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Got to HaveHope

Got to Have Hope

2 Kings 18:1–20:21; 2 Chron. 29:1–32:33 Feb. 20 2011

2 Kings 18:28-32; 19:5-7,15-19

Hezekiah’s dates. The best way to sort the confusing dates is to assume that he became co-regent in 729/728 B.C., was primary ruler from 720/719 B.C. and ruled independently after Ahaz’s death in 716 B.C. The 14 years lie between 715 and 701 B.C., when Sennacherib invaded.

Why is Hezekiah’s character mentioned first? Hezekiah is commended for trust , for faithfully following the Lord , and for keeping the Mosaic Law . His close relationship with the Lord was a key to his success . Character comes first, for it is the key to the events that follow. To withstand the storms of life, we need to build a relationship with God like Hezekiah’s.

Sennacherib’s invasion. Assyrian annals trace his brilliant campaign. He subdued the Phoenician cities, then attacked south along the coast. He then turned east, taking Lachish, and isolating the remaining Judean and Philistine cities from any possible Egyptian aid.

1. Rabshakeh’s blasphemies. (2 Kings 18:28-32)
2 Kings 18:28 And the chief of the butlers standeth and calleth with a great voice in Jewish, and speaketh and saith, ‘Hear ye a word of the great king, the king of Asshur: 29 thus said the king, Let not Hezekiah lift you up, for he is not able to deliver you out of his hand; 30 and let not Hezekiah make you trust unto Jehovah, saying, Jehovah doth certainly deliver us, and this city is not given into the hand of the king of Asshur. 31 ‘Do not hearken unto Hezekiah, for thus said the king of Asshur, Make with me a blessing, and come out unto me, and eat ye each of his vine, and each of his fig-tree, and drink ye each the waters of his own well, 32 till my coming in, and I have taken you unto a land like your own land, a land of corn and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive, and honey, and live, and die not; and do not hearken unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, Jehovah doth deliver us.

Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is, therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiah’s nobles held their peace. There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and fervent prayer.

2. Hezekiah receives an answer of peace. (2 Kings 19:5-7)

2 Kings 19:5 And the servants of king Hezekiah come in unto Isaiah, 6 and Isaiah saith to them, ‘Thus do ye say unto your lord: Thus said Jehovah, Be not afraid because of the words that thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Asshur have reviled Me. 7 Lo, I am giving in him a spirit, and he hath heard a report, and hath turned back to his land, and I have caused him to fall by the sword in his land.’

Hezekiah discovered deep concern at the dishonour done to God by Rabshakeh’s blasphemy. Those who speak from God to us, we should in a particular manner desire to speak to God for us. The great Prophet is the great Intercessor. Those are likely to prevail with God, who lift up their hearts in prayer. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. While his servants can speak nothing but terror to the profane, the proud, and the hypocritical, they have comfortable words for the discouraged believer

3. Sennacherib’s letter. (2 Kings 19:15-19)
2 Kings 19:15 And Hezekiah prayeth before Jehovah, and saith, ‘O Jehovah, God of Israel, inhabiting the cherubs, Thou art God Himself—Thyself alone—to all the kingdoms of the earth: Thou hast made the heavens and the earth. 16 Incline, O Jehovah, Thine ear, and hear; open, O Jehovah, Thine eyes, and see; and hear Thou the words of Sennacherib with which he hath sent him to reproach the living God. 17 ‘Truly, O Jehovah, kings of Asshur have laid waste the nations, and their land, 18 and have put their gods into fire, for they are no gods, but work of the hands of man, wood and stone, and destroy them. 19 And now, O Jehovah our God, save us, we pray Thee, out of his hand, and know do all kingdoms of the earth that Thou art Jehovah God—Thyself alone.’

Prayer is the never-failing resource of the tempted Christian, whether struggling with outward difficulties or inward foes. At the mercy-seat of his almighty Friend he opens his heart, spreads his case, like Hezekiah, and makes his appeal. When he can discern that the glory of God is engaged on his side, faith gains the victory, and he rejoices that he shall never be moved. The best pleas in prayer are taken from God’s honour.
Summary

With the Northern Kingdom crushed, Judah too was vulnerable. But Judah was blessed with a godly king, Hezekiah When the ring of defensive cities Judah had erected fell to Sennacherib, Hezekiah paid the tribute the Assyrian demanded . But Assyria was intent on its policy of population exchange. So Sennacherib sent a delegation to demand Judah’s unconditional surrender . The delegation openly ridiculed Judah’s continuing resistance, including any hope in her God . Hezekiah hurried to the temple, to lay the Assyrian demands before the Lord . Isaiah the prophet responded. God would send Sennacherib home, with Jerusalem untouched . Hezekiah is threatened again, and again prays and Isaiah’s prophecy against Sennacherib is expanded . God strikes the bulk of the Assyrian forces dead. Sennacherib does return home, where he is assassinated by two of his sons .

Exodus 1-4 Compassionate Acte

Compassionate Action
Exodus 1:1-4:31 March 7 2010

This chapter begins the story of Moses, that man of renown, famed for his intimate acquaintance with Heaven and his eminent usefulness on earth, and the most remarkable type of Christ, as a prophet, saviour, lawgiver, and mediator, in all the Old Testament. The Jews have a book among them of the life of Moses, which tells a great many stories concerning him, which we have reason to think are mere fictions; what he has recorded concerning himself is what we may rely upon, for we know that his record is true; and it is what we may be satisfied with, for it is what Infinite Wisdom thought fit to preserve and transmit to us. In this chapter we have, The perils of his birth and infancy. His preservation through those perils, and the preferment of his childhood and youth. The pious choice of his riper years, which was to own the people of God. He offered them his service at present, if they would accept it. He retired, that he might reserve himself for further service hereafter. The dawning of the day of Israel’s deliverance .

1. (Exod.2:23-25) The Israelites Pray to God During Their Suffering

Exod. 2:23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 2:24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 2:25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

The Israelites’ bondage in Egypt continued, though the murdering of their infants did not continue. Sometimes the Lord suffers the rod of the wicked to lie very long and very heavy on the lot of the righteous. At last they began to think of God under their troubles. It is a sign that the Lord is coming towards us with deliverance, when he inclines and enables us to cry to him for it. God heard their groaning; he made it to appear that he took notice of their complaints. He remembered his covenant, of which he is ever mindful. He considered this, and not any merit of theirs. He looked upon the children of Israel. Moses looked upon them, and pitied them; but now God looked upon them, and helped them. He had respect unto them. His eyes are now fixed upon Israel, to show himself in their behalf. God is ever thus, a very present help in trouble. Take courage then, ye who, conscious of guilt and thralldom, are looking to Him for deliverance. God in Christ Jesus is also looking upon you. A call of love is joined with a promise of the Redeemer. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, (Matthew 11:28) .

2. (Exodus 3:1-6) God appears to Moses in a burning bush.

Exod. 3:1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 3:2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3:3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight —why the bush does not burn up.” 3:4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 3:5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 3:6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The years of the life of Moses are divided into three forties; the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh’s court, the second as a shepherd in Midian, the third as a king in Jeshurun. How changeable is the life of man! The first appearance of God to Moses, found him tending sheep. This seems a poor employment for a man of his parts and education, yet he rests satisfied with it; and thus learns meekness and contentment, for which he is more noted in sacred writ, than for all his learning. Satan loves to find us idle; God is pleased when he finds us employed. Being alone, is a good friend to our communion with God. To his great surprise, Moses saw a bush burning without fire to kindle it. The bush burned, and yet did not burn away; an emblem of the church in bondage in Egypt. And it fitly reminds us of the church in every age, under its severest persecutions kept by the presence of God from being destroyed. Fire is an emblem, in Scripture, of the Divine holiness and justice, also of the afflictions and trials with which God proves and purifies his people, and even of that baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which sinful affections are consumed, and the soul changed into the Divine nature and image. God gave Moses a gracious call, to which he returned a ready answer. Those that would have communion with God, must attend upon him in the ordinances wherein he is pleased to manifest himself and his glory, though it be in a bush. Putting off the shoe was a token of respect and submission. We ought to draw nigh to God with a solemn pause and preparation, carefully avoiding every thing that looks light and rude, and unbecoming his service. God does not say, I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but I am. The patriarchs still live, so many years after their bodies have been in the grave. No length of time can separate the souls of the just from their Maker. By this, God instructed Moses as to another world, and strengthened his belief of a future state. Thus it is interpreted by our Lord Jesus, who, from hence, proves that the dead are raised, Luke 20:37 . Moses hid his face, as if both ashamed and afraid to look upon God. The more we see of God, and his grace, and covenant love, the more cause we shall see to worship him with reverence and godly fear.

3. (Exodus 3:7-10) God sends Moses to deliver Israel.

Exod. 3:7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 3:8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey —the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3:9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 3:10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

God notices the afflictions of Israel. Their sorrows; even the secret sorrows of God’s people are known to him. Their cry; God hears the cries of his afflicted people. The oppression they endured; the highest and greatest of their oppressors are not above him. God promises speedy deliverance by methods out of the common ways of providence. Those whom God, by his grace, delivers out of a spiritual Egypt, he will bring to a heavenly Canaan.

4. (Exodus 3: 19-22) The deliverance of the Israelites promised.

Exod. 3:19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 3:20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

Moses’ success with the elders of Israel would be good. God, who, by his grace, inclines the heart, and opens the ear, could say beforehand, They shall hearken to thy voice; for he would make them willing in this day of power. As to Pharaoh, Moses is here told that petitions and persuasions, and humble complaints, would not prevail with him; nor a mighty hand stretched out in signs and wonders. But those will certainly be broken by the power of God’s hand, who will not bow to the power of his word. Pharaoh’s people should furnish Israel with riches at their departure. In Pharaoh’s tyranny and Israel’s oppression, we see the miserable, abject state of sinners. However galling the yoke, they drudge on till the Lord sends redemption. With the invitations of the gospel, God sends the teaching of his Spirit. Thus are men made willing to seek and to strive for deliverance. Satan loses his power to hold them, they come forth with all they have and are, and apply all to the glory of God and the service of his church.

Summary:

As prophecy had ceased for many ages before the coming of Christ, that the revival and perfection of it in that great prophet might be the more remarkable, so vision had ceased (for aught that appears) among the patriarchs for some ages before the coming of Moses, that God’s appearances to him for Israel’s salvation might be the more welcome; and in this chapter we have God’s first appearance to him in the bush and the conference between God and Moses in that vision. Here is, The discovery God was pleased to make of his glory to Moses at the bush, to which Moses was forbidden to approach too near. A general declaration of God’s grace and good-will to his people, who were beloved for their fathers’ sakes . A particular notification of God’s purpose concerning the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. He assures Moses it should now be done. He gives him a commission to act in it as his ambassador both to Pharaoh and to Israel . He answers the objection Moses made of his own unworthiness. He gives him full instructions what to say both to Pharaoh and to Israel. He tells him beforehand what the issue would be .

Mark 14 When You Have Diffcult Decisions

When You Have Difficult Decisions

Mark 14:32-39;41-50 2/21/2010

In this chapter begins the account which this evangelist gives of the death and sufferings of our Lord Jesus, which we are all concerned to be acquainted, not only with the history of, but with the mystery of. Here is, The plot of the chief priests and scribes against Christ . The anointing of Christ’s head at a supper in Bethany, two days before his death . The contract Judas made with the chief priests, to betray him. Christ’s eating the passover with his disciples, his instituting the Lord’s supper, and his discourse with his disciples, at and after supper . Christ’s agony in the garden. The betraying of him by Judas, and the apprehending of him by the chief priests’ agents . His arraignment before the high priest, his conviction, and the indignities done him at that bar. Peter’s denying him . Most of which passages we had before, Matt. 26 .

1. Christ’s Agony in the Garden. (Mark 14: 32-39)

Mark 14:32Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
37Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words.

Christ’s sufferings began with the sorest of all, those in his soul. He began to be sorely amazed; words not used in St. Matthew, but very full of meaning. The terrors of God set themselves in array against him, and he allowed him to contemplate them. Never was sorrow like unto his at this time. Now he was made a curse for us; the curses of the law were laid upon him as our Surety. He now tasted death, in all the bitterness of it. This was that fear of which the apostle speaks, the natural fear of pain and death, at which human nature startles. Can we ever entertain favourable, or even slight thoughts of sin, when we see the painful sufferings which sin, though but reckoned to him, brought on the Lord Jesus? Shall that sit light upon our souls, which sat so heavy upon his? Was Christ in such agony for our sins, and shall we never be in agony about them? How should we look upon Him whom we have pierced, and mourn! It becomes us to be exceedingly sorrowful for sin, because He was so, and never to mock at it. Christ, as Man, pleaded, that, if it were possible, his sufferings might pass from him. As Mediator, he submitted to the will of God, saying, Nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt; I bid it welcome. See how the sinful weakness of Christ’s disciples returns, and overpowers them. What heavy clogs these bodies of ours are to our souls! But when we see trouble at the door, we should get ready for it. Alas, even believers often look at the Redeemer’s sufferings in a drowsy manner, and instead of being ready to die with Christ, they are not even prepared to watch with him one hour.

2. He is betrayed and taken. (Mark 14:41-50)

Mark14:41Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
43And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.”
45As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
46Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
48Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”
50Then they all forsook Him and fled.

Because Christ appeared not as a temporal prince, but preached repentance, reformation, and a holy life, and directed men’s thoughts, and affections, and aims to another world, therefore the Jewish rulers sought to destroy him. Peter wounded one of the band. It is easier to fight for Christ than to die for him. But there is a great difference between faulty disciples and hypocrites. The latter rashly and without thought call Christ Master, and express great affection for him, yet betray him to his enemies. Thus they hasten their own destruction.

Summary:

Peter’s denying Christ began by keeping at a distance from him. Those that are shy of godliness, are far in the way to deny Christ. Those who think it dangerous to be in company with Christ’s disciples, because thence they may be drawn in to suffer for him, will find it much more dangerous to be in company with his enemies, because there they may be drawn in to sin against him. When Christ was admired and flocked after, Peter readily owned him; but will own no relation to him now he is deserted and despised. Yet observe, Peter’s repentance was very speedy. Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall; and let him that has fallen think of these things, and of his own offences, and return to the Lord with weeping and supplication, seeking forgiveness, and to be raised up by the Holy Spirit.

Mark 10:32-52 How to Be Sucessful

HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL
Mark 10:32-52 , Mark 10 ; 32-45 1/31 2010

Christ’s going on with his undertaking for the salvation of mankind, was, is, and will be, the wonder of all his disciples. Worldly honour is a glittering thing, with which the eyes of Christ’s own disciples have many times been dazzled. Our care must be, that we may have wisdom and grace to know how to suffer with him; and we may trust him to provide what the degrees of our glory shall be. Christ shows them that dominion was generally abused in the world. If Jesus would gratify all our desires, it would soon appear that we desire fame or authority, and are unwilling to taste of his cup, or to have his baptism; and should often be ruined by having our prayers answered. But he loves us, and will only give his people what is good for them.

1. Back on the road (Mark 10:32-34)

Mark 10:32 Back on the road, they set out for Jerusalem. Jesus had a head start on them, and they were following, puzzled and not just a little afraid. He took the Twelve and began again to go over what to expect next. 33“Listen to me carefully. We’re on our way up to Jerusalem. When we get there, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars. They will sentence him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Romans, 34who will mock and spit on him, give him the third degree, and kill him. After three days he will rise alive.”

He shall rise again; the issue of his sufferings will be glorious to himself, and advantageous to all that are his, v. 33,34. The method and particulars of Christ’s sufferings are more largely foretold here than in any other of the predictions-that he shall first be delivered up by Judas to the chief priests and the scribes; that they shall condemn him to death, but, not having the power to put him to death, shall deliver him to the Gentiles, to the Roman powers, and they shall mock him, and scourge him, and spit upon him, and kill him. Christ had a perfect foresight, not only of his own death, but of all the aggravating circumstances of it; and yet he thus went forth to meet it.
Christ’s prediction of his own sufferings; this string he harped much upon, though in the ears of his disciples it sounded very harsh and unpleasing.

2. The Highest Places of Honor (Mark 10:35-45 )

Mark 10:35 James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came up to him. “Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us.”36“What is it? I’ll see what I can do.”37“Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory—one of us at your right, the other at your left.”38Jesus said, “You have no idea what you’re asking. Are you capable of drinking the cup I drink, of being baptized in the baptism I’m about to be plunged into it ”39“Sure,” they said. “Why not?” Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you will drink the cup I drink, and be baptized in my baptism. 40But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. There are other arrangements for that.” 41When the other ten heard of this conversation, they lost their tempers with James and John. 42Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. 43It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. 44Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. 45That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”

Christ’s going on with his undertaking for the salvation of mankind, was, is, and will be, the wonder of all his disciples. Worldly honour is a glittering thing, with which the eyes of Christ’s own disciples have many times been dazzled. Our care must be, that we may have wisdom and grace to know how to suffer with him; and we may trust him to provide what the degrees of our glory shall be. Christ shows them that dominion was generally abused in the world. If Jesus would gratify all our desires, it would soon appear that we desire fame or authority, and are unwilling to taste of his cup, or to have his baptism; and should often be ruined by having our prayers answered. But he loves us, and will only give his people what is good for them

Summary:

Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus and his miracles, and learning that he was passing by, hoped to recover his eyesight. In coming to Christ for help and healing, we should look to him as the promised Messiah. The gracious calls Christ gives us to come to him, encourage our hope, that if we come to him we shall have what we come for. Those who would come to Jesus, must cast away the garment of their own sufficiency, must free themselves from every weight, and the sin that, like long garments, most easily besets them, Heb 12:1. He begged that his eyes might be opened. It is very desirable to be able to earn our bread; and where God has given men limbs and senses, it is a shame, by foolishness and slothfulness, to make themselves, in effect, blind and lame. His eyes were opened. Thy faith has made thee whole: faith in Christ as the Son of David, and in his pity and power; not thy repeated words, but thy faith; Christ setting thy faith to work. Let sinners be exhorted to imitate blind Bartimaeus. Where the gospel is preached, or the written words of truth circulated, Jesus is passing by, and this is the opportunity. It is not enough to come to Christ for spiritual healing, but, when we are healed, we must continue to follow him; that we may honour him, and receive instruction from him. Those who have spiritual eyesight, see that beauty in Christ which will draw them to run after him.

Mark 8-10 How To Get Along With Other

HOW TO GET ALONG WITH OTHER

Mark 8:34-10:31 Mark 9:33-43 , 47-50 1/24/2010

The time of Christ’s suffering drew nigh. Had he been delivered into the hands of devils, and they had done this, it had not been so strange; but that men should thus shamefully treat the Son of man, who came to redeem and save them, is wonderful. Still observe that when Christ spake of his death, he always spake of his resurrection, which took the reproach of it from himself, and should have taken the grief of it from his disciples. Many remain ignorant because they are ashamed to inquire. Alas! that while the Saviour teaches so plainly the things which belong to his love and grace, men are so blinded that they understand not his sayings. We shall be called to account about our discourses, and to account for our disputes, especially about being greater than others. Those who are most humble and self-denying, most resemble Christ, and shall be most tenderly owned by him. This Jesus taught them by a sign; whoever shall receive one like this child, receives me. Many have been like the disciples, ready to silence men who have success in preaching to sinners repentance in Christ’s name, because they follow not with them. Our Lord blamed the apostles, reminding them that he who wrought miracles in his name would not be likely to hurt his cause. If sinners are brought to repent, to believe in the Saviour, and to live sober, righteous, and godly lives, we then see that the Lord works by the preacher.

It is repeatedly said of the wicked, Their worm dieth not, as well as, The fire is never quenched. Doubtless, remorse of conscience and keen self-reflection are this never-dying worm. Surely it is beyond compare better to undergo all possible pain, hardship, and self-denial here, and to be happy for ever hereafter, than to enjoy all kinds of worldly pleasure for a season, and to be miserable for ever. Like the sacrifices, we must be salted with salt; our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified by the Holy Spirit. Those that have the salt of grace, must show they have a living principle of grace in their hearts, which works out corrupt dispositions in the soul that would offend God, or our own consciences.

(Mark 9:33-43) So You Want First Place?

(Mark 9:33 )They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?” 34 The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest. 35He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.” 36He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, 37“Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”38John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.” 39Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. 40If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. 41Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.42“On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. 43- “If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire.

“Afraid to ask” We too may be ashamed at times of our lack of understanding. But we never need be afraid to ask God for insight.

Greatness in Christ’s kingdom is a matter of sacrifice, not superiority. Welcoming a little child . Greatness involves caring about people who can do nothing to repay you. It’s hardly praiseworthy to help your boss because you want a raise, or a relative from whom you hope to inherit. Instead, welcome little children, who have nothing to give but gratitude.
The time of Christ’s suffering drew nigh. Had he been delivered into the hands of devils, and they had done this, it had not been so strange; but that men should thus shamefully treat the Son of man, who came to redeem and save them, is wonderful. Still observe that when Christ spake of his death, he always spake of his resurrection, which took the reproach of it from himself, and should have taken the grief of it from his disciples. Many remain ignorant because they are ashamed to inquire. Alas! that while the Saviour teaches so plainly the things which belong to his love and grace, men are so blinded that they understand not his sayings. We shall be called to account about our discourses, and to account for our disputes, especially about being greater than others. Those who are most humble and self-denying, most resemble Christ, and shall be most tenderly owned by him. This Jesus taught them by a sign; whoever shall receive one like this child, receives me. Many have been like the disciples, ready to silence men who have success in preaching to sinners repentance in Christ’s name, because they follow not with them. Our Lord blamed the apostles, reminding them that he who wrought miracles in his name would not be likely to hurt his cause. If sinners are brought to repent, to believe in the Saviour, and to live sober, righteous, and godly lives, we then see that the Lord works by the preacher.
(Mark 9:47-50) If Yours Eye Offends .

(Mark 9:47)And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. 48You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell. 49“Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, 50but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.”

The thrust of this saying is clear. Entering life is so important that even the most radical means should be taken to avoid whatever would keep a person out. The images of mutilation should be understood to symbolize spiritual surgery. For instance, in Scripture the “eye” stands for “sight,” that is spiritual perception (Matt 6:22-23; Eph.1:18) It is repeatedly said of the wicked, Their worm dieth not, as well as, The fire is never quenched. Doubtless, remorse of conscience and keen self-reflection are this never-dying worm. Surely it is beyond compare better to undergo all possible pain, hardship, and self-denial here, and to be happy for ever hereafter, than to enjoy all kinds of worldly pleasure for a season, and to be miserable for ever. Like the sacrifices, we must be salted with salt; our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified by the Holy Spirit. Those that have the salt of grace, must show they have a living principle of grace in their hearts, which works out corrupt dispositions in the soul that would offend God, or our own consciences.

Summary :

Jesus has announced His coming death (Mark 8:31-38). Now He makes another prediction. Some standing with Him will see God’s kingdom “come with power” (Mark 9:1). Just six days later three of His disciples witness a transformation of Christ, a stunning display of His glory . Back in the valley, Jesus drives an evil spirit from a boy His disciples had been unable to help and again predicts His death . His disciples seem totally unaware of the pain Jesus feels and fall into a dispute about which of them is “greatest” . Mark then reports a series of single-theme enigmatic statements made by Jesus, as the company travels toward Jerusalem and His crucifixion. The theme is that of relationship to Jesus’ followers. Those who act in Christ’s name are “for us” .Those who are hospitable to Jesus’ followers will be rewarded . Those who cause Christ’s followers (His “little ones”) to sin face terrible judgment . For Jesus’ disciples must always maintain that uniqueness which offers hope to the world .

God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver
deacon@ohaver.net
><((((°>

Mark 3;5;10 How To Pro-Life

HOW TO PRO-LIFE
Mark 3:1-6;5:21-43;10:13-16 1/17/2010

There are three traditional interpretations of Jesus’ meaning. (1) Man must be concerned with relieving the distress of others. (2) God’s will is best served by healing rather than plotting to kill, as the Pharisees were doing . (3) Jesus is committed to destroying Satan’s disfiguring works every day.Rightly understood, no command of God prevents us from doing good to others by meeting crying needs.

Popular theology twisted the O.T.’s teaching that God would bless the obedient with wealth and assumed that the mere possession of wealth was evidence of closeness to God. Besides, a man with wealth could give alms and gifts to the temple, offer multiplied sacrifices, and thus commend himself to God. Jesus’ disciples were confused when Christ warned that the rich, who tend to rely on their riches, have great difficulty entering God’s kingdom. The poor, who abandon reliance on their own efforts to throw themselves on God’s mercy, are much better off.

(Mark 3:3-5) He said to the man with the crippled hand, “Stand here where we can see you.”

4 Then he spoke to the people: “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?” No one said a word. 5 He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out—it was as good as new!
This man’s case was piteous; he had a withered hand, which disabled him from working for his living; and those that are so, are the most proper objects of charity. Let those be helped that cannot help themselves. But stubborn infidels, when they can say nothing against the truth, yet will not yield. We hear what is said amiss, and see what is done amiss; but Christ looks at the root of bitterness in the heart, the blindness and hardness of that, and is grieved. Let hard-hearted sinners tremble to think of the anger with which he will look upon them shortly, when the day of his wrath comes. The great healing day now is the sabbath, and the healing place the house of prayer; but the healing power is of Christ. The gospel command is like that recorded here: though our hands are withered, yet, if we will not stretch them out, it is our own fault that we are not healed. But if we are healed, Christ, his power and grace, must have all the glory.

(Mark 5:33-42) The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story.34Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague. 35While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”36Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.” 37He permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, James, and John. 38They entered the leader’s house and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and neighbors bringing in casseroles. 39Jesus was abrupt: “Why all this busybody grief and gossip? This child isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” 40Provoked to sarcasm, they told him he didn’t know what he was talking about.
But when he had sent them all out, he took the child’s father and mother, along with his companions, and entered the child’s room. 41He clasped the girl’s hand and said, “ Talitha koum ,” which means, “Little girl, get up.” 42At that, she was up and walking around! This girl was twelve years of age. They, of course, were all beside themselves with joy.
We may suppose Jairus hesitating whether he should ask Christ to go on or not, when told that his daughter was dead. But have we not as much occasion for the grace of God, and the comfort of his Spirit, for the prayers of our ministers and Christian friends, when death is in the house, as when sickness is there? Faith is the only remedy against grief and fear at such a time. Believe the resurrection, then fear not. He raised the dead child to life by a word of power. Such is the gospel call to those who are by nature dead in trespasses and sins. It is by the word of Christ that spiritual life is given. All who saw it, and heard of it, admired the miracle, and Him that wrought it. Though we cannot now expect to have our dead children or relatives restored, we may hope to find comfort under our trials.

(Mark 10 :14-16)The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. 15Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” 16Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Some parents or nurses brought little children to Christ, that he should touch them, in token of his blessing them. It does not appear that they needed bodily cures, nor were they capable of being taught: but those who had the care of them believed that Christ’s blessing would do their souls good; therefore they brought them to him. Jesus ordered that they should be brought to him, and that nothing should be said or done to hinder it. Children should be directed to the Saviour as soon as they are able to understand his words. Also, we must receive the kingdom of God as little children; we must stand affected to Christ and his grace, as little children to their parents, nurses, and teachers.

Summary:

When His anxious and upset family arrives, Jesus stuns His listeners by identifying Himself with a new family God is creating from those who do the will of God .

Mark’s swift sequence of miracle upon miracle, each underlining another aspect of Christ’s authority, demonstrates unmistakably that Jesus is the Son of God.

We cannot out give God. Whatever we give up for His sake, we will receive back multiplied. Even if what we surrender is family, the relationships we build in God’s new community will be better.

God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver
deacon@ohaver.net
><((((°>

Mark 7:1-8:33 How To Develop Your Faith

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR FAITH
Mark 7:1-8:33 , Mark 8:11-13,16-21,27-33 1/10/2010

Still Christ is upon motion; now he visits the parts of Dalmanutha, that no corner of the land of Israel might say that they had not had his presence with them. He came thither by ship (Mark 8:10); but, meeting with occasions of dispute there, and not with opportunities of doing good, he entered into the ship again (Mark 8:13), and came back. In these verses, we are told,
How he refused to gratify the Pharisees, who challenged him to give them a sign from heaven. They came forth on purpose to question with him; not to propose questions to him, that they might learn of him, but to cross question with him, that they might ensnare him.

The Pharisees Came
(Mark 8:11-13) When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. 12Provoked, he said, “Why does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees? If I have anything to say about it, you’ll not get so much as a hint of a guarantee. 13He then left them, got back in the boat, and headed for the other side.

One great design of Christ’s coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God’s making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.

Words and Actions
(Mark 8:16-21) Meanwhile, the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. 17- Jesus overheard and said, “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all? 19Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”
They said, “Twelve.”
20“And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?” “Seven.” 21He said, “Do you still not get it?”

Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us, and these only. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within.

The Messiah
(Mark 8:27-33) Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?”
28“Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”
29He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”
Peter gave the answer: “You are the Christ, the Messiah.”
30Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. 31He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” 32He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it. But Peter grabbed him in protest. 33Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”

Christ never put any from him that fell at his feet, which a poor trembling soul may do. As she was a good woman, so a good mother. This sent her to Christ. His saying, Let the children first be filled, shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the blessed Saviour, he manifests his compassion to poor humbled sinners, who look to him for children’s bread. He still goes about to seek and save the lost.
Here is a cure of one that was deaf and dumb. Those who brought this poor man to Christ, besought him to observe the case, and put forth his power. Our Lord used more outward actions in the doing of this cure than usual. These were only signs of Christ’s power to cure the man, to encourage his faith, and theirs that brought him. Though we find great variety in the cases and manner of relief of those who applied to Christ, yet all obtained the relief they sought. Thus it still is in the great concerns of our souls.

Summary :

We have read a great deal of the doctrine Christ preached, and the miracles he wrought, which were many, and strange, and well-attested, of various kinds, and wrought in several places, to the astonishment of the multitudes that were eye-witnesses of them. It is now time for us to pause a little, and to consider what these things mean; the wondrous works which Christ then forbade the publishing of, being recorded in these sacred writings, are thereby published to all the world, to us, to all ages; now what shall we think of them? Is the record of those things designed only for an amusement, or to furnish us with matter for discourse? No, certainly these things are written, that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God (John 20:31); and this discourse which Christ had with his disciples, will assist us in making the necessary reflections upon the miracles of Christ, and a right use of them. Three things we are here taught to infer from the miracles Christ wrought.
They prove that he is the true Messiah, the Son of God, and Saviour of the world: this the works he did witnessed concerning him; and this his disciples, who were the eye-witnesses of those works, here profess their belief of; which cannot but be a satisfaction to us in making the same inference from them.

Micah 4:1-6:16 Hope:A Path to Fulfillment

   3920fff6-4.jpg     HOPE: A PATH TO FULFILLMENT
    Micah 4:1-6:16            May 24 2009

    Comparing chapter 4 with the close of the foregoing chapter,
the comfortable promises here with the terrible threatenings
there, we may, with the apostle, "behold the goodness and
severity of God,” (Rom. 11:22), towards the Jewish church which
fell, severity when Zion was ploughed as a field, but towards the
Christian church, which was built upon the ruins of it, goodness,
great goodness; for it is here promised.
    In chapter 5 we have , A prediction of the troubles and
distresses of the Jewish nation .  A promise of the Messiah, and
of his kingdom, to support the people of God in the day of these
troubles.  Of the birth of the Messiah .  Of his advancement . Of
his protection of his people, and his victory over his and their
enemies . Of the great world by it . Of the destruction of the
enemies of the church, both those without, that attack it, and
those within, that expose it .

    1. The peace of the kingdom of Christ. (Micah 4:1-4)

Micah 4:1   In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple
will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be
raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. 4:2   Many
nations will come and say,     “Come, let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will
teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law
will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4:3  
He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for
strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into
plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not
take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
4:4   Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig
tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty
has spoken.

    (Micah 4:1-3) Also (Isa 2:2-4), a passage that is almost the
same as these verses. Vine and . . . Fig tree . A reference to the
peaceful security of the kingdom of God. (1Kings 4:25; Zec 3:10).
Noone will make them afraid . (Zep 3:13). Fear will be a thing of
the past.  Walk in the name of the Lord . Confess, love, obey and
rely on the Lord. (Zec 10:12).

    2. The birth of Christ and conversion of the Gentiles.
        (Micah 5:1-4)

Micah 5:1   Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is
laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with
a rod. 5:2   “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small
among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who
will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from
ancient times. ” 5:3   Therefore Israel will be abandoned until
the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his
brothers return to join the Israelites. 5:4   He will stand and
shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty
of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely,
for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

    Jerusalem will be besieged, and her kings will be seized
and taken to Babylon (the last king, Zedekiah, was blinded;
2 Kings 25:7). In contrast to the dire prediction of (Mic.5:10,
Micah shifts to a positive note. Ephrathah . The region in which
Bethlehem was located (Ruth 1:2; 4:11; 1Sam. 17:12). Ruler .
Ultimately Christ, who will rule (Mic.4:8) for God the Father.
Origns . . . From of old . His beginnings were much earlier than
his human birth (John 8:58). From ancient times . Within history
( 2 Sam 7:12-16; Isa 9:6-7; Am 9:11), and even from eternity .
Israel will be abandoned . Until the Messiah is born and begins
his rule. Israel . (Mic1:5). Strength . . . Majesty. The Messiah will
shepherd and rule in the strength and majesty of God the Father.

        Summary :
       
        The remnant of Israel, converted to Christ in the
primitive times, were among many nations as the drops of dew,
and were made instruments in calling a large increase of
spiritual worshippers. But to those who neglected or opposed
this salvation, they would, as lions, cause terror, their doctrine
condemning them. The Lord also declares that he would cause not
only the reformation of the Jews, but the purification of the
Christian church. In like manner shall we be assured of victory
in our personal conflicts, as we simply depend upon the Lord our
salvation, worship him, and serve him with diligence.