Chapter 28: Did God Fail to Keep His Promise to David?

God had repeatedly warned Israel and Judah that they would go into captivity if they didn’t repent (Deut. 28:64-66).  They didn’t listen, just like Judah today (misleadingly called Israel) and the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel aren’t paying attention.

So in 733-732 B.C. and 722 B.C., the Assyrians took Israel into captivity after which God sifted them so that not the smallest grain would fall to the ground (Amos 9:9).  As foretold, Manassah became the greatest single power on earth and Ephraim the greatest company of nations (Gen. 35:11).

But people are baffled that the Bible seems to say nothing about the United States or the British Commonwealth nations though it mentions lots of obscure, far-less significant ones.   Despite the obvious duality of Bible prophecies, who would worry themselves that these powerful nations could be taken captive by an an Assyrian-led “beast” and be facing the coming time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7)?  Anyone paying attention to Bible prophecy who would like to be “counted worthy to escape” (Luke 21:36)!

And in 604-586 B.C. the Babylonians took the Jews into captivity.  When King Zedekiah’s sons were all slain before his eyes, which were then put out, and he died in captivity, it looked like the end of God’s unconditional promise to David!

Was God’s promise to David dethroned?

God had given Jeremiah a strange commission to “root out and to pull down” but few pay attention to the part:  “build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10).

After all was rooted out and pulled down as he warned, Jeremiah, accompanied by his scribe Baruch, escorted the three “king’s daughters” (Jer. 41:10) on a crucial mission—the tender twigs to be planted on a high and prominent mountain of Israel in the riddle of Ezek. 17:22-24.

Ezekiel 21:25-27 prophesied that the royal throne would be “overturned” three times until “He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him”—Jesus Christ!  The first was when Jeremiah and Baruch took the three daughters to northern Ireland where a marriage then occurred between Tea-Tephi and King Herremon.  Besides continuing David’s dynasty, this marriage between the daughter of the line of Pharez and the king of the line of Zerah healed the breach between the two branches of Judah royalty (Gen. 38:27-30).

Jeremiah brought the harp of David which is still the symbol of Ireland.   King Herremon started a school called Mur-Ollam which is the name in Hebrew and Irish for school of the prophets.  And he changed the name of his capital city from Lothair (or Cothair Croffin) to Tara, also a Hebrew name.

Later the throne was overturned to Scotland and finally England.

The Stone of Destiny

Of special significance is that Jeremiah brought an amazing stone called Lia-fail, or stone of destiny—believed to be Jacob’s pillow stone, the stone Israel brought out of Egypt, and the stone struck by Moses at Horeb.  History says this stone was brought to Ireland by way of Spain, then taken into Scotland by King Fergus about 370 years later, and then transferred to London’s Westminster Abbey under the coronation chair in 1296 A.D. after Edward I invaded Scotland.

All these years the kings of Ireland, Scotland and England have been crowned over this stone about 22″ long, 13″ wide, 11″ deep, the color of steel mixed with red veins.

These five exiles continued the unconditional throne of David so that Jesus Christ will have a throne to claim when He returns!   This “Key of David” God gave to His Philadelphia Church (Rev. 3:2) explains today’s news and you can’t rightly understand prophecy without it.

Perhaps just as significant were the four young Jewish men taken from Jerusalem to serve in the Babylonian administration.  The prophecies of Daniel reach until the first and second comings of Jesus Christ!

Chapter 1:    What’s It All About?

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Hey Messenger, What’s Your Attitude!

“Go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2).   You mean that place of cruelty and violence?

Was Jonah thinking like you might

Jonahif asked to deliver a message to South Chicago!  So Jonah fled “from the presence of the Lord.”

Why, when he told the sailors “I fear the Lord.”  Why when his prayer of repentance from the belly of the fish includes many passages from the Psalms, indicating that he had studied and stored the Word of God in his heart!  In the uncertain days to come, will we find ourselves in situations with no Bible where we’ll be thankful for memorization we have done?

So why’d Jonah forget Psalm 139:7-8 noting that we can’t escape God’s presence!  That fact is what saved Jonah’s life!  In this fish tale of the one who didn’t get away.

Considering the attitudes of God’s messengers in His Bible can help us who are called to be His messengers in this end-time

What’s our attitude?  Not always what it should be, especially in these dog days of summer scorchers when it’s so easy to become lethargic in fulfilling our message (Matt. 24:14), 28:18-20).

Jonah said why he ran in Jonah 4:2:  He knew that God would be so merciful and spare Ninevah who would then defeat his people Israel.  It looks like he thought that if he didn’t go to them, God would have no choice but to wipe them out, thus sparing Israel.

♥   We must know God and have His Word in our hearts.
♥   Our desire should be for those who have done wrong to change, not be punished.
♥   Their spiritual needs over our physical needs.

Hey, Moses, what’s your attitude?

He told God he wasn’t eloquent enough to be His messenger, when Stephen in Acts 7 said otherwise.  Jeremiah argued he was too young.  Paul told Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth.  Today we are more likely to moan we are too old!

♥   No excuses!

We must answer God like Isaiah:

♥   “Here I am, send me!”

Every day we must answer God like Samuel:

♥   “Lord, your servant is listening!”  What can I do to serve you today?

We shouldn’t try to work up good attitudes to be God’s messengers.  It’s God’s Holy Spirit that makes it possible for us to be like Caleb  (Num. 14:24) who

“thinks different and follows me completely” (New Century Version)

When Moses came down from the mount with the Ten Commandments, the people were romping in debauchery and God was primed in ire to wipe them out.  Moses interceded and even volunteered to have his name blotted out of the Book of Life if God wouldn’t relent (Exo. 32:32-33).  How like Paul when he said “I could wish myself accursed” for Israel (Rom. 9:3).

♥   We must love the people God sends us to give His message to.

Moses strike rockToward the end of his life—and the end of him leading the people into Canaan—Moses smote the rock twice instead of speaking to it.  He was frustrated, lost his temper, and got careless.  Maybe he thought his closeness to God gave him license to not follow His instructions carefully.  God holds his leaders to stricter accountability—to set the right example.

♥  We must be careful to follow God’s instructions.

Hey, Ezekiel, what’s your attitude?

It’s interesting that God told His prophet, “Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house” (Ezek. 2:8).   We’re from the same culture and society as ones God sends us to as messengers.  When Jeremiah and Daniel prayed for their people to God, they said “We have sinned.”  Were they just trying to sound humble?  Who of us hasn’t—and still isn’t—sinning (1 John 1:8)?

AbigailWhen Abigail bowed before the charging David who was ready to wipe out Nabal, who was living up to his name, she told David to put it all on her (1 Sam. 25:24).   Like Esther, she delivered her message with tact and master timing which is one-third wisdom.

♥  We must be humble because that’s whom God gives grace to.

John the Baptist was willing to decrease so that Christ would increase (John 3:30).

Jesus was the greatest messenger of God

and gave more be-attitudes than anybody.  Perhaps summing up His message best:  “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His Work” (John 4:34, New International Version).

♥  Total commitment!

Go back through these loving attitudes of God’s messengers in the Bible and then let’s each ask ourselves:

Hey, messenger, what’s your attitude!

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Now See Here, Touch & Smell to Discern Good & Evil

In this third and final part, how can we use our sight, touch and smell to be “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

Seeing

eye blue“I Am Joe’s Eye” (from the Reader’s Digest series) says “For concentrated complexities, no other organ in Joe’s body can equal me … I have tens of millions of electrical connections and can handle 1.5 million simultaneous messages.  I gather 80 percent of all the knowledge Joe absorbs.”

Remember how Job explained his repentance:  “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5).  20-20 spiritual comprehension!

Without God’s Holy Spirit, Peter said we cannot see afar off (2 Pet. 1:9).  We cannot discern spiritual truths.  Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words likened it to being near-sighted, “occupied in regarding worldly affairs” (p. 557).

In 2 Cor. 4:4 Paul observed that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  Isa. 44:18 examines us that our eyes are smeared over so we cannot see and our hearts cannot comprehend.

Paul gives the remedy in 2 Cor. 5:7:  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Recently Mary and I served on the staff of Camp Colorado where we focused on “God’s Vision for You.”  We don’t have to be a preteen to learn from the Compass Check and Christian Living messages that were given.

Touch

touchThe woman who believed that she’d be healed if she could just touch Jesus … was!

The Bible warns in 2 Cor. 6:17:  “Come out from among them and be separate … do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters.”

Gary Chapman in his 1995 classic The Five Love Languages examined gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch.

God wants us to keep in touch.

Smell

smellThis is the most direct of our five senses and we can detect up to 10,000 odors.  A scent can trigger a special memory.

Women are able to detect odors way better than men, name smells more precisely and remember them longer.

Neuroscience analysis of the brain where smells register found that women engage both sides whereas men only one.

Mothers can pick out t-shirts worn by their newborn, while fathers are doing good to pick out their newborn!  Neuroscientist Charles J. Wycsocki theorizes that because humans can detect smells circulating through their own bloodstreams, mother and fetus exchange odors during pregnancy.

Most men will freely admit:  women smell better.

Maybe God created men that way so they can live with whatever cooking they are blessed to receive.  And so they can go on an annual men’s weekend campout where there are no showers!

Fragrances seem to highly influence mood, stress and job performance.  The scent of lemon decreases employee errors.   Peppermint boosts attentiveness by 15%.  May I suggest you go back to the top and pop a mint before reading this again!

“Let my prayer be set before You as incense” (Psa. 141:2).  God wants us to beat our prayers fine (detailed), present balanced issues, be fervent, and make them sweet and pleasant to God.

Studies show that humans are prone to inattentional anosmia and olfactory habituation.  In other words, when overwhelmed by a particular bad odor, after about 20 minutes the brain can’t detect it.  This makes it possible for dairy farm families to carry on!

So we must smell out fake news, photoshopped pictures, and stinky theology that calls good evil and evil good.

In this three-part series we’ve caught a glimpse at what an amazing creation our five senses are and should be aroused to thankfulness to our Creator.  We’ve seen that exercising our senses enhances our appreciation of life.

Ever AfterIn the Ever After movie, Prince Henry exclaims to peasant Danielle:  “How do you do it!  You have more passion in one memory than I have in my whole body!”  She will undoubtedly go on to become the next Queen of France!

Remembering the roaring Poudre River, if we have the Holy Spirit flowing through us powerfully and downstream in service, our riverbed bounded on both sides by the Ten Commandments, the water surging over all boulders and obstacles, exercising our spiritual senses to discern good and evil, banking on proper balance and priorities, we will get to become kings and queens in God’s soon-coming Kingdom!

Part 1: What’s It Mean:  Exercise Our Senses to Discern Good & Evil

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Taste & Hear to Discern Good & Evil

Our five senses should inspire us to be thankful
to our glorious Creator for their amazing design and function.

“Awakening of the senses is important
to appreciation of life itself”—French Culture Minister Jack Lang.
With their input, our Spirit in Man better
“knows the things of a man” (1 Cor. 2:11).

More important, the Holy Spirit unites with our Spirit in Man
so we can know “the things of God.”
God wants “those who by reason of use
have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

Taste

has been downplayed as “the poor cousin of the five senses.”  Taste buds look like microscopic rosebuds and function as a chemical process.  They are scattered throughout the oral cavity rather than being just on the tongue.

Haagen-DazsThose of you who love ice cream might be surprised to hear that, as food must be liquefied before real taste occurs, so the creamy treat is pretty tasteless until it melts in the mouth.  Then a sweet-taste receptor transmits a minute electrochemical current via cranial nerves to the gustatory terminals in the brain.  The brain’s analysis:  YUM!

Interestingly, the Hebrew word da’at meaning “knowledge,” used 90 times in the Old Testament, serves up a double entendre:  “taste.”

Adam & Eve 2So in Gen. 2:9 about “the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” Adam and Eve disobeyed and tasted its fruit!  Comments Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words:  “In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the tree whose fruit if eaten would give them the experience of evil and, therefore, the knowledge of good and evil.”  Maybe the place should have been called the Garden of Eatin’!

Heb. 6:4-5 cooks up a spiritual warning:  “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away.”

Hopefully we have had our fill of the false chef’s world (2 Cor. 4:4) and can’t stomach it any more! (Rev. 18:4).

Hearing

Nadal
Recently I couldn’t wait to watch highlights from Rafael Nadal’s 11th French Open tennis victory.  But though other videos had proper sound, nothing on his!  He’d reach for a corner shot and no sound of rubber squeaking on the clay court.  A full stadium but no crowd noise.  Nadal would bounce the ball about 20 times before serving and no sound of impact.   True, there were no annoying grunts like even some pros do on every hit, but as much as I wanted to watch the great action sequences, I couldn’t stand hearing nothing!  I quicky turned it off.

For the first time in my 67 years, I felt some insight into how a deaf person might experience life we take for granted.   Only they can’t afford to turn it off or ignore it.

If we stop listening to God, it leads to withdrawal from His way of life.  Woe if we become “dull of hearing”! (Heb. 5:11).  It’s not talking about decibels.

“I Am Joe’s Body,” by J.D. Radcliff, the most successful series ever printed in the history of Reader’s Digest, called “the flap of tissue on the side of the head … a triumph of miniaturization.  Nowhere in his body is so much crammed into so small a space.”  The outer ear is “nothing but a sound gathering trumpet.”  Maybe you feel like yours is a tuba!

The ear canal has “a profusion of hairs and 4,000 wax glands act[ing] as a flypaper trap for insects, dust and other potential irritants” and guarding against infection.  We must listen for spiritual pollutants in music, movies, YouTube and social media.

To give a flavor of how intricately designed an ear is, in the middle ear, three tiny bones called the anvil, hammer and stirrup amplify sound-bearing waves from the eardrum 22 times.  The auditory nerve contains more than 30,000 circuits.  The ear hears, but the brain unscrambles the data into meaningful sound.

Few realize that our sense of hearing is on automatic pilot to keep us balanced, lest we get dizzy or topple over.  To my wife Mary’s delight, her new hearing aids not only restored her hearing but stopped her getting dizzy going around corners in the car, which she has suffered all her life.  Now I can drive as fast as I want!

Merritt B. Jones in is book Speak, Listen, Communicate:  “Listening is sometimes confused with hearing.  They are not synonymous.  Hearing is the perception of sound … listening implies conscious attention to sounds for the purpose of identification or understanding.  Listening is active.

The average student is engaged in some form of communication 70% of his conscious ours, broken down:  45% listening, 30% talking, 18% reading, 9% writing.  Of 20 skills needed for management, listening is ranked #1.

So “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice … and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

Because Job responded to God’s correction in Chapters 38-39, God was able to continue on in Job 40 which meant more growth for Job.  As the Matthew Henry Commentary put it so well:  “Those who daily receive what they have heard from God, and profit by it, shall hear more from Him ‘not to catch at comfort too soon!'”  God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable!

James 1:22, 25 sums up what our hearing means spiritually:  “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves…. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Exercise taste and hearing to discern good and evil

Yes, we must want God’s way so bad we can taste it.   David and Daniel prayed three square meals a day (Psa. 55:17, Dan. 6:10).  “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).  Reject spiritual junk food and harmful empty calories.

Yes, we must schma—hear, O Israel to the extent of listening, heeding and obeying.  We must prioritize God’s instructions over all the distorting noise.   Spiritual balance is a must.

Let’s come to our senses!

Next and last post in this three-part series,
we’ll take a look at seeing, touching and smelling.

Part 3:  Now See Here, Touch & Smell to Discern Good & Evil
Part 1:  What’s It Mean:  Exercise Our Senses to Discern Good & Evil

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What’s It Mean: Exercise Our Senses to Discern Good & Evil?

I’ve always dreamed of having a real mountain stream running through my property.

On my bedroom wall hangs

wall riverAn amazing picture

of a roaring river.  And you hear the roar!  Cardinals and bluejays sing.  Insects chirp.  The water looks like it’s flowing mightily on down a waterfall.

I think there’s a belt looping inside the frame, but I have no idea how it makes the water look like it’s flowing so realistically.  I don’t know how a human could create and market a more realistic river.  Too bad WordPress free version won’t let me upload the video.

Poudre RiverBut my wall river can’t compare with camping out this past weekend next to the Poudre River west of Ft. Collins and filling up my senses at the Mountain Park campground.

As soon as I pitch our tent in the site closest to the river where the roar is the loudest, I hurry on down to my spot on the riverbank to begin my annual therapy and give God glory for His marvelous creation.

Heb. 5:14 writes about “those who by reason of use

Have their senses exercised

to discern both good and evil.”

♦   Our five senses of taste, hearing, seeing, touch and smell are incredible testimonies of our Creator—and should inspire us to thankfulness!
♦   Exercising our senses enhances life physically.
♦   Exercising our senses has spiritual applications in the Bible.

In verse 11 Paul laments his readers becoming “dull of hearing.”  He wasn’t talking about decibels!  In verse 12, he writes “For though by this time you ought to be teachers … you have come to need milk and not solid food.”  They were not tasting and eating spiritually like they should.

We want to know God, and our senses are designed to help us.  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words writes of “the knowing which comes through experience with the senses, by investigation and proving, by reflection and consideration (firsthand knowing).”

French Culture Minister Jack Lang noted, “Awakening of the senses is important to appreciation of life itself.    Body, soul and senses, they’re all part of the learning process.  Food appreciation is part of the enjoyment of life.”

And a huge part of a campout!  And at the core of God’s Holy Days—called Feasts!

The Bible urges its readers to hospitality

“And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had … they shared their meals with great generosity” (Acts 2:44-46).  We’ve all experienced how much more you really get to know somebody when you are invited to their home and share in how God blesses them.

Fellowshipping and sharing meals!  The tastes!  The savory smells!

As I sat by the Poudre River, I gave my full attention to unleashing all five senses.

Mountain bluejays darted and zoomed like Air Force jets just above the waves.  A whirring copter sound drew my eyes to a hummingbird.  We assume their 80 flaps per minute are up and down, but with a closer look we might observe their figure eight motion.  A tawny bird lands about 10 feet away on a boulder—such a plain color I’d hardly ooh over, until he started twerking better than Miley Cyrus ever thought of!  He’d jump to a nearby rock and stage another show.

But for sheer awe, while watching two hawks glide and soar so effortlessly, suddenly one flew straight toward me, albeit about 50 feet above.  I looked up and just as he was overhead, the other hawk arrived from the opposite direction and they do-si-do’ed!

Wow!  Our senses make us alive!  We need to come to our senses!  God said His creation was “good” so perhaps the biggest way to exercise our senses to discern good from evil is to exalt our Creator!

In the second post of this three-part series,
we’ll look at our senses of taste and hearing in detail

for how they glorify their Creator
and enhance appreciation of life both physically and spiritually.

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You Don’t Have to Be a Preteen to Want “God’s Vision for You”

Mary and I just returned from serving on staff at the 9th Camp Colorado for preteens, held June 17-20 at a beautiful camp resort in Allenspark, Colorado.  The theme was “God’s Vision for You.”

Here I will recap the spiritual Compass Check & Christian Living messages that were presented to the preteens, which would be good for anyone of any age to heed.

Camp Director Mark Welch pointed out some of the marvels of God’s creation and asked the preteens whom He had designed and created it for.   For them!  And us!  David (Psalm 8) and Paul (Heb. 2) said we were created to inherit “all things” which is often translated “the universe.”

Visualize your future family and kingdom

Jorge deCampos challenged the preteens to visualize the future and pursue it.  God is preparing us to be in His royal family to serve under Jesus Christ in His coming Kingdom on earth.    How fitting that campers wore royal blue shirts.

Around the campfire, Oliver Hooser explained how James said the tongue is like a fire and needs to be used for good.  Our words are so important.

Matthew McDonald said camp is wonderful because all around are those who have the same vision as you and inspire you to pursue it.  He introduced a new word “emulate” and challenged the preteens to emulate God the Father and Jesus Christ our Brother.  During his talk, suddenly the entire audience jumped up and dashed for the windows to see a moose sauntering across the meadow!  Broose the Moose never attracted such attention.

Dr. Marty Henderson, a veterinarian, explained that he has never seen an animal self-conscious.  God made us that way in hopes we will choose agape love—a unselfish outgoing concern even if it has to be at our own expense.

I shared the story of Samuel, a young man who stayed obedient and respectful to his parents and his elders (Eli the priest), and He answered God’s calling.  Each day, however many God gives us, we need to respond to God:  “Lord, your servant is listening.”  Not just hearing but listening and then heeding!

A corollary is to ask God each day, “What would you like me to do to serve You today?”

If you’d like a prayer answered

Samuel was born and named (meaning “heard of God”) as a result of his mother Hannah fulfilling the major ingredient the Bible gives to have our prayers answered.  She pleaded with God for a son she could dedicate to God’s service.  James 5:16 promises:  “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  God doesn’t want vain repetition or sleepy-time prayers.  He wants us to talk from the heart.

Dr. Natalie Englebart-Hooser challenged the teens to have God’s perspective.   For a natural prop she referred preteens to look out the window at Mt. Meeker, the second highest summit in Rocky Mountain National Park.  At “only” 13,916 feet, it doesn’t quite measure up to Colorado’s 58 “14ers”—the most of any state.

Dr. Englebart talked about how we make a Mt. Meeker out of a molehill.   We should ask, “I wonder what God thinks about my problem.”  He promises to move our mountains (Matt. 17:20) and cast them into the sea.  In faith we should already hear the splash!

Walk on My high heels

Sometimes God helps us scale our mountains.   He promises to never leave or forsake us.   He promises to give us sure-footedness when we walk on “high hills” (Hab. 3:19).  She got a big laugh when she accidentally said “high heels”!

When we get to the summit, we can look all around and better see God’s perspective of our problems.

Mr. Welch closed out camp by reminding the preteens that “the reason you’re here is you’re loved by God and others.”  To fulfill God’s vision for us, one of the most important keys is to be thankful.

I suspect 81 preteens, parents and staff were thankful to have gone to Camp Colorado this year and are planning to return next year.

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Chapter 27: His Servants the Prophets … Speak to Us!

“God, who … spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Heb. 1:1).

Moses prophesied “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me” (Deut. 18:15)—Jesus Christ, the greatest prophet who uttered more than 100 prophecies, the chief one being His Olivet prophecy (Matt. 24).

The Bible tells

How to test a prophet

It what the prophet says does not come to pass, “the Lord has not spoken” (Deut. 18:22).  If it does occur, but the prophet says “Let us go after other gods,” God is testing us (13:2-3).  This is crucial because the Bible tells of God using a false prophet such as Balaam—and even speaking through his donkey (Num. 22:28).  When speaking in church, I take encouragement that if God once spoke through a jackass, He can do it again through me!

Really surprising is the time Jesus Christ, sitting on his portable throne described by Ezekiel (chapters 1 and 10), commissioned a demon who had the best plan for deceiving the prophets of King Ahab (1 Kings 21:22).  That’s why the Bible warns us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1), and “If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

Acts 3:24 speaks of “all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow.”

Samuel and Elijah had schools of the prophets.  “While Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord,” Obadiah hid 100 prophets in two caves (1 Kings 18:4).

Soon after Elijah took on the 450 prophets of Baal.  He challenged the people to choose whether they were going to follow Baal or God.  Syncretism is not a valid choice today either!

He prayed a powerful prayer lasting only about 15 seconds:  “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at our word.  Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again” (vs. 36-37).  God fired!  Elijah executed the 450!

Then to show how human God’s servants are, after such a miraculous victory, Elijah got so scared of Jezebel that he fled into the wilderness and begged for death.  God encouraged him with a “still small voice” and brought Elijah out of his funk by giving him a job to do in His Work (19:15-16).

Major, minor, women!

The Bible mentions more prophetesses than you’d think:  Miriam, the sister of Moses; Deborah the judge; Huldah the wife of Shallum; Isaiah’s wife; the widow Anna; and Philip’s four unmarried daughters.

Sixteen prophets were speaking for God from about 850-400 B.C.

Four are called Major prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah (also wrote Lamentations), Ezekiel and Daniel.

Twelve wrote the Minor prophecies (“the twelve”), which are “minor” only in size, not inspiration or importance:  Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

A student of Bible prophecy must understand

Two key factors

1) Is the prophet addressing Jerusalem and Judah, Israel, or all 12 tribes?  Ezekiel spoke to the “house of Israel” (3:3) as their watchman.

2) Prophecy is most often dual, with a much greater fulfillment in the end-time.  Ezekiel warned Israel of coming captivity over 120 years after they had already been enslaved by the Assyrians in 721 B.C.!  He had been taken captive to Babylon in the second deportation of Judah in 597 B.C.

So prophecies should prod the modern lost tribes of Israel to wake up and turn to God.  Also brother Judah!  When Ninevah finally heard God’s warning—from the prophet who didn’t get away after the greatest fish story ever!—they and even their animals responded.   Jonah thought he was justified to be upset because he knew God would mercifully postpone punishment on the Assyrians, allowing them to become His rod of anger against His people (Isa. 10:5).

Prophecy commands attention because

I am God, and … only I can tell you the future before it even happens.
Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish” (Isa. 46:9-10, New Living Translation).

Malachi closes out the Old Testament by promising an “Elijah the prophet [will come again] before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (4:5-6).

Churches of God like to joke that we are non-prophet, playing off our organizational IRS status.  But we have the written Word of God, which has been said to be one-third prophecy.  And we have Jesus Christ who lives in us through His Holy Spirit, heads His Church and guides His ministry.

“Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).  God didn’t hide from Abraham what He was doing (Gen. 18:17), and He won’t hide from His people today either.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 2:20-21).

“So we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns” (v. 19).

“What manner of persons ought you to be

in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God?” (2 Pet. 3:11-12).

We must make our calling and election as sure as prophecy! (1:10).

Chapter 28: Did God Fail to Keep His Promise to David?
Chapter 1:    What’s It All About?

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