“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua took a stand that day with the children of Israel. He laid it out for them that they had to make a choice of Who they were going to serve while boldly proclaiming that he and his family would serve the LORD God of Jehovah.
Just like Joshua, we must make a choice today.
If we choose not to serve the Lord, we choose to be against Him. There are no gray areas when it comes to serving Him. A professing Christian who does not separate themselves from the ways of the world is doing more harm than good to the Name of Christ.
“He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
We cannot claim to be a Christian, live like the world, and think we are making a difference. Choose today to make the choice to serve Him with your whole heart. It has been said before that no person who chooses to serve the Lord has ever regretted that decision, but there are many who chose not to serve and were full of regret.
What choice will you make today?
Isaiah 39-40 | Romans 13 | Psalm 62
“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?”
To require something of someone is to ask them to do something. Parents ask their children to clean their rooms and respect their elders. Teachers ask their students to pay attention to the lesson and do their best on their assignments.
What has the Lord asked of us?
We find five simple instructions in our verses today that the Lord told Moses to speak unto the children of Israel that He also is asking of us.
Fear the Lord.
“fear the LORD thy God”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Walk in the Way of the Lord.
“walk in all his ways”
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
Love the Lord.
“O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.”
Serve the Lord.
“serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul”
“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
Obey the Word of the Lord.
“To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes”
“Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.”
These five principles can vastly change our lives if we will simple be willing to do what the Lord has asked of us.
Isaiah 37-38 | Romans 12 | Psalm 61
“And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.”
Moses refuted against God’s directive, and told Him that the people would not believe that the LORD had appeared unto him. This was just after Moses had asked God what the His Name was, and He answered.
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
Where was Moses’ faith?
He had his eyes on the people around him instead of on the Almighty God.
God was patient with Moses. He did not cast him aside and find someone else to use. He knew how to speak to Moses for him to understand and obey. He simply asked Moses what he had in his hand, what he had available to use for God’s glory.
God used that rod to instill a faith in Moses that God could use him regardless of his inabilities or insecurities.
The rod that became a serpent and caused Moses to fear was the same that returned to be the rod when he conquered his fear and took the serpent by the tail as the LORD commanded. God wanted to use what Moses had in his hand to show the people that God had met with Moses.
“That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.”
That same rod was there when God parted the Red Sea.
That same rod was used to smite the rock in Horeb.
But that same rod was also used in disobedience, and Moses suffered the consequence of not bringing the people into the Promised Land.
What’s in your hand? God can use it for His glory.
Will you obey and watch God perform miracles for His glory, or will you choose to disobey? God can use whatever is in your hand if only you will allow Him to use it.
Isaiah 35-36 | Romans 11 | Psalm 60
“When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”
Sin can cripple and immobilize us in such a way that we are helpless on our own. This impotent man who had an infirmity for 38 years lay beside the Pool of Bethesda hoping someone would help him reach the water.
This pool was beside the sheep market in Jerusalem and had five porches. It was well known for having a great multitude of people gathered upon the porches awaiting an angel that would come and trouble the water. It was a custom that the first person to step in after the troubling of the water “was made whole of whatever disease he had”.
Because of his infirmity, this impotent man routinely missed the opportunity to be healed at the water. This was before Jesus went up to Jerusalem…upon seeing him lie, Jesus asked him a simple question, already knowing his answer.
“Wilt thou be made whole?”
The man must not have realized Who had asked him the question or His ability to heal him without even touching the water. Jesus showed this man grace.
“Sir, I have no man”
He made an excuse. Just as we tend to make excuses when Jesus asks us a question. Thankfully, just as He does with us, Jesus did not just leave the man in his disabled state. He allowed him to give his reasoning, and then commanded him to do something. Jesus showed this man mercy. Instead of making an excuse this time, the man simply obeyed and the results were life changing.
“Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
Immediately the infirmity left the impotent man, and he took up his bed, and walked just as Jesus had told him to do so.
The number of porches of the Pool of Bethesda was not by accident or coincidence. There were five resting places for the people in need of healing, in need of the grace of salvation.
The word Bethesda in the Hebrew tongue refers to a “house of mercy”. The impotent man was shown mercy that day when Jesus visited him beside the pool.
The Pool of Grace & The House of Mercy.
It is the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which daily carries us through. Where would we be without His grace and mercy?
Isaiah 33-34 | Romans 10 | Psalm 59
“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
To most of us a lump of clay is just a pile of dirt, but an artist sees the potential that lies within the clay before it even becomes the work of his hands.
As clay within the Potter’s hand, we are in the hand of the Lord.
He is the Potter. We are the clay.
“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
The Potter transforms and fashions the clay according to His will. Who are we to question what He is doing in our lives? Though we may not understand, He is working all things for our good and His glory.
“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,”
When sin gets in our lives, we become marred and need to be reworked on the Potter’s wheel before we become a vessel of dishonour. The clay must submit to the will of the Potter in order to be used. Shall we not submit to the Lord’s will for our lives?
You may see yourself or your life as just a lump of clay, but the Lord sees your potential. Don’t allow the devil to convince you otherwise. Trust the hands of the Potter as He molds you into His image.
Isaiah 31-32 | Romans 9 | Psalm 58
“Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse…”
The master had given his servant instructions to bid others to come to the supper that had been prepared. The servant obeyed, and went inviting others to come, but they all began to give their excuses why they could not.
We hear excuses from people from two different sides of the ministry. Those who are too busy to see their need for Jesus Christ, and those who too busy to serve Him.
Some use vacation or leisure as an excuse.
“…The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.”
Some use possessions or material goods as an excuse.
“And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.”
Some use family as an excuse.
“And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
The people’s excuses made the master angry, and gave the willing servant more work.
“So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”
The willing servant brought the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind to the master’s house, and yet there was room for more! There is always room at the Master’s house.
“And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.”
People will always make excuses for their sin and their need for salvation, but we cannot let that stop us from inviting them to the Master. We must still go out and compel them to come hear the Truth.
On the other side of things, when will we stop making excuses for putting off what we know the Lord would have us to do? Those that have answered the call of salvation and placed their faith in Christ are also called to serve Him.
Stop the excuses. Find a place within your local church to be a willing servant.
Isaiah 29-30 | Romans 8 | Psalm 57
“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
The picture of a shepherd and his sheep in relation to Jesus and His children is one of the most precious recorded within the pages of Scripture. What tender love and care the Good Shepherd must have for His sheep!
A lost sheep is completely helpless on it’s own, and needs a Saviour to save it and bring it back to the fold. When the sheep is found, the Shepherd lovingly picks it up, gently speaks Words of comfort, and carries it home on His shoulders. “The LORD is my shepherd…He restoreth my soul” Psalm 23:1,3
“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”
Although the ninety and nine may be safe, the Shepherd goes after the one. Aren't you glad He came and found you when you were astray?
Why does the Shepherd, our Father, go after the one lost sheep?
Because He is not willing that any should perish.
2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Can you imagine the rejoicing in Heaven when a sinner repents and trusts Christ to save them? Jesus came to earth with one main purpose, to reach the lost; there is nothing else gives Him more joy.
“The principal joy in Heaven now and for eternity is that souls are saved!”
Dr. John R. Rice
May we strive to bring forth more rejoicing in Heaven by being faithful to share the Gospel with the lost sheep all around us.
Go sound the horn, strike up the choir!
A sinner is saved, saved from the fire!
No more in darkness, he’s received My Son!
All heaven rejoices, that’s the value of one!
Isaiah 27-28 | Romans 7 | Psalm 56
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
Perhaps the most terrifying verse in the entire Bible.
“One season of hope after another has passed, but the looked-for deliverance never came, and now all hope is gone.” – JFB Commentary
What if today was the last day we had to plant the Seeds of the Gospel and watch as the Lord of the Harvest brings the increase? Our time is running out.
Who can we reach before it is too late?
It is our job to plant and water the Seeds, and leave the rest up to God.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
That day is coming. When the trumpet sounds and God calls His children to meet the Lord Jesus in the air, those on earth who have rejected the Gospel will not have another chance to accept Christ as their Saviour.
Will your friend be saved? Will your coworker trust Christ before it is eternally too late? Will that family member you have prayed for as long as you can remember finally listen and accept the Truth of the Gospel in time?
It is up to us to share the Truth. Are you a harvester of the Gospel?
“Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”
The harvest is waiting. Will you labour to reach them with the Gospel today?
Isaiah 25-26 | Romans 6 | Psalm 55
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
We must pray not only for our churches and our lives to be shaken by God’s power, but also for our faith to be unshakeable.
Anyone can have unshakeable faith.
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them”
Anyone can have unshakeable faith, if it is founded upon The Rock.
“and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
That Rock is Jesus Christ. God’s Son, and our Saviour. Jesus used the picture of a builder for us to envision the simplicity of this Truth. The man building the house dug deep until he found rock, and then he laid the foundation upon that rock. He later tells us what happens to the houses that are without a foundation and built upon the earth.
We must dig deep. This doesn’t imply that it is difficult to find Christ has our Rock, but rather refers to finding out what the Bible says about Him.
We must lay the foundation. We must build upon our faith in Jesus by learning what the Scriptures say, and developing our beliefs based upon the Truth. Just as a foundation is crucial to the integrity of a structure, without Jesus Christ our faith has no foundation!
Anyone can have their faith shaken without a Foundation that is built upon Jesus Christ. There was another man who built his house upon the earth, and saw it fall when the vehement stream came, “and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great”. Any faith that is built on something else other than Jesus Christ alone will fall.
We can stand upon the Rock of Ages, because He never changes.
Isaiah 23-24 | Romans 5 | Psalm 54
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
Why was the place shaken? Because they prayed in one accord.
“And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:”
What if we prayed in one accord? We can only imagine what could happen! How would we be shaken?
We must pray in order to see the power of prayer. God is ready and able to move in our churches and our lives if only we would ask.
When we pray…
Our Churches Will Be Shaken.
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled…”
In order for our churches to be shaken, we must first assemble together. God desires for His people to assemble together. The Holy Ghost inspired the writer of Hebrews to call out “as the manner of some is”, those who even in that day where forsaking the assembling of the church. God knew this would be an ongoing issue among our churches.
“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.”
When we pray…
Our Character Will Be Changed.
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken…and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…”
We wonder why we do not have the power of God, yet did even we ask for His help? Did we yield our own will so that His will would be done? If we do not pray, we will not be changed.
When we pray…
Our Courage Will Be Spoken.
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken…and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
We cannot speak for God until we have spoken with God. If we want to be bold for Him, we must hear what He has to say within His Word, and ask Him for His help in every area of our lives. When we are called on to give an answer, we must yield ourselves to Him and what He has shown us through prayer and reading the Scriptures.
Do you want your life to be shaken for God’s glory?
Isaiah 21-22 | Romans 4 | Psalm 53
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