#DailyDevotion Instruction On Your Mouth And Your Ears From God
Pro 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Pro 15:5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
Pro 15:12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
Pro 15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
Pro 15:31-32 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. (32) Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
There are several themes in this chapter. One theme here is the giving and receiving of instruction, correction or reproof. Concerning giving instruction, correction, and reproof we are advised to give a soft answer. How may we correct someone in a manner which doesn’t make the other person angry? Of course, depending on the person receiving it, they may take it wrong anyway. But we are called to do our part. We should ponder how to answer someone who is wrong in their words or deeds. Are we speaking from a right motive, i.e. the love and improvement of our neighbor or are we being self-righteous? Are we speaking in a manner that is pleasing or does our very voice stir up wrath in the person listening?
Now there two types of people who receive what we have to say. There is the scoffer. He does not like to be reproved. He will likely throw back at you the things you bring against him. He will despise your instruction. Why he won’t even listen to his father’s words much less yours. You may decide it’s better to let them go their own way than to get involved. Such a person despises himself. It not that they like the way they are. They do not like themselves this way but they hate themselves so much they will not seek improvement or go to someone wise to get better. It just seems easier this way.
But there is the person who heeds reproof. Such a one is prudent. He recognizes he can use improvement and loves himself enough to seek out those who can help him to get better. He will seek out those who are wise, those who have experienced what he himself is going through and found a better way. Such a person will dwell among those who have learned from experience or better yet, learned from those listened to those who have learned from the experienced and put into practice without having to fail. But such people are rare.
We are called to fear the Lord to live in wisdom. This is a call to trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. To believe he has conquered sin, death and the devil and then to live out that faith in our lives will enable us to live in this wisdom for that is how he has treated us.
Heavenly Father, grant us proper fear of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may be reproved to eternal life and be given a mouth that speaks as you would have us to speak to those around us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Your Way May Seem Right But It is Death
Read Prov 14:1–27
Pro 14:12 ESV There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Pro 14:26-27 ESV In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. (27) The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Jesus said, Mat 15:19 ESV “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” If you listen to the media they have not paid much attention to Prov. 14:12. Every where you turn, every tv show, movie, and song out there is telling people to listen to their hearts. But the heart is the most deceptive thing. Wickedness dwells there. Sure, the thoughts that come out of the center of our being sound good to us, but its advice will lead you to death. For the heart will lead you to sin and the wages of sin is death.
What you rarely hear is to Fear the Lord. To fear the Lord is to hate evil and all its manifestations. To fear the Lord is to love Good. To fear God is to truly love and trust in His Word. It is the pure and clear Word of God that gives life and instructs us in the ways of the Lord. True faith comes from the hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus has come and overcome our hearts and has come to make them His dwelling. Jesus doesn’t wait to be invited. He invites Himself. Remember the account of Zaccheaus.
As faith is created in us through the Word we begin to truly fear, love and trust in God above all things. We live in this Word and live out this Word. When we possess the fear of the Lord we can have a bold confidence that in Jesus the Father is on our side. He will take care of us. He will see us through unto the end.
We also will raise our children in the light of the fear of the Lord. It will be their refuge on the day of temptation. The evil one will never leave us nor them alone. He seeks their and our destruction. He wants us to be separated from the Love of God even has he is separated. He wants us to be caught up in the snares of death.
But the Word of God is living, double edge sword. Using it in prayer with trust in Christ is our best defense and offense in the spiritual realm, the battle field of our hearts. It also is the pure fountain that refreshes us and makes us glad that we may turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and look to him for help in every need. He will never leave us or forsake us. He has promised as much.
Lord Jesus Christ, leave us not to the will of our fallen hearts, but come by your Word and Spirit clear out our hearts and make it your captive that we may truly fear, love and trust in you above all things. Amen.
#DailyDevotion What Is Your Wealth And Light?
Read Prov 13:1–25
Pro 13:4-11 ESV The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied… (7) One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. (8) The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat. (9) The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (10) By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom. (11) Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Solomon speaks about wealth again today. There are only 3 important things to talk about in life. Religion, politics and business. I know this because only important things divide people and these are the big three you’re not supposed to talk about. But we must. So Solomon again instructs to not to sluggards but diligent. Those who are sluggards day dream all day about what they want but never do anything about it. Wishful thinking is all they do and is all they have. If you diligent about your work it will produce something.
How we present out wealth is another thing. We know plenty of people who are credit rich for now, but their bills will come due. Then there are those billionaires who run around in a 79 beat up Ford pickup truck. The rich display or rather use their wealth when they need to do so.
But wealth has its own problems. Poor people don’t have to worry about losing anything because they don’t have anything to lose. Wealthy people have to worry about thieves, fraudulent accountants, bankers, business partners, kidnappers etc..
How we gain our wealth is also brought up. Those who get rich quick get poor just as quick. We know all about a number of lottery winners who don’t know how to handle money so it goes out just as quickly as it comes in. Then there are those who build their wealth slowly and learn how to deal with it so it builds itself up instead of flowing out.
Those though are truly wealthy who have the righteous light. That righteous light is Jesus. If you trust Jesus has given you eternal life, won salvation and defeated the crafts of the devil then you will be able to rejoice even when times are bad because you know the end of it. Everything ends in Christ Jesus. We have his promise in Matt. 6 that we need not worry about a thing when we are seeking him and his righteousness.
If wealth, prestige and other things are your main goals in life your light will eventually be put out. You will end up in darkness because these things are only temporary. They cannot be trusted. They will not bring ultimate joy and fulfillment. Only the One True God can do that and He is only accessible through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ, give us a right understanding of wealth and my our hearts ever be anchored in you that the light of our righteousness be rejoicing in you who is our righteousness. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Make Your Fathers Glad
Pro 10:1-3 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother. (2) Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. (3) The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked…16 The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin. (17) Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
We continue with proverbs from the mouth of Solomon. What makes one wise and what makes one foolish? Wickedness and righteousness seem to have something to do with it. Certainly we would want to live in a manner of life that makes our fathers glad and not to bring sorrow to our mothers. Yet how do we do that? We are told things gained by wickedness will not profit us but righteousness will deliver from death. Certainly he know that no matter how good we live we will die never the less and many who live in sin die ripe old ages.
Verse three sound a bit like Mat 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” And then again in Joh 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” or Joh 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Not included in today’s read nor tomorrow’s are these verses: Pro 10:27 “The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.” Pro 10:29 “The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.” Now there is an absolute beginning of having the fear of the Lord and being on the way of the Lord. That is we must trust the Lord our God and believe in his promises. As we trust the Lord and believe his promises our actions in life will correspond. Sure not always perfectly but it will be different from those who lack such faith. In the Old Testament it was trusting in the promise of a coming messiah and the teaching of Moses. In the New Testament era all men everywhere are called to trust in the messiah who has come Jesus Christ and his promise of everlasting life.
Without this basic trust we will not curb our tongue, watch our actions, restrain our thoughts and desires. We will not heed instruction. But with this faith in Jesus the Holy Spirit will begin to open our ears and mold our hearts to the fear of the Lord and place on the paths of righteousness. Our fathers will become glad and our mothers will not be in sorrow.
Heavenly Father, grant us true fear of the Lord that we may walk in righteousness and have ears that hear and eyes that see all the good you have for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion The High Priest Has Died. We Can Return Home
Holy Trinity Sunday
Num 35:30-32 “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. (31) Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. (32) And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest.
You may have little trouble with the reading today. Who wants to talk about murderers, manslaughterers, how to tell the different and what to do with them? But in this we see the mercy of God the Lord. First we must understand that these are laws to govern a nation under the authority of God. So we as Christians should make a distinction here between what our country does (which is not Israel) and what the Lord commanded his Israel to do as a nation. We are not under the Mosaic covenant—though it would be good to learn some lessons from it. Indeed some of our law concerning these things mirrors the law given here.
But we should note the mercy of God here. In making a distinction between persons and their actions which bring about a death of another person, there is the intent of the individual. One whose actions intend to kill another are treated one way and those whose actions were not intended to kill are treated another way. We are given what to look for to discern intent. And even those whose actions might be interpreted as intentionally killing someone, there must be two witnesses to the fact. There is no my word against his word.
Those who commit manslaughter are given a place of refuge until judgment is determined and if it is determined that it is manslaughter they can stay in the city so the avenger cannot kill him. On top of that, he only has to stay in that city until the day the high priest dies when the killing occurred. After that, he is free to return home.
Here is where Jesus comes in. Now the devil has been a murderer since the beginning. There is no forgiveness for him. He has been murdering mankind since the garden. His fate and those who followed him is the Lake of Fire. But for those of us who sin or who may unintentionally lead other to sin there is a day of ransom for us. Jesus is our high priest and he has died on the cross for us. With his death, mankind has been ransomed. We can return to our homeland. And where is that? The New Jerusalem. The New Heavens and New Earth. If you believe that Jesus’ death has provided the ransom for your life then you can leave the city of refuge (this world) and return home to the Father.
Heavenly Father, you have provided a ransom for our life in the death of our high priest, your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us faith in his work that we may look forward to returning home to you knowing our adversary the devil has no power over us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Put Your Faith Into Action
Read Num 32:1–6, 16–27
Num 32:5-6 And they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan.” (6) But Moses said to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here?…20 So Moses said to them, “If you will do this, if you will take up arms to go before the LORD for the war, (21) and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before the LORD, until he has driven out his enemies from before him (22) and the land is subdued before the LORD; then after that you shall return and be free of obligation to the LORD and to Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.
Now the tribes of Gad and Reuben found the land they and the other Israelites was good for their cattle and their purposes and they didn’t want to have their families cross the Jordan but wanted their families to have that land east of the Jordon for their inheritance. Moses wasn’t so sure it was a good idea. After all, why should they rest and their men be saved from the conflict that was to come in overtaking the land of Canaan. So they arraigned for those people to set up fortifications and cities for the non-combatants to dwell in securely while their men went with the rest of Israel to take the land.
Now if the fighting men were to cross the Jordan and fight for Israel until they had taken the land, who was going to protect the women and children of Gad and Reuben? Fortified cities certainly were not enough for a large force from one of their neighbors. Well they were going to have to trust the Lord of Armies to shelter and protect their families. The Lord had promised them and the rest of the peoples of Israel the land they were overcoming. As it turned out, by Joshua chapter twenty-two, Israel had taken all the land of Canaan enough that Joshua releases the three tribes from further enlistment in the armies of Israel. They had kept their promise and the Lord had kept his promise.
Now sometimes during the course of our lives we may come to a point where there may seem to be a conflict in what we want and God’s commands and promises. We may think if we follow God’s commands we will lose what we want. But the Lord Jesus also had made us promises. What should we do? We should trust the promises of God in Christ Jesus. He is no liar. Trusting in the promises of the Lord we should do what God commands. Whatever he has promised will come to pass if we act in trust towards him and do what he says. Let us have faith like the tribes of Gad and Reuben and we too will possess the New Heavens and New Earth as our eternal inheritance.
Heavenly Father, who fulfills all that he has ever promised, ever put all your promises before our eyes that faith in Jesus may all the more be encouraged and strengthened that we may accomplish all you have commanded us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion There’s A New Joshua In Town
Read Num 27:12–23
Num 27:18-20 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. (19) Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. (20) You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.
As Moses is heading to the end of his journey the Lord reminds him that his departure from this life is coming soon for he will not enter the Promised Land because of his sin against the Lord at the waters of Meribah. Moses intercedes for his people that they should have a man appointed by God to lead the people so they would not be without a shepherd. The Lord hears Moses’ request and provides that Joshua would take Moses’ place in leading the people. Then the Lord sets up a procedure to bestow upon Joshua authority to lead the Israelites in their sight.
Moses would indeed die upon Mt. Nebo and not enter into the Promised Land until a second Joshua would come. But Joshua, son of Nun, is set up and he will lead God’s people into the Canaan to take it for Israel. When he was sent as a spy when they first got to the Land, he and Caleb were the only ones who believed what the Lord had promised. He and Caleb would be the only adults of that generation to cross the Jordan.
Now Moses and the Lord by their action here have foretold that eventually the Law or Covenant of Moses would be replaced before the people would enter into the Promised Land, the New Heavens and New Earth. A new Joshua would be called who Moses meets after his passing in the land of Canaan. That Joshua is Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua. The name means “the Lord saves.” The angel who named Jesus this did so because he would save his people from their sins.
Unlike Joshua, son of Nun, who only got a portion of Moses’ authority, Jesus is given by the Father above, after his resurrection from the dead, all power and authority. He is seated at the right hand of the Father Almighty. He has gone ahead of us to prepare a place in eternity for all who trusted him. Jesus is returning one day and everyone who trusted in him, even on his name, he will raise to everlasting life and give the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is the ultimate Promised Land the Lord promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to all who share in their faith. Will you place your faith in Jesus, the second Joshua and have in bring you into the Promised Land?
Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfills the name of Joshua for us. Grant us faith in him and give us your Holy Spirit that we may live now as those who have received the Promised Land in Christ and preserve us in this faith until we see it with our own eyes and enter it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion A Star Has Come Out In Jacob. A Scepter Has Risen In Israel
Read Num 24:1–25
Num 24:9 … Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you.”…14 And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”…17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.
Balak had called Balaam to curse Israel. Now three times Balaam had blessed Israel instead. He can only say that which the Lord had given him to say after the sacrifices. In verse nine, Balaam utters the words the Lord will curse those who curse you. Balak in his attempt to destroy Israel has now brought his own destruction upon himself and his people for the sought to curse Israel. Had he, or the Ammonites or the Edomites sought to bless Israel instead of seeking their destruction and their harm what a different end these peoples may have had. Ultimately they are defeated.
Now in Balaam’s prophecy is a word to the last days: a prophecy of the Messiah, a star of Jacob and a scepter of Israel. One might argue that David fits the fulfillment for at the end of his days he had conquered the all the lands for the people of Israel and brought them to peace which he handed over to Solomon. Yet, those were not the last days.
Peter in his Pentecost sermon declares that the falling of the Holy Spirit upon them showed the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy of the last days. Indeed, with the coming of Jesus we entered into the period of the last days. He birth was foretold by a star in Matthew and no doubt the rabbis in the east, in Babylon and Persia relayed this prophecy to the Magi. That is why the Magi came to Jerusalem looking for the Messiah, they had seen his star in the east.
Jesus’ ascent to the right hand of the Almighty shows the scepter had risen out of Israel. All power and authority had been given to him from the Father. The crushing of Moab and the sons of Sheth are symbolic of victory over sin, death and the power of the devil. The enemies of the people of God, his Church are defeated in Christ Jesus. We shall see this fulfillment with our own eyes when Jesus returns with all his angels and raptures, i.e. takes away all the wicked who will not trust in him or submit to him as their king to throw them in the Lake of Fire. But for all who trust in Jesus and look to him as their God and King, his peace shall rest upon them. Make sure that is you in your life today.
Heavenly Father, you foretold the coming of your son through the prophet Balaam. Give us ears that hear and eyes that see that fulfillment in your Son Jesus Christ. May we be in his kingdom now and when he returns in glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.