Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Isaiah 10:15-19

 Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,

 or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?

 As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,

or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!

 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,

and under his glory a burning will be kindled,

 like the burning of fire.

 The light of Israel will become a fire,

 and his Holy One a flame,

 and it will burn and devour

his thorns and briers in one day.

 The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land

 the LORD will destroy,

 both soul and body,

and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.

  The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few

that a child can write them down.

Narrow is the way and few there be that find it – Jesus

A mighty nation made up of many nations is likened to a forest of many trees.  The king who was used to punish Israel is compared to an axe in God’s hands used as an instrument of judgment.  And the axe begins to boast of its strength…

Do we not fully realize who God is?  Would we as the axe and rod in this passage elevate ourselves over the one who created us?  The king became arrogant and haughty, taking credit for what had been accomplished; the conqueror of many nations.  Did he not know God?  Did he not realize who it was that used him for His will?  Perhaps not, perhaps so.  Either way he was not now giving credit to the God who made him strong but taking credit for his own strength.  God now turns to him and requires of him an accounting.  We cannot boast of our own deeds as if we were responsible for our accomplishments without honoring the one who gave us the abilities to do what we have done.  Did we create ourselves?

And now, God levies that same judgment against the king who was used to deliver God’s punishment against Israel.  The message is quite clear; God hates and does not tolerate haughtiness and arrogance.  There is a spiritual law at work here.  There are consequences for breaking laws.  Jump from a high place; we will go down and suffer harm.  Would we the created count ourselves greater than the Creator?  There are consequences that follow such an attitude, such behavior.

We can learn from this.  We can be sure to honor our Creator and Savior.  We can be grateful for the graces and gifts he has given us.  We serve an awesome God who is capable of mighty things; who has set in motion laws of nature and spirit that we at times cannot fathom.  We can know and honor who He is and what He does.  We can be aware of His love and mercy to those who acknowledge Him.

Will we be the remnant who stand, who will not compromise, who will acknowledge the God of the universe and will remain true to Him giving Him honor and glory, receiving His grace.

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Shedding tears…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 119 Pe vs 129-136

Your testimonies are wonderful;

therefore my soul keeps them.

The unfolding of your words gives light;

it imparts understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant,

because I long for your commandments.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,

as is your way with those who love your name.

Keep steady my steps according to your promise,

and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Redeem me from man’s oppression,

that I may keep your precepts.

Make your face shine upon your servant,

and teach me your statutes.

My eyes shed streams of tears,

because people do not keep your law.

“… The unfolding of your words gives light; …”

As understanding comes from the Holy Spirit it truly is as if a light has come one; not instantly but bit by bit as if unfolding before us, this part then that.  And the light guides the steps we take when we are both alert and willing.

Is it possible to be enclosed in darkness and not be aware of it?  Absolutely and many who believe find themselves in that place because they are unawares.  Unaware of the sources of darkness that continually bombard us till we buy into the false ways of men.

“…let no iniquity get dominion over me. …” “… Redeem me from man’s oppression, …”

There is the oppression of constant thoughts and suggestions posed by the voices around us.  They can lead us into iniquity that binds us and blinds us.  We are in constant need of the unfolding light that

“…imparts understanding to the simple. …” 

We do not have to be highly educated; that can be a hindrance, we only need to spend time with the Words of God, asking for his illumination.

  “…Make your face shine upon your servant, …”

Let us then, continue the journey seeking the face of God for wisdom and guidance.  Let us be willing to share what we learn and receive with those who cross our paths.  We can truly say with the psalmist that our eyes shed tears because people do not keep His law, they do not love God and they do not love their fellow-man.  It is becoming a world that seeks its own; its own ways, its own authority, its own desires without thought for the consequences to themselves and to those around them.  We are in a world that has rejected God the creator and would erase all knowledge of Him if possible.  This impacts us and our children, our loved ones.  We cannot be caught unawares; we cannot be caught silent.  Stand therefore; stand firm in the faith that God is over all; God loves and God redeems.  Stand and share…

“…My eyes shed streams of tears,

because people do not keep your law….”  

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Stand…

Daniel 3:1-12

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

7 So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. 9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; 11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=3&v=1&t=NKJVP>

How would today’s believers react to such a command?  Would our trust in God be such we also would refuse to worship something other than God, even upon pain of death?  It may be true that some of us do worship another  without such a command.  Is there anything in our lives that holds a greater command over us than the Lord?  Some in countries  where believers face persecution there have been those who have had to choose and have chosen God.  They have paid dearly for their choice.  Others have been miraculously spared.  Our reflection  and meditation is to search our hearts to see if we would choose God also.  Also see if there be any wicked way in us; is there a god who holds  sway over us other than the Lord God Jehovah?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood out from the crowd.  They took a stand to trust God over the king.  They knew the cost and did not justify a compromise.  God’s people were here, in exile, because they had strayed from Him and were worshipping other gods.  For the majority it wasn’t hard to compromise in order to live.  These four men knew God and understood the test.  Sometimes when we compromise we are no different from the rest of Israel who did not stand for God.  These four literally stood for God.  O that we would believe God as these did so that we will stand for Him when and if the time comes!

Resolve…to stand…respectfully

Daniel 1

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.

3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

11 So Daniel said to the steward [fn1] whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed [fn2] them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=1&t=nkjvp>

“…But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself …”…during a time of  his life that he could accurately claim was a dark period, Daniel resolved/purposed in his heart, and became a light in that darkness.  His trust was not in the legal system, the political system,, the economic system; it was in the  Lord God Jehovah.  He could correctly be called a slave; he was owned by the king; he was among the spoils of war and conquest.  Yet he did not compromise even under these conditions. He did not justify going with the flow and he did not fight back.  He spoke with respect and made a request.  God honored his trust; the trust in God showed in his demeanor and attitude.  As a result, his request was granted and God’s light was permitted to shine through these young men in their dark hour.

Take away:  even though our times may seem dark, may seem as if the ‘rule’ is anti-God, we can resolve not to defile ourselves.  We can place our trust in God alone; not in mankind’s economic, political, or legal systems.  We do not have to despair but rather resolve to stand, in a respectful and honorable attitude.    The Lord delivered these men into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands; they probably voted against him, but no fear, no despair, they continued in their dark hour to stand for what was righteous and just and they did so  respectfully.

For this we face hostility

Acts 26:19-23

“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,  but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

 Repent, turn to God, let your deeds prove your repentance.  This is the message that can cause rage in mankind.  Why?  It points to their weaknesses, shortcomings, failures.  We do not like when the finger is pointed in our direction.  Mankind has a system they follow and for verification that their system is ‘OK’ they want all to follow it.  When anyone comes along with a different system or idea, they want to put them out, get rid of them.  This involves the spiritual as well and when we include the spiritual, we are meddling with the enemy of creation.  Does this hinder us?  No, with Paul we continue to stand and share.  The power behind the gospel is greater and able to keep.  It is the Spirit of the Lord that draws and changes mankind.  We are the agents sharing.  Therefore as often happens, it is the messenger that receives the reaction.  We can remember that and go on with our assignment.  We can continue to share what we have received.

Stand, share, serve…

Acts 26:9-18

“Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.  And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now  send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

 Stand, share, serve, send, all to receive forgiveness of sins and have an inheritance as a result of faith.  The word is given to us all, the commission becomes ours with salvation.  We too are to stand with Paul in service to the Lord who died for us.  We too are to share as Paul shared what we are given, from the Word and from our own relationship with Christ.  We too can be a part of sending the  message to those who will receive it, we will be a part of eyes opening, people moving from darkness to light.  We can be in a place to see the work the Lord will do as we are faithful to live daily the life he has given us.

 We can be encouraged by Paul’s experiences.  They show us we serve an awesome God and there is no telling where He might place us.  They show us that He protects and provides.  They show us the example of one who demonstrates commitment, perseverance and what a life of faith looks like.  Let us stand with Paul and share with others the word we are given that brings light and life.