RSS

Tag Archives: follow

Seek the Lord and Live

For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek me and live; but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beer-sheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing. Seek the Lord and live, or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire, and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it. Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground! The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name, who makes destruction flash out against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress. They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time. (Amos 5:4-13, NRSV)

God is a jealous God and wants us to follow Him.

God seeks us and follows after us when we do not follow Him or seek Him. That is why Amos tells us that God wants us to seek after Him. If we seek after God and try to follow Him then we will be on the path He has for us.

We will not stray to places that He doesn’t need us to be. We will follow and walk humbly with God in the ways He has prepared for us to walk.

So seek the Lord and follow in His ways, so that you may share His love with all of the world.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

God’s Judgement on Israel

Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed. Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of cedars, and who was as strong as oaks; I destroyed his fruit above, and his roots beneath. Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. And I raised up some of your children to be prophets and some of your youths to be nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel? says the Lord. But you made the nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, “You shall not prophesy.” So, I will press you down in your place, just as a cart presses down when it is full of sheaves. Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength, nor shall the mighty save their lives; those who handle the bow shall not stand, and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride horses save their lives; and those who are stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, says the Lord. (Amos 2:6-16, NRSV)

We think that we do not need to take care of those in need as the church. But Jesus nor God never said to allow the government to create a program to take care of the poor and the needy, God over and over again tells us that we need to take care of the poor and needy.

If we push off those who need our help we are not walking as God has called us to walk. If we turn away those who need our help aren’t we actually turning away the person of God before us? God created everyone and is a part of everything he created. So by turning away someone in need, we are turning away God.

How do we serve God, and do what He has sent us here to do?

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Elisha Heals Naaman

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; (2 Kings 5:1-15a, NRSV)

Why is it when we ask God to do something or want to do something for God it has to be a big production?

We want flashes and grandeur and pomp. It has to have booms and loud noises and it has to be the hardest thing we have ever done.

We think we have to do something big in order for it to make a difference. We have to change the world when really all we have to do is give what we have been given to give. We do not have to change the world, but we have to do what we are called to do.

Naaman expected there to be flashes and the prophet to come to him. He complained about the easy washing because it wasn’t enough. And the rivers in my homeland are better than this water!

We think it has to be the biggest and best thing that ever happened. When all we really have to do to change the world is trust God and give what He has given us to give.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Kingdom is Divided

Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” They answered him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”But he disregarded the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. He said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” The young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus you should say to this people who spoke to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us’; thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’” So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, “Come to me again the third day.” The king answered the people harshly. He disregarded the advice that the older men had given him and spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What share do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, O David.” So Israel went away to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam then hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was no one who followed the house of David, except the tribe of Judah alone. When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand chosen troops to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, “Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your kindred the people of Israel. Let everyone go home, for this thing is from me.” So they heeded the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord. (1 Kings 12:1-24, NRSV)

When we do not listen to the voice of wisdom we fall prey to the voice that will lead us to look out for ourself. This will cause us to harm others and not look out for their best interest. We will feed the unholy trinity of me, myself and I. And that will always lead to division.

Why did the kingdoms have to split?

Did Jeroboam and Rehoboam have to be opposing rulers in the region of the 12 tribes? Was it their selfishness that caused this?

How can we follow after God and help to keep His body together and not cause division?

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Solomon goes Astray

King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the Israelites, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not completely follow the Lord, as his father David had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrificed to their gods. Then the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” (1 Kings 11:1-13, NRSV)

So Solomon, as he grew older, seemed to have lost his wisdom.

And just how many wives did he have? The reading says among his wives were 700 princesses… So he had more than 700 wives because 700 of his wives were princesses which implies there are more that are not princesses. And then to top that off there are 300 concubines…

And Solomon being a good partner wanted to make his partners happy so he went after what they advised him to. But this is not what God wanted him to do. But we all go after our own desires or try to make others happy.

The only one we need to worry about making happy is our selves and that in turn will make God happy.

How can we focus our lives on God so that we do not go astray?

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Prayer for Israel’s King

Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. 
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. 
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. 
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. 
In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 
May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust. 
May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. 
May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. 
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 
From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.  (Psalm 72:1-14, NRSV)

How many of us pray for our leaders?

Whether we agree with them or not.
Whether we like their policies or not.

They are our leaders and we should pray for them. We should pray that God would work in and through them. That their hearts would be open to the leading of the Spirit and that God’s peace would be brought to this land through their deeds.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all prayed that God would move our leaders.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Solomon’s Great Wisdom

God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, children of Mahol; his fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish. People came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon; they came from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:29-34, NRSV)

Have you ever known someone so wise that you went to hear them? You just loved to listen to the talk?

I had a few seminary professors like this. I would seek them out for wisdom and still do today.

God-given wisdom is a gift we should all seek out and listen to in our lives.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,