Sunday, November 11, 2007

How should we respond when our nation comes under the judgment of God?

A couple of weeks ago we went through the books of Kings, and this is what I got out of it-

Israel had rejected God and wanted a king. God granted their wish and for century’s after they rejected God once a again and served idols. King after king lead them deeper into sin, occasionally one restored worship to God, but again they turned back to baal, ashtoreth etc… God then sent judgment upon them - first Israel was taken by the Assyrians then Judah by Nebuchadnezzar.

Jer.27:4-11-“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5 “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. 6Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. 7All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave. 8 “ ‘ “But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the Lord, until I have consumed it by his hand. 9 So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11But any nation that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on its own land, to work it and dwell there, declares the Lord.” ’ ”

Jeremiah prophecy’s Judah’s exile here. God is saying that he has sent Nebuchadnezzar and that all should obey him. God uses Neb. to spank his people. Should they resist His punishment even more judgment and worse times would come upon them. If they headed the voice of the false prophets and do no submit to Babylon, God would judge them even more. Basically, Nebuchadnezzar’s power comes from God.
Now if we look in Kings we can clearly see this displayed. Three times Babylon invaded Israel, all during a different reign of a different king.

  • The first time Babylon came against Judah was during the reign of Jehoiakim (2 kings 24:1), who rebelled against him, not heeding the Word of God delivered by Jeremiah. As a result God sent many other nations against him, destroying Judah.
  • When Nebuchadnezzar came against Judah a second time, Jehoiachin, the king, submitted and was taken prisoner (2 Kings 24:8-12). But later on when a new king set up in Babylon, he was released and set upon a high place in the palace of Babylon (2 Kings 25:27). Because he had submitted to those whom God had sent as a punishment he was later greatly blessed.
  • One last time Nebuchadnezzar came up against Judah, this time during the reign of Zedekiah, whom he had placed on the throne. Zedekiah rebelled (2 kings 24:20) and did not heed the voice of Jeremiah. It cost him his life and his sons. Nebuchadnezzar, this time, completely destroyed Judah and the temple, and carried away all that was left.
Two of these men did not obey the voice of God through Jeremiah, but rather the false prophets, as a result of God sent greater curses upon them. But the one who did heed God and submitted to Babylon, was blessed later on.

How does this apply to us?

When I look at our government, I see one that is quickly spiraling down hill. They promote abortion, homosexuality, high taxes and so many other unbiblical things. I have always had a rebel attitude towards it all…after all why should we obey them? But when I saw all this in our class, my attitude somewhat changed. Our situation is very much like that of Israel’s. We may have many Christians but we have an unbiblical government right now. Our enemy’s (gov.) have much power, military power. Should we rebel against our government? Should we rebel against what God may have set up as a judgment upon a wicked people, who have forsaken Him? These questions plagued my mind.

I believe now that a Christian’s duty should be to promote their city’s welfare, not rebel against it. We should accept judgment, seek the welfare of our cities, and work/wait for opportunity to rebuild what has been lost. We should continually strive to right what was been wronged. We should continue to build the kingdom of God!


Friday, November 2, 2007

An Essay -Testing and Temptation

Question - "If there is a difference between being tested and being tempted, what is the difference?

My Answer - I believe that there is a definite difference between being tested and being tempted which I will try (and hopefully will) make clear to you. We will first find out what temptation is and then we’ll see what testing is. In my final point we will examine the difference between the two.

First of all, what is temptation? Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines temptation as – “The act of tempting; enticement to evil by arguments, by flattery, or by the offer of some real or apparent good.” In Matthew 4 we read of the temptation of Jesus. The devil tempted Jesus 3 times and yet He did not sin. Even when he flatters Jesus and tells him of the apparent good and real good that he will receive Jesus replies with scripture and remains steadfast to God. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent tempts Eve into eating the forbidden fruit who then tempts Adam to do the same and suddenly all mankind is now depraved and inherently sinful. Solomon’s many wives tempt him into serving and sacrificing to their false gods. He fails. Joseph on the other hand, is faithful to God and though Potiphar’s wife greatly tempts him to lie with her he refuses. Scripture is packed with examples of temptation and although we could spend an adequate amount of time here let’s move on to testing.

Now that we have seen temptations in past events let’s look at testing. God tests us every day by putting obstacles in our life and encouraging us to pull through and remain steadfast to him. James 1:2&3 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” If we had everything in our life go just the way we wanted it to go than how steadfast to God would we be? The answer is simple. We would not have any steadfastness whatsoever! If there were no trials than there would be no suffering for Christ and the cross he carried. I find that the more I read God’s Word, the more my Faith increases and the easier I find trials in my life become. Do you remember when God tested Abraham? It is in Gen. 22. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering. What was Abraham’s response? Abraham feared God and obeyed him unquestionably. He had faith in God and believed God would fulfill his promise and keep His covenant. Just when Abraham was about to slay his son God called out to him saying, “…do not kill the boy.” Abraham had a hard trial and yet he remained steadfast to God. He will most assuredly receive “the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him!” (James 1:12)

And now, what is the difference? In Eden, God tested Adam and Eve. He did not tempt them. We know this because in James 1:13-15 it clearly states, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” We learn from this that God does not tempt anyone. He is holy. Adam and Eve were tempted by their own desire. And when they desired it so greatly, they ate the forbidden fruit and after that bite they were both thrown out of Eden never to return. Though they sinned and though we sin God sent down his only begotten son that whosoever shall believe in him will have everlasting life! In all, tempting and testing are not the same thing. God set the temptation there in the garden, the tree, and told them to not eat of its fruit. The serpent tempted them to eat the fruit. What is the difference? God said to not eat it. The serpent said to eat it. One is encouraging you to do evil while the other is encouraging you to pull through.



I just wanted to post about our wonderful teacher and all he has done for us. Without him our class would be nothing. He lets us know if we are being good or being bad. He is definitely a gifted teacher, pastor, father (to some), and uncle! Well, that's just about it... thanks Uncle, Pastor, Teacher, Kenny:)