Category Archives: 1-Year Bible

November 27, 2021

Daniel 4:1-37

King Nebuchadnezzar has another dream, but this one turns out to be more of a nightmare. None of the other wise men were able to make known to the king the meaning of the dream, but he knows he can count on Daniel for the interpretation because Daniel has proven himself to be someone with God’s hand upon his life, someone in whom is the Holy Spirit, who receives revelation, illumination, and interpretation from God (Daniel 4:8-9).

Now, I could be wrong on this, but it IS possible that the other “wise-men” knew what the dream meant, but lacked the boldness to share it…because the dream is rather straight-forward. Part of sharing God’s message is the willingness to speak both good and bad news (Joseph also experienced this – Genesis 40). God’s messengers need courage.

Daniel spoke:

Daniel 4:22 (NKJV) “It is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had risen to the top of the world, but he would lose his sanity, become like a beast, living and sleeping outdoors, eating grass, until he realized that the, “…Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” All kings need to acknowledge the King of kings, all people in any position need to realize that – God put you there, and hence, honor Him.

Daniel gave the king good counsel, the dream was a warning:

Daniel 4:27 (NKJV) “Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about God, is HE IS Merciful. Even if He declares His coming judgment, there is hope, that if we turn from our sins, He will relent from the just punishment we deserve (Jonah discovered this).

King Nebuchadnezzar did good for 1 year…but then he forgot. And one day as he’s looking out at his kingdom and all its glory, he took the credit for it…that he was the one who built it, by his power, and for his honor:

Daniel 4:30 (NKJV) “The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’”

While the words were still in his mouth…God judged him. The dream became a reality. The king lost his mind, his throne, his place in his home; like a vagabond, without food, long unkept hair, untrimmed nails…the “best” became a beast. We all need to know, this is us without God.

It took some time, but eventually the king’s eyes were opened. Nebuchadnezzar learned a few things.

Daniel 4:34–35 (NKJV) “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”

Do I know that God rules in the kingdom of men? Do I know that God rules in my own life? Help me Lord.

Nebuchadnezzar also learned that God is able to put down those who walk in pride (Daniel 4:37).

2 Peter 1:1-21

Peter now gives us this second epistle in which he will warn the church of false teachers, but before he gets there, he spends some time building up the brethren a bit. They say that a great defense is a great offense, and the way that we can keep from going backwards is by growing forward.

The big burly fisherman has definitely softened over the years. I thought it was interesting how he uses the word “precious” eight times in his two letters, mentioning:

the precious faith of believers (1 Peter 1:7; 2 Peter 1:1),

the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19),

the precious stones we are (1 Peter 2:4),

our precious Jesus (1 Peter 2:6-7),

the precious inner beauty of a wife (1 Peter 3:4), and

the precious promises we possess (2 Peter 1:4).

Peter came to a precious place. How awesome is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit!

When we were saved and thereby escaped the corruption in the world, we were given everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. With this gift of salvation we must give all diligence to add to our faith. 1 Peter 1:5-8 is often referred to as the “ladder of virtues, it’s good for me to check my heart for each virtue, one by one, step by step.

If these characteristics are not present in my life then Peter tells me that I’ve lost sight of the fact that as a Christian, I’ve been forgiven of so much. I’ve been saved from the power and penalty of my sins, which is in all reality, hell, now and forever. O that I would have a greater heart of gratitude for the grace I’ve been given!

If these characteristics are present, the doors of heaven swing open wide, which most likely is a reference to the joy and abounding assurance of such a life – richly rewarded now and in the future to come (we might want to review that ladder of virtues).

Faith + Virtue + Knowledge + Self-Control + Perseverance + Godliness + Brotherly Kindness + Brotherly Love = Abundant Entrance

Peter is completely convinced by Christ, so he determines not to be negligent to remind the people of this, over, and over, and over again. This is a large part of my calling as well. The truth I am called to teach is not necessarily new, but it’s true – mere reminders to the majority of the people of God who know these things already.

Peter brings up the “tent” – isn’t it fascinating the way our bodies house the inner man, and one day we will take down this tent, and trade it in for a mansion?

Peter was not only determined to remind the people while he lived, he also wanted to make sure the people always had reminders after his decease. This may have been why he was writing things down…and he therefore continues to minister today. Peter had no doubt whatsoever about the truth of the Gospel or the majesty of Christ, after all, he was an eyewitness! He heard the messages and saw the miracles, he witnessed the Lord transfigured and resurrected! Not only that, He heard the Father’s voice about His Son – AND – he had the Spirit’s voice in the Scriptures. The greatest proof for the validity of Christianity is not our experience, but rather the exposition of the Scripture. The Bible is not of private interpretation, Peter says, it’s not a book written by men, humanly, no, these authors were Divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is why we look to the Holy Spirit for illumination, for help in understanding the meaning…after all, He wrote it!

Psalm 119:97-112

More awesome words about the Word!

Psalm 119:97 (NKJV) “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Do I LOVE God’s Word? Do I meditate on it all day? I should!

We have many enemies in life – the world, the flesh, the devil and his demons. They often influence people who oppose us and oppose God’s work through us (think of giants like Goliath, or fellows like the Pharisees). The only way we can be wiser and outsmart our enemies is through the Bible, the Word of God.

As we read, study, memorize, hear it taught, and meditate on God’s Word personally, the Holy Spirit can make us wiser than our human teachers. Not that it’s a competition in any way, but that’s the reality of the reward of personally studying God’s Word in sincerity.

Part of the way we don’t stray from God, is by not straying from His Word. It should be sweeter than our favorite desert and make us hate the things God hates.

God’s Word guides us like a light – for the days are dark:

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

We find the word “afflicted” frequently in this chapter. And while affliction can refer to any type of difficulty or discipline, it may also refer to the conviction we experience as we truly “hear” God’s Word. It afflicts us and has the power to revive us (both are miracles).

We ask God to teach us His Word; that we’d never stray away – that we’d stay safe in His hands, undaunted by the wicked plans of the enemy – that we’d rejoice over God’s Word in our hearts and that we’d echo the sentiment of the Psalmist:

Psalm 119:112 (NKJV) “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end.”

Have I?

Proverbs 28:17-18

Proverbs 29:17 (NKJV) “A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit; let no one help him.”

“A murderer’s guilty conscience hounds him, tormenting him and causing him to try to escape punishment. His only escape is death. One who tries to console or rescue him is out of line; to aid a criminal is wrong.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

Edgar Allan Poe, wrote a short story all about this, entitled, “The Tell Tale Heart.”

“Let no one help him,” means no one should be an accomplice to bloodshed in any way, before, during, or after.

David Guzik, “Often it is best to let people suffer the consequences of their sins.” 

Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV) “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.”

We are to walk “blameless,” which means that the accusations of the enemy don’t stick. Not  that we can ever be perfect, but we can be proper (Romans 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:10).

The salvation he speaks of, is not necessarily in reference to salvation from damnation, it speaks more along the Ines of being rescued from the calamities and troubles of life.

“A blameless life (walk) brings safety (cf. 1:33; 3:23; 18:10; 28:26), but a person whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall. Similar statements are given in Proverbs 10:9; 28:10.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

November 26, 2021

Daniel reveals and interpret the dream as God answer their prayers.

First the Babylonian Kingdom (strongest because the king had absolute power)

Then the Medo-Persian Kingdom

Then the Grecian Kingdom

Then the Roman Empire

Then the Revived Roman Empire (taking us to the last days)

And then, the final Kingdom of all, when the Rock, Jesus Christ conquers, rules, and reigns forever and ever.

Daniel 2:44 (NKJV) “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Views on the dates may vary

(I picture the Rock to be much larger)

What a witness Daniel was! Do you ever wonder why Daniel was used in such a way? Why God revealed this dream to him? Well…we always start with God’s grace and providence, but we need to also note Daniel’s heart for God, his prayer life, and especially the fact that when it “happened” – Daniel did dare to touch the glory (Daniel 2:30). Maybe the reason things like this don’t happen as frequently, is because we lack in these areas of prayer and heart, and maybe even God knows, we’ll somehow take the credit. Let’s do our best to rectify all that, even now.

Daniel 3 is an epic chapter in the Bible. God speaks to us through the stand Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego made. The world has an agenda FULL of idols they want us to bow down to. Nebuchadnezzar was not content being the head of gold, he wanted to embody the entire image – 90 feet tall – he wanted everyone to worship him, no doubt under the influence of the devil. I’m assuming that Daniel was on a mission as an ambassador out of the country, or not identified, for surely he wouldn’t have bowed down (as we’ll see in chapter 6). 

Meanwhile, back in Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego are arrested for not worshipping the image and given one final chance to change their minds – if not – they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. The three Hebrew men let the king know that a discussion was not necessary, they would never worship the image. I’ve always loved their reasoning.

Daniel 3:17–18 (NKJV) “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

They knew that God was able, no doubt about it, God could deliver them. They knew the promise of:

Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV) “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

They knew God was able to deliver them from the fire, they knew God would be with them in the fire, but they weren’t 100% sure IF God would choose to do so. Sometimes God allows His people to be martyrs, and to suffer for His sake, His higher purposes…so they tag the truth with those words, “But IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods…”

If not. If God DOESN’T do what we want Him to do, it doesn’t change who He is, may we embrace this, and never ever compromise.

In this case God DID choose to deliver, and the only thing that burned was bonds that held them. I can’t be dogmatic, but I believe Jesus was the one who entered into their trials, and walked among them. Of course this was another testimony to the power of the God of Israel, and Nebuchadnezzar was floored, once again. He realized there’s no god, like this God. But he needed to go deeper and understand that there IS no other God but this God!

What a witness…Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were able to give!

Daniel 3:28 brings to mind Romans 12:1, we must give God our bodies!

Daniel 3:28 (NKJV) “Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!’”

Romans 12:1 (NKJV) ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Our bodies are neutral, they can be used for both good or bad, let’s do our best to make sure we offer them to God, to be used as tools, vessels, and even weapons of righteousness!

Halley’s Bible Handbook, “According to the Septuagint, this incident (in Daniel 3) occurred in the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, after Daniel and his three friends had been in Babylon for about 20 years. That was 586 B.C., the same year Nebuchadnezzar burned Jerusalem. The Septuagint version of the book of Daniel (as well as other Greek versions) includes, among other additions, between 3:23 and 3:24 a section that contains a prayer of Azariah (the Hebrew name of Abednego; 1:7) and a song by all three men in the fiery furnace. It embodied a popular tradition but was never regarded as a part of the Hebrew Bible.”

Although we can’t verify the above information, it is interesting to consider…the prayer and song make sense to me.

The 3 Hebrew children in the fire with one like the Son of God.

1 Peter 4:7–5:14

What an honorable challenge 1 Peter 4:7 is, as Peter calls us to pray seriously. If there’s one thing the enemy will fight us tooth-and-nail on, it’s our prayer life. Friend, never give up that battle to pray seriously, wholeheartedly, watchfully, and obediently.

“Above all things…” Peter says in 1 Peter 4:8, we are to have that fervent love for one another. If we love, we’ll “cover” those sins, we’ll forgive from the heart, we’ll be hospitable, and faithful in exercising our gifts for the glory of God and the good of His people. What gifts or talents are you using for the Lord? Keep in mind, we all have at least one Spiritual gift.

1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”

One of the main themes of 1 Peter is suffering, or “pain with a purpose.” Sometimes we get that distorted mindset that thinks, “If I’m a Christian, I won’t go through hard times.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but Jesus promised that in this life we would have tribulation (John 16:33), so did Paul (Acts 14:22). Don’t think it strange or out of place – it’s all part of the plan. God doesn’t necessarily author these things, but He allows them to test us (reveal and refine who we are). Hold tight to Christ during those difficult days, let Him work in you and through you; let Him draw you close to rejoice, for one day you will be rewarded – if you suffer for righteousness sake.

The list in 1 Peter 4:15 is very revealing – people can suffer from any sin ranging from being a murderer to a busybody (meddling where we don’t belong).

Judgment begins in the house of God in order to purify the church; Christian beware! And if the church is judged in such a way, what will be the fate of those who have rejected Christ? People get ready, Jesus IS coming!

Peter begins chapter 5 by addressing the elders, usually older and more mature men called to be pastors. Peter doesn’t see himself as the Pope or anyone special there at the front of the line when it comes to leadership, he simply sees himself as a “fellow elder,” with a good word for us. His humility comes through loud and clear.

It makes sense that shepherds are to shepherd the flock – feed, lead, and protect the sheep spiritually speaking. We’re there to serve, not to be served; not because we “got to” but because we “get to”; not dishonestly, but honestly, not because we’re forced to but we do so eagerly. We mustn’t be a prophet for profit or power, we must have a heart to serve as examples to the people, after all, sheep are not cattle. Sheep are to be led, not driven. On “that day” Jesus, the Chief Shepherd will reward faithful shepherds who are in it for the right reason, with an unfading crown.

Sandy Adams summed it up this way, “As the Shepherd oversees the flock, likewise the elder oversees the church. His motivation is love, not duty – and God, not greed. He leads by example, rather than force. And he looks to God for His reward, rather than expecting it from the flock.”

Submission does have a structure, younger people are to be submissive to their elders, but at the same time, having said that, Peter reminds us that we are ALL to have that heart of submission.

When I read the call to “be clothed with humility…” (1 Peter 5:55) I think of Jesus who took a towel, girded Himself and proceeded to wash the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). He told them (and us) 

John 13:14-15, (NKJV) “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” 

That’s exactly what Peter is talking about! But it required humility.

Peter quotes from Proverbs 3:34 as does James (4:6). 

1 Peter 5:5 (NKJV) “…for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”

F.B Meyer said, “I used to think that growth in the Christian life was like steps we climb, higher and higher, but now I’ve come to realize that growth as a Christian is not a matter of climbing higher, but of stooping lower.”

How important it is that I give it all to God, that I cast all my cares upon Him – it’s too heavy for me or any other person, only Christ can carry them, and no one cares like Him.

These are not days to be drunk in disobedience or dancing with the devil, he’s a lion looking for the stragglers and strugglers whom he may devour. The devil would love to devour me, so I must resist him faithfully, never thinking that “I’m the only one going through such hard times,” because that’s the lie of Lucifer that leads to pity-parties (which are not productive).

Peter closes with the theme of the letter, and a prayer reminding us that we are called to suffer “a while” so God will mature us, restore us, establish, strengthen and settle our souls. Let’s hang in there and never give up. God is doing a good work in each one of our lives.

Psalm 119:81-96

The Word of God is a living Word (Hebrews 4:12) and it is a working Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). It is by God’s Word we are saved and sanctified, and hence, Psalm 119 is no exaggeration whatsoever. Notice the many blessings and benefits of the Word.

The Word brings hope, the Word brings comfort, the Word is faithful, the Word brings revival, the Word of God is forever – settled in heaven. As a matter of fact, Jesus said:

Matthew 24:35 (NKJV) “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

The Word brings life, the Word is perfect, the Word is even exceedingly broad (Psalm 119:96) (it covers all we need to know).

The Word should therefore be searched to the point of making my eyes fail, it should be remembered, it should not be forsaken, it should be our delight, it should be sought and considered every day of our lives (Psalm 1; Matthew 6:11).

Proverbs 28:15-16

Proverbs 28:15-16 (NKJV) “Like a roaring lion and a charging bear is a wicked ruler over poor people. 16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, but he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.”

A tyrannical ruler is like a beast, those types of rulers who are ruthless.

“The wicked ruler treats those of low standing (poor people) with unpredictable, uncontrollable ferocity. He is dangerous toward them.” – David Guzik

“No sentiment of pity softens his heart. No principle of justice regulates his conduct. Complaint only provokes further exactions. Resistance kindles his unfeeling heart into savage fury.” – Bridges

“In contrast, a person who refuses to abuse his power for personal gain (cf. ill-gotten treasures in 1:19; 10:2) will enjoy the blessing of a long life.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary 

Those prolonged days may also refer to the time he serves as ruler, a general principal, not an absolute precept.

November 25, 2021

Daniel 1:1–2:23

Image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream – Daniel 2 (view on dates vary)

Babylon conducted 3 sieges of Jerusalem. Ezekiel was taken in the second siege, but Daniel was taken in the first; he was a young man (probably a teen) at the time. Some have called the book of Daniel the “key to prophecy.” If we can understand this book, we’ll have that key that unlocks the doors to many other prophetical truths.

“Daniel, sometimes referred to as the “Apocalypse of the Old Testament,” presents a majestic sweep of prophetic history. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, but God will establish His people forever. Nowhere is this theme more apparent than in the life of Daniel, a young God-fearing Jew transplanted from his homeland and raised in Babylonia. His adventures—and those of his friends—in the palace, the fiery furnace, and the lion’s den show that even during the Exile God has not forgotten His chosen nation. And through Daniel, God provides dreams—and interpretations of dreams—designed to convince Jew and Gentile alike that wisdom and power belong to Him alone!” – Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible

Daniel and his 3 Hebrew friends, are young, good looking, and gifted, they obviously have tons of potential, and it’s for that reason they are taken to Babylon, to serve in the palace of the King. They will be taught the Babylonian language, the Chaldean ways, trained for 3 years and then their service will begin. In the meantime, they won’t be given bread and water, no, these young men will be in the presence of royalty, so they will be fed well. But, this creates a conflict between the Law of the Lord to the Jews, and the commandments of men in the world…the menu was not kosher.

The battle of the belly is a base battle, but it reveals much about a person. Our flesh loves the delicacies of life…but Daniel loved the Lord more. We read those awesome words that go down in history for us all:

Daniel 1:8 (NKJV) “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

That’s where it begins, in the heart. If we can purpose in our hearts NOT to defile ourselves with the “king’s delicacies,” the things of this world, we may live in the midst of a bad place like Babylon…and yet, we’ll be able to stay pure!

The chief of the Eunuch hesitated at Daniel’s request, fearing for his own life, but Daniel wisely asked for a 10-Day test; Daniel knew God would show Himself strong, which He did.

Daniel 1:15 (NKJV) “And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.”

Most Bible teachers believe this fattening of the flesh to be Divine intervention.

So Daniel and his friends were able to stick to water and vegetables, I’ll be the first to admit, doesn’t sound too appealing to me. But O the power of love, what a difference a heart for God makes! Daniel and his friends exemplify those beautiful practices of discipline and self-denial.

What would make King Nebuchadnezzar fall, face-down prostrate before Daniel? What would bring him to the realization that Daniel’s God is the God of gods, the Lord of lords?  This account in chapter 2 of Daniel, is stunning, to say the least.

The King had a dream and he REALLY wanted the interpretation, but in order to make sure the guys weren’t making it up, he required  that the wise men not only interpret the dream, but disclose the dream. Of course they couldn’t, they were right in saying that no man can do such a thing…so the king started to kill the wise men.

Enter Daniel, the young man who has this intimate and personal relationship with God. He knows God is able to reveal the secret, so he gets to work, him and his friends start praying. And what God reveals is one of most important prophecies in the Bible, because part of it has indeed come to pass, so we know we can trust Him, and part of it is yet to come (we’ll also see that in the 70-Weeks of Daniel).

In Daniel 2:20-23 Daniel praise God for revealing the dream to Him! Tomorrow we get the interpretation of the dream.

1 Peter 3:8–4:6

Peter now goes beyond husband wife relationships and without leaving that behind, he moves to include all other relationships as well. 1 Peter 3:10 is one of the most important passages in all of life!!!

1 Peter 3:10 (NKJV) “For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.”

Who doesn’t want to “love life”? One of the most critical components is the grace and ability to tame our tongue! Amen?

Peter then returns to the theme of his letter, how we need to be open and willing to suffer for doing right (1 Peter 3:17). We might suffer at the hands of non-believers and it will be an opportunity to witness to them – we must always be ready with an answer when they ask us the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15). One of the best things you can do is equip yourself with what Christians call, “Apologetics.” How do you know God exists? How do you know the Bible is God’s Word? How do you know Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? I strongly encourage you to study apologetics, to train your children and youth in this field. A great Apologetics ministry you can find online is at

When Jesus died, He went into Hades where there were two compartments. Abraham’s Bosom was the place for the righteous, while hell, or Gehenna, was portion of the wicked (see Luke 16:19-31). Jesus showed up and preached to the inhabitants there, by declaring His victory. Although everyone heard His words, only those who were righteous by faith, were allowed to enter into heaven. 

Just in case you’re wondering what Peter meant in 1 Peter 3:21, baptism doesn’t save us (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:17) but it IS a picture of our cleansing in Christ.

In 1 Peter 4, I like the way Peter calls us to “arm” ourselves with the same mind of Christ. So many of the battles we face are fought in the mind – our thoughts, our beliefs, our perspective needs to be girded with the truth of God’s Word, we must cultivate a Biblical World View.

It makes no sense at all to live the way we used to live when we did not know the Lord. Back then we didn’t know His will, we didn’t want His will, and we didn’t have the power to do His will, but now – everything should be different. A Christian who goes back to a life of lust, days of drugs and drinking, indulging in those types of parties and idolatries, is like a dog returning to his vomit (2 Peter 2:22). Such a person needs that warning of Christ Who promised to vomit them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16).

1 Peter 4:6 is difficult to interpret. Some say the dead are those who are/were dead in their sins and have since been saved. Other’s believe it to be the believer who has died. They’ve been judged in the sense that they’ve tasted death, but now they live in the presence of God. 

“We must not interpret 1 Peter 4:6 apart from the context of suffering; otherwise, we will get the idea that there is a second chance for salvation after death. Peter was reminding his readers of the Christians who had been martyred for their faith. They had been falsely judged by men, but now, in the presence of God, they received their true judgment. “Them that are dead” means “them that are now dead” at the time Peter was writing…because there is no opportunity for salvation after death (Hebrews 9:27).” – Warren Wiersbe

Psalm 119:65-80

Almost every verse is a prayer to God, and includes a reference to the Word. I cannot overstate the importance of prayer and the Word. This communion, this heart-to-heart conversation with our Creator is the key for us as Christians, prayer and the Word.

Teach me, the Psalmists prays (Psalm 119:66, 68) for I believe Your commandments.

Three times in our section for today the Psalmist speaks of being afflicted (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75). God allows things to happen, and sometimes even brings it on us Himself, because He loves us. We must respond accordingly! The Psalmist was wise in allowing the affliction to get his attention and to bring him back when he strayed (Psalm 119:67). He knew it was good for him (Psalm 119:71). He knew that the hard times of affliction are filtered through a faithful God who loved him (Psalm 119:75). If only we would pay attention to those times of discipline from our Father. What’s God trying to do in my life? Today? Change my circumstances or change me? Change my spouse – that problem “person?” Or change me?

We’re reminded in Psalm 119:73 that we’re “hand-made” by God:

Psalm 119:73 (NKJV) “Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.”

We’re all unique in order to fulfill unique purposes; may God give us understanding in His Word and His plans for our lives.

The Psalmist wisely prayed for mercy (Psalm 119:76-77). Reminds me of Jesus’ words about the man whose prayer was heard by God in:

Luke 18:13 (NKJV) “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’”

Three times in this section we’re reminded that the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart (Psalm 119:69, 70, 80). We are to keep God’s Word with our whole heart. When the Psalmist describes the heart of some being as “fat as grease,” he’s not talking about cholesterol build up, he’s speaking of hearts that are insensitive, calloused, dull, and without feeling or substance…may that not describe any of our hearts. Imagine having a heart that’s “blameless?” (Psalm 119:80) May that be our goal.

Proverbs 28:14

Proverbs 28:14 (NKJV) “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

I DO believe our Father is blessed when we’re happy, not at the expense of holiness, but here we do see that happiness is Biblical. The key to happiness for a child of God, is a perpetual reverence for God! The King James Version translates as he “that feareth always.”

I like the New Living Translation as well:

Proverbs 28:14 (NLT) “Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.”

“Sadly, reverence and happiness are not commonly associated together. The reverent man is often thought to be sour and unpleasant. Nevertheless, to the degree that one can be always reverent, he can be genuinely happy.” – David Guzik

On the flip-side is someone who hardens his heart. Pharaoh is the poster child for such activity, and yes, he did fall into calamity, it happened to his family, and it happened nationally.

November 24, 2021

Ezekiel 47:1–48:35

There’s no doubt that the water that flows from the altar has both spiritual AND physical significance. How deep am I? Ankle deep? Knee deep? Waist deep? O that I would be overflowing in the living water of the Holy Spirit! (Luke 11:9-13; Ephesians 5:18)

Warren Wiersbe, “It’s tragic that too many linger in the shallows when they could be enjoying the depths.”

But this river of life also brings physical life wherever it flows, and during the Millennial Kingdom the fruit and life will be phenomenal. It’s what you would expect in a world not yet perfect, but under the rule of Jesus Christ.

May we not forget WHERE this river comes from, the altar where our Lord laid down His life. May we always remember the blessings are only because of the blood.

ESV Study Bible, “This aspect of the vision coheres with Ezekiel 34:25–31 in affirming that renewal is not just moral and does not just come to people but affects the entire natural world. Here, however, the water brings life not just to the “world” but to that part of it least capable of sustaining life. The influence of this river is found in Zechariah 14:8, but it extends into the NT as well, most pointedly in Revelation 22:1–2 near the climax of John’s vision of the new heaven, earth, and city.”

It’s wonderful to see, over and over again, how God keeps His promises. 

Ezekiel 47:13–14 (NKJV) “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions. 14 You shall inherit it equally with one another; for I raised My hand in an oath to give it to your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance.’”

Israel will indeed have all the land allotted to them. In Ezekiel 47 we have the boundaries of the borders specified, all around, while in Ezekiel 48 we get the details for each tribe, as well as the priests, and the prince.

Source – ESV Study Bible

We definitely see similarities to the heavenly city of Jerusalem…after all, it’s getting closer in time! The reason we have actual measurements is because this WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN! Here we read about the gates all having the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel – we read the same thing in Revelation 21:10-14, as well as the names of the 12 Apostles for each foundation. This should inspire us – – the Millennial Kingdom, and then Heaven, are not just destinations, they’re motivations

And what’s the best portion in both of these places? Him – the Lord! Which is why Ezekiel closes his book in a perfectly appropriate fashion:

Ezekiel 48:35b (NKJV) “…and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.”

This is the compound name “YaHWeH Shammah.” If we’re blessed now with His perpetual presence, imagine what it will be like then!

1 Peter 2:11–3:7

Peter begs us to abstain from fleshly lusts so that we can be good witnesses while here on earth. He empowers us with the truth that this is not our home, we are simply passing through as sojourners, and pilgrims. This witness has an interesting balance between our citizenship in heaven, and our citizenship on earth. We are to be submissive to the “king” unless it conflicts with our submission to the King of kings. Apparently, the Christians Peter is writing to are being maligned and mistreated; Peter doesn’t coddle them, he challenges them not to retaliate…but to be like Jesus.

Employees are to be submissive to their employers, even if they’re harshly treated. It’s hard to accept, but the truth of the matter is, that Peter is speaking to slaves who were mistreated. He tells them that if they’re punished for doing good, and they take it patiently, it’s commendable before God. How many of us would be willing to do that? And yet this is the example Jesus gave us. This is how we were saved. 

John Stott said, “The Greek word for ‘example’ here (1 Peter 2:21) is unique in the New Testament. It denotes a teacher’s copybook on which children trace their letters when learning to write.” 

Children, let’s trace our teacher’s life in learning to love.

This is not speaking of child abuse by a parent, or a wife abused by her husband, the context is public humiliation and degradation from non-believers. Let God guide you, He will also defend you. 

Sandy Adams advises, “Let us not swap insult for insult. The Christian is called to be a shock absorber. Let the hatred that passes from person to person stop with you. Jesus is our example. He bore our sin in His body without a word of complaint in His mouth.” 

We must learn to thoroughly trust in our Shepherd, the Overseer of our lives.

In the book of Ephesians chapter 5, when Paul deals with husbands and wives, he spends the bulk of the passage on husbands. Here in 1 Peter 3, Peter gives more attention to the ladies –  the Biblical balance is amazing isn’t it?

The primary point for wives…is to have that heart of submission. Submission doesn’t mean your only value is in bearing children, barefoot in the laundry room. Submission means you allow your husband to run with that responsibility of leading the family – encouraging Him to follow Jesus. When Paul deals with submission for the wives in Ephesians 5:22-24 he prefaces it with the command that we are to be submissive to one another (Ephesians 5:21). A healthy marriage will find husbands (for the most part) submitting to their wives, giving her her preference. But if a husband feels strongly about something he senses the Lord is leading in, it is here that the wife should yield, not kicking and screaming, but with an attitude of submission.

Peter encourages the wives whose husbands are unsaved to win them over, not with nagging, but with their chaste conduct (pure and reverent lives). If you want to attract your husband physically there is an outward beauty that has its place, but if you hope to attract him spiritually, then you’ll need that “inner beauty” Peter speaks about, a beauty unlike the outside, a million times more attractive…and it never fades away.

Husbands may only have one verse here in 1 Peter chapter 3, but what a punch it packs. How we are to live with them (be present, pay attention) and do so with understanding (get to know her, be patient). Many husbands fail miserably in these areas. They take their wives for granted, they’ve “conquered,” they have her, now they move on to other things. No, we are to honor our wives – always – realizing that she’s the weaker vessel (this could be in reference to her positional, emotional, or physical weakness). God wants husbands to realize that they’ve been given this life together with their wives – and if the husband mistreats his wife, his prayers will be hindered. That last statement almost sounds like spiritual suicide – where would I be if my prayers are hindered?

Psalm 119:49-64

When we’re going through hard times of affliction, we have God’s Word to comfort us (Psalm 119:50). As a matter of fact, when we pop open our Bibles during those difficult and “dark” times (Psalm 119:55) (by faith) we comfort ourselves (Psalm 119:52). Of course we know it’s only God and His truth that bring any amount of peace, but we have a part to play in seeking Him by faith. 

This Bible, God’s Word is the key, let’s open it frequently.

We are to obey God’s Word (Psalm 119:57), wholeheartedly (Psalm 119:58), we are to turn away from sin (Psalm 119:59), and do it immediately (Psalm 119:60). As we battle evil spirits and their lies, we are to remember God’s Word (Psalm 119:61) and even in the middle of the night, when we can’t sleep, we will give God thanks (Psalm 119:62) all because of His Word, the Bible. I wonder if that’s what Paul and Silas were thinking that night, at midnight:

Acts 16:23–25 (NKJV) “And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”

How others value the Bible is even a good litmus test for the friends we choose to be close to, notice what we read in:

Psalms 119:63 (NKJV) “I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.”

May the Lord bless and surround you with friends, companions, and co-laborers in Christ, who fear the Lord, and obey His Word.

Proverbs 28:12-13

Proverbs 28:12 (NKJV) “When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; but when the wicked arise, men hide themselves.”

“When a righteous leader rules a nation, the people are happy (cf. 11:10), for there is order (cf. 28:2) and justice. But when … wicked leaders are in charge, good people go into hiding (also stated in Proverbs 28:28a) to get away from oppression (Proverbs 28:15–16) which causes them to groan (Proverbs 29:2).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

Proverbs 28:12 (NLT) “When the godly succeed, everyone is glad. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.”

“When those who live with wisdom and righteousness rejoice because of the condition of their community, it is good for everyone. There is great glory.” – David Guzik

“When the wicked arise, men hide themselves: Even wicked men don’t want to be ruled by other wicked men. A culture may live off the inheritance of a previous righteous generation, but when the wicked arise those benefits and the freedoms righteousness bring will slowly diminish.” – David Guzik

Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

O the power and freedom of confessing AND forsaking our sins! Confession is not enough! Acknowledgment only, is insufficient. Remorse won’t bring a single blessing – we must confess AND forsake our sins. We must have a heart that is willing to obey even though we know we will be imperfect on this side of time.

“After a person sins he may try to conceal (trans. “covers over” in 17:9) that fact from God and others. But hiding sin does not pay off. Solomon’s father David knew this from experience (Ps. 32:3–4). It is far better to deal with sin by confessing and renouncing it. As David found out, confession results in God’s mercy and forgiveness (Pss. 34:5; 51:1–12).” – BKC

“Sin buried, is sin kept.” “Sin hidden, is sin held on to.” Sin surrendered is sin pardoned.

“Since Adam and Eve, human instinct leads us to cover our sins. Our conscience makes us ashamed of our sin and we don’t want others to see it. We even think we can hide it from God. Yet, this natural instinct to cover sin doesn’t benefit us. It prevents us from being real about our condition before God.” – David Guzik

November 23, 2021

Ezekiel 45:13–46:24

During the Millennial Kingdom, the people will continue to bring various offerings in support of the priests (Ezekiel 45:13-17). As part of their spiritual maintenance the sanctuary would be cleansed each year with the blood of the sin offering. And during the Millennial Kingdom at least 3 feasts would be kept, the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Tabernacles.

Not only would there be offerings and feasts, there would also be sacrifices. As we’ve mentioned previously, these sacrifices were commemorative in nature. In the Old Testament they looked forward to the cross, but ever since Calvary we’ve looked back to the cross. This will continue to be done, even in the Millennial Kingdom.

The manner of worship for the prince and the priests is covered in Ezekiel 46. There are many details, but in a general sense I noticed the significance of special times of worship daily, weekly, monthly,  yearly, and even sporadically (Ezekiel 46:12). Not that our relationship with God is bondage to certain days of the year (Colossians 2:16-17), but we’ve transitioned from duty to devotion, from “got to” to “get to.” I see a picture of our daily devotions in:

Ezekiel 46:13 (NKJV) “You shall daily make a burnt offering to the LORD of a lamb of the first year without blemish; you shall prepare it every morning.

 Ezekiel 46:15 (NKJV) “Thus they shall prepare the lamb, the grain offering, and the oil, as a regular burnt offering every morning.”

The burnt offering is a picture of complete consecration – something I should renew daily. The grain offering is a picture of service. How will I serve the Lord today?

I might be stretching it a bit, but when Ezekiel commands the people to exit a different way from where they came in, I like to see it as the Lord telling me that every time I “enter in” – I should leave different than when I arrived (Ezekiel 46:9).

During the Millennial Kingdom God protects property and sets up the inheritance laws to make sure that families are able to stay in their homes, that none would homeless and scattered (Ezekiel 46:18).

It’s interesting to note that there will be a sort of kitchen in the Temple precincts; this enable the priests to boil the meat and bake the grain offerings in a sanctified place and not in any way tempt or endanger the people who were not allowed to eat the offerings.

1 Peter 1:13–2:10

Peter reminds us that this great salvation we have in Christ should lead to a life of holiness, as he quotes from Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:22; 20:7.

1 Peter 1:15–16 (NKJV) “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

Since we’re saints who are saved, we’re set apart and sanctified, we should be obedient to God, different than the world. After all, we weren’t redeemed with sliver or gold, nor were we bought back with the blood of lambs or turtle doves, no, we were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus – from all of our sins and  aimless conduct – thank You Lord, I’ve been bought with Your blood…I belong to You.

Peter speaks of Jesus slain from the foundation of the world; as we place our faith in Him, we also place our faith in the Father (1 Peter 1:21). This faith leads to the purification of our souls, which leads to a life of obedience, and that obedience should be dominated and demonstrated by sincerely loving the brethren.

1 Peter 1:22 (NKJV) “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,”

We’ve been born-again, and I’ll say it again (and again, and again), that the Spirit of God, takes the Word of God, to conceive a child of God. This Word endures forever!

In 1 Peter 2, he begins by reminding us of that principle we find in the Scriptures, that we are to put off the old man and put on the new man (Colossians 3:9-10; Ephesians 4:22-24). The Greek word translated “laying aside” (1 Peter 2:1) means to “take off your clothes,” so before we put on our new clothes, we must first take off our dirty clothes. O Lord, please help me to deny myself.

God help us to be like newborn babes and desire the pure milk of the Word because of the fact that we’ve truly tasted the amazing grace of God – but first we must take off the malice (ill will, desire to injure), deceit (craftiness), hypocrisy (acting), envy (resentment when others are blessed). These are serious sins and yet common in the hearts of many Christians. Do you struggle with any of these?

We are to come to Jesus who is the Chief Cornerstone and be those living stones He’s called us to be. The New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers, meaning that now all Christians are priests, that any Christian can stand in the gap and represent God to the people by loving on them with God’s Word; and any Christian can represent the people to God by praying for them. We can all serve and sacrifice, teach, preach, and praise with our lips and especially our lives. All Christians now belong to the royal priesthood.

I pray the many prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament (over 300) never get old or commonplace in our hearts. Here Peter quotes from Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14 teaching us some important things about the Messiah. That He would be the Chief Cornerstone and yet rejected by the builders (the Jewish leaders); that all that’s required in the New Covenant would be simple faith in order to be saved; but this would be a stumbling stone for the Jews who valued the rules and regulations of religion over a simple relationship with God. It’s sad they didn’t see the Gospel is all there, even in the Old Testament.

Peter quoting from Isaiah 28:16

1 Peter 2:6 (NKJV) “Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’”

Psalm 119:33-48

I’m a firm believer in the power of God through His Word (the Bible). I’ve heard stories, and have actually met people who were healed of mental illness, by simply saturating themselves in the Scriptures. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, and isn’t it interesting that it’s ALL about the Bible? All but 5 of the 176 verses mention the Scriptures in one way or another.

The Psalmist asks God to teach Him the Word, and he would keep it “to the end.” (Psalm 119:13) He asked for understanding to observe it with His “whole heart” (Psalm 119:14).

Other verses that stood out to me in this section:

Psalm 119:36 (NKJV) ”Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness.”

This is a great prayer to pray! That God would “incline” our hearts towards His Word. There are many who don’t have a hunger for the Bible. We can pray this passage for them and we can also pray this for ourselves, that God would give us even MORE of a hunger for His Word!

The second part of the prayer is that God would turn our hearts away from covetousness. Covetousness has a way of occupying our minds, hearts, and lives, distracting us from God and filling us with the junk food of the world. When this happens we’ won’t be hungry for God’s soul food (the Bible).

Psalm 119:37 (NKJV) ”Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.”

The above passage should be near every television, every mobile phone, every iPad and every computer, it should be stamped on every heart. Be careful little eyes, what you see. The enemy can ruin us with lies to our eyes, while God – through His Word revives our lives.

Psalm 119:45 (NKJV) “And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.”

When a person stands on and understands the Scriptures, they will be free. Free from the power and penalty of sin, free from religion, free to obey, free from any man-made mandates that can potentially weigh us down or even bring us into bondage. Jesus said in:

John 8:32 (NKJV) “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Proverbs 28:11

Proverbs 28:11 (NKJV) “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding searches him out.”

Here we have another rich and poor comparison-proverb. Something we also see in Proverbs 28:6, 8. We come to realize that Godly wisdom far exceeds any amount of earthly riches, even to the point that the poor man sees right through the rich man.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “A discerning poor person can see through the pretentious facade of a conceited rich person who thinks he knows it all (cf. wise[r] in his own eyes in 26:5, 12, 16). Having money does not mean a person is wise.”

Derek Kidner, “God’s searching gaze, as prayed for in Psalm 139:23, may have to reach a man in the unwelcome form of the appraising (or contemptuous?—see on 25:27) stare of one whom he regards as an inferior. Three things are implied in the saying: (a) wisdom is no respecter of rank; (b) complacency is no symptom of wisdom; (c) a man’s peers are not always his best judges.”

November 22, 2021

Source – Logos Bible Software

Ezekiel 44:1–45:12

Since the Glory of God had entered through the east gate, no one other than the prince was allowed enter this way. Many commentators would identify this prince to be King David, who would rule and reign with Christ (just like the rest of us) in the Millennial Kingdom. Others see the prince as a reference to the high priest in those days, different of course, from Jesus who is our Great High Priest. We know this prince in the book of Ezekiel cannot be in reference to Christ since he offers a sin offering for himself (Ezekiel 45:22) and he has children (Ezekiel 46:16).

Ezekiel goes on to describe those allowed to enter into the Temple, and the exclusivity of those priests allowed to serve in the Temple. These were areas where Israel had failed miserably in the past. The entire Trinity has a discussion about this…notice the word “Us”

Ezekiel 44:6 (NKJV) “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations.”

The house of God is to be holy! There is not a place in God’s palace for those living in unrepentant sin (see 1 Corinthians 5; Matthew 18:17).

The leaders in Israel had relinquished their leadership and passed the responsibility on to others – God indicts them for this (Ezekiel 44:8). When the house of Israel went astray, the leaders went astray with them, but shouldn’t the priests have kept their charge? The sons of Zadok were the only exception to this, they DIDN’T go astray when Israel did, so God allowed them to serve in His Temple. Their privileges and responsibilities are elaborated on in the remainder of this chapter.


Ezekiel 44:15–16 (NKJV) “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD. 16 “They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.

Privileged to have the LORD as their inheritance (Ezekiel 44:28)


Ezekiel 44:23–24 (NKJV) “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.

The priests were not allowed to wear clothing that caused them to sweat, for God’s work should not be done by perspiration, but rather inspiration.

The priests in the Millennial Kingdom will be supported by the tithes and offerings of the people, even as we see in today’s church (1 Timothy 5:17-19).

Ezekiel 45 references the district sectioned off for the Temple of the LORD and the priests of the LORD. The land itself is 8 1/3 miles by 3 1/3 miles, which would include a section of land for the prince. Ezekiel mentions the princes in plurality, so perhaps if this is not in reference to David, it speaks of a rotation of high priests in those days – who contrary the norm in Israel, are to rule in righteousness.

Ezekiel 45:9 (NKJV) “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Enough, O princes of Israel! Remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness, and stop dispossessing My people,’ says the Lord GOD.”

1 Peter 1:1-12

Wow, what a blessing it is to have two letters written by the Apostle Peter – and what an amazing work God did in his life. I think back to the beginning, when Jesus called him into the ministry, but Peter told Jesus to depart from him, for he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8). Jesus didn’t depart, He encouraged Peter and told him not to be afraid, for He would make him a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19; Luke 5:10). And that’s exactly what He did. 

1 Peter is one of my favorite books in the Bible, it is a well-rounded general letter on the Christian life.

Peter is writing to people who have been dispersed, scattered throughout the land, people who are suffering persecution. In 1 Peter 1:2 he calls them the “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” If you ever hear people talking about election, take them to this verse so you can explain to them the basis of God’s election. God doesn’t elect people to be saved, randomly, like a sloppy spiritual lottery. God elects according to His foreknowledge, He looks down the corridors of time to see those whose hearts are open to Him. He sees flawlessly into the future and “elects,” He selects those for salvation. Salvation is based on God’s sovereignty, but somewhere in there, mysteriously is man’s responsibility.

Did you notice the teaching of the Trinity? All three members of the Godhead are mentioned in 1 Peter 1:2 – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Peter praises God for the fact that these people have been born-again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a living hope, not dead, so there’s hope for us on earth, no matter what our lot in life may be, and of course we have that hope of heaven, it’s incorruptible, undefiled, reserved for us, forever. I like to define hope as a “certain certainty” about the future – it’s good, because God is there.

Did you notice the frequency of the word “faith” in chapter 1? We are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5). We go through trials to prove the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:7). We rejoice in receiving the end of our faith – the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). Keep believing my friend; we read in:

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Just keep believing God’s Word, and loving God’s Son. Even though we’ve never seen Him physically (1 Peter 1:8) we love Him and we see Him spiritually (Hebrews 11:27).

We are beyond blessed to live in this dispensation. The prophets of the Old Testament wrote about it, but didn’t know all that it meant, and didn’t experience it. Angels wonder about it – they don’t know what grace is, because they’ve never experienced it. Do we realize how blessed we really are?

Psalm 119:17-32

As we cover the 3rd and 4th letters of the Hebrew Alphabet (each stanza started with that letter respectively) keep in mind, this chapter is all about the Word of God.

I’ve always loved the prayer of:

Psalm 119:18 (NKJV) “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.”

This is a perfect prayer to pray as we’re about to read, study, or hear God’s word, that the Lord would open our eyes – to see wondrous things from His law. I found it fascinating to discover that the same root word in the Hebrew – translated “wondrous” here, is translated wonderful in Isaiah 9:6 as a reference to Jesus. That means we can even pray it like this, “Lord open my eyes that I may see Jesus in Your Word.” (He’s everywhere – John 5:39; Hebrews 10:7)

Other verses that stood out to me in this section are:

Psalm 119:24 (NKJV) “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”

Many times we look to men for counsel (and that has its place), but the best counselor is God as He speaks to us through His Word.

Psalm 119:28 (NKJV) “My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.”

When I read the above passage I think of the many, many people who are hurting, depressed, distressed, and struggling with anxiety. Their hearts are heavy, they’re melting. Some don’t even want to live any longer. May they pray this prayer – may God strengthen them with His word.

Psalm 119:32 (NKJV) “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.”

I like this verse because it speaks of God working on my heart, making it larger, stronger. This is the only way we can run the race, finish, and win. O Lord, make our hearts strong.

Which verse stood out to you? Why?

Proverbs 28:8-10

Proverbs 28:8 (NKJV) “One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor.”

Usury is the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.

Extortion is the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.

“There are some who become rich through economic violence. They charge high and unfair interest (usury) or they use their power to cheat and steal (extortion).” – David Guzik

Proverbs 28:9 (NKJV) “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”

“Refusing to obey God’s Law (cf. vv. 4, 7) has disastrous results. Prayers of such a person are hypocritical. Therefore, those prayers, hated by God, are not answered (cf. 15:8; Ps. 66:18; Isa. 59:2). If a person does not listen to (obey) the Lord, the Lord will not listen to him.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

Psalm 66:18 (NKJV) “If I regard iniquity (cherish sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Isaiah 59:1–2 (NKJV) “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

Proverbs 28:10 (NKJV) “Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit; but the blameless will inherit good.”

First of all, to think…the upright can go astray. And then to think that there are those who cause the upright to go astray! Heavy!

We see the contrasting futures, the wicked will fall into a pit, the blameless will inherit good.

Derek Kidner, “This attracted some of Christ’s strongest words: see Matthew 5:19; 18:6; 23:15.”

November 21, 2021

Ezekiel 42:1–43:27 

Source – Logos Bible Software

Ezekiel continues to give us details on the Millennial Temple. The reasoning is twofold. First of all, the Jews needed the encouragement about their future freedoms and Temple in time, while they were in bondage in Babylon. Secondly, the Jews will need the encouragement about the future – during the Tribulation Period. They need to know, we win. The enemy may have destroyed the Temple past, and many will find themselves in the middle of Great Tribulation, but there is a certain certainty about the future that is glorious – yes, God’s people are saved and we will fellowship with Him – forever! Jesus said in:

John 16:33 (NKJV) “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Although the entirety of the law is not reinstated, some of it is, including the way the priests eat the holy things in holy chambers (Ezekiel 42:13). This meal was special, for it was if they were sitting down and having an intimate meal with God Himself. For that reason they were required to change their clothes before entering anywhere near the common grounds (Ezekiel 42:14), it would be vivid reminders of the holiness of God, and the fearful privilege it is to serve the LORD as priests.

Leviticus 10:3a (NKJV) “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.’’”

In  Ezekiel 43 we have the revelation of the return of the glory of the LORD. Earlier we read that the glory of the LORD departed from Israel (Ezekiel 8:4; 9:3; 10:19; 11:23) but now we see the glory return. Some commentators believe that Israel has been, and will continue to be under certain aspects of God’s discipline, until this moment, when the glory of God returns in the Person of Jesus Christ Himself.

Pastor Chuck Smith, “When Jesus return He will descend on the Mount of Olives on the east side of Jerusalem, and His glory will fill the Temple.”

 The vision here is similar to Ezekiel’s inaugural vision (Ezekiel 1:4-28; 43:3). Finally, the complete restoration, and even glorification of a nation!

The word to Ezekiel at this point was comforting…promising:

Ezekiel 43:7 (NKJV) “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places.”

The word to Ezkiel was also instructive; all these detail had been given to him to give to the people for their Temple one day in the Millennium, when they’ve completely repented and come to that place of receiving their promised Messiah.

Ezekiel 43:10–11 (NKJV) “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them.”

Ezekiel goes on to hone in on the altar, where the sacrifices would be offered, an altar that needed to be sanctified. Some wonder why sacrifices are being offered at all? John F. Walvoord explains, “The answer lies in the fact that the Millennial sacrifices will constitute a memorial of Jesus death, much as observing the Lord’s supper is a reminder of His death. Also, just as the Old Testament sacrifices looked forward symbolically to Christ’s death, so the sacrifices of the Millennial Kingdom will look back in remembrance to his sacrifice on the cross.”

For a fuller treatise on the Temple it would be helpful to read the previous chapter commentaries (Ezkiel 40:1-27; Ezekiel 40:28–41:26)

James 5:1-20

Once again James warns the unrighteous rich that the day is coming when they will be judged for the way they exploited the poor (see also James 1:10-11; 2:6). The temporal days of living in air-conditioned luxury would give way to the eternal judgment Jesus describes as being cast into a fire that shall never be quenched. God sees all that they do, how they condemn and murder the just, how they reject the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, who elaborated on this Himself, in Luke 16:19-31.

Beware of the temptation to pursue riches, to focus on finances. Warren Wiersbe said, “To live only to get wealth is to rob yourself of true riches (1 Timothy 6:6–10, 17–19). It is to worry instead of worship (Matthew 6:19–34). God knows you have needs, and He will meet them if you practice Matthew 6:33.”

James knows that between now and the coming of the Lord, there will be many, many trials, injustices, and persecutions. He repeatedly encourages us to be patient, establish or settle our hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Whenever we complain, we’re actually complaining about the way God is overseeing our lives, we shouldn’t do that. Job should be an inspiration to us – for even though he lost all his wealth, his health, and worst of all, all his children, he never lost his faith. He was honest with God, he poured out his heart, he asked some tough questions, but he didn’t waver in his commitment to God. We read his amazing words in:

Job 13:15a, (NKJV) “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

God help us to do the same, for there is a plan and a pupose in the pain, God really does have good intentions.

James reminds us that we shouldn’t need to swear so that others would believe us. I thought it was interesting that he prefaces his prohibition with the words “above all.” How important it is that our words carry weight, that our yes means yes, and our no, means no, and people know it – they know we’re true to our words, without having to promise, or swear to God, or on our mother’s grave, or anywhere else. Jesus, the half-brother of James, also dealt with this in Matthew 5:33-37.

James tells us what to do if we’re suffering, cheerful, or sick. Very detailed yet basic instructions. After that, James points to the power of prayer – through any person. Allow me to pass on two helpful quotes. 

Warren Wiersbe said, “Many kinds of prayer are named here: prayer for the sick, prayer for forgiveness, prayer for the nation, even prayer about the weather. There is no need that prayer cannot meet and no problem that prayer cannot solve.”

Sandy Adams comments, “When we get sick, the first person we usually turn to is the doctor. Do not stop going to the doctor. God uses modern medicine to heal but remember, the healing itself is always God’s work. Doctors are called practicing physicians. Jesus does not need to practice. He is an expert. Perhaps we do not see more miraculous healing because we had rather spend thirty dollars to sit in the doctor’s office than spend an extra thirty minutes seeking out the elders for prayer. The precise, passionate prayer of a pardoned person is powerful.”

The last two verses of James are a warning to wanderers, and an urgent revelation for us to go get ‘em, to search for them and lovingly bring them back (see Luke 15:1-7).

Psalm 119:1-16

The focus of Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible) is the Word of God.

“Every verse except 5 (84, 90, 121, 122, 132) refer to the Word, what it is and what it can do in your life if you let it.” – Warren Wiersbe

(It’s an Acrostic of sorts) “The arrangement is also unique. There are 22 sections of 8 lines each, and the lines in each individual section begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The first 8 lines begin with Aleph, the next 8 with Beth, and so on through all 22 letters. This may have been a device to help people memorize the Psalm. The writer had a great love for the Word of God and was persecuted because he obeyed God and opposed sin. Most of the verses are either prayers for God’s help or affirmation of the writer’s faith in God’s truth despite his difficulties. Meditating on this Psalm ought to make you love and treasure the Word of God more and obey it more willingly.” – Warren Wiersbe

In Psalm 119 the Bible is called:

1. Word (s) (43 times) (communication from our Creator)

2. Law (25 times) (legal)

3. Statutes (22 times) (solid truth)

4. Way (s) (17 times) (when I’m lost)

5. Commandment (s) (22 times) (to do and not to do)

6. Testimonies (y) (23 times) (done; what God has done)

7. Precepts (21 times) (detailed; beyond principles)

8. Judgment(s) (19 times) (condemnation; commendation)

As we go through the Psalm you’ll notice with the exception of the first three verses – it’s all primarily a prayer. May God use His Word in our lives, as we pray these prayers.

A few verses that stood out to me in this section:

Psalm 119:9 (NKJV) “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.”

Notice the capacity of the word to tame even the toughest of people, young men who are usually rambunctious.

Psalm 119:10 (NKJV) “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!”

It breaks my heart as a pastor, to see so many wander from God’s Word; let’s seek God with a heart to find Him, let’s pray this prayer for the rest of our lives! (Proverbs 21:16; Proverbs 27:8; James 5:19)

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

This is a passage encouraging us to internalize, to memorize the Word of God, not just that we’d have something to boast about, but something to be about – that I would not sin. Even Jesus memorized and quoted Scripture when He was tempted by the devil – and the devil fled (Matthew 4:1-11).

Proverbs 28:6-7

Proverbs 26:6 (NKJV) “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”

Almost identical to Proverbs 19:1.

Derek Kidner, “Ways, here…is in the dual number, intensifying the idea of double-dealing…”

It is possible to be rich and righteous – but it’s also hard, Jesus said…but it is possible (Matthew 19:23-26).

But we shouldn’t go reaching for riches hastily or disobediently, because it’s better to be poor and right with God, than it is to be rich and wrong. It’s okay that you take the bus, you rent an apartment, your closet is small, your diet is simple, you don’t have the latest and greatest. It’s okay, that person is way better off, than the wicked man, even if he has mansions and a Maserati…doesn’t matter, it’s only temporary, and without the convictions of Christ, it’s 100% empty.

True and lasting riches are always spiritual. To the church in Smyrna we read Jesus’ words in: 

Revelation 2:9a (NKJV) “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)…”

“Many will wish that they had lived and died in obscure poverty rather than having been entrusted with riches, which only made them boldly sin with a high hand against God and their own souls.” – Charles Bridges

Proverbs 29:7 (NKJV) “Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.”

I tend to see these Proverbs as extra “family” incentives. It’s not simply a statement about a certain sort of son; it’s a word for sons to be obedient and dads to do all that we can to help our children spiritually.

“A son who obeys the Law (cf. v. 4) is wise; he has insight. The Hebrew word for discerning is translated “understanding” in verse 2. Associating with gluttons is foolish and shows lack of insight, for it can start a person on the path of drunkenness, laziness, and, ironically, even poverty (cf. 23:20–21). Furthermore, a gluttonous son brings disgrace to his father. This implies that a discerning son (28:7a) brings joy to his father.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

(See also Proverbs 23:19-25)

“One does not have to be given over to ruinous appetites themselves to be a shame to their family; simply being a companion of such can embarrass the family.” – David Guzik

“By identifying himself with those who squander all that is precious – life, food and instruction—the foolish puts to public shame (see Proverbs 25:8) his father.” – Waltke

November 20, 2021

Ezekiel 40:28–41:26

Ezekiel continues to describe the future Temple that will be standing during the Millennial Kingdom. If you haven’t read yesterday’s description, I encourage you to check it out when you have a few minutes, it contains foundational information on this fascinating topic. (link)

Source – Logos Bible Software

The land for the sanctuary was approximately 1 square mile.

We read what sounds like blueprints for the Gateways of the Inner Court, the Vestibule, and the Altar for sacrifices in remembrance of Christ’s redemption.

“As sinful men and women continue to be born into the world in the millennium, the temple is supposed to remind everyone of the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, as the “Lamb of God,” some two thousand years earlier.”

There are chambers for singers and priests who are the descendants of Zadok. The walls of the sanctuary were thick, but the sanctuary itself is not too large, only 70-feet long and 35-feet wide. Ezekiel closes this section with the building at the western end and the dimensions and design in the Temple area.

Ezekiel 41:15b–18 (NLT) “The sanctuary, the inner room, and the entry room of the Temple 16 were all paneled with wood, as were the frames of the recessed windows. The inner walls of the Temple were paneled with wood above and below the windows. 17 The space above the door leading into the inner room, and its walls inside and out, were also paneled. 18 All the walls were decorated with carvings of cherubim, each with two faces, and there was a carving of a palm tree between each of the cherubim.”

Palm trees were regarded as symbols of joy, triumph, and political independence. The cherubim remind us of heaven, holiness, and God’s work of salvation. 

We weren’t there to enjoy the Temple of Solomon, or the Temple rebuilt in the days of Zerubbabel and the return of the Jews (Ezra 1-6). Nor will we be here when Israel rebuilds her Temple which will be standing during the Tribulation Period. But we will enjoy this Temple in the Millennial Kingdom, and we will be in awe and wonder.

Below is some information I’ve found to be helpful as your “browse” through Ezekiel’s description:

ReferenceExplanation (ESV Study Bible Notes)

A Ezekiel 41:4 – The “Most Holy Place.”

B Ezekiel 41:3 – The inner room of the temple.

C Ezekiel 42:2 – The entrance to the temple.

D Ezekiel 43:13–17 – The imposing altar; although the number of stairs is not given, the entire altar structure is about 16 feet (4.9 m) tall, so many steps would have been required. This area of the inner court was accessible only by priests–not even the prince was permitted entry.

E  Ezekiel 40:46 – Chamber for Zadokite priests.

F Ezekiel 40:45 – Chamber for “priests who have charge of the temple.”

G Ezekiel 40:17–19 – The outer court, with its 30 chambers in the outer wall (40:17).

H Ezekiel 46:21–24 – The temple “kitchens,” one in each corner of the outer court.

I Ezekiel 40:17 – The 30 outer chambers.

J Ezekiel 46:2 – The “prince’s gate”: from its threshold he worships on each Sabbath while the priests bring the offerings into the inner court.

K Ezekiel 43:1 – The main east gate, through which “the glory of the God of Israel” returns to his temple (cf. 10:19; 11:22–23).

Ezekiel’s Temple Diagram – Source ESV Study Bible

Reference Explanation (ESV Study Bible Notes)

1 Ezekiel 40:6 – The eastern (main) gate begins the tour; the E–W axis of the temple should be noted; if a line is drawn from the east gate to the Most Holy Place, there are a sequence of three elevations, as the space in the inner temple becomes increasingly constricted.

2 Ezekiel 40:17 – From this vantage point in the outer court, Ezekiel is shown the main features of this “plaza” area.

3 Ezekiel 40:20 – The northern-facing gate.

4 Ezekiel 40:24 – En route to the southern-facing gate, no details are given of the outer facade of the inner court; the architectural details of this area must remain speculative.

5 Ezekiel 40:28 – Ezekiel’s entry to the inner court is by way of its south gate . . .

6 Ezekiel 40:32 – . . . then to the east gate (past the imposing altar, not yet described) . . .

7 Ezekiel 40:35 – . . . and on to the north gate, which includes areas for handling sacrificial animals.

8 Ezekiel 40:48; 41:1 – Ezekiel approaches the inner temple structure itself, first describing its entrance; he is then stationed outside the entrance while his guide first measures its interior, then the exterior.

9 42:1 – They exit the inner court through its north gate to explore the northwestern quadrant of the outer court.

10 Ezekiel 42:15 – Ezekiel and his guide leave the temple from the east gate by which they first entered. From this vantage point, Ezekiel was able to watch the return of “the glory of the God of Israel” moments later (43:1–5).

James 4:1-17

The wars around us take place because of the wars within us. Our flesh fights for our rights, we long for our lusts, we pout for our pleasures. This is how all wars begin, whether it be a battle at home or World War III, it always begins in the heart because of “world-war-me.”

How can we expect God to move if we don’t pray, or if we pray amiss, with marred motives? (James 4:2-3) Wiersbe said, “If we are not careful, even our prayers can become selfish!”

May God give us that heart for holiness, to be set apart for Him, but may He also give us that heart for the lost, to “go out” for Him. When James condemns friendship with the world, he’s not saying we can’t have any friends who are unsaved, he’s simply saying we should not love and live for the fallen world system (1 John 5:19). It’s okay for the boat to be in the water, but it’s not okay for too much water in the boat, otherwise it sinks. My friend, let’s beware of worldliness, the enemy is doing all that he can to conform us to this world (Romans 12:2) – even to make us an enemy of God!

James’ quote from Proverbs 3:34 is repeated in 1 Peter 5:5, emphasizing this point with a three-fold witness – how God resists (stiff-arms) the proud, but gives grace to the humble, therefore, we should humble ourselves. If we humble ourselves, God will lift us up (give us victory and use our lives). To humble ourselves means we say “yes” to God and “no” to the devil. Warren Wiersbe asked a probing question, “Are you resisting the devil or resisting the Lord?”

James 4:8 (NKJV) “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

What a promise, welded to a warning! If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us! Wow! Truth be told, some people are closer, (nearer) to God than others, because they’ve had that heart to draw near. But as we draw near to God, we cannot come with dirty hands, dirty hearts and double minds, we need to do our best to come clean, solely devoted to Him.

How sad it is when we speak evil of people who are loved by God. We can too flippantly shoot the lip, cast judgment on others and in doing so, we consider ourselves above God’s law which forbids such carnal conversation. What’s good for the Proverbs 31 woman is good for us all, wouldn’t you say? 

Proverbs 31:26 (NKJV) “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

It’s okay to plan for tomorrow, but it’s not okay to plan on tomorrow, for none of us have tomorrow guaranteed. Jesus might come for His church globally and take us in the rapture, or Jesus might come for me, individually – today can be the day I die, I need to be ready. We read in:

Job 34:20 (NKJV) “In a moment they die, in the middle of the night; the people are shaken and pass away; the mighty are taken away without a hand.” 

Let’s cherish each day as a gift but not take tomorrow for granted – this should change our ways as well as our words, “See you later…LORD WILLING.” (James 4:13-16)

There are sins of commission (things I thought, said or did that I shouldn’t have) and there are sins of omission (things I should have done, but I didn’t)

“Oh God please help us to be on a mission, to DO what You bid, and NOT TO DO what You forbid…in Jesus’ name amen!”

Psalm 118:19-29

Psalm 118 is one of the greatest Messianic Psalms. It also happens to be a Psalm of God’s forever mercy. This grace and mercy is found first and foremost in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has opened the doors to righteousness, He IS the door of righteousness! (John 10:7, 9) Have you gone through that door? Have you placed your faith in Him?

I’m always fascinated by the fact that the Jews, the “builders” rejected Him (Psalm 118:22) that it was predicted there in the Scriptures and they never saw it coming.

Psalm 118:22 (NKJV) “The stone which the BUILDERS rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”

We read the same thing in Isaiah 53:3, it was prophesied…He would be rejected by them.

Initially the people praised Him. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, presenting Himself as the Messiah, the people quoted Psalm 118:25-26 (see Matthew 21:9) but eventually they rejected their Chief Cornerstone.

God help us to be pure in our praise, sincere in these songs that we sing to our Savior, for our faith and commitment WILL be tested – and it’s only in Christ that we’ll find this forever mercy (John 6:68-69).

Proverbs 28:3-5

Proverbs 28:3 (NKJV) “A poor man who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain which leaves no food.”

“When a man in need oppresses the poor (“feeble, helpless, weak”), he opposes people, who in some ways are like him, who could be his friends. Such cruelty and perversion of justice are like a hard rain which destroys rather than nourishes crops.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

I thought of the parable Jesus told in:

Matthew 18:28 (NKJV) “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’”

Shouldn’t we take care of each other, love one another? Especially us “poor” sinners that we are! Let’s bless not oppress.

Proverbs 28:4 (NKJV) “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them.”

For many in the world, especially in the business world, character doesn’t count – just give me results, stats, money, no need for role models. They forsake the Word and esteem the wicked. But those of us who aspire to obey the Lord, contend with them, we fight the good fight to the very end.

“Oppressing the poor (Proverbs 28:3) is an example of forsaking the Mosaic Law (cf. “Law” in vv. 7, 9). And when people turn from obeying God’s commands, they usually begin to commend (praise) and side with wicked people. Law-keepers, however, resist wicked lawbreakers, seeking to uphold justice (Proverbs 18:5; 24:25).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

“Without revelation, all is soon relative; and with moral relativity, nothing quite merits attack. So, e.g., the tyrant is accepted because he gets things done.” – Derek Kidner

Proverbs 28:5 (NKJV) “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all.”

Even those who SAY they long for justice cannot truly attain it if they resist the Just One (Acts 7:52; 22:14). Having the Spirit of God who uses the Word of God gives us insight that the unsaved will never understand or have access to.

“When people disobey the Law and the Lord, their sense of uprightness and morality is perverted. They find it difficult even to understand (“have insight into”) justice. On the other hand, the righteous, those who seek the Lord, have a keen sense of justice.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

How can it be, that they do not see, or see so differently? “Because their minds are naturally blind, and are further blinded by their own prejudices and passions, and by the god of this world, who rules in and over them.” – Poole

November 19, 2021

Ezekiel 39:1–40:27

Ezekiel is commanded to prophecy against Gog, the leader of a coalition of nations who will be drawn in to attack Israel, but utterly defeated by God Himself. The LORD will flex His muscles and show His glory to Jew and Gentile alike. HIStory will be clear, that Israel was scattered because of their sin against God, regathered because of the grace and glory of God, and Israel’s invaders will be thoroughly defeated by the Lord their God. The God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – this God who came in the flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one true God.

Ezkiel 39:22a (NKJV) “The house of Israel shall know…”

Ezekiel 39:23a NKJV) “The Gentiles shall know…”

We can’t know for certain, but there are some Bible teachers who believe that God’s judgment upon the invaders is somehow poisonous, even nuclear in nature which explains the reason for seven years of professional burials of the bodies. 

God’s judgment will not only be on the invading armies in Israel, God will also judge the land of Magog (Ezkiel 39:6), revealing once again that He is the God who rules over all heaven and earth.

As we get closer to the end of time, we know that these are the days when God works spiritually in the people of Israel, He will do a New Testament work in the heart of the Jews. Their blindness (Romans 11:25) will be taken away, something we read in:

Ezekiel 39:29 (NKJV) “‘And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.”

Ezekiel 40 gives us a detailed description of a Temple. There are different views on this Temple:

1. A description of Solomon’s Temple (no)

2. Some say its a goal for those who would return from captivity (no)

3. The ideal temple that never has been and never will be rebuilt (no)

4. Some say its figurative and symbolic (no)

5. The Temple rebuilt for the restored Jewish people during the Millennial Kingdom (yes)

“According to many Christian Bible scholars, the Fourth Temple (Ezekiel 40-45) will be “memorial” – a teaching center apparently to instruct men about the holiness of God and proper worship during the coming kingdom of Jesus on the earth. As sinful men and women continue to be born into the world in the millennium, the temple is supposed to remind everyone of the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, as the “Lamb of God,” some two thousand years earlier.”

Warren Wiersbe, “The city of Jerusalem and the temple had been destroyed, the land had been taken over by the Babylonians, and the people had been scattered or exiled. It was not a time of good news. But Ezekiel did what God’s people always must do in times of trial: he looked ahead to the glorious future God had planned. One day the scattered people would be regathered and the defiled people cleansed. The land would be restored to beauty and fruitfulness, and there would be a new city, a new temple, and a new priesthood serving the Lord in holiness.”

Ezekiel’s Temple – Source, Logos Bible

Ezekiel sees an angel, who commands him to focus, to fix his eyes on what he’s about to see, and declare it to the house of Israel…it may serve as a sort of blueprint that will be used one day in the construction of this Millennial Temple. The Eastern Gate, the Outer Court, the Northern Gateway, the Southern Gateway, the Gateways of the Inner Courts, the Chambers for Singers and Priests, and the Dimensions of the Inner Court and Vestibule.

Features Unique to Ezekiel’s Temple (Temple Mount Institute)

No wall of partition to exclude Gentiles (compare Ephesians 2:14). The Gentiles were previously welcome in the Outer Courts, but excluded from the inner courts on pain of death.

No Court of Women (compare Galatians 3:28 – Outer Court and Inner Court only)

No Laver (see Ezekiel 36:24-27; John 15:3)

No Table of Shewbread (see Micah 5:4; John 6:35)

No Lampstand or Menorah (see Isaiah 49:6; John 8:12)

No Golden Altar of Incense (Zechariah 8:20-23; John 14:6)

No Veil (Isaiah 25:6-8, Matthew 27:51)

No Ark of the Covenant (Jeremiah 3:16; John 10:30-33)

Major Changes to the Altar: The sacrificial Altar will be approached by a ramp from the East. Previous altars were all approached from the South. Now there will be stairs to the altar, not a ramp as previously. The top of the altar is now described by the Hebrew word “ariel” [Isaiah 29:1; Ezekiel 43:15] meaning “hearth of God” or “lion of God.” [Revelation 5:5]

James 2:18-3:18

The key to this section on faith and works is:

James 2:18b (NKJV) “…I will show you my faith by my works.”

How do we know, from a human perspective, that a person is saved? By their works. Warren Wiersbe put it this way, “James and Paul do not contradict each other (Romans 4:1–5; 5:1); they complement each other. We are justified (declared righteous) before God by faith, but we are justified before men, by works. God can see our faith, but men can see only our works.”

We can’t be saved by acknowledging the gospel intellectually, (belief in the brain – the demons believe and tremble), no, we’re saved by faith in the heart (Romans 10:9). Such faith will lead to love and works of benevolence and obedience, there will be no partiality. “Your faith is not a faith that saves, unless it is a faith that works.” – Sandy Adams

In James 3 he issues a heavy warning that a teacher of God’s Word will receive a stricter judgment, therefore such a “title” and even task must be pursued with caution and care. I agree with Sandy Adams who said, “A Bible teacher must be accurate and authentic.” So this warning has to do with my entire life, and my every word.

We all stumble, (which is different from falling) but we need to tame that tendency to stumble in speech. The person who does good in this area, manifests spiritual maturity.

As a teacher I need to make sure that God has tamed my tongue, for no man can tame it. The tongue is a relatively small member of my body, but boy does it pack a punch! It’s like a bit in the mouth of that strong stallion, so small yet used by the rider to steer the beast. Or that little rudder under that massive ship…is it controlled by the captain? If so, the ship and people aboard will reach their destination. The tongue can do so much good, but it can also do infinite evil. James compares it to a little spark (just a few uncontrolled words or sentences) that in the end…burns down an entire forest.

I’m getting a little older now, and it never ceases to amaze me how every conversation, every teaching, every WORD is vital, and not only what I say but how I say it, the tone of voice is a critical part of communication.

It’s such a terrible thought to think that with this mouth we can bless God and then with the same mouth we can curse people created in the image of God. If this happens frequently, consistently, unapologetically, James instructs that person to check their heart (their salvation). Can the same spring give both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? As Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits…” (Matthew 7:16, 20).

What a clear contrast James give in 3:13-18 between the wisdom from above and the wisdom from below. James returns to the concept that if we’re saved it’ll show. Such ugly characteristics are listed in James 3:14 – “bitter envy,” and “self-seeking.” Lord, do I have any of this in my life? Do I get jealous when others get blessed? Do I have a hard time when someone else is acknowledged, complimented, or appreciated? How ugly is that? That’s not only earthly evil it’s downright demonic. The wisdom from above is so beautiful – it’s pure, it wants peace, it’s gentle, willing to yield (surrender our rights).

I like the way the NLT translates:

James 3:18 (NLT) “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” 

Am I a peacemaker as Jesus called me to be? I hope so (Matthew 5:9).

Psalm 118:1-18

“His mercy endures forever,” is a phrase we find 41 times in the Bible. It’s found in 5 different Psalms, highlighted especially in Psalm 136. I’ll be the first to say, God has been merciful to me, He’s not given me the judgment I deserve, considering the sinner that I am…I know first hand He mercy endures forever.

Again we see a progression of expression, from Israel, to the High Priest, to those who fear the LORD, and then the Psalmist makes it personal. 

Somehow the writer was hit hard by the enemy, but he also admits – it was the LORD disciplining him.

All this brought him to prayer. God has a way of bringing us to our knees, doesn’t He? And meeting our needs.

Psalm 118:5 (NKJV) “I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.”

I’m so grateful that the LORD is on my side, and there is absolutely no need to fear men, or what men might do to me.

Psalm 118:6 (NKJV) “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

It’s for that reason, my trust is in Him.

Imagine being surrounded by “all nations,” like bees (Psalm 118:10). Do you ever feel that way? If not now, you may one day, but don’t worry, for you’re also surrounded by God (Psalm 125:2). God will allow us to experience pain, and be “punished,” but will also protect us that we might proclaim His wonderful works…this is why we live.

Psalm 118:17–18 (NKJV) “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. 18 The LORD has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death.”

Proverbs 28:2

Proverbs 28:2 (NKJV) “Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; but by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged.”

“Unrest and rebellion in a nation results in turnover of leadership. For example, the Northern Kingdom had many rulers, 20 kings in 9 dynasties. Order, however, is maintained in a nation by good rulers who have insight and knowledge about how to govern.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

Proverbs 28:2 (NLT) “When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.”

There were some good kings in Judah, but not one good king in the Northern Kingdom of Israel!

“In just over two centuries, northern Israel, for its sins, had nine dynasties, each, after the first, inaugurated by an assassination (see God’s comments in Hosea 7:7; 8:4; 13:11). In three and a half centuries, Judah, for David’s sake, had only one.” – Derek Kidner

There are some who also see this, not as multiple dynasties, but big government (many are its princes). “This speaks of how a large, complex, and multi-layered government can be a curse to a people, sent because of the transgression of a land.” – David Guzik

November 18, 2021

Ezekiel 37:1–38:23

Ezekiel 37 is an amazing prophecy about the regathering of Israel into the land, and the life God breathes into otherwise dead, dry bones. No longer are the Jews divided into two nations (Israel and Judah), no, the two sticks have become one.

This was partially fulfilled in the past, events we read about in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, but I believe this is primarily a reference to the present, and near future. Since the nation of Israel was “born-again” on May 14, 1948, 3 million Jews have returned to their homeland!

This is the beginning of the end of time. After the Rapture and half-way into the Tribulation Period, their “life” will take on new meaning, beyond national life, they will find Spiritual life as they embrace Jesus as their Messiah King.

David Jeremiah, “God Himself interprets the vision for the people. The whole house of Israel (the northern and southern kingdoms) had been ejected from its land and vast numbers of the people had died because of their rebellion, yet one day God would bring a remnant of His people back to the Promised Land. Then He would begin to prosper them, and finally He would bring about a nation wide revival in which He would restore their hearts to Himself (Romans 11:26-27). Ezekiel again describes the Messianic Kingdom of the Millennium, when Jesus Christ (referred to here as David my servant) will rule His people from Israel and enable them to live in peace and safety. Other nations will continue to exist, but only Israel will have the promise of the Lord’s sanctuary in their midst.”

Bible students are not certain on the when, and even all the whos of Ezekiel 38. This invasion of Israel from the north may happen before or after the commencement of the Tribulation Period. 

More details on these nations are suggested by K-House, “The shifting geopolitical winds have once again raised the specter of Ezekiel’s “Magog” invasion of Israel. Ezekiel describes this ill-fated “band of brothers” as coming from the lands of: Magog—the Southern Steppes of Russia (former Soviet- Bloc countries); Meshech and Tubal—Turkey; Persia—Iran; Ethiopia—Southern Egypt, Sudan, Somalia; Libya—Libya (may also include Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia); Gomer—North-Central Turkey; Togarmah—Eastern Turkey.”

We see significant signs in our day-and-age, especially with the recent alliance of Russia and Iran (Persia), amplified by the latter’s desire to push Israel into the sea (annihilate the Jews).

But God will utterly defeat these invading armies and show the whole wide world who He is. This all takes place in the “latter years” (Ezekiel 38:8). 

I’m amazed at the many military victories Israel has wrought since 1948, truly God has blessed this nation with wisdom and military might, but on THIS day, it appears the victory won’t be attributed to the fighter jets of Israel, it will be an earthquake of the Almighty, pestilence, hailstones, fire and brimstone,  God’s intervention will be the only explanation.

Ezekiel 38:23 (NKJV) “Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” ’

Some people wonder how an Arab/Muslim led coalition could possibly invade Israel today without the assistance of Israeli allies? There are a couple of possible answers to that question. One is that nations such as the United States will be too weak to put up a fight…and we do see our nation weakening, don’t we? We’re no longer the super-power we once were. The other possibility is that the nations will not support Israel, shifting even to an ANTI-Irsael stance. Tragically we see this taking place today, even our own nation’s support for Israel has waned. Anti-semitism is on the rise.

Some Bible students see the United States as the “young lion” spoken of here in Ezekiel 38:13. Comparatively speaking, we are relatively “young.” Protesting a bit verbally, but not willing to help, practically.

But that’s when God shows up. It’s Ben said that, “We don’t realize that God is all we need, until the day comes, when God is all we have.”

James 1:19–2:17

I must confess that James 1:19-20 is one of my favorite Scriptures in all the Bible. I honestly believe it’s one of the most important principles in all of life! God gave us two ears and only one mouth to emphasize listening more than speaking. If only we’d be slow to speak, to truly listen to that person sharing those words with us, and then listen to the Lord – BEFORE we start talking, life would be much better. Sometimes we speak foolishness – it leads to a fight – next thing you know there are arguments and yelling – anger and wrath. Nothing good ever comes out of that! James will have more to say about taming the tongue, as well as the temper. (see also James 1:26)

The Word of God is used by the Spirit of God to conceive a child of God, and conform us into the image of God – therefore, we are to ask God to soften and open our hearts, to receive with meekness, the seed of His Word. But when we hear that Word, we must not merely be hearers of it, we must be doers of it. We can’t just be “talkie-talkies,” we need to be “walkie-talkies.” Some people deceive themselves into thinking it’s sufficient to hear the Word of God, or to know the Word of God, or to even teach the Word of God (I think that sometimes). No way…God wants us to LIVE the Word of God! We must guard ourselves from mere profession, we need to DO all we can to live out our faith, by doing things like helping the helpless.

I like to tell people that, “God loves everyone, but I’m His favorite.” But it’s just me being funny, for although God loves me as if I were the only one to love, the truth is, God has no favorites, He loves everyone equally. With that understanding, God has called us to be like Him and show no partiality. And yet it can happen at any church. What if a millionaire strolled into the sanctuary, a famous actor or actress…would I treat him or her better than the poor man, or the one I’ve known for years (the common man)? James wants us to check our hearts and make sure we love everyone equally; let’s not bend the rules for some because of their fame or wealth – such behavior is sin.

James reminds the recipients of his letter that the rich often times oppress the poor, dragging them to court. Generally speaking, the rich don’t realize their need for Jesus, but the poor do, which prompted James to ask, “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom…?” (James 2:5). James dealt with this earlier in (James 1:9-11) and repeats himself for emphasis, that the godless rich man should beware of his future humiliation, while the godly poor man should look forward to his exaltation.

Getting back to the poison of partiality, James alludes to it in his comment on the Royal Law, how we’re to love our neighbor as ourselves, if we do this we do well, it’s the fruit of salvation…partiality is completely contrary to love.

Some might categorize partiality as a minor sin, but James teaches us that sin is sin, that all sin is against God, that we might keep the whole law, but if we stumble in one point, we’re guilty of all and therefore in need of a Savior. When I read James 2:10-13 I’m reminded that the law can never save me, it only proves my guilt and need of salvation. Thank God for Jesus and the merciful law of liberty. The Bible teaches us from Genesis to Revelation – salvation by faith (not law), faith in Jesus, who is the substance of the shadows, the Figure in all the figures of the Old Testament.

In closing out the chapter, James reminds us, however, that faith-works – that faith without works is dead. Imagine someone comes to you, a brother or a sister, naked, and on the brink of starvation, and rather than helping them in a practical way, we say, “God bless you, I’ll be praying for you,” and leave them there to die. The pitiful prayer doesn’t profit. James teaches us that such “faith” is 100% dead.

Psalm 117:1-2

One wonders why some of the Jews became so exclusive. There were some Rabbi’s who believed that the Gentiles were only created to fuel the fires of hell.

But here we read in God’s Word about the Gentiles praising the LORD. Many of you are Gentiles (non-Jews).  To laud God means to praise God publicly and the Psalmist mentions two reasons to praise Him in such a way:

God’s mercy and God’s truth.

Aren’t you grateful that He’s shown us mercy? That He has NOT dealt with us according to our sins. One of my favorite passages is:

Psalms 103:10-11 (NKJV) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.”

And we should praise Him for His truth, His Word, the Bible. Where would we be without it? Lost, lied to, in deep darkness. Here we are, reading, studying, meditating on, and trying to live out God’s truth; I commend you, keep it up!

Proverbs 28:1

Proverbs 28:1 (NKJV) “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

“God sends a faintness into the hearts of the wicked, and the sound of a shaken leaf frightens them.” – Trapp

Taken together and in context, it’s not only an issue of boldness, it’s also an issue of holiness. When a person has a guilty conscience, they’ve done something they know to be wrong, it’s almost as if they’re always looking over their shoulders, running, and hiding. They need to “cover their tracks,” so to speak; they’re afraid that the law is after them.

“The guilty consciences of the wicked causes them to run from imagined pursuers. Knowing they have done wrong, they suspect they are being chased by lawmen. By contrast the righteous are as bold (i.e., self-confident; cf. “confidence” in Proverbs 31:11) as a young lion. God gives them courage; they have no fear of reprisal from wrongdoing.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

“Bold: ‘confident’ is nearer the meaning. The straightforward man, like the lion, has no need to look over his shoulder. What is at his heels is not his past (Num. 32:23) but his rearguard: God’s goodness and mercy (Psalms 23:6).” – Derek Kidner

“We know that the wicked may appear bold in facing danger, so long as they drown reflection and stupefy conscience. But when conscience is roused, guilt is the parent of fear. Adam knew no fear until he become a guilty creature.” – Charles Bridges

If David was in sin, do you think he would have run to the battle?