They Feared God and Served Their Graven Images
Assyria had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel.
The king of Assyria brought men in from other portions of his kingdom to live in the cities of Samaria...a common practice to establish presence.
As you read, watch for…
- what happened when they first lived there?
- why did the Lord cause this?
- what did the people do?
- what was the response of the king?
2 Kings 17:24-41
24 The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.
25 At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them which killed some of them.
26 So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations whom you have carried away into exile in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the god of the land; so he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them because they do not know the custom of the god of the land."
27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, "Take there one of the priests whom you carried away into exile and let him go and live there; and let him teach them the custom of the god of the land."
28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away into exile from Samaria came and lived at Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the Lord.
So, those imported to live in the cities of Samaria did not fear God. Therefore, the Lord sent lions among them to kill some of them!!
Even these pagans realized that something was happening. They spoke to the king. The king provided the solution by sending back a priests who knew “the custom of the god of the land”. The priest taught them how they should fear the Lord.
Some interesting things here.
The Lord God is the God of the land.
There is punishment for not adhering to the custom of the land.
Even those who did not “believe”, who were not of the “children of the Lord”, were to fear the Lord.
Now, watch what happens...this is important...
29 But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses of the high places which the people of Samaria had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived.
30 The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima,
31 and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech the gods of Sepharvaim.
32 They also feared the Lord and appointed from among themselves priests of the high places, who acted for them in the houses of the high places.
33 They feared the Lord and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile.
34 To this day they do according to the earlier customs: they do not fear the Lord, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances or the law, or the commandments which the Lord commanded the sons of Jacob, whom He named Israel;
35 with whom the Lord made a covenant and commanded them, saying, "You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down yourselves to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them. 36 "But the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice.
37 "The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall observe to do forever; and you shall not fear other gods.
38 "The covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods.
39 "But the Lord your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies."
40 However, they did not listen, but they did according to their earlier custom.
41 So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day.
Those of the nations did fear the Lord, yet they served their own gods.
Again, they feared the Lord yet served their own gods according to the custom of the nations.
I believe that many do that today.
Many fear the Lord, yet serve their own gods. They will acknowledge that God is real, yet they have not confessed nor repented unto salvation. They continue on as children of the nations, as offspring of the world, serving the gods of the evil one, destined for eternal separation from the Most High God…
Some others are like those that we see in verses 34-40. There is a shift of attention here. It looks like the Lord is speaking to the children of Israel who were refusing to walk in the covenant of Lord. They are not observing the ordinances and the law and the commandment of the Lord. They are tempted by the idols. They are not fearing the Lord. They are fearing the other gods!!
The Lord told His people to fear Him and to fear not the other gods - the idols.
They did not listen.
Many within the professing church do likewise. They claim a fear of the Lord, yet they are tempted by idols. They do not truly fear and serve the Lord.
They fear other gods rather than the Lord.
The nations feared God and served their idols.
The children of Israel did not fear God and feared the idols.
Be certain today to fear the Most High God.
Fear not the things of the world.
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Have had a couple of folk inquire as to how they can participate in the Judges study via distance. I’ll be posting a Video Synopsis of each lesson. If you would like to do the study, procure a workbook from Precept Ministries...the “Judges - Precept Upon Precept” book. Precept Ministries International:
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Today’s reading from the “So That’s Why” Bible consists of pp. 815-820.
Judges Are Wolves of the Night...
Israel was walking in rebellion to God.
So have we.
Jerusalem was rebellious, oppressive, defiled and refused the way of the Lord...trusting in themselves.
So does “Washington.”
Hear the Word of the Lord to His people/His city…
Woe to the city that is rebellious and defiled, the oppressive city!
2 She has not obeyed; she has not accepted discipline. She has not trusted in the Lord ; she has not drawn near to her God.
3 The princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are wolves of the night, which leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are reckless— treacherous men. Her priests profane the sanctuary; they do violence to instruction.
5 The righteous Lord is in her; He does no wrong. He applies His justice morning by morning; He does not fail at dawn, yet the one who does wrong knows no shame.
6 I have cut off nations; their corner towers are destroyed. I have laid waste their streets, with no one to pass through. Their cities lie devastated, without a person, without an inhabitant.
7 I thought: You will certainly fear Me and accept correction. Then her dwelling place would not be cut off based on all that I had allocated to her. However, they became more corrupt in all their actions.
8 Therefore, wait for Me— the Lord 's declaration— until the day I rise up for plunder. For My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, in order to pour out My indignation on them, all My burning anger; for the whole earth will be consumed by the fire of My jealousy.
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 by Holman Bible Publishers.)
So, the city of the Lord was…
She did not...
- accept discipline
- trust in the Lord
- draw near to God
- the princes within her are roaring lions
- her judges are wolves of the night, which leave nothing for the morning...all consuming...the nomination of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is what precipitated this line of thought…
- her prophets are reckless, treacherous men
- her priests profane the sanctuary, the do violence to truth...to instruction
The state of affairs was grave.
So it is today.
Leadership is corrupt...political...local, state, national.
Leadership within the “church” is no better.
Still, we are not to fear. We are not to worry.
- the righteousness of the Lord is here
- the Lord does not wrong
- the Lord applies justice in the morning
- the Lord does not fail
Therefore, wait upon the Lord. The day is coming when He will…
- cut off the nations
- lay waste their streets
- devastate cities
- rise up in plunder
- gather the nations, to assemble the kingdoms in order to pour out His indignation, anger and wrath, for the whole earth will be consumed by the fire of His jealosy!!
Are you ready?
In Whom do you trust?
In Whom do you live and breath and have your very being?
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Also, the balance of the Joshua video synopsis is available...all 7 lessons online.
Joshua Video Synopsis
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We are beginning a study in “Judges” this week...how appropriate…
“An Evil Time - Part 3”
In our earlier times together we have seen that we are living in evil times.
The Word of the Lord reveals such.
Now, the question that comes is “what are we to do?”
Are we to live in fear? (No!!)
Are we to sit back and watch it all happen? (No!)
Hear the Word of the Lord…
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
We are not to be ashamed in the evil time...but, we do a tremendous disservice to the Word and ourselves if we do not look at the entire context of this phrase. You would do well to read Psalm 37 today. Here is a portion. I’ve underlined the things that we are to do in evil times…
1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord , and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord ; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord ; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord , and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord , they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.
18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
Therefore, we are to:
- Fret not
- Be not envious
- Trust in the Lord
- Do good
- Delight ourselves in the Lord
- Commit our ways to the Lord
- Rest in the Lord
- Wait patiently upon the Lord
- Cease from anger
- Forsake wrath
- Remember that it is the Lord who upholds the righteous, that provides our everlasting inheritance
The wicked will receive their reward.
We are to live as the Lord commanded.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Let us do so!
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“An Evil Time - Part 3”
We continue our examination of a phrase that is seen several times in the Scripture - “an evil time”.
In reading the context we have seen that the pattern of sin is that which we see today.
Truly, nothing is new.
Read this passage…
1 Woe to those who devise iniquity, And work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, Because it is in the power of their hand.
2 They covet fields and take them by violence, Also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, A man and his inheritance.
3 Therefore thus says the Lord : "Behold, against this family I am devising disaster, From which you cannot remove your necks; Nor shall you walk haughtily, For this is an evil time.
4 In that day one shall take up a proverb against you, And lament with a bitter lamentation, saying: 'We are utterly destroyed! He has changed the heritage of my people; How He has removed it from me! To a turncoat He has divided our fields.'"
5 Therefore you will have no one to determine boundaries* by lot In the assembly of the Lord .
We learn some things about evil and those who commit it…
- there are those who devise iniquity, they work out evil on their beds. All during the night their mind is raging as they work through the planning of evil, iniquity and the like. Woe is coming upon them.
- these put into practice in broad daylight that which was planned upon the night bed
- they are able to do this evil because it is within their hands to do so...yet, there day of woe is coming
Look at what they do…
- they covet fields
- they take fields by violence (in our jurisprudence this is done through eminent domain...a much-abused power)
- they oppress a man and his house by taking the land and house..this effects not only the immediately family but the inheritance also...the generations to come
As we have seen previously, we are to fear not. We are to trust in God.
We also see a couple of other things.
- Woe is coming there way
- The Lord is devising a disaster for them!
Government and leadership steal under the guise of the law.
But, fear not.
Revenge is the Lord’s.
1 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.
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“An Evil Time - Part 2”
Throughout the Word of God we see descriptions of what the Lord calls “an evil time.”
Hear the Word from the prophet Micah.
1 Woe is me! For I am Like the fruit pickers, like the grape gatherers. There is not a cluster of grapes to eat, Or a first-ripe fig which I crave.
2 The godly person has perished from the land, And there is no upright person among men. All of them lie in wait for bloodshed; Each of them hunts the other with a net.
3 Concerning evil, both hands do it well. The prince asks, also the judge, for a bribe, And a great man speaks the desire of his soul; So they weave it together.
4 The best of them is like a briar, The most upright like a thorn hedge. The day when you post your watchmen, Your punishment will come. Then their confusion will occur.
5 Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips.
6 For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man's enemies are the men of his own household.
God Is the Source of Salvation and Light
7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord ; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.
8 Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.
9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the blight, And I will see His righteousness.
I find this description sadly familiar.
The evil time is a time when…
- the godly person has perished from the land
- there is no upright person among men
- all lie in wait for bloodshed
- they hunt each other...seeking to set traps
- concerning evil...it is overt...there is not even the attempt to “look good” with one hand and do evil with the other. Both hands do evil equally well. The pursuit of evil is without restraint.
- The prince asks, the judge bribes, the great man speaks the desire of his soul...so, they weave it together. The leadership is in cahoots to bring forth evil...sounds like the leadership we are experiencing. The best of the leadership is like a briar...the most upright is a thorn hedge...whoa!!...yet, there punishment will come.
- no neighbor can be trusted
- there is no confidence in a friend
- one must even guard his lips from his wife
- sons treat fathers contemptuously
- daughters rise up against mothers
- daughter-in-law against mother-in-law
- A man’s enemies are the men of his own household!! Jesus told us of such…
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
This was the Lord’s description of evil in the day…
The same is happening today.
Evil men abound.
Without the Lord.
As for me…
I will watch expectantly for the Lord.
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Though I fall I will arise.
Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is with me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I sinned against Him. He forgives, but I may have to bear the fruit of the sin…
God will plead my case.
God will execute justice for me.
God will bring me out to the light.
Do not rejoice over me enemy.
I will see the righteousness of the Lord!!
“An Evil Time”
If you have been reading with us through the chronological Bible then you have spent some time in hearing the words of the “minor” (not a reference to importance, rather to length of book) prophets…Amos, Micah, etc.
I am certain that the Spirit of the Lord has been showing you truths.
One particular phrase leapt out at me.
I believe that it is a word from the Lord for us and the land in which we live.
“...for it is an evil time.”
Here is the context.
The Lord was speaking through Micah declaring that Israel was to fall - the northern Kingdom. Yet, the Lord, told them what to do.
Read, listen, give heed.
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: "Seek Me and live;
5 But do not seek Bethel, Nor enter Gilgal, Nor pass over to Beersheba; For Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, And Bethel shall come to nothing.
6 Seek the Lord and live, Lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, And devour it, With no one to quench it in Bethel —
7 You who turn justice to wormwood, And lay righteousness to rest in the earth!"
8 He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning And makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth; The Lord is His name.
9 He rains ruin upon the strong, So that fury comes upon the fortress.
10 They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, And they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.
11 Therefore, because you tread down the poor And take grain taxes from him, Though you have built houses of hewn stone, Yet you shall not dwell in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, But you shall not drink wine from them.
12 For I know your manifold transgressions And your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; Diverting the poor from justice at the gate.
13 Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, For it is an evil time.
14 Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the Lord God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken.
15 Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
The Lord gives them/us the Word of encouragement and hope at the beginning… and at the end.
Seek Me and live!
Again, He says...
Seek the Lord and live!
At the end of the passage He says to seek good, not evil, that you may live...to hate evil, to love good, to establish justice.
The Lord God of Hosts will be with you.
Great words of truth and encouragement, yet most choose not to live by them.
The Lord told them not to seek Bethel, Gilgal, Beersheba and the like. This simply means that we are not to put our trust in the power of man...great cities and civilization…nor in the power of man-made religion or man-made attempts to reach God.
We are to remember that the Lord created all that is...the Pleiades and Orion… constellations of stars. Sadly, most do not believe this. Many professing to be of the Body of Christ do not believe. They believe the lies of satan over the truths of God.
It is the Lord who created the heavens.
It is the Lord who controls day and night.
It is the Lord who established the hydrological cycle - “waters of the sea and pours them upon the face of the earth.”
The Lord is His name.
We must trust in Him alone.
But, know this.
The world will “hate the one who rebukes in the gate.” This speaks of the one who will declares the truth to the elders, the leadership. The one who will boldly proclaim the distinction between evil and good.
They will abhor the one who speaks uprightly. Don’t believe it? Ask “Miss California”.
They will tread down the poor.
They will take grain taxes from them...we live in a state where this occurs...our food is taxed. Think on that for awhile.
It is so bad that the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time.
Therefore, an evil time is a time when…
- God is not sought
- The Word of the Lord is rejected
- The fact that God created is denied
- Righteousness is rejected
- Those who speak forth uprightly are abhored and hated
- Sin abounds
- The poor are treaded down through grain taxes
- The just are afflicted
- Bribes abound
- Justice is rejected...especially for the poor.
We live in evil times.
They will increase. (Can’t wait to see if the president will accept an invitation to speak from one of the most important Mosque in the word...in Egypt...this could reveal much.
Yet, Who knows.
Establish justice in the gate (in political leadership and courts).
It may be that the Lord God of Hosts will be gracious to us.
Today’s reading from the “So That’s Why” Bible consists of pp. 730-734.
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Hope to send to manufacturer this week. One more tweaking session tomorrow!
You can check out a “beta” version at http://www.myspace.com/victoryparkmusic
Also, let us know if you would like to have the group come for a time of corporate worship with your portion of the Body of Christ...we have several times upcoming soon.