Thank You Father for giving us Your word. May everyone hear the word of the Lord & give ear to the instruction of our God (1:10). Guide each of us to cease evil, learn to do good & seek justice (1:16-17). Thank You for taking our sins as scarlet & making them as white as snow (1:18). Urge us Lord, our rulers & companions also, to be righteous in Your eyes (1:23 & 26). To all who forsake the Lord, I command their hearts & minds open to You, so that they shall not come to an end (1:28). Oh God, without You as our living water, even a strong man will become tinder, his work also a spark (1:31).
Thank You God for teaching us concerning Your ways so that we may walk in Your paths (2:3). Nation no longer lifts up sword against nation. Never again do we learn war! Praise God, we walk in the light of the Lord (2:4-5). Our pride & loftiness is humbled, You are exalted & idols completely vanish (2:17-18), praise the Lord!
In You, we do not oppress each other but we uplift & lovingly guide each other to You (3:5) through speech & actions that are for & not against You (3:8). Thank You dear God for providing shade from the heat & a refuge from storms (4:6).
Give us strength & courage to stop with truth, those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood & sin as if with cart ropes (5:18). Thank You God for straightening out any confusion among us about what is evil & what is good (5:20). Keep us relying on You instead of being wise in our own eyes & clever in our own sight (5:21). Thank You for bringing us to work together to establish Your peace & light in the darkness & distress of this land (5:30).
Lord, we see You with our eyes, hear You with our ears, understand You with our hearts & return to You, the lost & sick & we are healed (6:10). In Your word, You tell us: "Take care, be calm, have no fear & do not be fainthearted ..."(7:4). Almighty Father, You gave us a sign! A virgin bore a son & she called His name Immanuel. Praise the Lord, He knows to refuse evil & choose good (7:14-15).
Dear God, Thank You for being with us (8:10). You tell us that we are not to fear what the world fears or be in dread of it (8:12). You shall be our fear then You shall become a sanctuary (8:13-14). Commit Your work of good & truth among all mediums & spiritists to consult You rather than the dead on behalf of the living (8:19).
Thank You Father for making all people who walk in darkness see a great light (9:2) & for breaking the yoke of their burden (9:4). I pray that the government rest's well on the shoulders of Your Son, our Lord Jesus, who was given to us. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, praise the Lord that there is no end to the increase of Your government or of peace (9:6-7).
In Jesus name, I cast away false teachings that try to lead us astray (9:16). Thank you for burning up & dissolving the wickedness within each of us. Consume with fire the briars & thorns that entangle, oppress & hurt us (9:18). Faithful Father, Your hand is still stretched out & we praise You (9:21)! Woe to those who deprive the needy of justice & rob the poor of their rights. Urge us to protect & care for the widows & orphans, Lord (10:2) like You do, as one gathers abandoned eggs, You gather all the earth, (10:14), glory be to God. Blessed is the day we all truly rely on the Lord (10:20) & delight in the fear of the Lord (11:3).
Praise You Father, deciding with fairness for the afflicted of the earth & with the breath of Your lips, slaying the wicked (11:4). We will not hurt or destroy in all Your holy mountain as the earth is filled up with the knowledge of the Lord (11:9). I give thanks to Thee, O Lord; Thine anger is turned away & Thou comforts me (12:1). You are my salvation; I trust & am not afraid. For the Lord God is my strength & song (12:2).
We learn from long ago, in the day of the Lord, when hands fell limp, hearts melted, pains & anguish took hold (13:6-8) & sinners were exterminated from the land (13:9). You punished the world for its evil, the wicked for their iniquity & put an end to the arrogance of the proud (13:11). Mortal man became scarcer than pure gold (13:12) in the day of Your burning anger (13:13).
Blessed is the day Lord, when You give us rest from pain, turmoil & harsh service (14:3). The whole earth is at rest & is quiet, breaking forth into shouts of joy (14:7)! Those who are most helpless, eat & the needy lie down in security (14:30). The afflicted of Your people, find refuge (14:32). Amen! Thank You God for establishing Your throne of loving-kindness (16:5).
I pray that all people have regard for You, their Maker (17:7). Because we know You are God of salvation & the rock of refuge (17:10), the harvest will not be a heap in a day of sickliness & incurable pain (17:11). Thanks be to God for sending a Savior & a Champion to deliver us (19:20). Striking Egypt but healing, they returned to You (19:22).
Your power within me overcomes pain that attempts to seize me. Once so bewildered, I could not hear, so terrified I could not see; mind reeling, horror overwhelming (21:3-4) --No more; it is finished! I've turned up the volume of Your Holy Spirit in me & turn down the volume of my flesh. Pain is gone now in the name of Jesus. Chronic pain & illness have no place in my life. Yes, I want to be well Lord & I'm ready; thank You for healing me, amen!
The earth, polluted by its inhabitants' transgressing laws, violating statutes & breaking everlasting covenants (24:5), has been washed in the curse-breaking blood of Jesus. He has redeemed us & now we work earnestly, cleaning up & stewarding God's creation righteously. Thank you God for swallowing up death for all time & wiping tears away from all faces (25:8). You are our God for whom we waited & now you've saved us. We rejoice & are glad in Your salvation (25:9)!
The steadfast of mind, Thou keeps in perfect peace because he trusts in Thee (26:3). I trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock (26:4). The way of the righteous is smooth (26:7). Indeed my spirit seeks Thee diligently (26:9).
When earth experiences Thy judgements, inhabitants of the world learn righteousness, especially the wicked & everyone perceives the majesty of the Lord (26:9-10). When Your chastising is upon us & we seek Thee in distress, only whispering a prayer (26:16), please have mercy Lord, in just the right amount. For You know each of our hearts better than we know ourselves. Hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers (28:14). The multitude of the ruthless ones are like the chaff which blows away (29:5).
Thank You God for laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed (28:16). Bless You for instructing & teaching us properly (28:26). Your counsel is wonderful & Your wisdom is great (28:29).
Help us not get ourselves into trouble with You Lord pouring over us a spirit of deep sleep, shutting prophets eyes & covering the heads of seers (29:10). Walking in obedience of Your way, with Your healing power, the deaf hear words in a book & out of their darkness, the eyes of the blind, see (29:18). Praise the Lord! Today is the day that the afflicted increase their gladness in the Lord & the needy rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (29:19). All who are intent on doing evil are cut off (29:20), those who err in mind now know the truth & those who criticize, accept instruction (29:24). Woe to those who execute plans that are not Yours & make alliance not of Your Spirit, adding sin to sin (30:1).
Bless God that it is so, in repentance & rest we are saved; in quietness & trust is Your strength (30:15). You long to be gracious to us. You wait on high to have compassion on us. For You are a God of justice. How blessed are all those who long for You (30:18). Although Lord, You gave us bread of privation & water of oppression, You, our Teacher no longer hide Yourself. Our eyes behold You, our Teacher & our ears hear a word behind us "This is the way, walk in it" whenever we turn to the right or to the left (30:20-21). We say to graven images "Be gone!" (30:22). Thank you God for binding up the fracture of Your people & healing the bruise You inflicted (30:26). You Lord cause the voice of Your authority to be heard, amen (30:30)!
Your Spirit is poured out upon us from on high (32:15). The work of righteousness is peace & the service of righteousness, quietness & confidence forever (32:17). Blessed are we who sow beside all waters (32:20). God, You are the stability of our times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom & knowledge. The fear of the Lord is our treasure (33:6). Sinners are terrified, Lord. Trembling has seized the godless. "Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?" (33:14). Let us take Your strength, courage & words leading them to Your salvation.
Glory to God that all who walk righteously, speak with sincerity & reject unjust gain (33:15), dwell on the heights. Our refuge is the impregnable rock. Our bread is given & our water is sure (33:16). Lord, You are our judge, our lawgiver, our King & You save us (33:22)! No resident says "I am sick." The people who dwell here are forgiven their iniquity (33:24). We encourage the exhausted & strengthen the feeble (35:3). We say to those with anxious heart: "Take courage, fear not. Behold, God comes with vengeance & saves you." (35:4). The eyes of the blind are opened. The ears of the deaf are unstopped (35:5). The lame leap like a dear. The tongues of those who can not speak, shout for joy (35:6). Thirsty ground springs of water (35:7). This Highway of Holiness is for all who walk this way (35:8). The redeemed walk here (35:9). Gladness & joy are found & sorrow & sighing flee away (35:10).
Thou art God of all kingdoms on earth. Thou has made heaven & earth (37:16). In Your name, we deliver ourselves & others from evil & all kingdoms of earth know that Thou alone, Lord, art God (37:20). You know our sitting down, our going out & our coming in (37:28). Because of our arrogance, You put Your hook in our noses & Your bridle in our lips (37:29).
As Hezekiah prayed, I pray also: "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee. I have walked before Thee in truth, with a whole heart & have done what is good in Thy sight." (38:3). You heard his prayer, saw his tears & behold, You added fifteen years to his life (38:5). Likewise, You heal my body of physical disease making me the long-living, healthy new creation You created me to be! When any of us moan like doves & feel oppressed, be our security (38:14). Restore us to health & let us live (38:16)! Thank You for keeping my soul from the pit of nothingness & casting all my sins behind Thy back (38:17). Thank You Father for these days of peace & truth (39:8). Amen!
The books of Kings & Chronicles have taken me much longer to read through than the Gospels, the beautiful flowing poetry of the Psalms & wisdom oriented books such as Job. These two Bible verses (2 Kings 17:13-14) & writing this blog is inspiring me to look closer at the bigger picture & Biblical time line of events to orient myself. From 1050 to 586 B.C. there were forty-two kings & one queen (Athaliah) ruling over Israel & Judah. Apparently, only seven of them acted in ways that were pleasing to the Lord for some portion of their command!
Evil leadership is not surprising really, given our sinful natures (“As it is written: there is no one righteous, not even one." Romans 3:10). Those 464 years of kings' reign during the ancient world, are they really much different than present day's ruling class? Sadly, maybe not so much. Before the coming & death of Christ, there were many Godly laws - some consensus says there are 613 recorded throughout the old testament. Of these, most people know the moral laws; the ten commandments, (which Jesus summarizes in Mark & Matthew (22:38-39) by pointing out the primacy of 1a. & b.) These instructions from God are woven into our DNA & the fabric of our society yet claiming this is now taboo.
1a). You shall have no other gods before Me.
b). Love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:30-31)
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
Whether we are kings, pastors or just regular people, past or present, try as we might, no one can keep one hundred percent free from breaking any of these rules & thus committing sin & doing evil in the sight of the Lord. And so out of love for us, God gave us a way of salvation out of the "prison of sin" through His son, the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the new covenant. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.
I love the simplicity of how the author of "God's Ten Laws" puts it:
"Jesus fulfilled the purpose of the temple, and became the new door through which to come to God. People no longer had to come to the temple and offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. Now they would come to the new Temple – Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Shortly after Jesus’ ascension into heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all who would trust in Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 we are told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit – the place in which He dwells...."
"A believer’s mission is not to obey the Ten Commandments – that is old covenant thinking and it proved inadequate (which was its purpose). A believer’s mission is to ..."
be moved by the Holy Spirit as described in Ezekiel 36:27 "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." The difference in these missions is about intent. The new covenant is not about virtue signaling, compliance or works for self gain, rather, it's about love: "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for entering & reigning over our hearts & letting your Kingdom come through us to Earth as it is in Heaven. Lord, please help me up when I am discouraged about injustice & evil and when I don't see actionable ways Christianity is flourishing. When I'm concerned wondering where & how is your Holy Spirit moving us? When I am blind to the Kingdom's expansion & fortification by your grace, power & glory Lord, please clear my vision & place me safely wherever you want me. Equip me Father with all the fruits of the Spirit I need.
I Lord, do not know much yet about all this but YOU know & I trust you. You are always working your good & divine, almighty plan. Your love holds us steady in Faith & I thank you. Come Holy Spirit, come! Please Lord, banish everything that obstructs the Holy Spirit from fully filling, purifying, refining & moving all Christians to do YOUR will on Earth as it is in Heaven. Lord, I pray that the Holy Spirit moves deeply & undoubtedly into the hearts & lives of those who do not yet know you personally & those who have gone astray. God, please leave the ninety nine to reunite one more lost sheep as you did with me. I pray all this in Jesus precious name. Amen!