“And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not harkened to receive instruction.”
How sad it is to see people who have been privileged to grow up in church turn their back on the Truth they have been taught. It may start with a change in the music they listen to, then dabbling in multiple versions of the Bible, and then a change in their entire belief in God and the Biblical Truths they had been taught since a child.
It is heart wrenching to see such blatant choices to dismiss the doctrines they once believed in. But how much more must God’s heart be grieved? Within the context of our text today that God was not pleased with the people of Jeremiah’s day. They turned their backs on the Truths they had been taught. We must take a stand for the Truth.
Stand for the Scriptures. Whether it is realized at the time or not, a change in Bibles is a change in doctrine. When modern versions change or remove verses from God’s Word, fundamental beliefs are changed or removed. Acts 8:37 is a prime example of this. In the previous verse, the eunuch asks Philip what hinders him from being baptized.
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Most of the modern versions today remove this verse stating that it was not in “most of the original manuscripts.” Yet this verse is within the canon of Scripture within the King James Bible. Why is it removed from the modern texts? When removing this verse the text removes the need for believing in Christ for salvation. The context goes from asking what hinders the eunuch from being baptized to both him and Philip entering the water. When the belief in Jesus Christ before baptism is removed, there is no salvation.
Stand for Separation. We are seeing an ecumenical movement of massive proportions among today’s “Christians”. These days anything goes. The church is becoming more like the world everyday. God tells us to separate ourselves from the world. When we are friends with the world we make ourselves God’s enemy.
“…know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
II Corinthians 6:16-17
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; for I will be there God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord…”
A wise man once said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Take a stand today for Biblical Truth.
II Samuel 23-24 | II Corinthians 2 | Psalm 121
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
“Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you…
Jesus Christ and an American Soldier. One died for your freedom, the Other died for your soul.”
Remembering our freedom should be more than just a yearly holiday, and excuse to have a 3-day weekend. Were it not for the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for our country we could not enjoy the freedoms that America has to offer to its residents and citizens. The men and women who defend our country and our flag do so out of duty but more so out of love. They must love the country they represent in order to be willing to lay down their life while protecting it. Let us not take for granted the freedom we possess that comes at the hands of American soldiers.
Our soldiers provide us the freedom to worship and serve the Ultimate Soldier. Jesus Christ is our ultimate Example of the cost of freedom. He laid down His life willingly so that He could have a relationship with us.
He made the sacrifice because He loved us.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
While we remember our earthly freedoms, let us not forget the freedom that Christ provides for us every day, and for eternity. We are no longer in bondage of eternal death for His blood paid the debt we could not pay.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…”
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
II Samuel 21-22 | II Corinthians 1 | Psalm 120
II Timothy 2:9
“Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”
Regardless of the persecution aimed at us as Christians today, we can be encouraged just as Paul was…”but the word of God is not bound.” The Apostle Paul knew that despite the powers that tried to silence him and the disciples, God’s Word will still work, it will still operate in the hearts of men.
Although this world may try to bind the hands of those proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, the Word of God can never be bound.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible which further explains just how much of a priority the Word of God should be in our lives.
The Word of God chapter of the Bible. 176 verses. Giving us at least as many principles to learn about the very Words God chose to give us for us to live by.
In nearly every verse there is at least one Word that refers to the Word of God.
Words referencing the Word of God:
Law of the Lord
When reading through the chapter, make an effort to find the specific Word within the verse that references the Word of God. Among the references are Truths about the Scripture that we can apply to our lives and allow It to encourage us in our walk with the Lord.
The Word of God magnifies Itself. Later on in the Book of Psalms, the Scripture tells us that the Lord magnifies His Word even above His Name.
“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Allow Psalm 119 to broaden your love for the Word. Delight in Him today.
I Samuel 1:15
“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 have poured out my soul before the Lord.”
Hannah had run out of words to describe her need, so she poured out her soul before the Lord. He heard the wordless petition that Hannah offered. He knew her heart.
In those times of our lives where we are so overwhelmed by the effects of our circumstance that we do not even have the words to form a prayer, God hears our heart. The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf when we are unable to pray.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Isn’t it encouraging that when we don’t even know what to pray, God hears our hearts?
Hannah poured herself out much like the drink offering that Jacob poured upon the altar he had built in the place where God talked with him. This was a sacrifice of dedication to the Lord. The drink offering is symbolic of the ultimate pouring out of sacrifice… Jesus’ blood on the cross.
Have you poured yourself out to the Lord?
When there are no words to convey how you feel to the Lord, pour yourself out to Him. Plead your situation to Him through tears and wordless prayers. He will hear you.
“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
“Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord…”
Pour yourself out to the Lord today.
Empty yourself of yourself so that the Lord can have full reign to work within you and your situation.
It is only when we empty ourselves of ourselves that we can truly see God move as only He can.
II Samuel 19-20 | I Corinthians 16 | Psalm 118
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Earlier this year, we visited this chapter in Isaiah. We discussed the Truths of verses 8-10, which remind us that we are chosen, called, and comforted. Praise God for the times when He comforts us!
We find the reason for that comfort in the latter part of verse 10. God upholds us by the Right Hand of His righteousness. Who sits at the right hand of God the Father? His Son, Jesus Christ! It is through Him that we are upheld and comforted when we are fearful and dismayed. It is by Him that we are strengthened and helped.
He reminds us of this Truth again in verse 13… “Fear not; I will help thee.”
What is happening when He speaks these Words and reminds us of the comfort He brings? He is holding our right hand!
Have you ever been in the middle of despair and confusion only to seek the Lord and be overcome with the peace that passes all understanding? It is at that moment that the Lord holds our right hand and comforts us like only He can. Allow the Lord to take you by the right hand today and help guide you through the battle you are facing. Maybe no one understands, maybe no one even knows about it… but God does. He is working everything for your good, you need only be still, and allow Him to help you in your time of need.
Praise the Lord that His hand is never too busy to hold the hands of His children. Reach out to Him today. He will meet you right where you are. Because the Lord our God holds our right hand by His Right Hand, we can turn our fear into faith!
II Samuel 17-18 | I Corinthians 15 | Psalm 117
“As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”
The prophet Ezekiel knew the Lord was in the rainbow. He remembered the promise God had made and symbolized by the bow in the cloud. The rainbow in Ezekiel’s vision was around a throne. Upon that throne sat a Man, the Man Christ Jesus. This passage is reminiscent to Revelation 4, where we see another glimpse of Christ’s throne, and a description of the worthiness of the One Who occupies the throne.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
After a summer rain, sometimes the majesty of a beautiful rainbow fills the sky opposite the sun. The peacefulness from the calm of the storm eases the havoc that the storm caused. Isn't that just like our lives as Christians? After the Lord speaks “Peace, be still” to our storm He sometimes sends us a rainbow of provision to remind us that He is in control, and He is working things for our good.
Oftentimes when we are focused on the storms of our lives we forget that God already sees the rainbow that awaits us once the storm is over. He sees the end from the beginning. He sees the rainbow when we only clouds.
The same One that Ezekiel saw is the Lord you serve today. The same One Who sits on the throne of heaven Who is worthy to receive glory and honour and power, is the One Who is waiting to hear your cry today. He is “the same, yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
God knows what rainbow you need in your life. Seek Him today.
If perhaps you are in the middle of a storm right now with no rainbow in sight, believe that a rainbow is coming, and thank the Lord for it before it arrives. He knows what is between you and the rainbow. Trust Him to carry you through.
God sees the storm from the other side
He knows the lessons learned
And just beyond the clouds He sees clear skies
He speaks peace to the raging storm
When peace cannot be found
He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds
“He Already Sees” – The Collingsworth Family
II Samuel 15-16 | I Corinthians 14 | Psalm 116
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Opportunity: an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done; a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
We as Christians have an unknown amount of time left on this earth to do something for the cause of Christ. We need to redeem the time that we have while we have it. What are we doing with our opportunity?
The Apostle Paul pinned these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to encourage the people of Galatia to do good unto all men, but especially to those who were a part of their church.
Are we doing good unto all men? Are we doing good to our church family and the ministry that God has allowed us to be a part of? We have been given an opportunity to make a difference.
Opportunities do not last forever. What opportunity have you let pass you by? Was it forgetting to invite the cashier at Walmart to church? Was it the lady you passed on the street that you didn't give a Gospel tract to?
We must use every opportunity we are given. Our life is like a vapor, it will soon vanish away.
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
Don’t let your opportunity past you by.
II Samuel 13-14 | I Corinthians 13 | Psalm 115
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
How can we continue to hold fast our profession of faith?
How can we provoke one another unto love and to good works?
By not “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”.
By making an effort to be in church often!
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the writer of Hebrews acknowledges that there were some that were not faithful… “as the manner of some is”. This Truth still applies today, and perhaps on an even greater level.
We have seen a trend in recent days of churches going away from their “traditional” schedules due to lack of attendance in the evening and midweek services. Churches continue to appeal to their targeted demographics, while compromising on what has worked in the past… Biblical principles.
While some may believe that an evening service on Sundays only stems from tradition, it's foundation lies within the pages of Scripture.
“Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews…”
The disciples assembled together on Sunday evening. So should we. Instead of making only Sunday morning a priority, we should make church a priority every time the doors are open, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…”
The origin of a midweek service may stem from only tradition, but even if so, aren't you thankful for those services? In the middle of a chaotic workweek, a visit to the local haven of rest helps us keep pressing on throughout the week.
Why is church attendance so important?
“…came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
II Samuel 11-12 | I Corinthians 12 | Psalm 114
“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”
God has a reason for everything. He gave us two ears and one mouth. Perhaps it is because we should listen twice as much as we speak. Our passage today refers to listening and speaking within the house of God, and within His presence.
As he writes of the vanities he learned within his aged years, Solomon exhorts us to be aware that before we enter the church house we should prepare our hearts and ears to listen to what God has for us to hear. We are to “be more ready to hear”; he knew that listening was important.
How often are we too distracted by our murmurings and disputings to really hear the message that God has given the preacher?
In a high technological society, our cell phones often distract us during a service. Text messages and social media notifications do not stop when we enter the sanctuary. We sit in the pew “ready” to worship our Lord, and tend to be more in tune with the notifications than we are with what God has for us during the service. Does God need to send us a text message to get our attention?
Many times when we are more concerned about what we “have to say” than what we need to hear. God wants us to listen. God wants us to hear Him.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
Take note of the ratio of how much you hear and how much you say today. Ask God to help you realize when you need to listen.
II Samuel 9-10 | I Corinthians 11 | Psalm 113
“Then I told them of the hand of my God which was upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.”
Nehemiah had confidence. Not in himself alone, but confidence that God would use him to do a work among His people. You can be confident in God’s ability to work through you without exalting yourself.
When we follow God’s leading we cannot go wrong. If God has ordained it, it cannot fail. Where God guides, He provides. Where He leads, He precedes. Where He directs, He protects.
We can follow Nehemiah’s example. He told of his God given vision, and was bold to proclaim what God had shown him. Through his leadership, God allowed the wall to be built by the people in a cooperative team effort. God knew their heart, and He blessed their efforts.
What vision has God given you? What does He want you to rise up and build?
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
Develop a God given confidence by relying on Him to work through you. Be bold as He strengthens your hands for His work.
Rise up. Build. Let God enable you in all that you do today.
II Samuel 7-8 | I Corinthians 10 | Psalm 112
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