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Psalm 106:9-15 - Deliverance and Doubt

Posted on November 1, 2016 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 106:9-15 (KJV) - Deliverance and Doubt

 

The psalmist expounds upon God’s mighty miracle at the Red Sea but confesses that almost immediately, His people gave in to doubt once more.

 

Psalm 106:9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

 

Every time God speaks, whether in the affirmative or the negative, what He declares is going to happen. God spoke instructions to Moses to lift up his staff, and the Red Sea parted leaving a path of dry land. Where the water had been deep, there was now not a drop.

 

 

Psalm 106:10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.

 

Pharaoh’s army of men with horses and chariots had chased them to the water’s edge. Just as quickly as the sea had parted, the waves now came back together. Cue the ominous music…The chariots, horses, and soldiers were swallowed up and drowned. All the soldiers that pursued them were annihilated.

 

Psalm 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

 

Miriam composed a praise song on the spot.

 

Exodus 15:21 (KJV) And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

 

But the time of praise and rejoicing was short-lived as the Israelites were fickle (as we are today.)

 

Psalm 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: 14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

 

Here is where the murmuring and complaining began. How could they do that after such miraculous happenings that could hardly be put into words? I don’t get it. Although God had provided perfectly for them thus far, as soon as their water and food provisions began to run out, they doubted His ability or willingness to meet their needs. Instead of praying and seeking His answer, they grumbled.

 

Exodus 15:24 (KJV) And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

 

Exodus 16:2-3 (KJV) And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

 

They lusted after the comparative plenty they had in Egypt. Instead of seeking instruction, they resorted to accusations against Moses and Aaron and voiced their complaints.

 

Psalm 106:15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

 

Psalm 106:15 (VOICE) Although He granted their request, He also sent a disease that caused them to waste away.

 

Numbers 11:33-34 (AMP) While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very severe plague. 34 So that place was named Kibroth-hattaavah (the graves of greediness), because there they buried the people who had been greedy [for more than the manna that God provided them].

 

The people were not satisfied with manna and water. They were spoiled and ungrateful and demanded meat. This was the height of arrogance to make demands of Almighty God! God gave them what they wanted but also punished their insolence.

 

Chew on this: God provides for us in so many ways, but often we forget and covet more. Take time to remember what God has done for you. Do not forget! Praise Him, thank Him, and trust Him for the future.

 

Psalm 105:39-45 - DEVLIVERANCE IN THE DESERT

Posted on October 24, 2016 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 105:39-45 - Deliverance in the Desert

 

The psalmist now recounts God’s provision for his people as they traveled to the Promised Land.

 

Psalm 105:39 He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

 

A cloud led them and covered them like a blanket, shielding them from the sun by day. A fire served as a nightlight to guide them and light their way safely when they needed to travel at night. The cloud and the fire both symbolized the power of the Lord God leading and protecting them.

 

Psalm 105:40 The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

 

The psalmist is kind here by saying the people asked. Actually, they demanded that the Lord provide bread and later meat and threatened to go back to Egypt where they had plenty to eat. But God graciously provided for their needs. The manna they received fell from heaven each day. God was trying to teach about portion control and trusting Him to provide by giving exactly one day’s portion each morning and two the day before the Sabbath. In our study of John, we learned that Jesus is the true Bread of Heaven and partaking of Him, trusting Him, satisfies a deeper longing than the hunger for food.

 

John 6:31-32 (KJV) Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

 

John 6:35 (KJV) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

 

Psalm 105:41 He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.

 

There were two instances when water came from the rock (Exodus 17:6 and Numbers 20:1-11). In numerous places in both the old and new testaments, God (specifically Jesus) is referred to as the Rock. Jesus is the Rock from whom flows rivers of living water (John 7:38).

 

Psalm 105:42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

 

What does all this have to do with the Abrahamic Covenant? God promised Abraham that his seed would exceed the stars in the heavens, that his descendants would inherit the promised land, and that all nations would be blessed through his seed (singular – i.e. Jesus). God was providing for Israel as he guided them back to the home they were to claim. We read that during the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness due to their unbelief their clothing and shoes did not wear out.

 

Deuteronomy 29:5 (NIV) Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.

 

Nehemiah 9:21 (NIV) For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.

 

Nehemiah even noted that their feet did not swell during 40 years of hiking! Another miracle of God’s care for His children.

 

 

Psalm 105:43 And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: 44 And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

 

God honored His word to Abraham down to the smallest detail. Although the people went through many trials (as a result of their rebellious attitudes), God ultimately allowed them to conquer the inhabitants of Canaan and possess the land originally promised to Abraham. This must have been cause for great joy and celebration.

 

Psalm 105:45 That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the Lord.

 

God’s purpose was to have a chosen nation to bring honor, glory, and praise to Him by being set apart to keep His laws. Thereby, all nations would realize that there was one true God. They did not always live up to this expectation, but God continued to work in and through them and to love them. Ultimately, the Messiah, Jesus, was born an Israelite, and all nations have the opportunity to turn to Him and be blessed.

 

Psalm 105 was a call to thanksgiving to the nation of Israel by recounting their miraculous history. We can look back on our lives with thanksgiving and praise as well.

 

Challenge: God provides for His people. List some ways God has provided for you and your family over the years. Praise and thank Him for taking care of you!

 

Psalm 105:31-38 - PLAGUES AND PLUNDER

Posted on October 24, 2016 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 105:31-38 - Plagues and Plunder

 

Psalm 105:31 He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.

 

The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition adds beetles and mosquitoes to the list of varmints that plagued the Egyptians. Imagine all those things swarming about you, landing in your hair, your food, your bed! Makes me itch just thinking about it! But the truly amazing thing about this miracle is not that God multiplied the natural pests, but that they attacked only the Egyptians and not the Israelites! God is in control of everything large and small. My Father is sovereign over all!

 

Psalm 105:32 He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land. 33 He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

 

Instead of gentle, seasonal rain to water their trees and gardens, God sent hail to beat them down even to the point of breaking branches. There were lightning strikes causing fire to run along the ground. What a terrifying storm this must have been! Since they were an agricultural community, this would have caused great loss and confusion. What would they do now that their crops and fruit trees were damaged or destroyed?

 

Exodus 9:23 (AMPC) Then Moses stretched forth his rod toward the heavens, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire (lightning) ran down to and along the ground, and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.

 

Psalm 105:34 He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number, 35 And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

 

God spoke the creation, and it was good. But in His anger, He spoke and the creatures created havoc. God’s words are powerful for life or death.

 

Proverbs 18:21 (KJV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue

 

What would bring death to the Egyptians would bring about freedom and life for the Israelites.

 

 

Just in case the hail left some crops undamaged, God next sent locusts and caterpillars to feast on the smorgasbord of leftovers. A swarm of locusts can devour a grain field in moments. I have seen a tall flower complete eaten by a caterpillar overnight. By this time, Joe average Egyptian must have been praying to his gods that Pharaoh would let these people go! They must have been thinking, “Get them out of my town, out of my city, out of my country!”

 

Psalm 105:36 He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

 

Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and the Lord sent a final plague to strike right at his heart. The firstborn would include all the firstborn children and all the firstborn animals as well, and particularly, Pharaoh’s son and heir. Once again, the Israelites were protected from this plague of death by following God’s specific instructions to place the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the doorposts and lintel of their homes. Since they obeyed this command, the angel of death “passed over” each house with this sign, and the Israelites’ firstborn children and animals were spared. This is a foreshadowing of Jesus being the final sacrificial, Passover Lamb. We are saved by grace because of His blood.

 

Psalm 105:37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

 

Where did they get this silver and gold? I thought they were slaves. Their Egyptian captors who had enslaved them for generations gave them their riches. As we stated at the beginning of this study of Psalm 105, the Israelites left Egypt wealthier than they entered it.

 

Exodus 11:2-3a (AMPC) Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man solicit and ask of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver and jewels of gold. 3 And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.

 

Proverbs 21:1 (AMPC) The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills.

 

The statement is made that not one of the Israelites who fled Egypt was “feeble.”

 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

 

Their lives had been made bitter to them, and their bodies and spirits broken by their bondage; and yet, when God brought them forth, there was not one feeble person, none sick, none so much as sickly, among their tribes. They went out that very night that the plague swept away all the first-born of Egypt, and yet they went out all in good health, and brought not with them any of the diseases of Egypt. Surely never was the like, that among so many thousands there was not one sick!

 

This was a miracle we almost complete overlooked! So many precious details in each verse of God’s word.

 

Psalm 105:38 Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

 

I think part of the reason the Egyptians gave all their jewels and valuables to the Israelites was their intense desire to be rid of them and their God who was causing all the plagues. They had been experiencing utter mayhem because of these slaves. Hanging on to the slave labor no longer seemed worth it!

 

Chew on this: Pharaoh was hard-hearted to the point of allowing his people to be subjected to plague after plague rather than release the Israelites. Does the Lord sometimes have to get our attention multiple times before we surrender to His will?

 

Psalm 105:16-22 - Joseph - Protected from Famine

Posted on October 21, 2016 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 105:16-22

Joseph - Protected from Famine

 

Psalm 105:16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

 

Wait! God caused the famine until their food supply was completely gone? Yes, but as we shall see He had already provided the solution to their food problem. Also, God had told Abraham many years before that his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years but would come out with great riches, so God was facilitating the fulfillment of that prophesy.

 

Genesis 15:13-14 (KJV) And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

 

Psalm 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: 18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: 19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him.

 

You may remember the story of Joseph the Dreamer. His brothers sold him to slave traders; and due to God’s sovereignty, he ended up in Egypt. He was an excellent servant but was falsely accused and imprisoned until the Lord God orchestrated his release.

 

Psalm 105:20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

 

Why did the king, the Pharaoh, release Joseph from prison? He heard that Joseph could interpret dreams, and the king needed his services because he had a very troubling dream. Joseph correctly interpreted the dream to mean that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine and advised the Pharaoh to prepare (Genesis 41).

 

Psalm 105:21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: 22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

 

Joseph became second in command, only to Pharaoh. He was like the vice president of Egypt. He was wise and commanded that grain be stored in preparation for the lean years. Joseph took this action on the basis of insight given him by the Lord.

 

I had a hard time with why God would move the Israelites from the land of Canaan, the land of promise, to be captives in Egypt just to have to bring them out later on. But He had a purpose. As we will see later, they came out much wealthier than when they went in!

 

Chew on this: Many times, the way God moves us into His place for us seems “wrong” to us. Wait patiently. Trust. Know that your Heavenly Father will always do what is best for His children. Remember the hymn “Trust and Obey.” Meditate on the last line of the chorus: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus; but to trust and obey.”

 

Session 8 - 1 Peter 4:19 - When Ridiculed - Day 5

Posted on October 17, 2016 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Session 8 – 1 Peter 4:19 – When Ridiculed – Day 5

 

1 Peter 4:19 So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.

 

It is hard to take – my suffering may very well be God’s will for me at that time. I believe it and accept it because the word says it, but I do not pretend to always understand. Many times we cannot understand what God is doing until we are looking back. I love the allegory “The Horse and His Boy” by C.S. Lewis. In it the boy questions the great lion Aslan (who represents Jesus) as to why he was roaring and nipping at his horse as he fled along a mountain road. Aslan takes the boy back to the place and shows him that had he not scared the horse back onto the path, they both would have plunged down a cliff to their destruction.

 

God may be using suffering to move us along the path to His purpose or to prevent us from a destructive choice. He may be forcing us to learn to trust Him more, to fully rely on God.

 

We are reminded of the wisdom of the Proverbs:

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (HCSB) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

 

Chew on This: My friend, Melissa, decorated her special needs Sunday School room with frogs. I thought that a weird choice until she explained the acronym:

 

Fully

Rely

On

God

 

We can trust our Creator-Sustainer completely with every aspect of our well-being.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 18 - Lesson 2

Posted on July 28, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

ARRESTED!


John 18:10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)

 

Peter impulsively shot from the hip, cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Malchus. Jesus admonished Peter to put away the sword, and Luke records that Jesus healed the ear completely.

 

Luke 22:51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.

 

Jesus instructed them not to respond to the unjust arrest with violence. He did not want His disciples to be known for violence, but to be known for peace and for their love for one another. Also, His arrest was a part of the Father’s plan.

 

 John 18:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

 

Peter’s heart was sincere, but his response was wrong because he was disrupting the Father’s purpose designed from before time began. Peter’s desire to protect His Lord was honorable, but as when He earlier tried to talk Jesus out of dying, it was not according to God’s will.

 

Matthew 16:21-24 (KJV) From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

 

I’m sure Peter had no intention of tempting Jesus to thwart God’s plan. His rashness sometimes caused him to take things into his own hands, acting before he thought things through. Peter was an “act first, think later” kind of guy.

 

John 18:12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.

 

At Jesus’ urging, Peter put the sword away. Not sure why he thought he could single-handedly fight off a cohort of soldiers in the first place! I’m not sure why the High Priest thought they needed 200 to 600 soldiers to bring in one man! Perhaps witnessing His miracles made them fearful of the power He might unleash. After all, Jesus simply responding, “I AM He,” bowled over all the men, laying them flat on the ground! He didn’t even have to touch them. Jesus willingly surrendered to the band of officers, but they bound Him anyway, treating Him like a common criminal.

 

John 18:13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

 

Reformation Study Bible:

18:13 Annas. One of the most influential Jewish leaders of that age. Although deposed from the high priesthood by the Romans, he was still known by this title among the Jews. It is difficult to determine whether this verse and vv. 19–24 represent one or two phases of a trial before the Jewish authorities. Matthew, Mark, and Luke refer to an additional phase before the Sanhedrin. Judging from the description of rules for trials found in the Mishnah of some two hundred years later, the proceedings here were marked by serious irregularities and violations of Jewish law. The Sanhedrin was not supposed to meet at night; the death penalty could not be declared on the day of the trial; there was false evidence, and false witnesses were used (Matt. 26:59, 60); Jesus was exposed to blows from attendants during the trial (v. 22; Mark 14:65). In addition to all this, it was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet for a capital case on the eve of a Sabbath or a feast day. These violations show that Jesus’ condemnation by the Jewish authorities was a travesty of justice.

 

Annas was the former high priest as well as being the father-in-law of the current high priest. Both men were trying Jesus unjustly. Both had surely plotted for Jesus’ arrest.

 

John 18:14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

 

Caiaphas had prophesied (John 11:50) that it would be better for one man, meaning Jesus, to die for the benefit of all. He did not realize at the time that he was stating prophesy as the high priest but was merely trying to justify murdering Jesus. He did not understand that Jesus did indeed die for all who would believe in Him to save them from sin and into relationship with God.

 

Q – Aren’t we often like Peter, wanting to speed up God’s processes to suit our own timetable? How hard it is to wait on the Lord and to realize that sometimes hardships are necessary for the best results, for moving us into position to obey His will. If you are eager to resist, to fight, to claw your way through life, stop. Slow down. “Be still and know that He is God,” (Psalm 46:10 (NIV)) or as the NASB puts it, “Cease striving…”

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 18 - Lesson 1

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Betrayal

John 18:1 (ESV) When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.

 

After Jesus had prayed for the apostles as their High Priest, He led them to a garden where they often prayed.

 

Baker’s Bible Atlas

Gethsemane was the name of a garden across the Kidron Valley, east of the Temple area, at the foot of the mount of Olives.

 

Jesus shared this most intimate place, the place where He was vulnerable and exposed in prayer to His Father with His closest disciples. Jesus did not have a home of His own, so this garden may have been His place of safety and strength. However, on this night, the Garden of Gethsemane would be a place of agonizing prayer as recorded in the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They all record these heart-wrenching moments. Jesus was so troubled in His humanness that His sweat was like drops of blood. He prayed asking the Father, “If it be Your will, let this cup pass from me.” By “this cup” He referred to not only His death on the cross but also the receiving onto Himself the burden of the sin He was dying for. His final conclusion was, “Not my will, but Thy will be done.” (Mark 14:36) And what were His closest disciples, even Peter, James, and John doing while Jesus fought the battle of His earthly life in prayer? They were sleeping! Even after He had told them to watch and pray. Jesus had asked His closest brothers to watch and pray for Him, but they let slumber overtake them and could not be there for Him in this most crucial time of need (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22).

 

John 18:2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples.

 

Judas had a good idea where Jesus and the apostles would be, so it must have been customary for them to go to the garden after the feast meals. Judas had probably even prayed with Jesus and the others there many times. I find it sad that Judas would betray Jesus in a place of prayer. That shows that his heart had become seared because nothing was sacred anymore, if it ever had been.

 

John 18:3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

 

Judas led a group of Roman soldiers (perhaps as many as 200 to 600!) and Temple police sent by the religious leaders. They approached fully armed and carrying torches as if to apprehend a violent criminal. Do you think Judas thought Jesus and the disciples would put up a fight, or do you think the Chief Priests and Pharisees were the ones who feared resistance? Most likely, the people with weapons were sent by the Chief Priests and Pharisees because they were the ones who thought of Jesus as leading a rebellion. They thought He was an interloper trying to crowd in on their territory as leaders of Israel. They feared His leadership would disrupt their comfy way of life, or ruin it all together. Also, they had probably told the Romans that Jesus was attempting to overthrow the government and declare Himself king. They thought they were preventing a coup.

 

John 18:4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”

 

Jesus already knew whom they sought and what their intentions were, but He courageously stepped forward and asked them. Jesus did not flee, but He also made them acknowledge who they wanted. He forced them to admit their intentions by His question.

 

John 18:5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

 

The officers replied that they were seeking Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus was a common name, so they were being specific). The other gospels describe how Judas betrayed Jesus by kissing Him in greeting (Matthew 26:48-49, Mark 14:44-45, Luke 22:47-48). A kiss on both cheeks was the most intimate display of affection between men. John simply says that Judas was standing right there as Jesus said, “I am He.” By making the men admit that they were specifically seeking Him, Jesus was reminding them they had no authority to arrest the disciples. Jesus was ensuring that for the moment, the disciples would be safe. He was protecting His own.

 

John 18:6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

 

The Jewish officers would have recognized Jesus use of “I am” as a declaration of His deity. This was the name God had given to identify Himself to Moses. Whether they were simply awestruck by Jesus’ calm demeanor and this declaration or were supernaturally overpowered, the word does not make clear. But either way, the power of God caused them to fall to the ground!

 

 

John 18:7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

 

As they were picking themselves up off the ground, Jesus ask them again whom they had come after. If I had been a soldier, I would have just remained mute at that point. I would have been afraid to answer Him again! I wouldn’t have wanted to be knocked down again. Rather embarrassing, yes. But they did acknowledge once more that He was the only one they were seeking.

 

John 18:8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”

 

Jesus again told them that He was the one they wanted, and urged them to let the disciples go free. Since He was the one they were sent to arrest, they should have no need to arrest His students. In modern terminology they had a warrant for Jesus’ arrest only, so it would be illegal to take the others. In John 17:12, Jesus had prophetically prayed to the Father that He had not lost any of the disciples except Judas who was the betrayer.

 

Q – Have you ever been betrayed by a friend? Has someone reveal something you said in confidence? Can you imagine how hurt Jesus must have been when Judas betrayed Him with a kiss, of all things? Do we sometimes betray Jesus again when we declare that we belong to Him but refuse to live as He has commanded us to live? Do we profess with our lips when we do not truly trust with our lives? Lord, please infuse us with the power of Your Holy Spirit to be able to live out what You have placed within us!

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 17 - Lesson 3

Posted on July 17, 2016 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

In This World, Not Of It


John 17:11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

 

As Jesus prays prophetically, “Now I am no longer in the world, and I come to You…,” He sees His earthly mission as being accomplished. He has reflected and exalted the Father and revealed Him to His disciples so they believe His word. Jesus asks the Father to keep His disciples eternally secure by the power of His name. We do not earn salvation, nor do we have the power to keep ourselves “saved.” The Father holds us firmly in His grasp and will not let us go (John 10:29). The key to immeasurable joy is to live intimately connected with the source of all joy. It’s Jesus’ personal joy to give us oneness/ecstasy with the trinity. Jesus desires His church to be one with Him in an unbreakable unity as exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

John 17:12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

 

Again Jesus spoke prophetically, for as we will see in John chapter 18, Jesus made sure that only He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He guarded His disciples physically and spiritually. Only one soul was lost, Judas Iscariot, who did not believe and repent. Judas could have had the same forgiveness as the thief on the cross if he would have come to Jesus in repentance and asked for it. As Jesus protected the disciples, the Father continues to keep us in His care while Jesus intercedes on our behalf.


John 17:13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

 

Jesus demonstrated faith that the Father would give Him the power to overcome. Jesus trusts His Father’s plan is best even though it is difficult in His humanity. Difficult may be an understatement. Stay with us through the rest of the story to see why I say that. He knows He is soon to be back in the Father’s presence. He has prayed for the unity of His disciples, that they will experience oneness with the Trinity and with each other. Being intertwined with God will bring them fullness of joy for as Susan said earlier, He is the source of joy.

 

John 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

 

We grow in our new life with Christ through reading the Bible. His word centers us so we are not like the world seeming to be a roller coaster or yo-yo (up and down). The word of God targets our thinking and renews our minds to think like He thinks. Jesus’ words gave the disciples strength and sustained them through persecutions. However, it was their trust and adherence to Jesus’ teachings that placed them in the position of being persecuted, hated by the world. Even so, by the power of the Holy Spirit within them, they were able to stand firm after some initial fear when Christ was arrested and crucified. The world hates Christians because Christians’ values differ from those of the world. Since Christ’s followers don’t cooperate with the world by joining in their sin, they are living accusations against the world’s immorality.

 

Q – Have you ever just wanted the Lord to take you right out of this world and into His presence? I remember when my dad was dying of cancer, one night after a particularly bad bout of pain, he turned to me and said, “Beam me up, Scotty.” I told him he could beam up any time he was ready, but he wisely replied, “You can’t beam up until the Captain gives the order.” Our Captain is God the Father and until He calls you home, He has left you here for a purpose. There will be trials and even persecution in this world, but Jesus prayed for the Father to sustain us while we are serving Him here. We all desire to go Home to be with our Lord, but He calls us to minister here for now. Study the word to be encouraged and pray to the Lord to strengthen you to face each new day.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 16 - Lesson 7

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Answers Before We Ask


John 16:29 (ESV) His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech!

 

The disciples finely have a clue what Jesus has been talking about. Now that Jesus is speaking plainly, they do not have to strain to understand and can focus attention on listening rather than pondering.

 

John 16:30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”

 

IVP New Testament Commentary Series:

As the one sent from God, Jesus' knowledge is complete; thus one can trust him and not fret over the questions one might have.

 

The disciples knew Jesus came from God because He answered their questions before they even asked them! The disciples were confirming Jesus’ omniscience and, therefore, His deity. He did not have to wait for them to ask a question before He answered. Also, they could leave questions unasked because they trusted Him with their lives. The disciples have some understanding of the sovereignty of God and that Jesus was acting on the Father’s behalf.

 

John 16:31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.

 

Jesus asked them if they REALLY believed. He knew that at the hour of His arrest they would flee in terror. Jesus knew that with all their hearts they wanted to believe; but in their humanity and frailty being dust, there would be a nagging doubt that prevented them from following Him all the way.

 

Psalm 103:13-14 (VOICE) An earthly father expresses love for his children; it is no different with our heavenly Father; The Eternal shows His love for those who revere Him. For He knows what we are made of; He knows our frame is frail, and He remembers we came from dust.

 

Just as He knew Judas Iscariot would betray Him, He also knew Peter would deny Him and the others would go into hiding. He knew they did not yet have the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit! Therefore, Jesus could have compassion on their weaknesses.

 

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

 

We do not like to hear that we WILL have tribulation. But Jesus promises His peace will prevail in us in the middle of that tribulation and even persecution. Through His death and resurrection Jesus defeated Satan and overcame the world. Just as we can count on persecution and tribulation, we can equally count on God’s faithfulness and peace in the midst of them. We can play the “what’s the worst thing that could happen” game and easily win. If we are slain for our testimony about Jesus, if we die on this earth, we will immediately be in the presence of our Loving Lord forever! No more sorrow, no more pain, no fear or worry. Sounds like a win to me! When flesh killing disease was creeping up my legs, I was facing the reality that I could die. Even so, that would have been a win for me. The Lord led me to make the drastic decision to have the disease removed by amputating both legs above the knee in order to continue life for Jesus’ sake. The Lord still has me here to bless, to encourage, to teach others for His glory which is absolutely a win as well.

 

Philippians 1:20-24 (NIV) I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

 

As long as the Lord chooses to leave us on this earth, we have a purpose to fulfill.

 

Q – Jesus knows your heart, your every thought; but He has instructed you to pray. In times of trouble, seek Him. If you are a believer, is there any problem, any trial, that is too much for Him to deal with? NO, even death cannot defeat you because in death you will truly begin to live. But don’t check out early because He may want you to have the fantastic joy of serving Him here and now on planet earth.