Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thou Shalt Not Kill

- Exodus 20:13

INTRODUCTION

Increasingly, so-called theologians and Bible critics claim to find what they believe to be blatant contradictions in the Bible. One such passage is found in Ecclesiastes 3:3 where the Bible says there is “A time to kill.” How can this be reconciled with the sixth commandment that says, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13)? The context always determines the meaning, and the type of killing in Exodus 20:13 refers specifically to murder (see Matthew 19:18). At times, God called His people to enter into war with the goal of killing their enemies. The Bible clearly distinguishes between this type of killing and murder. Interestingly, people spend a great deal of time and strength protesting war but refuse to protest the countless murders of the unborn children that occur in the world every day. This fact serves as another of the evidences that men are not opposed to wrong but simply opposed to God and His word.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God always does right (Genesis 18:25b). He delivered Goliath into David’s hands because the Philistines were Israel’s enemy (1 Samuel 17:45-50). Yet, when David had Uriah killed so he could take Uriah’s wife to be his own, God was very much displeased (2 Samuel 11:14-15, 26-27; 2 Samuel 12:9-10).
  • (For everyone): How can Matthew 19:18 be used prove that Exodus 20:13 speaks of a specific kind of killing? Why is it important for us to be able to understand the difference?
  • Genesis 9:6 . Why does God place such a high value upon life? What does it suggest when men think so little of life that they are willing to murder others?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank the Lord for placing such a high value on your life.
  • Ask God to help you have the same concern for life.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Call to Continue Capital Punishment

- Romans 1:32

INTRODUCTION

Capital punishment is not confined to the Old Testament. According to Romans chapter 13, souls are to be subject unto the higher powers because they bear “not the sword in vain” (Romans 13:1, 4). This sword is to be “a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4). Any true student of the Bible acknowledges that this sounds like capital punishment, but there is more. In Romans chapter 1, the Bible provides a list of the sins and follows that list by saying, “that they which commit such things are worthy of death” (Romans 1:32). Capital punishment is not done to the exclusion of God’s grace, but rather as an act of God’s just judgment.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Judges are appointed to judge for the Lord (2 Chronicles 19:6). Those in authority have the right to punish evildoers (1 Peter 2:13-14). Consider Paul’s testimony to Festus (Acts 25:7-11a). He knew there were reasons for capital punishment.
  • (For everyone): How could many of our government’s problems be helped if they would merely execute God’s plan of shedding the blood of those who shed innocent blood?
  • Whose job is it to execute capital punishment (see Romans 13:1-4)? It is just as unscriptural for a man to take matters in his own hand as it is for one to shed innocent blood in the first place.

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to change your views to match His views.
  • Thank God for teaching you the perfections of His plan.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Capital Punishment Under the Law

- Exodus 21:14

INTRODUCTION

Although some things have changed, the Old Testament Law declares and expresses the mind of God. It demonstrates God’s hatred for sin and His desire for just judgment. Under the Law, men would be put to death for things such as murder (Exodus 21:14), witchcraft (Exodus 22:18), idolatry (Exodus 22:20), working on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2), adultery (Leviticus 20:10), rebellion (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), and sodomy (Leviticus 20:13). Although all of these examples are not repeated in the New Testament as grounds for capital punishment, man can still see the way God feels about sin, not only its wickedness, but also how sin must be purged.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): The Old Testament has many examples where God punished wickedness with death: Joshua 7:19-21, 25-26; 2 Samuel 1:13-16; 1 Kings 21:8-13, 17-19, 23. Even a pagan king recognized certain offences required death (Ezra 7:11-13; 25-26).
  • (For everyone): Are some of these sins mentioned again in the New Testament as grounds for capital punishment? If so, which ones can you find? How faithful are we as a nation to deal with these sins as God would have us to?
  • The Lord no doubt changed some things in the New Testament. Why is it still profitable to study the Old Testament?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank the Lord for placing such high value on life.
  • Ask the Lord to keep you from these sins.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

God’s Green Plan

- Numbers 35:33-34

INTRODUCTION

The world is consumed with “saving the earth.” They have multiple plans to purify the water, the air, the ground, the food, etc. Unfortunately, they are ignorant of the green plan laid out in the Bible. According to scripture, the land is polluted from the shedding of blood. The Bible says in Numbers 35:33 that “blood . . . defileth the land.” This is not just any blood but refers to the innocent blood shed by the hands of man or beast that has not been properly avenged. All the innocent blood (babies, children, and adults) pollutes a land and the land cannot be cleansed “but by the blood of him that shed it” (Numbers 35:33). While men are concerned about the earth for selfish reasons, God concerns Himself with a particular defiling of the land (Numbers 35:34).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Proverbs 6:16-17). It must be taken care of or the land becomes polluted (Psalm 106:38). God told men what to do even if the murderer was not known. The land still had to be cleansed (Deuteronomy 21:1-9).
  • (For everyone): Read Genesis 4:10. What did the Lord tell Cain concerning the blood of Abel? How would that same truth be applicable in the world today? Read Revelation 6:10. What will God do in the future in order to avenge the blood of His martyrs?
  • How is God’s green plan much more important than the world’s plans? Which one is going to be the demise of our planet?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Beg God to turn the heads toward God of those who would murder.
  • Ask the Lord to help us better cleanse the land of blood.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Children Are an Heritage of the Lord

- Psalm 127:3

INTRODUCTION

Far too often, the world views children as a burden. In fact, some parents of larger families have been questioned for their strange or foolish behaviour in birthing so many children into the world. God, however, views children differently from that of the world. To the Lord, children are a blessing. They are a reward given by God (Psalm 127:3) and are “as arrows in the hand of a mighty man” (Psalm 127:4). Today, couples are made to feel ashamed for having larger families, but the scriptures teach otherwise. Instead of shame for having children, the Bible says, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:5). Not only would this man experience personal happiness, but he would gain such respect that he could “speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:5).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children):  Psalm 128 says a man that fears the Lord will be happy. He will be blessed with lots of children. In Psalm 128:3, a fruitful vine is one that grows much fruit and olive plants have many branches. Jesus loved children (Mark 10:13-16).
  • (For everyone): Has God allowed you to have any children? If so, how do you view those children? Would they perceive that you view them as a blessing or as a burden?
  • Take some time to do a Bible study and see how many large families you can find. What are some things these families have in common? How did those families perceive children?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank God for the children in your life.
  • Ask God to give you a proper perspective on children.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Baby Who Was Allowed to Live

-Exodus 1:15-22

INTRODUCTION

The children of Israel were a thorn in the flesh to their Egyptian masters. With each increase in affliction by the Egyptians, the Israelites multiplied and grew stronger. In an effort to change this pattern, Pharaoh demanded that the midwives kill all the Hebrew male children at the time of birth. Yet the midwives feared God so they refused to obey the command. What would have been the outcome had the midwives simply obeyed Pharaoh and killed all the newborn males? We know one thing that would have resulted. The next chapter of Exodus tells of the birth of a baby boy. His parents hid him until he could no longer be hid and finally had to be released into the care of Almighty God. According to Pharaoh’s decree, this boy should have been killed. His name was Moses (see Exodus 2:1-4).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Wicked king Herod had all the children two years old and under in Bethlehem and all the coasts slain. He hoped to kill the "King of the Jews" whom the wise men were seeking. Yet, God had already warned Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt (Matthew 2:1-16). Where would we be without Him?
  • (For everyone): How would things be different had Moses been murdered at birth? What are some of the most prominent things God used Moses to do?
  • How would the world be different if you were murdered as a baby? How would your life be different if one of your children had been murdered as a baby?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank the Lord for the opportunity to live for Him.
  • Ask God to show our leaders the value of life.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Image of Jealousy

- Ezekiel 8:3

INTRODUCTION

The Lord permits no rivals. In Isaiah 43:11, He said, “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” Yet, there is a battle on the horizon that will bring all matters to a head. The Antichrist will sit in the temple of God claiming to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will torture the people of God (the Jews) and blaspheme the name of God. He will set up his image and demand that the people worship him (Revelation 13:14-15). This peak of idolatry and blasphemy will lead to the culmination of God’s jealousy when He returns to judge the world (Revelation chapter 19).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): There is no one like God (Isaiah 40:18, 25; Isaiah 45:18). When He returns, He will take vengeance on the lost (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Fortunately, before that event, the saved will be with God (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-171 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
  • (For everyone): The saved will return with Christ when He comes to judge the world (see Revelation 19:11-14). How important is it to be on the right side when Christ returns in His glory?
  • Write down some of the events that will take place in the tribulation period. How will those things add up to stir the Lord’s jealousy beyond any past time and event?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank God if you know that you will not be on the receiving end of His wrath.
  • Ask the Lord to help you win your lost loved ones.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I Will Move Them to Jealousy

- Deuteronomy 32:21

INTRODUCTION

Every true and honest Bible student readily confesses that the Bible identifies the Jewish people as the people of God. Unfortunately, the Jews repeatedly provoked the Lord to jealousy. In judgment for their indiscretions, the Lord promised to move the Jewish people to jealousy as He showed His favour unto a people “which are not a people.”  According to the apostle Paul, this was fulfilled when the Lord turned to the Gentiles offering them salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:19; Romans 11:11). This jealousy was not to be permanent. One day the Lord will again turn back to the Jewish people after the Rapture of the church.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God has always loved His chosen people and always will (1 Chronicles 17:21-22). The Jews did not recognize Jesus as their Messiah and continued following the Law. Before he got saved, Paul felt the same way (Acts 26:9-11).
  • (For everyone): How did the Jewish people respond when the apostles began to preach Jesus Christ to the Gentiles? How could things have been different for the Jewish people?
  • How should we respond to the Jewish people? Should we despise them for rejecting Jesus Christ? Or should we preach the gospel to them in hopes that they will repent and trust Christ?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to give you a heart for the Jewish people.
  • Thank the Lord for giving you an opportunity to be saved.

HYMN

ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Jealousy Is the Rage of a Man

- Proverbs 6:34

INTRODUCTION

The Bible likens jealousy to a weapon. Lives are spared when this weapon rests in the bosom of someone with righteous motives. Yet, when the foolish wield this weapon, jealousy leads to destructive outcomes. The very thing that the Lord possesses to protect His people, His land, and His name, can push the ungodly men into an uncontrollable rage. God’s jealousy protects the righteous and consumes the guilty. Yet, the jealousy of an unrighteous man has consumed the lives of many innocent people. The Bible states that “jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame” (Song of Solomon 8:6). Misplaced jealousy is a most dangerous weapon.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): The Bible reveals many instances of man's jealousy. In most cases, heartache and destruction are brought into the lives of innocent people (Genesis 4:3-5, 8; Genesis 37:4, 11, 18; 1 Samuel 18:8-9; Esther 5:11-14; Esther 7:10; Esther 9:13-14; Daniel 6:1-4, 24).
  • (For everyone): Jealousy in itself is not sinful, yet it can be sinful when misplaced and misguided. What are some ways in which jealousy generally turns evil?
  • Has jealousy proven harmful to any in your family? What happened to cause this harm? Do you know if the jealousy began with a righteous motive?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to protect you from misplaced jealousy.
  • Ask God to show you the dangers of jealousy if misguided.

HYMN

TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY

Friday, July 14, 2017

Jealous for the LORD God

- 1 Kings 19:9-10

INTRODUCTION

Elijah was a good man who loved the Lord. He could not bear the thought of the people of God rebelling against the Lord. Although misguided into thinking that he was the only remaining person who cared about the things of God, he certainly did care. Elijah took things personally when the people forsook the Lord’s covenant, threw down His altars, and killed His prophets. Elijah constantly pleaded with them to make things right. The apostle Paul felt the same way, but his feelings even extended to a jealousy over the people of God (2 Corinthians 11:2). Unfortunately, few people today seem to take such a personal interest in the Lord or His people.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Although the word jealous is not found in the following passages, it is obvious that the men's actions revealed a jealousy for the Lord (2 Chronicles 15:16; 2 Chronicles 17:3-9; 2 Chronicles 34:1-7; 29-33). Thank God for those who teach us to do right through their words and their actions.
  • (For everyone): Why was the work of God so important to Elijah? How could these same reasons be a solid foundation to make the work of God important to you?
  • What did Paul’s jealousy for the saints drive him to do? How did he labour to keep them sound in their doctrine and faith? How should you do the same for believers today?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to help you to be jealous for Him.
  • Ask God to give you a deeper love for His work and for His people.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sources of God’s Jealousy

- Ezekiel 39:25

INTRODUCTION

There are certain areas where the Lord shows some of His greatest care and concern. He takes great offence and moves swiftly in their defence when men abuse these areas. For instance, the Bible says that the Lord is jealous for His “holy name” (Ezekiel 39:25). Perhaps, with this in mind, the Lord said, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). The Bible also says that God is jealous for Jerusalem (Zechariah 1:14; Zechariah 8:2), which is His land (Joel 2:18). When people abuse His name or His land, God takes these things particularly personally. Unfortunately, in these last days, men are increasingly abusing both His name and His land.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): The Bible says that the Lord’s name is holy and reverend (Psalm 111:9c). To take His name in vain means to use it in a useless way. He does not take this lightly (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 24:10-16; Deuteronomy 5:11; 2 Chronicles 32:13-21).
  • (For everyone): All the earth belongs to the Lord, but He specifically claims Jerusalem as His land. How do people provoke the Lord to jealousy concerning His land?
  • What are some ways in which men take the name of the Lord in vain? Do you ever use His name in any vain ways? How is this an attack upon God’s name and upon His character?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank God for taking such care for His great name.
  • Ask the Lord to help you become jealous over the things that make Him jealous.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Do We Provoke the Lord?

- 1 Corinthians 10:22

INTRODUCTION

God is a jealous God, yet that jealousy is only manifested when men provoke the Lord because of their unfaithfulness. Men can provoke the Lord through various means, but ultimately, they all unite in the fact that they place something or someone else ahead of the Lord. The Lord does not want the leftovers of man’s time, love, money, and strength (Malachi 1:7-9). Instead, He wants the first and greatest of man’s possessions. Anything less is idolatrous and offensive to the God who gave man everything he has. Each man must make a daily evaluation of his life to insure that he is doing nothing to provoke the Lord to jealousy.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Joshua challenged the people to serve God alone. Sadly, they and the people after them did not keep their commitment but instead provoked God to judgment (Judges 3:5-7; Jeremiah 1:16; Jeremiah 2:27; Ezra 5:122 Chronicles 36:15-20).
  • (For everyone): Have you ever provoked the Lord to jealousy? How did you do this? Who or what did you put ahead of the Lord? Have you repented of this sin?
  • What are some things that men commonly place ahead of the Lord? What might the Lord do in order to solve this problem? How can you avoid His chastening?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank the Lord for His grace and mercy.
  • Ask God to help you live for Him and Him alone.

HYMN

TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The LORD Is a Consuming Fire

- Deuteronomy 4:24

INTRODUCTION

In the Bible, jealousy, similar to anger, is closely associated to a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 79:5; Ezekiel 36:5; Ezekiel 38:19). As man provokes the Lord to jealousy, the Lord responds with judgment. At times, that judgment may be the consumption of the one who provoked the Lord. At other times, that consumption may be directed toward the very thing that the man put before the Lord.  Either way, God’s jealousy is a consuming fire (Zephaniah 1:18; Zephaniah 3:8). In one biblical instance, the zeal of a man named Phinehas stopped the consuming fire of God’s jealousy (Numbers 25:11). Men should wisely seek the Lord today in hopes of delaying the fire of God’s wrath and anger upon their nations and homes.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): In many Old Testament stories, God's jealousy was aroused and judgment came by fire (Numbers 11:1-2). Future judgment on earth will be with fire (2 Peter 3:10) and final judgment for the unsaved will also be with fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
  • (For everyone): We live in an age that highlights the grace of God. Should this cause us to forget or even deny the importance of the fear of the Lord? How could His jealousy be the downfall of a nation? What should we do as a nation to avoid the inevitability of this approaching fire?
  • How can God be a God of love and jealousy at the same time? How do the two work together?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to open the eyes of those in national leadership.
  • Ask God to strengthen your desire to stay His hand of judgment.

Monday, July 10, 2017

His Name Is Jealous

- Exodus 34:14

INTRODUCTION

Biblically speaking, a man’s name is equal to his character (Proverbs 22:1). This is why God’s character is often defined by His name. Faithful and true are two words that describe the very nature of God, but they are also names by which the Son of God will be called at His second advent (Revelation 19:11). Even the name Jesus was associated with the person and work of our Lord (Matthew 1:21). These names, and many more like them, are well known to believers, but few know that the Lord’s name is also said to be Jealous. Why? Because that is who He is! He is the One true and living God who demands man’s sole attention. Just as He is Faithful and True, God is also Jealous.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God does not want us to put anything or anyone before Him. He is jealous of such things (2 Chronicles 16:7-9; 2 Kings 1:2-4). David knew to whom he should go (1 Chronicles 14:8-16) as did Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:14-16; 2 Kings 20:1-3).
  • (For everyone): What are some ways in which you put other things before the Lord? How can this happen with your time, strength, and money? How would this provoke the Lord to jealousy?
  • Why do men give more time and attention to names like Faithful and True while neglecting the fact that the Lord’s name is Jealous? What does this suggest about man?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to teach you the beauties of His name.
  • Ask the Lord to help you live for His pleasure.