Monday, April 16, 2018

A Bronze Serpent

He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.
 (2 Kings 18:4 NASB)

Hezekiah was a righteous King.  He instituted many reforms, one of which was destroying the bronze serpent that Moses had made.  We often deify religious forms of the past, ultimately make good things evil.

When we lose the internal reality of our faith, we always turn to external things.  Moses used the bronze snake to performs miraculous acts of God.  It was right in its time and place.  Israel started to worship the creation rather than the Creator.  When true religion begins to wane, false belief starts to rise.  This has always been a problem, not just in the days of King Hezekiah, but in the church age.  In 2 Timothy 3: 1-4 Paul gives us a long list of evil things mankind will become in the last days. He finished by saying, “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power: Avoid such men as these” (v.5).  Though their lives demonstrated evil, they held to a form of religion but denied the power of God to change lives. They had information without transformation. The word Nehushtan literally means a “piece of bronze.”  It had no value other than what it represented, the power of God.


Are you a part of a church or Christian organization that is worshiping a bronze serpent?  Are you trying to make the “forms of religion” work today just because they worked in the past?  You are on your way to disappointment. Powerless idols always disappoint those who worship them.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Righteous Prayers

Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.
(Psalm 17:1 NASB).

How do you know whether your prayers are from deceitful lips?  Only through the testing of your heart will you know if your mouth is speaking deceit.

Many believe that this prayer came at a time when King Saul was hunting down and trying to kill David.  Due to his jealousy, Saul was trying to destroy his loyal servant David.  Our hearts are tested when we are mistreated.  Twice, during Saul’s pursuit of David, the Lord delivered Saul into David ‘s hands. David could have an illuminated Saul and put an end to the King’s unjust quest.  On both occasions, David refused to touch God ‘s anointed (I Samuel 27:10–11 NASB). David declined to take vengeance into his own hands. David honored the King, even in his vain jealousy, because he first reverenced God.

When mistreated, you and I often respond with angry words and deeds.  David refrained from sinning with his mouth or his hands.  David knew that his prayer did not come from deceitful lips because of his actions in relation to Saul.  God placed Saul into David’s hands to test his heart.  Righteous responses always flow out of a pure heart.  When it once appeared that I was unjustly treated, the Lord did not permit me to speak about it for more than twenty years. The testing of the Lord can last a long time.

Have you been mistreated? Is God testing you?  Righteous reactions to unjust treatment produce prayers without deceit.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com




Sunday, March 18, 2018

Defeat Before Victory

...”The Israelites asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should we stop?”... (Judges 20:28 NLT).

God’s ways are sometimes mysterious. We should not think it too strange when a just cause initially encounters defeat.  Nor should we assume that in the short-term that success is an endorsement of our pursuits.  If Israel had stopped after two tries, this story would have had an altogether different ending.

This story in the Book of Judges chronicles how Israel unites against the tribe of Benjamin to punish them for a detestable act they had committed.  Though clearly directed by the Lord to attack them, they were twice soundly routed by this tribe.  Some has suggested that Israel did not ask God how they were to attack.  Others have speculated that they were overconfident in their ability to win the battle.  Whatever the reason, it is clear that you can initiate a righteous cause and experience significant failure.

There is a pivotal question asked in the Scriptural reference. Should they try again or quit?  If I had to choose someone to be on my ministry team, I would select perseverance over talent every time.  Of course, I would prefer to have someone talented and persevering, but if I had to choose, I would take the latter.  How many times does God ask us to do it over and over again, until we get it right? How often have we doubted the Word of the Lord because things did not go as planned initially?  God always accomplishes his purposes, but sometimes we experience defeat before we can see victory.  As the commentator, Matthew Henry once wrote, “We may lose a battle but we will win the war. Right may fall, but it will always rise again.”


 Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com