
wish for, you just may get it... right on your front
doorstep and not live long enough to realize what a
horrible mistake you made when calling for war in the
first place. War is hell.
And I will
bring you forth
out of the midst thereof,
and deliver you into the hands of strangers,
and will execute judgments among you.
(Ezekiel 11:9 - ASV)
They said they were in a 'cauldron'. Well God was going
to pluck them right out of it and then execute judgment
upon them for their sins. God knew their plans and their
fall by the sword;
I will judge you in the
border of Israel;
and ye shall know that I am
This city shall not be your
neither shall ye be the flesh
in the midst thereof;
I will judge you in the
border of Israel;
and ye shall know that I am
for ye have not walked in my
neither have ye executed mine
but have done after the
of the nations that are round
(Ezekiel 11:10-12 - ASV)
These words are self explanatory. They had their plans,
and God had his. They refused to walk in the way God
commanded when he gave Israel the land, so now it was
time for them to be ejected from it. They refused to
listen to God and his prophets and instead followed
after the ways of the heathen.
And it came
when I prophesied, that
the son of Benaiah died. Then
fell I down
upon my face, and cried with
a loud voice,
and said, Ah Lord Jehovah!
wilt thou make a full end
of the remnant of Israel?
(Ezekiel 11:13 - ASV)
Pelatiah, was mentioned in verse one
above. He was one of the ones this was directed at. As
his personal name was mentioned, he was probably one of
the more prominent leaders. While Ezekiel was
prophesying, Pelatiah drops dead. Even Ezekiel is moved
by this sudden death. When God want's to drive a message
home this is one way he does it (see Acts 5:1ff). We can see
that Ezekiel is not one of those people itching for
judgment to fall on his people; just the opposite, he
seems to be a rather reluctant witness of God's words.
We see this in Ezekiel 3:14.
So the Spirit
lifted me up, and took me away;
and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit;
and the hand of Jehovah
was strong upon me.
(Ezekiel 3:14 - ASV)
Some commentators think that Ezekiel was angry as he
shared the Lord's displeasure with Israel. I don't think
that is the way this passage is meant to be understood
at all. I think Dr. John Gill in his commentary (Dr.
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible) gets
it right when he says Ezekiel was angry to have been
given this job and have to go and give all of these
horrible prophesies to Israel. Ezekiel had to know what
often happens to God's prophets. Nevertheless, God was
dealing with Ezekiel powerfully and he went... he was
hot with anger about having to do this job... but he
We will leave this passage off for now.
What is God telling us in this passage? That pride,
arrogance, good military defenses and patriotism are no
replacement for getting and staying right with God.
Israel may have had a good military, good fortifications
and high morale, but that wasn't going to help them with
the battles that were coming. They were going to be
fighting both the enemy and God, who was siding against
Israel. Israel was spiritually defenseless and she was
going down. She was like a man in the ocean who was
encumbered with the weights of wickedness and cement of
sin trying to wade ashore. They aren't going anywhere
but to the bottom.
Anyone who wants to forget about God should beware, he
may one day forget about you. just when you need him
You cannot fool or trick God. He knows us better than we
know ourselves. Let no nation, church or person think
that they can get away with long term recalcitrant sin,
particularly after they have been warned and warned
again about it. Such an entity is living on borrowed
... and those 'interest payments' on sin and evil can
indeed add up substantially.
Let we who know our God remember to whom we belong and
to mind the business of our God and his Kingdom. Doing
this will keep us from becoming entangled with
deceptions and troubles that beset the kingdoms of this
world. Let us also be careful about who we take advice
from be we President or a prisoner; a banker or a truck
driver. Let us all be wise in whom we seek advice or
FYI: This piece was
written on January 25th
of this year and posted for insiders on that day.
And even now
the axe also lieth
at the root of the trees: every tree therefore
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
and cast into the fire.
(Luke 3:9 - ASV)
This theme of cutting down those tree's that did not bear
good fruit to God is echoed by both John the Baptist and
Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:19).
This is a hard word. It's something that we Christians in
our age need to chew on because such words are not the
typical 'baby milk' that is fed in many Churches today.
God demands fruit from his trees. He cares for them, tends
them and makes sure they have what they need to grow.
But he expects something in return. Fruit. This was the
theme that Christ made clear in the Gospel of Luke in a
And he said
unto the vinedresser,
The vinedresser here is acting as a kind of priest or
intermediary for this unfruitful tree. He is trying to
save it from becoming firewood in the masters hearth. So
he asks the owner to wait just a little longer, he is
going to try one more thing...
Behold, these three years I
seeking fruit on this fig tree,
and find none: cut it down;
why doth it also cumber the ground?
And he answering saith unto him,
Lord, let it alone this year also,
till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
and if it bear fruit thenceforth,
well; but if not,
thou shalt cut it down.
(Luke 13:7-9 - ASV)
Now brothers, when I look at what is happening in many of
the modern Churches in the west and some of the craziness,
sinfulness; the divisions, the unscriptural doctrines
being taught, the controversies and the worldliness, I
cannot help but wonder how much longer God is going to put
up with a tree that is not bearing much or any godly
fruit. Something must be done. I read recently where a
poll was taken and that said many Christians did not
believe in the Holy Spirit. Now how can you be saved and
not know who the Holy Spirit is? It's work is essential in
the act and process of Salvation. Yet we have large
numbers of Christians who are clueless about it at best or
don't believe in it at worst! These people really think
they are saved. Well, that is like saying one can drive a
car and not know what a steering wheel is! Today, there is
less and less sound, Biblically based doctrines in our
Churches... and these views on the Holy Spirit are very
dangerous. Why? To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is
the one unpardonable sin (Mark
3:29). You cannot blaspheme against anyone
but God. These so-called Christians really need to
understand some of the very basics of Christianity and
clearly, many simply don't.
Many of you are not going to like what I say here, but I
think one of the greatest obstacles to getting people
saved, truly saved is many of the Churches - or
rather much of the corporate (administrative and legal
structures of the) Church. I say that because so many of
them say the right words (though today that is not so
true), when it comes to salvation, but they just don't
live it. One of the things that kind of sent me off the
rails of my walk with Christ when I was younger was the
way Christians acted and behaved and the consistent
mistreatment I got from other so-called Christians. I was
really on fire for God and when I pulled back the
'curtain' and saw what was really going on, I became very
disillusioned and were it not for God recalling me many
years later, I would have certainly lost my soul.
My point is that one can be wayward for only so long and
then comes the time of decision - repent or the ax
will fall - individually and collectively (the
I think this is a major spiritual issue right now - the
state of the Church and I would not be surprised if God
and his holy angels and counselors have not been
discussing this issue with increasing regularity and
concern. I suspect he has as it regards western
I am reminded of an exchange the Lord had with the
religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees and scribes.
They had become a hindrance to people getting saved. They
were in the way.
But woe unto
you, scribes and Pharisees,
These were the religious leaders of Christ's time. They
claimed to be speaking for God. But they weren't. Christ
had a long list of sins, crimes and spiritual omissions
for these religious hypocrites and told them in plain
simple language, that they were children of hell (Matthew 23:15). Christ was
not talking to the pagans of ancient Rome or the
worshipers of Baal, but to the religious leaders of his
own time and nation. They were a big, big problem;
thinking they had a map to heaven when in actuality, had a
chart to hell. They were on that road and took those who
listened to them there as well.
hypocrites! because ye shut
the kingdom of heaven against men:
for ye enter not in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them
that are entering in to enter.
(Matthew 23:13 - ASV)
My deep concern is that this is pretty much where much
(though certainly not all) of American, yes even western
Christendom is at right now. That God is not pleased with
the trends in the churches, not pleased with the lack of
fruit that is coming off the tree.
My point in writing this brief piece today is to say this.
I think the time of separation in the Church is already
underway. Those who hold to solid biblical teachings I
think are or are in the process of moving out of Churches
that refuse to teach sound doctrine and continue to walk
stubbornly into great spiritual error. The problem is so
many of the newer believers, the ones who have no real
grounding in the word of God, these are like young
saplings who could be in the gravest of danger from this
But God is most gracious. He is not wanting to destroy the
Church. But that may mean that while he won't destroy it,
he may very well chastise it and such chastisement may
turn out to be quite severe, depending on where the Church
is at, spiritually speaking. How God deals with different
Churches is laid out for us in the book of Revelation,
chapters two and three. Here is how those seven letters
I John, your
and partaker with you in the tribulation
and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus,
was in the isle that is called Patmos,
for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day,
and I heard behind me a great voice,
as of a trumpet saying, What thou seest,
write in a book and send it to the seven
unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna,
and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira,
and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia,
and unto Laodicea.
(Revelation 1:9-11 - ASV)
Each Church had its issues, some good and some not good.
The Lord lays out what they are to do and what is ahead
for them. So it is not wise for us to think that God is
going to deal with all Churches, denominations and
congregations in the same way. He won't. Each will have to
deal with their own challenges, the consequences for their
own sins and the reward for their own abundance of good
fruit. God see's all, no one is going to pull the wool
over the Lord's eyes.
But the real questions is at what point does a person,
church, or denomination get itself hewn down? When does
God cut down the unfruitful tree and pluck it up by the
roots? That tree that did nothing but take up precious
This is what he did with Israel. He got tired of their
sins and of warning them about them. Finally he had had
instant I shall speak
concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to pluck up and to break down and to
if that nation, concerning which I have
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
that I thought to do unto them.
And at what instant I shall speak
concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to build and to plant it; if they do that
which is evil in my sight, that they obey not
then I will repent of the good, wherewith
I said I would benefit them. Now therefore,
speak to the men of Judah,
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
saying, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold,
I frame evil against you, and devise
a device against you: return ye now
every one from his evil way,
and amend your ways and your doings.
(Jeremiah 18:7-11 - ASV)
God showed great patience with ancient Israel. As we also
see, he showed the same kind of patience with the Church.
Six times in the letters to the seven Churches Christ used
the word repent to get them to change course (Revelation 2:5; 2:16; 2:21; 2:22;
3:3; and 3:19).
I cannot help but wonder what the Lord would have an
apostle write to the Churches of the west today - to the
Lutheran, the Baptist, the Catholic, the Presbyterian, the
Methodist, the Adventists and the Orthodox. What kinds of
words of praise and rebuke would he have for them today?
I do not know, but I cannot help but wonder - have God's
holy angels begun getting in line to get their tree axes
Let us pray that if they are, we are not part of the field
that that is targeted and that those who are targeted,
fully understand the danger they are in so that they may
repent before the ax hews down the
Let us also pray for the pastors across the western world
that are doing right and have kept faith with God in spite
of all the evil pressures from inside and outside of the
Church that would lead them off course. That they may
continue on preaching and teaching the word in ways that
please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That the sheep
learn to turn their backs on false teachers and preachers
and turn their faces towards God and sound doctrine as
found in the scriptures.
In Praise of Humility
The reward of
and the fear of Jehovah
Is riches, and honor, and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 - ASV)
Today, let's talk very briefly about being
Let us always be humble. Mankind? Brothers and sisters,
not one of us has any right to be proud and lifted up
about who we are or what we do. Not the rich and famous,
not the powerful, not the beautiful and not the mighty.
Humility, true humility comes from knowing who we are in
the overall scheme of things - in God's eyes, but also in
light of the great expanse of the universe and eternity.
When one looks at the sons of men from this perspective,
we are little more than a puff of smoke, which exists for
a very short time and then disappears.
As Christians, humility - true humility must always be a
key part of our walk. When we come to God in prayer, we
have to do it humbly, not with any kind of pride and
certainly not spiritual pride. We must come to God even as
King Josiah did, when he inquired of the Lord. God had
determined to bring evil upon his people for forsaking
him. But the king found favor in God's eyes. Why?
But unto the
king of Judah,
who sent you to inquire of Jehovah,
thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith Jehovah,
the God of Israel: As touching the words
which thou hast heard, because thy heart
was tender, and thou didst humble thyself
when thou heardest his words against this
and against the inhabitants thereof,
and hast humbled thyself before me,
and hast rent thy clothes, and wept
I also have heard thee, saith Jehovah.
Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers,
and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in
neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that
I will bring upon this place, and upon the
inhabitants thereof. And they brought
back word to the king.
(2 Chronicles 34:26-28 - ASV)
The King pleased God and this is how we have to behave
when we come to the Lord. We have to be humble and totally
honest with God, knowing that we are made from the very
dirt that our feet walk upon.
I tend to think that some of the greatest obstacles to
personal happiness and contentment are pride, arrogance
and worldly ambition. It's also a key obstacle to any kind
of relationship with God. Humility - deep and sincere
humility on our part is a key part of that relationship.
But he giveth
God resisteth the
but giveth grace to
(James 4:6 - ASV)
And whosoever shall exalt
shall be humbled;
and whosoever shall humble
shall be exalted.
(Matthew 23:12 - ASV)
We have all heard
these versus before, but let us always keep them in our
minds as we walk our daily walks with Christ. To be
humble, kind, unassuming and helpful when appropriate. We
should spend less time trying to be attention getters to a
lost world and rather becoming an attention getter in
The way to get God's attention is 180 degree's different
than the world's way. With the world you have to have
money, fame, good looks, be 'popular' with the 'in crowd',
say and do popular and trendy things. People do it to be
acceptable to onlookers. But with God, he is looking for
that quiet, faithful soul who is noted for his humility
towards God and his righteous life. The person who has a
quiet, holy and humble life in faithful service to God...
this is the person that gets God's attention. God will set
his hand over that person and watch over him and guide him
in the paths that lead to life.
But we must be humble enough to receive the Lord's
instruction and learn from him. God will set those whom he
loves often on a very different life path than that of
others. Often this is a quieter and humbler path, the one
that does not have so many people on it. It may be a path
that leads one from the Corporate Board room to a quiet
place in the country and drives that person into the
prayer closet instead of a steady stream of corporate
merger negotiations. Or perhaps to the mission field,
instead of performing in front of the theatrical
Too many men and women expect that God is going to put
them on some pedestal and make them some new Christian
celebrity or some 'great man of God' in the eyes of the
the world or Christendom. Somehow deep down inside, I
suspect many think that God should be honored to have them
serving him and expect to be rewarded appropriately with
importance, fame and fortune.
Before God can use, really use such a person such
thinking has to be done away with and they must learn to
take the back seat and an unrecognized part in things.
This humbler mindset must become second nature to them. In
short, they have to be broken of that kind of me first
or I'm important kind of thinking.
In our times particularly, we should not be seeking great
things for ourselves. I think of Jeremiah's faithful
scribe and how the Lord set him straight about seeking
great things for himself.
thou great things for thyself?
Now Baruch had connections to the Royal Court as his
brother was the King's chamberlain. So he may have had
some secret aspirations. What they were we are not privy
to, but clearly God saw something in them and wanted to
gently correct Jeremiah's faithful scribe. If he was
looking for a place at court, God here dismisses that
clearly in Jeremiah 45:4
where he tells him he was going to break down and pluck up
his people. Getting a high position in a court that was
going to go into exile wasn't a very practical aspiration,
considering the plans God had in store.
seek them not; for, behold,
I will bring evil upon all flesh,
saith Jehovah; but thy life will I give unto
for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
(Jeremiah 45:5 - ASV)
This is why we should always find out what God wants us to
do and be where he wants us to be. It's better to live a
humble life in a quiet cottage with God's love and
protection than in a million dollar penthouse suite in a
huge metropolis that God has marked down for destruction.
So it should be with us. In a world heading for God's holy
judgment, how valuable do you really think being
'important' is in this increasingly wicked world? Who
wants to fight and claw their way to the top of a dung
heap that is about to be cast into the fires? That is how
I view those people who are ambitious in the things of
this world. The real issue I think is that deep down
inside, they are still very much in love with this world
and the pomp, glory and wealth that the system has to
offer. More in love with those things, than with God.
Brothers, it behooves us to always be humble in all we say
and do. God really does not like pride; but rather a
humble, thankful and obedient heart.
destruction the heart of man is haughty;
And before honor goeth humility.
(Proverbs 18:12 - ASV)
A Matter of Trust
This brothers and sisters is going to be one of the most
important things for each of us in the last days - who do
you trust? In these days of false prophets, controversial
pastors and questionable politicians, it is often going to
be a serious choice for many of us. This matter of trust
may be one that causes us to leave our jobs, move, change
churches or even the country we live in. Who do you trust?
Officials in government? Bureaucrats with long titles?
Pastors with many university degree's? Public Health
officials? Hollywood Stars? Who should you
trust? In times of crisis who should you believe?
You see when one gets to belief systems, you are hitting
at the root and target of any propaganda campaign because
almost all propaganda is targeting those core belief
systems. The MSM wants you to believe and trust them,
alternative media wants you to believe and trust them, the
government wants you to believe and trust them, etc. They
are all trying to gain your trust when many of them simply
don't deserve that trust. How many times have officials
lied to us?
Liars are real. Hitler lied his way to power and then used
his lies to kill millions. But many Germans trusted him.
They really believed him and in his party. I think the
real problem is not so much that people believed him, but
that it was convenient to believe him, or at least
pretend you did - and with others, they wanted to
believe him even though deep down inside, they had their
doubts. But with many in both groups, I think fear and
cowardice were at the root of their 'belief'.
In these days of massive propaganda, fake news, lying
narratives put forward by corrupted governments, we just
have to be careful about whom we believe. A government
with a long and often negative track record... I think it
wise to be most reticent before we put much faith in such
a system. Why not? Simple. Believing a lie, any lie, no
matter how small is the first step on a long road to the
city of deception. It may be paved with the most beautiful
lies, layered in gold and platinum, with beautiful people
smiling at you giving you gifts as you head down that
road, but in the end you will only find you have been
fooled, surrounded by people who took the same wrong turn
you did when they listened to the lie and continued down
the path of deception.
I can remember one time I had a conversation with someone
who was struggling with their faith. They asked me why did
God demand faith. I suspect they seemed to think it was a
'cop out' for God not coming down and performing some
magic tricks to get people to believe in him. I said, you
have to go back to the Garden of Eden.
They looked at me kind of funny and with a high degree of
incredulity, but I just said, Yes, because that is where
it all began. They wanted me to continue, so I did.
I told them, that when God put man and his woman in the
garden, he gave them a specific commandment.
This is basic Christianity 101, but I think it key. God
gave Adam a commandment and the man (and later his woman)
had to obey the commandment, but at the root of that
obedience is the idea of belief. They had to believe
God was sincere in what he said would happen. It is the
same today, if God gives us a commandment we have to
believe God about that commandment and the consequences
for disobedience. It comes down to a matter of faith... do
you believe God, will you trust him or will you disobey
and show unbelief in what he just told you to do? This was
a test for Adam that God was giving him - Do you
believe and will you obey the Lord, your God?
the man, saying, Of every tree
of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day
that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
(Genesis 2:16-17 - ASV)
This I think is a key aspect of a rather enigmatic
statement Christ made in the Gospel of John about
spiritual blindness to the Pharisee's. One has to know
what God commands and once one does, there comes spiritual
One has to hear what God has to say, believe
in what he says, and then do as he
commanded. This is the essence of that key ingredient in
the Gospel, faith.
If ye were blind, ye would have no sin:
but now ye say, We see:
your sin remaineth.
(John 9:41 - ASV)
Faith was broken in the Garden as you all know. How? By
the devil planting the seeds of both doubt and deception
in what God had commanded.
serpent was more subtle
The devil had a plan and he executed it with his usual
demonic skill. He found the weak point, exploited it,
caused doubt to arise, and then sprung his trap with the
lie - Ye shall not surely die.
than any beast of the field
which Jehovah God had made.
And he said unto the woman,
Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat
of any tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent,
Of the fruit of the trees of the garden
we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree
which is in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman,
Ye shall not surely die: for God
know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that
the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes,
and that the tree was to be desired
to make one wise, she took of the fruit
and did eat; and she gave also
unto her husband with her, and he did eat.
(Genesis 3:1-6 - ASV)
The key? The woman ceased to believe God and chose instead
to listen to and believe the devil. Again it was a
question of whom to believe. Eve and later Adam made the
wrong choice and ceased to believe God. But God was indeed
true to his word and every human who lives has died since
then. God does not forget his word and
always carries it out.
I really wanted to get to belief systems today and the
whole idea of faith because of the vicious and pervasive
information war that is being waged all over the planet on
a whole range of key issues today. Who and what we believe
will invariably dictate how we behave and the choices we
make. If you believe you can cross a bridge without
incident and need to, chances are you are going to go
across, but if you believe that if you cross it, it's not
going to hold up, you probably won't. This is a basic and
yes, an oversimplification of a most important aspect of
human behavior - belief.
Taking hold of Christ and his work on the cross requires
faith. We have to hear the word of God, believe
it and then obey it. Christ's work restores the
faith-trust relationship with God that was destroyed in
the garden and why God demands it from all of us.
This is how I explained the need for faith to this person
some 25 years ago. In our times, we must always examine
and reexamine our belief systems and make sure they are on
and remain on the firm foundation of God's word and
keep faith with God. I can tell you this brothers and
sisters from my personal experience - God honors
faith. Put your trust, your whole being in
God's hands - and this can often entails some degree of
risk or even danger - and God will honor it. That has been
So in our times, let us always be skeptical of anything
and anyone before we believe what they tell us. Trust is a
good thing, but it can be a most dangerous one, even
suicidal if it is placed in the wrong person, group or
system. To me, trust is one of the most precious gifts one
can give to another and it should not be given away to
just anyone... not if you want to live a long and happy
God bless and keep you all in Christ!
Malak Elohim (Angel Of The Lord)
These words in Hebrew mean Angel or Messenger (4397 in Strong's Hebrew
Bible Dictionary) of the Lord.
Other times in scripture the phrase Angel of Jehovah
is used. These are beings created by God who serve him in
the spiritual and temporal realm. Their job for the most
part is to execute the will of God. They are 'deputized'
by the Lord to carry out specific tasks for which they are
both commanded and empowered.
These beings can bring comfort to the despised (as Hagar
was when Sarai pushed her out of the house), they can
bring in powerful messages to God's servants (as with
Joseph in the NT - Matthew 1:20)
or they can bring interpretive messages to prophecies as
with Daniel, Zechariah and John the Revelator. They can
also prepare a lowly person to become a great warrior or
servant of the Lord, as with Gideon. If there is an
important task for one of God's people to do, you can be
pretty sure there is an angel around to help that person
carry out that task.
Brothers, I honestly don't think I would be alive today
were it not for the angel's that God sent to protect me.
If we serve the Lord and fear him, he will indeed send his
angels to look out for us.
The angel of
round about them that fear him,
And delivereth them.
(Psalms 34:7 - ASV)
If you serve God, you have powerful protection. Protection
that has probably protected you many times in the past in
ways you were never aware of. These angels can be powerful
spirits. God has in the past shown me (in the spirit) both
the demons that were arrayed against me and the angel that
was sent to protect me.
God I think wanted me to understand what was happening
from another perspective; the real battle lines
that were not seen by the naked eye or natural mind.
Sometimes we have to see things in this other way in order
to get a resolution to our own particular woes and know
how to pray and approach a problem.
These angels can warn us of impending danger. (Matthew 2:13) They can
also bring words of encouragement (Zechariah
These angels that protect us and those who obey the
commandments of the Lord, some of them are very, very
powerful. Remember when Hezekiah was afraid when he heard
the King of Assyria was coming against him? The Lord had
For I will
defend this city to save it,
for mine own sake, and for my
servant David's sake.
And the angel of Jehovah went
forth, and smote
in the camp of the Assyrians a
and fourscore and five
thousand; and when men
arose early in the morning,
these were all dead bodies.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria
and went and returned,
and dwelt at Nineveh.
(Isaiah 37:35-37 - ASV)
While Hezekiah may have been afraid, in reality there was
nothing to worry about. God had his angel at the ready to
deal with Sennacherib, whose army was no match for one
single, solitary angel of the Lord.
I write this brief piece for each of you today so that no
matter what you are facing, God knows about it. If you
belong to him, God can set his angel about you and if it
is necessary, God can send that angel reinforcements.
Brothers, I know many of you are worried about what is
happening in our world. Some of you are worried about your
jobs, your livelihoods, your kids, the price of
necessities and your future.
Just know that what you are facing is something that God
knew about long ago. Do you serve the Lord? Chances are
excellent that your angel knows of your situation and is
either busy at work on your behalf or standing by awaiting
orders from the Most High God.
You are not alone.
And when the
servant of the man of God
was risen early, and gone forth, behold,
a host with horses and chariots was
round about the city. And his servant said unto
Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not; for they that
with us are more than they that are with
And Elisha prayed, and said, Jehovah,
I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.
And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man;
and he saw: and, behold, the mountain
was full of horses and chariots of fire
round about Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 - ASV)
Whatever your situation, I just wanted to remind each
of you the powerful angelic protection that you have as
a 'fringe benefit' of serving God and placing your faith
in his Messiah, Jesus Christ.
You are not alone in what you are facing, today or in
Keep faith with God. I have found that he can always be
depended on, not necessarily to do what we want, but to
bring a situation to a resolution that is best. We may
think we know what is best, but in reality it is God
that knows what is best for us, those around us and his
So if it seems as though God is about to throw you into
the fiery furnace like the three young men in the book
of Daniel, just remember there was another person in
that flame that protected them who had the appearance of
one of the son of the gods (Daniel
3:25). Despite any fears those three had,
there was never any real reason to be afraid. God had
...for he that
toucheth the apple of his eye.
Zechariah 2:8b - ASV)
In closing know this - God has not gone
to sleep. He knows about you and your situations. I
believe it best to fret not yourself, but trust in God
in all things, obey his voice, even when it
sometimes does not seem to make sense to your natural
mind. What? Do you think it made sense for Naaman to go
and wash in Jordan to be cured (see 2Kings 5:10ff)? It
didn't. He could have missed his blessing if he had
chosen to listen to his natural reasoning rather than
the words of the Lord and his prophet.
So brothers, be encouraged, have faith and stand
Grace and peace to each of you and may God
bless and keep you all in these troubling, confusing and
Today's update is not about current events. Its about how
we all must deal with the troubles that come our way and
the strangeness of our times.
As you all know, I read a lot of things from a wide
variety of sources. Left, Right, Christian, secular, US
and foreign. I often get information overload reading so
much. But one thing I have noted in the past year and a
half since the 2020 election and Covid's spread across the
globe. It is the incredible amount of fear-mongering and
half-truths being spread not just by the 'unofficial', the
dissenters and others, but by officialdom and
semi-officialdom as well. The fear, misdirections,
half-truths and disinformation are real. They are not a
figment of yours or my imagination. A lot of money is
being spent to influence opinion and the government has
hardly been innocent in this battleground, duly spreading
fear and contributing significantly to the deep and
troubling divisions in the country.
Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear and hate are two powerful
tools an adept propagandist and liar uses when he wants to
spread his poison into your mind. The tentacles of this
kind of propaganda, when it is run by governments and
their secretive agencies can be very significant. These
forces have 'influence' in many of top line establishment
news and even in many alternative news sites. With some of
these sites and sources, I see them as kind of a 'fake
opposition', designed specifically to control forces;
racial, social or political groups who they know will have
problems with some policies at some time in the future.
These state run or state connected forces operate on all
sides of the political spectrum. They deal in social,
racial and gender based news sources and blogs. In the US
they use these tools often ostensibly to counter foreign
propaganda. I want to stress the word ostensibly
because today, it appears that there is little real
control over these forces and their efforts to ride
roughshod over the basic rights of ordinary, hard working,
law abiding Americans who have more than a few
inconvenient questions about some of the things going down
in the country today.
My point here today is to school you in the university of
faith. When the demons of fear and hate start to preach
their horror and brimstone driven sermons, we must not
take the bait. Many Christians and their sites are just
dripping with fear based stories. Horror, dread and scary
stuff just oozes from the computer screen once the proper
URL is entered in. Let us be careful of such sites, forces
and people. They may or may not be operating from the best
of intentions but the key to remember is that fear is not
faith. We must not allow ourselves to be inundated with
all of the stuff on the net, the scary, the wacky, the
hateful or the deceitful.
Some of you are worried about Covid. Some of you were
worried about Biden becoming President, the left is
worried that Trump might return to the White House. My
question is - where is the faith of God's people and of
those who constantly spread fear and dread into
You see, I think many of these so called Christians have
lost sight of some important truths. That the devil is
running this planet for he is the prince of this world.
Why should we be shocked when he shows his true colors?
Authoritarianism? Yes, this is what the devil is working
towards and his servants in this world are helping - some
knowingly, most not. One of the first things the devil
wants to do is to destroy truth tellers so that the big
lie can be told unchallenged. This is why we have seen so
much censorship in this world. The official lie must never
be challenged. This is the first rule in any
authoritarian, non-free, political system. I think we can
all smell the stench of such a system in the west, however
This is why we must always be on our guard for the devil
will certainly throw his darts at us in the form of
various falsehoods and in these times, we can all see just
how dangerous such lies can be. Ask the Jews of Nazi
Germany how the lies spread about them by the party about
their very membership in the human race put millions in
the gas chambers. The devil knows how to lie and he knows
how to get people to believe them. If you don't think you
can be fooled, you have been already.
But we who know the truth need not fear such lies. We must
remember our place. Then we must remember the place of
those who have rejected God's truth. Brothers, this is
just going to be hard for a lot of you. You are just going
to have to toughen up and realize that many of them are
just going to go walking blithely into a multitude of
traps that you and I can see, but they cannot and in most
cases, simply refuse to.
We cannot save the world. We must not try. We can only
preach the gospel, live our lives in love and hope and let
the world do what the world does best - rebel against God;
sometimes in lesser ways, other times in greater. When God
wants to warn the world of what it is doing, he will raise
up a or many prophets.
With many Christians particularly a lot of blogs and news
sites, I think they get frustrated because they are trying
to do the impossible. They are trying to 'teach the dead
to sing'. No matter how hard you try, with the best of
intentions you will only get silence out of a corpse. So
it is with the world. This world is lost. It will always
be lost. Those who are part of this world are and will be
lost. You cannot teach it to be a Christian because it
knows not Christ. The corpse must cease to be a one if it
is ever to learn to sing. When we are born again, we come
out of this world and are alive to Christ, we have the
potential to 'sing', though with many this never develops
into anything but a failed potentiality. We are no longer
of this world, but have been given the power to become
sons of God.
I realize that many are deeply concerned about the trends
in the nation and world. Don't be. These things must needs
be. Cease to do the 'freak out' thing and worrying
yourself and others half to death. We as Christians must
walk in this world; we must traverse the land of Sodom,
the valley of Gomorrah, the high places of
idolatry and false religion and the minefields of lies. We
cannot get distracted by the sins of others nor be enticed
by the temptations the devil will put in our path to
divert us from our steady course. Nor can we live in fear
and dread for what may or may not happen. If you serve
God, I mean truly serve him, you are in his hands. If not,
you are going to be cannon fodder for the devil, who hates
mankind only a little less than he hates God.
Are you walking with God? Is your pathway directed by him?
Have you dedicated the rest of your life here on this
earth to his service? Then these words should encourage
What were the first two words the Lord spoke to Abram
here? Fear not! This vision took place right after a major
battle where the King of Sodom was involved and Abram
would not take so much as a shoe lace from him. He did not
want it said that the King of Sodom made him rich. Abram
knew that some gifts have too high a price. There are some
things that are better not taken. In today's world there
are some jobs we just should not do. They may be perfectly
legal and even somewhat respected by the world, but that
does not mean we should take them.
the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a
saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield,
and thy exceeding great reward.
(Genesis 15:1 - ASV)
For Christians - ever thought about taking a job as a
check out clerk at the local grocery store at $20k a year
rather than a job at some big corporation that censors
Christians, finds ways to harass believers, pushes things
on society that they know God hates for a salary of $100k
a year? It is not an easy decision, but one that may in
the long run, spiritually speaking, turn out to be by far
the best. All that glitters isn't gold and even if it is,
what lies underneath all that flash may be dangerous or
even lethal, spiritually speaking. This is one of those
things you must truly seek the Lord about in prayer
before making such decisions.
Remember Lot? When there was strife between Lot's herdsmen
and Abram's the two separated. Lot chose what looked good
on the surface (Genesis 13:10)
to move to. But this was where Sodom was before it was
destroyed. While it may have looked good on the surface,
let us never forget that Lot only eventually escaped that
place with his life, and even then only after Abraham
interceded for him. His wife didn't make it. Lot saw
something that glittered but later, it turned into
brimstone when the Lord got finished with it.
Then God tells Abram that he is his shield, that being his
protection. God will protect you if you are
his and serve him honestly and honorably. God had a
mission for Abraham. In order for him to get that
protection, he like we do, have to stay the course on what
God wanted him to do. He was on his way to the promised
land - a land that God would show him. We too are on our
way to the promised land. If we stay the course, God will
help keep us on course and protect us. God protected
Abraham and he will protect you and me as well.
So to those of you who serve God, I write this brief piece
today so that you cease to worry and wonder about the lost
world. There are some things you can fix and there are
things you cannot. A wise man knows the difference and
concentrates on what he can change rather than getting
worry lines in his forehead about things he cannot.
Our jobs are simple - to live the gospel. Most people are
not going to believe or accept it and in time, we will be
badly persecuted here in the west for our faith. But some
will come to the cross, but only some of those will do
what the scriptures command - endure to the end.
Brothers hear me out on this - most souls will not make
it. They are just going to be lost. Many of your families,
friends and loved ones... they are going to be lost. They
chose it and remember this - no one deserves heaven.
God has granted us this great salvation by his grace and
love. As a race, mankind is lost, reprobate and vile. We
don't see ourselves that way... while we commit
unspeakable crimes one upon another. We wallow in our
moral filth and claim to be righteous; our hands stained
with the blood of our brother, lips dripping hate and lies
and pockets holding dishonest gain.
No brothers, every soul that is lost will be lost because
of his own choosing. Every soul that is saved is there
because of God's grace.
I have always looked at this salvation thing like this.
There is the divine harvester. He is looking only for the
choicest parts of the harvest. Only the very best gets
into his barn. He gets rid of the rest. It simply is not
good enough to meet his standards. He sells off the refuse
and the devil is more than willing to take it.
So it is with salvation. We are special to God, very
special and he has taken a lot of time and effort to build
us up into what he wants us to be.
Let us remember that and that we have no part in
this world, its ways or its fate. He who remembers this on
a daily basis will find he is less likely to make key
mistakes in these troubling times.
and I will
bless them that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:3 - ASV)
May the blessing of Abram (Abraham) be
upon each of you who truly and faithfully serve the Lord
and have kept the faith in good times and in bad and not
denied the name of the Lord Jesus Christ nor are ashamed
of the Gospel.
Note: This piece is not
any kind of professional financial or career advice
and should not be construed as or acted upon as
such. This is merely personal commentary and a 'food
for thought' piece for Christians as we navigate
these troubling and difficult times. This site's
full disclaimer policy can be found at the bottom of
Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare
Navigating the future in the west I don't think is going
to be easy. When Churches are not allowed by law to
congregate while others are is a problem. One that needs
to be explored.
During this pandemic, Churches have done right I think so
far by obeying authorities during the pandemic but also by
using the courts to deal with authorities edicts
restricting worship. But what about when perhaps some
future edict goes directly against our great commission or
the commands of scripture? What then? This is no little
matter, because such days may not be so very far away,
given the political landscape and some of the other things
being slowly moved legally and administratively against
Christians in the west.
Are there any examples in scripture about this? Are there
examples of 'lawfare' in our Bibles? Men who used the law
subtly to entrap God's servants? Yes. I will just use one
today, because I think it most apt.
Daniel was a man
greatly beloved of God and who served the Emperor Darius.
He was very good at his job and no one could find any
occasion against him. He was wise, most efficient and the
emperor had a lot of respect for him. So much so that he
was to be the number two man in the Kingdom, above all the
Daniel was distinguished
above the presidents and the satraps,
because an excellent spirit was in him;
and the king thought to set him over the whole
Then the presidents and the satraps
sought to find occasion against Daniel
as touching the kingdom;
but they could find no occasion nor fault,
forasmuch as he was faithful,
neither was there any
error or fault found in him.
(Daniel 6:3-4 - ASV)
Daniels' enemies were looking for something... anything
they could use against him. But could not find anything.
Man, do I personally know what that is like! Well, if they
can't find anything - create something against them. Here
is what went down with God's servant, Daniel
We shall not find any
occasion against this Daniel,
except we find it against him
concerning the law of his God.
(Daniel 6:5 - ASV)
This is lawfare in the age of the Medes and the Persians.
Lawfare based on religion. And not unlike today, the
deeper ramifications are spiritual in nature. Perhaps it
would help to look at this like the spiritual stronghold
of Babylon was coming against a man of God. What was the
'hook' this stronghold used to entice these men to come
against God's man? Jealousy. In order for the devil to get
people to act he has to have some kind of 'hook' to pull
them in the direction he wants them to go. So these
princes of Babylon were hatching a plot against Daniel.
They realized it had to be against his religion and his
God after having looked everywhere else.
presidents and satraps
assembled together to the king,
and said thus unto him, King Darius,
live for ever. All the presidents of the
the deputies and the satraps,
the counsellors and the governors,
have consulted together to establish
a royal statute, and to make a strong
that whosoever shall ask a petition
of any god or man for thirty days, save of
O king, he shall be cast into the den of
Now, O king, establish the interdict,
and sign the writing, that it be not
according to the law of the Medes and
which altereth not.
(Daniel 6:6-8 - ASV)
Like most good
administrators, they were clever. They created this law,
which only had temporary effect (30 days) and during this
time, no one could could come to any God and pray...
except of course to the emperor himself. Here they show
that they understood a few things. First that such a law
if for an extended period could cause social unrest;
second, it was OK to come to the King. Here they appealed
to the Kings vanity, who now would be the exclusive 'god'
to whom the people could come to in order to make any
petition. This was a firm law and one that could not be
revoked. The penalty for breaking it was death by lions
Now this is one crazy law, but one cannot think for a
second that men in power in any age are not capable of
putting such laws into action. Here the motive was for one
reason alone, to kill Daniel. They shifted the whole
religious and legal landscape of the empire to kill one
godly man. Make no mistake, a truly Godly man who yields
himself to God is someone that the devil will take the
greatest pains to try and destroy.
signed the writing and the interdict.
(Daniel 6:9 - ASV)
This is rather sad. Why in the world did Darius sign this?
He had to realize this would effect Daniel, his most
trusted servant? We don't know. But it is not impossible
that Daniel was 'out of the office' that day, perhaps out
tallying the grain supply or inspecting the royal armory.
These administrators probably waited until an ideal time
to spring this on the king. Perhaps after the emperor had
a few glasses of the special Persian vintage of wine and
some Persian dancing beauty did her little performance for
the court (this is not unheard of in scripture - see Mark 6:22ff). However they
did it, they were able to get the king to sign this stupid
Here is the thing, once he knew it was signed Daniel did
not change a thing. Knowing the danger and certainly
knowing his enemies had arranged this trap, he continued
to serve the Lord and prayed like he did before - even
though it had become a crime, punishable by death.
that the writing was signed,
he went into his house (now his windows
were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem);
and he kneeled upon his knees
three times a day, and prayed,
and gave thanks before his God,
as he did aforetime.
(Daniel 6:10 - ASV)
Daniel had to navigate this legal and administrative
jungle with all of these administrative and legal snakes,
crocodiles and piranha out to devour him. How did he do
it? In this instance, it was a head-on approach. he was
not going to be frightened out of serving God. He was not
going to be scared out of praying to the Lord. He went in
his room turned towards Jerusalem, got on his knee's and
prayed. In short, Daniel, with his actions was saying 'pass
all the laws you want, I am going to serve the Lord'.
This was faith for Daniel knew that he moment he
got on his knees he was according to the law, a dead man.
These days, many Christians are relying on political
parties, non-profit legal organizations and others to
protect their rights from bad laws that attack Christians.
Certainly these organization are for the most part, doing
excellent work and have done much to protect us. But we
must never forget that this is ultimately, not a political
or legal battle, but a spiritual one. This was the secret
that Daniel knew and his enemies did not.
together unto the king,
and said unto the king, Know, O king,
that it is a law of the Medes and Persians,
that no interdict nor statute
which the king establisheth
may be changed.
(Daniel 6:15 - ASV)
On the surface, it looked like Daniel's enemies had won a
major victory. They run to the king like a group of
tattle-tale school children, probably unable to contain
their joy in their news that Daniel was now committing a
But the king realized that he made a major error in
signing that decree and did what he could to fix things.
But his administrators were adamant, they wanted Daniel,
or what was left of him after the lions were finished,
under six feet of dirt... no if's, no and's and no but's.
They had the King as well as Daniel in a trap.
The King did not appreciate this as we see and
administrators and lawyers often do make big mistakes.
This was a major political mistake they made - tricking
and entrapping the king. They probably thought they were
We know the rest of the story. God sent an angel to
protect Daniel from this unwise and unrighteous edict and
the wicked men behind it. Daniel came out of the den
This is not what happened to Daniel's enemies.
And the king
they brought those men that
had accused Daniel, and they cast them
into the den of lions, them, their children,
and their wives; and the lions had
the mastery of them, and brake
all their bones in pieces,
before they came to the
bottom of the den.
(Daniel 6:24 - ASV)
Despite all that his enemies had planned against God's
man, Daniel prospered (Daniel
I have gone over this passage for a reason. As we watch
the generational shift in the country as well as attacks
on religious liberty, we must understand that we are
indeed in a kind of jungle. We have enemies who are lying
in wait for us as we traverse the dangerous landscape.
They want to do us harm, even kill us. But we who know our
God can depend on him to look out for us. To protect us
from the wickedness of those who would do us harm.
Sometimes God has to let our enemies get so far, so he can
beat them back. Let them do their wickedness so they have
no excuse when they are thrown into the lions den, as they
would do to God's people.
This is the boomerang effect and at times, I have seen it
at work. What people try and throw at God's people can
sometimes comes right back around at them. The key is to
never take vengeance yourself, keep faith with God and
keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on and more
importantly to what God wants you to do.
Also remember that Daniel was willing to pour out his life
for his God and such a call may be made upon us one day.
because of the blood of the Lamb,
and because of the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their life
even unto death.
(Revelation 12:11 - ASV)
For one day, all hell will break loose and that great
dragon, Satan will be given enormous authority here on
earth. He will make war on we who follow Christ Jesus.
dragon waxed wroth with the woman,
and went away to make war
with the rest of her seed,
that keep the commandments of God,
and hold the testimony of Jesus:
(Revelation 12:17 - ASV)
I beheld, and
the same horn
The war will certainly start off with legal aspects to it.
You can't worship, you can't congregate, you can't
witness, you must bow down before the emperor, etc. The
devil will make sure that in such a war, laws are passed
to do just that - attack Christians for that is his
primary purpose, to make war against the saints.
This is clearly what happens with the Mark of the Beast. A
law is passed making taking the mark compulsory along with
the worship of an image. The penalty will be death. It
will be lawfare but with a specific spiritual or rather,
demonic purpose in mind. But God as well will be working
his own purpose in this - he is going to allow it. It will
test the whole world as well as his saints. Those saints
who are here will have to go through it but God will spare
others of this great trial which will come upon the whole
world (Revelation 3:10).
made war with the saints,
and prevailed against them;
(Daniel 7:21 - ASV)
And it was given unto him
to make war with the saints,
and to overcome them:
and there was given to him authority
over every tribe and people
and tongue and nation.
(Revelation 13:7 - ASV)
There will be different ways for different people on how
to navigate the coming jungle. Paul when being questioned
used his wisdom to confound his interrogators by asserting
a resurrection when the council was divided about that
issue (Acts 23:6ff).
God will show us what to do if we put our trust in him
fully. He has done that with me and at times he is very
specific about what I am to do. He will do this with you
if you are truly walking with him and have chosen to be in
his service. But for many, if not most of us who are alive
when the mark is instituted, we must steel ourselves for
death. The spirit distinctly says that this spirit of
anti-Christ will have power to overcome us (in the body).
But we ultimately do overcome by the blood of Christ and
the word of our testimony.
In conclusion, I see lawfare as intensifying as anti-God
forces move more and more into the corridors of power all
over the world. False religion, anti-religion and others
will work on behalf of the devil and in nine cases out of
ten, won't know who their ultimate employer is. We must
prepare our hearts for it. The devil is deadly serious
about his attacks on we who are of Christ. It is only when
he is given authority that he can come after us in full.
Today as we can see, persecution is more a regional
phenomenon. We in the west are harassed, but rarely feel
the brunt of the kinds of persecution that is felt in many
parts of the world. That one day is going to change. When
and how I cannot say, but you can be certain that if God
warned us about persecution, we must be prepared for it
and not try and kid ourselves that persecution only means
for someone else.
So as we move through the jungle of our times let us
recognize that there are many predators out there who will
seek our harm and even our lives and when possible and
practicable, let us avoid the traps the devil and his imps
will lay for us in the days ahead.
God bless and keep you all in Christ!
said unto Abram,
Get thee out of thy country, and from thy
and from thy father's house, unto the land
that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great;
and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them
that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:1-3 - ASV)
This is one of those subjects that are often
best avoided in polite 'Christian' society. But the idea
of a curse is a very serious affair and frankly, I am not
so sure many 'generic' Christians really believe in and or
understand just how serious it is.
In the above passage, God had called out Abraham for a
very specific purpose. He was going to use Abraham's
obedience and faith as a key instrument to bring salvation
to mankind. Obedience because Abraham (at that time Abram)
had to do something, he had to get out of his native land
and away from his family and go to a place that God did
not specify exactly but would reveal at the proper time.
Then he gives him a powerful promise. Anyone who blesses
Abraham will be blessed and anyone who curses him will be
cursed. As we noted in the last part of Samuel, we see how
God does indeed protect his people when they are on a
divinely appointed mission. God was going to protect his
servant and that he did many times in his long journey.
A curse brothers is a horrible thing. It can entail all
manner of evils, illnesses, pain, or poverty. It's
something that is a sign of great divine displeasure. The
reality of a curse is clearly maintained all through the
Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) and there are
many blessings and cursing within those pages. A curse is
almost always based on a person's behavior.
And it shall
come to pass,
I think of the long history of the people of Israel. I
think of their first exile to Babylon, but also what I
consider the far more important exile which took place
after the Romans came in 70 AD. Israel was
scattered all through the world. For centuries they
wandered and lived as foreigners and 'outsiders' in just
about every place they went. Some European nations had
periods of time where they expelled the Jews, hated them
and treated them with deep contempt. This went on for
nearly two millennia. How did Moses prophecy what would
happen to the Jews if they did not do as God had
commanded them, the God who did all manner of miracles for
them and freed them from their slave chains in Egypt?
when all these things are come upon thee,
the blessing and the curse, which I have
set before thee,
and thou shalt call them to mind among all the
whither Jehovah thy God hath driven thee,
and shalt return unto Jehovah thy God,
and shalt obey his voice according
to all that I command thee this day,
thou and thy children, with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul; that then Jehovah
thy God will turn thy captivity,
and have compassion upon thee,
and will return and gather
thee from all the peoples,
whither Jehovah thy God
hath scattered thee.
(Deuteronomy 30:1-3 - ASV)
shalt become an astonishment,
a proverb, and a byword,
among all the peoples
shall lead thee away.
(Deuteronomy 28:37 - ASV)
The whole chapter of Deuteronomy chapter 28 describes the
blessings and curses that will befall Israel, wholly
dependent in on their obedience to or rebellion against
God's commandments. When Israel entered into the covenant
with the Lord, I just am not so certain they took the Lord
at his word and that God has a long memory... the
longest in the universe. It is not a mistake that we
Christians should repeat. Let Israel's travails be a clear
example to us. God will keep his word and deal quite
harshly with those who reject him, his word and his ways.
Particularly those who entered into covenant with him.
Once we have been born into the Kingdom of God by the work
of the Holy Spirit, we have entered into a new covenant; a
new 'contract' signed, if you will, in the blood of
We must also remember that God will do his part in the
work of salvation, or in any divinely appointed task he
has assigned us, but that we must do ours as well. One
thing we must do is to keep our faith - mental belief
coupled with actual obedience.
It's not talked about much but the NT does have a curse
mentioned for those who turn away from God.
who were once enlightened
and tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the age to come,
and then fell away, it is impossible
to renew them again unto repentance;
seeing they crucify to themselves
the Son of God afresh, and put him
to an open shame. For the land which
hath drunk the rain that cometh oft upon it,
and bringeth forth herbs meet for them
for whose sake it is also tilled,
receiveth blessing from God:
but if it beareth thorns and thistles,
it is rejected and nigh unto a curse;
whose end is to be burned.
(Hebrews 6:4-8 - ASV)
The principle is not at all dissimilar to what we saw in
Deuteronomy 28; there is the blessings that comes from God
and then there is the clear prospect of a curse. All
depending on the 'fruit' that the 'ground' bears.
fruits ye shall know them.
Do men gather grapes of thorns,
or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit;
but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Therefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.
(Matthew 7:16-20 - ASV)
We must lay these things to heart and not ignore them or
think them of little account - the divine 'accountant' is
coming and he is a most exacting fellow, he
expects a spiritual profit; a basket of good fruit for all
the investment he has made and brothers, he had better get
it! See the parable of the fig tree in a vineyard (Luke 13:6ff).
How is it that the prophet Malachi talked about the
Priests in his time? God was sore upset with his religious
representatives. The men who were supposed be guiding
Israel. You will see below what God thought about them.
And now, O ye
Some of you may say that is only meant for the priests
under the old law. You would be mostly correct. This is
not a generalized threat to all of Israel, only to the
priests, the House of Levi.
this commandment is for you.
If ye will not hear,
and if ye will not lay it to heart,
to give glory unto my name,
saith Jehovah of hosts,
then will I send the curse upon you,
and I will curse your blessings; yea,
I have cursed them already,
because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold,
I will rebuke your seed,
and will spread dung upon your faces,
even the dung of your feasts;
and ye shall be taken away with it.
And ye shall know that I have sent
this commandment unto you,
that my covenant may be with Levi,
saith Jehovah of hosts.
(Malachi 2:1-4 - ASV)
But ye are an
Yes, we true Christians are a priesthood as well. Again,
representatives of God. So let us take such words as we
find in Malachi with seriousness. The old Levitical
priesthood was one that was not eternal, it was passed on
from generation to generation. We are part of something
much more permanent and yes, important. Therefore, our
responsibility is also that much greater. We must not
spurn God's word or hold his words and commandments in
light regard. That is the way to very great error. We must
not pollute the gospel message any more than the priests
were not to pollute the offerings to the Lord (see Galatians 1:8-9).
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession,
that ye may show forth the
excellencies of him who called you
out of darkness into his marvellous light:
who in time past were no people,
but now are the people of God:
who had not obtained mercy,
but now have obtained mercy.
(1Peter 2:9-10 - ASV)
We who serve God, let us keep faith with him in all things
so that we may obtain the blessing and not anger the Lord
and incur his displeasure. Or worse, his curse.
These times? Brothers I see a nation and world heading
into a curse. Right now I think God is trying to get our
attention but that phase is not going to last forever. I
look at our nation and the things going on and I am
shocked at the trends in it.
America is changing and its spiritual moorings with God
are being slowly unhinged as the nation continues its
spiritual drift. Sex-sin is in, God is out; drugs are in,
Church is out; false narratives and fake news are in and
God's truth is out. I suspect we are a nation that if it
does not change its ways, will receive from the hand of
the Lord one thing in particular... a curse. I hope and
pray that does not occur. Americans have
certainly received a great many blessings from God's hand
and have been in a great many ways, the envy of the world.
But how has the country repaid him?
I hate to write on such a negative subject, but this
morning I kind of got a most troubling word from the Lord
that I am not going to share, but it did have to
do with the whole idea of the curse.
[Note: This piece should not under ANY
circumstances be construed (or deliberately
misconstrued) to be against Israel or the Jewish people.
Too many men in Church history have abused the
scriptures and twisted them to incite hatred of the
Jewish people. This site is absolutely
against any form of hate, including and
especially anti-Semitism. Jesus Christ was a Jew and I
am and will continue to be one of his followers and
maintain a love for the Jewish people as I am commanded
to love all men.
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