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Luke 21:1-4

“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.”

Jesus was watching the people putting their money into the temple treasury. As He watched, the rich cast in their gifts. Jesus said that their gifts were of their abundance.

Then, He watched the poor widow cast in two mites. Jesus was actually waiting for her to come. He said her gift was all the living she had. What a gift she gave! Compared with the abundance that the others brought, her two mites were much smaller. Two mites were not enough to buy a single sparrow. But, for this Jesus commended her. He even said that her two mites were more than what the others had given.

What was the poor widow thinking when she gave such a gift? Clearly, after having given all the living she had, and being a widow, she had nothing more to spend the rest of the day, and nobody to depend upon to meet her needs. Except for the Lord Himself! While some may say that this is not much assurance, they would be mistaken. There are many examples of people who have thrown themselves on the Lord and were blessed for doing so.

One was Rahab the harlot. In Joshua 2 the Israelites were preparing to attack Jericho at the Lord’s command. Two men were sent by Joshua to spy out the land. Rahab hid those men, and said to them, “…I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: and that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2:9-13)

That was quite a request. But, Joshua 6:25 tells us, “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” Rahab believed what the Lord had told Israel concerning them taking the land. And when she appealed to the spies to spare her family, she was believing that the Lord would do what He said He would do, and wanted to be shown His mercy. In the middle of the fierce battle, which included the collapse of the city walls, on which her house was built (Joshua 2:15), she trusted the Lord. And she and her family were spared.

When she cast all the living she had into the temple treasury, the poor widow was similarly throwing herself on the Lord. She was trusting that He would take care of her. So, what did He do for her? Scripture does not say. Given what we know about God, His goodness and mercy and kindness, and with the example of Rahab in mind, there is no doubt that He took care of her.

In Matthew 6:30-33 Jesus said, “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

God knows what we need. This thought is also stated in Matthew 6:8, where Jesus said, “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

Of all the qualities that mankind may possess, God notices humility. For the most part, we are guilty of pride, and many scriptures speak against that. In Proverbs 29:23 Solomon wrote, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Humility pleases God because it leaves matters to Him. Humility reveals trust in God. Since He is all knowing, it is wise to leave matters to Him, just like the poor widow did.

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Refrain (Edgar P. Stites)

Joshua 1:9

     “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Joshua and the children of Israel were on the border of the Promised Land. All that stood in their way was the Jordan River. Forty years before, Joshua had gone into the land as a spy. On that day he reported on the blessings of the land, and he recommended that they go in and take it. Now, he knew what the land was like, and he knew what the challenges would be. The giants that frightened Israel were still there.

The Lord’s words to Joshua in Joshua 1:9 were an encouragement to him after the death of Moses. He was chosen by God to be Moses’ replacement as leader of Israel. He would be the one to lead Israel across the Jordan river and into the Promised Land. He would lead the armies, and divide the land to the tribes of Israel, which God had promised them.

First, the LORD asked Joshua, “Have not I commanded thee?” The first thing God wanted him to remember was that God had commanded him to fill this role. Since God was the One that selected Joshua for it, and He would be the One that would guide and direct. To turn away would be to disobey God.

This is a good question for all of mankind. Hasn’t God commanded us concerning many things? In Exodus 20 the LORD gave the ten commandments to the Israelites. They are God’s commands. His commands guided Israel’s relationship with Himself and with each other: Have no other gods before you, do not use His name vainly, worship Him, do not lie, do not commit adultery, honor your mother and father, do not covet what is your neighbor’s, do not steal, do not kill. Wouldn’t things be better if we obeyed Him in all that we say and do and think? Has He not commanded us?

Then, God told Joshua to “be strong and of a good courage.” From reading the whole of Joshua 1, it seems that Joshua was a timid man. In just the first nine verses of this chapter the LORD tells Joshua three times to be courageous, or to have courage. Twice in Deuteronomy 31, Moses told Joshua to have courage. And once in Joshua 1, the Israelites told him to be courageous. Joshua apparently needed this, and the LORD met him where he was. The work was given to him and he would need to do it with courage. He would accomplish nothing sitting back. So, the Lord told him to be strong and of a good courage.

Similarly, in 1 Timothy 6:11, 12 Paul told him, “…follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” He was telling Timothy to courageously live the Christian life. And through his words to Timothy, all believers are encouraged to be serving God, fighting the good fight. In Ephesians 6:11-13 Paul told them, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” As the Lord told Joshua, be strong and of a good courage.

Then God told Joshua to “be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed.” God was not pulling punches. He knew that there would be trials and troubles as they took the land. But He wanted Joshua to take up the task. With the assurances of His presence, and the command to be courageous, Joshua had what he needed to carry out God’s plans. In Luke 6:22, 23 the Lord Jesus Christ told His followers, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” To hear God tell us to not fear ought to be the greatest assurance of all. To hear Him tell us to anticipate that there will be problems, and rejoice, is a blessing. Be not afraid.

     Finally, God promised to be with Joshua in everything and everywhere he went. He was told by God that God was with him in his efforts, and so he should be confident in the things he determined to do. Joshua died at 110 years, as recorded in the end of the book. His whole life was directed by God, even as He had promised. Joshua told the people in Joshua 23:14, “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.”

Quoting from Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Or, as Joshua heard it, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake. (John Rippon)

Isaiah 51:6

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

The Lord’s appeal at the start of this verse is to lift up our eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth. To us, these things are permanent. And they are vast beyond our knowing. The heavens above are purported to be perhaps endless. The depths of the sea are full of things that we have yet to see or understand.

This verse then says that the heavens shall vanish away like smoke. Once it is gone, smoke cannot be recovered. Depending on how much there is, it may last a time, but it still dissipates. So shall the vastness of the heavens be similarly done away; like smoke that is blown away.

The earth shall wax old like a garment. Nobody has the clothing that they were wearing fifty years ago. It wears out; it develops holes, the cloth becomes thin. Or, the style changes and falls out of favor. In their wandering in the desert Israel enjoyed clothing that did not wear out for forty years. But even that eventually did wear out, just as the earth will one day wax old like a garment.

Next the Lord said that they that dwell on the earth will also die in like manner as the earth. The daily the newspaper lists individuals who have died, and the lists are different every day. Everyone that was alive 150 years ago is now dead. And everyone that is alive now will be dead in 150 years. All of us grow old. Even in the days before the flood people grew old and died, though they lived much longer. We, too, wax old like a garment, just as the earth will do.

Having spoken of things that will not last, the heavens, the earth, and the people on it, the LORD then speaks of things that will last.

The first is God’s salvation. In the context, what is needed is salvation from the destruction of the heavens and the earth. While those things are temporary, God’s salvation shall be for ever. When the heaven and earth are destroyed, God will not be inconveniencing Himself. He is beyond them. Jesus said that God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him should worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). He is not of the earth.

But the destruction of the heavens and the earth is not the main thing from which man needs, and God offers, salvation. All of mankind is guilty before God because of their sin against Him. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is eternal death, which is separation from God (Revelation 21:8). This is the thing from which all of mankind needs salvation. God’s salvation shall be forever.

The second thing that will last is God’s righteousness. He says above that it shall not be abolished. Sin stands in the way of seeing God. Hebrews 12:14 tells us that without holiness no man will see the Lord. But 2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “For he hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Through Jesus, mankind can be declared righteous. Someone who is declared righteous has no reason to fear because God’s righteousness shall never be abolished. Sadly, many do not take up God’s generous offer.

The notion of the heavens and the earth being dissolved might be concerning. Scripture tells us that they will not be removed, but replaced. In Revelation 21:1 John reports, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

In Revelation 1:8 Jesus said of Himself, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Notice that He calls Himself the beginning and the ending.

That He is the beginning is seen in John 1:1-3 and 14 which tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. …And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Jesus created all things.

In that He is the ending, the verse above tells us that there will be an ending. Revelation 20:11 says, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” In that scene, Jesus is the One on the throne. At His command the heaven and the earth will flee away. Since He is the ending, the end will not come until He says. It will not be the world spinning out of control into oblivion. It is under the control of the God of the Universe, the Creator, the One Who brought it all into being.

So, the end of all things is the beginning of new things: a new heaven and a new earth. 2 Peter 3:11-13 says, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” What a wonderful change for mankind and this planet, because on the new earth will dwell righteousness. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Lift up your heads, pilgrims aweary,
See day’s approach now crimson the sky;
Night shadows flee, and your Belovèd,
Awaited with longing, at last draweth nigh.


He is coming again, He is coming again,
The very same Jesus, rejected of men;
He is coming again, He is coming again,
With power and great glory, He is coming again!

Dark was the night, sin warred against us;
Heavy the load of sorrow we bore;
But now we see signs of His coming;
Our hearts glow within us, joy’s cup runneth o’er!


O blessèd hope! O blissful promise!
Filling our hearts with rapture divine;
O day of days! Hail Thy appearing!
Thy transcendent glory forever shall shine.


Even so, come, precious Lord Jesus;
Creation waits redemption to see;
Caught up in clouds, soon we shall meet Thee;
O blessèd assurance, forever with Thee!

Refrain (Mabel J. Camp)

1 John 1:8-10

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

These verses describe the problem that mankind has, and God’s solution for it. The problem is sin, and our attitude toward it. John reveals two things about how we view sin, and the result of those views.

First, if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves. This is a mistake that we make. Generally, people would say that they are not sinners. And this verse states that when they say that, they are deceiving themselves. Quoting from Psalm 14, Paul said in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” John goes further. If we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us. Not only do we deceive ourselves but there is no truth in us. This is our attitude toward our sin in the present.

Second, John says that if we say that we have not sinned we make God a liar, and His word is not in us. Nobody is free of the sin nature that plagues the human race. It was inherited from Adam and Eve; a result of their disobedience of God. God told them that in the day that they ate from the tree they would surely die. They did not die physically that day, they died spiritually. In Romans 3:23 Paul wrote, “…For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” If we say that we have not sinned, we make God a liar! Hebrews 6:18 tells us, “…it was impossible for God to lie…” This second attitude is about our view of our past sin.

So, present or past, we are sinners against God. He told us so in Romans 3:23. Because our sin is against Him, He is the only one that can forgive us.

The middle sentence is God’s solution for the problem. First, we must confess our sins. That is, we acknowledge that we are sinners. Scripture makes it clear that sin put a divide between mankind and God. As noted before, Romans 3:23 says, “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” There is nobody that is left out of “all”. So, God first requires that we admit it. And scripture does state that God knows our hearts. Jeremiah 17:10 tells us, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Not only does He know our hearts, but He searches them, and judges according to what He finds. He wants us to admit to Him that which He already knows. There is no escaping His gaze. The only and proper response to this is to admit that we are sinners: to agree with Him. A heart that has come to that conclusion will enjoy the next portion of this verse.

In 1 John 1:9 we are told, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Faithfulness requires an object. There is no other way to understand God’s reaction to our confession. To those who admit their sin God is faithful. That is, He is trustworthy. And, He is just to do so. Since He is the One we offend with our sin, He can justly forgive us our sin because of Jesus Christ.

Finally, this verse tells us that when we confess, He forgives us, and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” He will not only forgive us, but He will make us right before Him! Ephesians 5:25-27 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Though addressed to husbands, this portion reveals Jesus’ intentions toward the church: cleansing, and without spot. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Not only has He cleansed us, but He has declared His people to be the righteousness of God.

Our sin puts us at odds with God. His intent is that we be forgiven and, more than that, cleansed. Praise the LORD for His great salvation!

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
Or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in Heav’n. (Augustus M. Toplady)

Exodus 3:12

“And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.”

Moses had been away from Egypt for forty years. He had settled into a quiet life in the wilderness. He had perhaps figured that he would die as a shepherd in his father-in-law’s employ. He surely had memories of the land where he was raised, the woman who raised him, Pharaoh, to whom he was a step-grandson, and the comforts of the courts of Egypt. But he had murdered an Egyptian because that man was mistreating an Israelite, one of Moses’ people. So, Pharaoh sought to bring him to justice, and Moses ran for his life.

One day Moses was caring for the sheep on the backside of the desert. He saw a burning bush, which was not consumed by the fire. So, he went to look at that strange sight. God spoke to him out of that bush, and told Moses that He was sending him back to Egypt to take Israel out, and lead them to the Promised Land. In the verse above God assured Moses that He would be with him. He also gave Moses a sign that it was He that was sending him.

Gideon was another man that the LORD had sent out. His story is told in the book of Judges. He asked the LORD for a sign, and the LORD graciously provided. Judges 6:36-38 tells us, “And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.” God also gave Gideon a second sign.

If we sense that God is leading us into service for Him, we may ask Him for a sign that we are being sent; that it is really Him that is sending. The sign that we would want would be one that would give us incentive to go: assurance that He was sending us. God told Moses that the sign that He would give would be that Moses would come back to Mount Horeb, after Moses brought Israel out of Egypt.

The next time Moses was in Mount Horeb was about 3 months after they had left Egypt. The story is told in Exodus 17:1-6, “And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

The sign that God promised Moses came after he did what the LORD required of him. The story in Exodus 17 showed the heart of the people. Because of what happened Moses feared for his life. This was when he needed a sign that the LORD was with him, not before. It was then that the LORD provided for Moses just as He had promised. God’s grace to Gideon was not what Moses needed.

God’s provision is always exactly what we need, and it is always exactly when we need it. Gideon needed and received a sign from the Lord before he went to the task. Moses needed it afterward. It is not according to our timing that these things come, but God’s. In Matthew 6:7-8 Jesus said, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” And in Matthew 6:31-33 Jesus said, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek): for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

God knows what we need, and He knows when we need it. We must learn to trust Him more.

Great God of wonders! all Thy ways

Display Thine attributes divine;

But the bright glories of thy grace

Above Thine other wonders shine:


Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Such deep transgressions to forgive!

Such guilty sinners thus to spare!

This is Thy grand prerogative,

And in this honor none shall share:


Pardon, from an offended God!

Pardon, for sins of deepest dye!

Pardon, bestowed through Jesus’ blood!

Pardon, that brings the rebel nigh!

CHORUS (Samuel Davies)

Hebrews 3:12

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”

This charge by the writer of the book of Hebrews comes after a lesson from the history of the Israelites. Verses 7 through 11 are a quote from Psalm 95, and speak of a specific event in the travels of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.

It is recorded in Numbers chapters 13 and 14. A few months after they left Egypt, after the LORD had fought for them against Egypt, and even dried the Red Sea for their travel convenience, Israel arrived at Kadesh Barnea, in the south of the Promised Land. Twelve spies were sent search it out and see what kind of a land it was.

The spies reported that the land was fruitful, even bringing back a cluster of grapes that was so big that it was carried by two men using a pole. But ten of the spies reported that there were giants in the land, and they that were not able to take the land that God had promised to them. Because of their report, the people rebelled against Moses, and against the LORD, and decided to return to Egypt.

The other two spies tried to turn the hearts of the people back to the task at hand. The LORD had told Israel that He would give them the land. He had told them that He would fight for them. All of them had seen Him do that before in Egypt and at the Red Sea. All of them had heard God’s voice tell them His ten commandments from mount Horeb and they saw His glory and His power. They now faced the unknown with God’s promise that He would take care of them. And they did not believe Him. They tried to go back.

As the story continued, because of their disbelief, God told them that they would wander in the wilderness for forty years. The army that came to Kadesh Barnea and refused to go into the land would die in the wilderness, and their children would come into the Promised Land.

After hearing God’s judgment, the army decided that they would go into the Promised Land. Previously they showed disbelief in God by refusing to go into the land. Now they were showing disbelief in God by trying to go into the land, after He had told them to wander in the wilderness. Their unbelief in God was revealed in both situations. He told them to go into the land, and they refused. He told them to go into the wilderness, and they refused. Would they ever listen to what He said?

Parents know about this. They tell their children what is expected of them, and when they are young they generally do what they are told, though they still steal cookies and put keys into electrical outlets. As they get older, the likelihood that they will obey their parent’s word reduces. For the parents this is a source of anguish because they want what is best for their children. They want them to not make the same mistakes that they had made. Almighty God knows what is best for His creatures, and gives commands with only their best in mind.

The story of Israel at the edge of the Promised Land was an example of unbelief, from which the writer of Hebrews wanted his readers to learn. He wanted them to avoid the same error. The Israelites were frightened by the prospect of war against giants, and concluded there was nothing they could do except go back to Egypt. Even the good advice of the two spies, and the promises of God didn’t stop them from succumbing to their fears. Life brings us into contact with difficulties that bring fear.

In Matthew 6:31-33 Jesus said, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Jesus is saying that the most fundamental of our needs, food, drink, clothing, and shelter are not things about which we should fear. The Father knows that we need them. Do we believe Him? Or do we fear.

In Hebrews 13:5 we read, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Every situation in life is another opportunity for us to determine to believe God. Do we believe that He knows what we need? Do we believe that He will never forsake us? Do we go forward and trust Him? The writer of Hebrews warns his readers away from an evil heart of unbelief, turning away from the living God.

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Refrain (Edgar P. Stites)

Micah 7:9

“I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.”

The beginning of this verse suggests that Micah was in an uncomfortable situation. He identifies the source as God’s hand; His indignation. He also stated the reason for this: he had sinned against the LORD. Micah stated that because of this he would bear the situation, he would endure it. This is a crucial point to which every person needs to come.

It carries two important realizations. The first is that he was a sinner; he had sinned against the LORD. This means that Micah realized personal responsibility for the situation he was in. It suggests that Micah knew what sin was. And this was information he got from knowing what God required of him. At the time of this event, he had God’s law. The ten commandments, and the many other requirements that God had, were given in the books of Exodus and Leviticus. Initially, the ten commandments were spoken by God Himself into the ears of the people of Israel.

The second realization Micah must have had was that God had the right to make laws, and to expect that they were to be obeyed. Further, He had the right to administer justice to those who failed to keep His laws. To this day He maintains that right.

These two realizations are why it is crucial that everyone comes to the point of seeing how they stand before God. God created us, and He told us what He requires of us. He has the right to expect that we obey Him: not because He is demanding, but that He desires our allegiance. He wants us to see that He loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. And that is why He set up the laws that He did.

Consider what Micah said next, “until He plead my cause…” Micah fully expected that God’s indignation would end. It would not last forever. He was willing to endure until the time that God took action on his behalf. And this is one of the wonders of Who God is. He had established the law. He has the right to administer justice for disobedience. When He sees that we are trusting Him in the trial He has sent because of our disobedience, He takes action to set things right between us and Him. It is said of Jesus that, “He ever lives to make intercession for His people…” (Hebrews 7:25)

Micah goes on to say that he expected that God would execute judgment for him. Here, the word judgment means justice. Micah expected that God would give him justice. His sin against the LORD did bring judgment, but God is also just. God is moved by humility and trust in Him. Connected with the previous statement, one can imagine a courtroom. Jesus interceding for His people, and the Judge executing justice on the basis of Jesus’ appeal.

Then, Micah said, “He will bring me forth to the light”. This he said of God, and it is interesting to consider. The One under Whose indignation Micah found himself because of his own sin, which he said he would endure, Micah said would bring him forth to the light. It would be an event of God’s doing. He would bring Micah into the light. Micah means that he would be brought into God’s presence. Scripture says that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

Finally, Micah’s hope was “I shall behold his righteousness.” This was his hope in the sense that he fully expected that he would see God’s righteousness. This goes along with the being brought forth to the light. Being in God’s presence, Micah would also see His righteousness. In Exodus 33:20 Moses was told, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” But, in Revelation 22:3, 4 we are told, “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” This is what Micah was expecting and looking forward to. It was his hope.

Job expected a similar time for himself. He said in Job 19:25-27, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”

Between the lifetimes of Job and Micah and the vision of Revelation was the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through His sacrifice a way was provided that mankind was reconciled to the Father. Through His sacrifice eternal life is promised to God’s people. Job and Micah anticipated the day of seeing God in person, based entirely on knowing Who God is, and trusting Him. Jesus made the way.

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know eternal life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.


I know, I know, that Jesus liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know, I know, that life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.

I know His promise never faileth,
The Word He speaks, it cannot die;
Though cruel death my flesh assaileth,
Yet I shall see Him by and by.


I know my mansion He prepareth,
That where He is there I may be;
O wondrous thought, for me He careth,
And He at last will come for me.

Refrain (Jessie B. Pounds)

Psalm 150:2

“Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.”

“Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.”

Psalm 150 is the last of the psalms. It is an appeal to every thing that has breath to praise the Lord. It speaks of praise to the Lord on many kinds of instruments. What a fanfare! And the Lord is worthy of all honor and praise. Verse 2 gives two bases for praising the Lord: His mighty works and His excellent greatness.

The Bible is full God’s mighty acts. In the first chapter of Genesis the story of creation is told. The original of everything we see around us was created by God by His word: God said, “Let there be…” and there was. Just this simple statement by Him was enough to bring into being angels and animals and plants and fish and water and land and light and air and earth and heaven itself! And all in proper order. Man was formed out of the dust of the earth, and the woman was formed from a rib from the man. This makes the creation of mankind unique! John 1 states that Jesus was the creator. While we might think that creation was done by the Father, Jesus, too, was the creator.

Another of God’s mighty acts was the Great Flood. Genesis 6:5-8 tells us, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” God gave to Noah the task of building an ark in which God would preserve life. One hundred years later the flood came and it covered the earth. After the rain stopped, it took nearly a year for the earth to dry. Then Noah and his family and all of the animals left the ark. Flooding the whole earth certainly reveals God’s might!

A third example of God’s mighty acts was bringing Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. In that one event many mighty deeds took place. The plagues on Egypt, the drying of the Red sea so the people went through on dry ground, the parting of the Jordan river at flood stage, (and the people went over on dry ground then, too), the manna, water supplied from a rock, shoes and clothes that did not wear out for forty years, and many more. God’s might was always on display for His people as they went to the Promised Land. He led them using a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

The psalmist gives a second reason to praise the LORD, “praise him according to his excellent greatness.” God’s greatness can be seen in the examples just considered. These were displays of His might. But the psalmist says that we should praise Him according to His excellent greatness. That is, to the extent of His excellent greatness. This is other than His might.

In Numbers 14:19, Moses said, “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” Israel had sinned against the LORD from the time that they left Egypt. Here, they had just come to the edge of the Promised Land in the wilderness of Paran in the south. Ten of twelve spies came back with a bad report of the land, and the people decided to appoint a different leader and return to Egypt. They even accused God of bringing them to the Promised Land to kill them! For this Moses appealed to the LORD to forgive them according to the greatness of His mercy.

How great is God’s mercy? Psalm 36:5 says, “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” and Psalm 103:11 says, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.”

Toward the end of time, in Revelation 15:3, 4, God is praised in heaven, “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” His holiness and His ways are great, and are the basis for praise in this future day. His ways are just and true; He only is holy.

Another evidence God’s greatness is His great humility, as described in Philippians 2:5-11, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” For the sake of mankind, Jesus obeyed His Father, came as a man, and died under God’s wrath against the sins of mankind. For this He certainly deserves praise.

“Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.”

Praise Him, praise Him—
Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer,
Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim.
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:
O ye saints that dwell on the mountain of Zion,
Praise Him, praise Him ever in joyful song.

Praise Him, praise Him—
Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer,
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died;
He our rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him, hail Him, Jesus the Crucified.
Loving Savior, meekly enduring sorrow,
Crowned with thorns that cruelly pierced His brow;
Once for us rejected, despised and forsaken,
Prince of Glory, He is triumphant now.

Praise Him, praise Him—
Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer,
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring,
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever.
Crown Him! Crown Him—
Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Death is vanquished! Tell it with joy, ye faithful.
Where is now thy victory, boasting grave?
Jesus lives! No longer thy portals are cheerless;
Jesus lives, the mighty and strong to save. (Fanny Crosby)

John 6:47

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

     The LORD Jesus Christ said this to the multitudes the day after He had fed five thousand men using five loaves and two small fishes. From that meal was gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. After, Jesus went up into a mountain alone, and His disciples took ship to cross the sea of Galilee. Later, Jesus walked to His disciples on the sea. The next day, the people whom He had fed took ships and followed Him, looking for more.

     They confronted Him on the other side of the sea. Jesus used the opportunity to point their thinking in a different direction. In John 6:26, 27 we read, “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” What Jesus meant was they were not following Him for the right reason. They were following Him because of the food He gave them, not because of His miracles. Jesus’ miracles proved that He is God. While food sustains this life, Jesus said that that food will perish.

The crowd saw what Jesus meant. In verse 28 we read, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” or, to put it another way, “What does God want of us?” In verse 29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” Then, in verse 30, we read, “They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?” Not even twenty-four hours before they had eaten what Jesus had provided. He fed them using only five loaves and two fishes. What more of a sign did they want? The significance of what He had done seems to have been lost on them. Or, like the “What have you done for me lately?” philosophy, they were not satisfied with the sign He had given. This was why Jesus was teaching them. He wanted to turn their thinking away from food and to Himself.

Then the conversation turned to manna. The people remembered that their fathers had eaten manna in the desert, just like they had eaten the bread that Jesus supplied in the desert. But Jesus reminded them that their fathers died, even though they had eaten the manna. Scripture tells us that a day came when the manna stopped. So, what Jesus said in verse 27, telling them to not labor for “meat which perisheth”, was true even of the manna. Jesus said that He was the bread of life, and that He was the bread from heaven. So, the next thing He said in verse 27, that there is “meat which endureth unto everlasting life.”, was a reference to Himself. He was telling them that they should be seeking Him.

So, Verse 47, above, repeats the concept He stated in verse 29. Everlasting life, and the source of it, is what He had been teaching to the crowd. It is what He was offering to those who would listen and believe Him. Reading the story through reveals that the people doubted, didn’t believe, what He was saying. Some knew His family, and wondered how He could say such things. Afterward even some of His disciples abandoned Him.

Through this Jesus’ point was that mankind’s focus needs to be turned from that which is temporary, to the eternal. Eternal life is available to all that believe in Jesus. Continuing focus on the temporal, while ignoring Jesus, brings eternal death, or separation from God. As Paul wrote in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Eternal life is freely given by believing in Jesus. How much more important is that than temporary food?

Hear ye the glad good news from Heav’n?
Life to a death-doomed race is giv’n!
Christ on the cross for you and me
Purchased a pardon full and free.


He that believeth, he that believeth,
He that believeth hath everlasting life;
He that believeth, he that believeth,
He that believeth hath everlasting life.

When we were lost, the Son of God
Made an atonement by His blood:
When we the glad good news believe,
Then the atonement we receive.


Why not believe the glad good news?
Why still the voice of God refuse?
Why not believe, when God hath said,
All, all our guilt on Him was laid.

Refrain (Philip P. Bliss)

Mark 6:48

“And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.”

This is one of six instances in the book of Mark where people were afraid at Jesus’ presence. Each one was a revelation of Jesus’ might, and of Who He is.

The first is in Mark 4 at which time the Lord Jesus calmed the sea. Jesus and His disciples were on a boat, He was asleep in the stern. A storm arose that frightened even the fishermen. They woke Jesus, and He rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.” Mark 4:41 reveals that His followers feared exceedingly and said to one another, What manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him? This showed His power over nature.

The next is in Mark 5:15 where we read, “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.” Jesus healed a man who was possessed by two thousand demons. The beginning of the story tells that the man was uncontrolled, and uncontrollable. The people tried to chain him, but with no success. He was always crying aloud and cutting himself with stones. But, Jesus healed him. This showed His power over the supernatural.

Then there was the woman with the issue of blood. Mark says that she had this health problem for twelve years. And, she consulted physicians, and had spent all she had, and grew worse. Upon touching Jesus’ clothing, she was healed. In Mark 5:33 we read, “But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.” She told the whole story in the hearing of the crowd. This showed His power over physical ailments.

What brought Jesus down the road that day is shown in Mark 5:22 and 23. Jairus came to Him to appeal for the health of his twelve-year-old daughter, who was at the point of death. As soon as the woman was healed, people came from Jairus’ home and reported that his daughter had died. Why, they said, trouble the Master any further? Jesus told Jairus, “Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:36) It is certain that upon hearing this news Jairus’ first response would have been to fear. Though she had died, Jesus raised the girl from the dead. He showed His power over death.

In the verse above, Jesus walked on the water. Again, the disciples were on a boat on the sea, but this time Jesus was not with them. He was on a mountain praying. Having finished His time with His Father, Jesus walked to them on the sea. In the account we are told that they cried out, supposing they saw a spirit (Mark 6:49). Verse 50 tells us, “For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” This He showed His power over physical laws.

God’s power over physical laws is seen elsewhere in scripture. In Joshua 10:12, 13 we read, “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”

In Mark 9:6 Peter, James and John saw Jesus transfigured. Moses and Elijah, we are told, appeared and spoke with Jesus. Peter offered to build three tabernacles, one for Jesus, one for Elijah, and one for Moses, for, Peter didn’t know what to say, because they were sore afraid. Then a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.” In his telling of this story, Matthew revealed in Matthew 17:7 that after the voice, “… Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.” The apostles feared because they were in God’s presence! Jesus revealed to them His Divine Self; His power as God Himself.

In these six events Jesus showed His might over nature, the spiritual realm, physical ailments, death, physical laws, and ultimately, His authority as Almighty God. In each case, upon seeing His might, people feared. For believers, all of this might works on their behalf. Of what should we be afraid? Romans 8:28-30 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

A mind at perfect peace with God,
Oh! what a word is this!
A sinner reconciled through blood;
This, this indeed is peace!

By nature and by practice far,
How very far from God!
Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him,
Through faith in Jesus’ blood.

So near, so very near to God,
I cannot nearer be;
Yet in the person of His Son
I am as near as He.

So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love where with He loves the Son:
Such is His love to me!

Why should I ever careful be,
Since such a God is mine?
He watches o’er me night and day,
And tells me Mine is thine. (Horatius Bonar)