Exceedingly Precious Promises
Wednesday, 16 February 2005
One God Alone
Now Playing: Are we reverent toward God who is over all ?
Topic: Warnings
"And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him." 1 Samuel 5:3

Periodically in history God chooses to reveal in dramatic fashion that He alone is God. When the shepherd boy David took on the mighty giant Goliath, he was confident of victory, knowing that the Lord would deliver the giant into his hand, "that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:46). When Sennacherib, King of Assyria, threatened Jerusalem with invasion, King Hezekiah was reminded that the gods of all the cities that fell before Jerusalem were unable to stay the Assyrian armies. Hezekiah fell before the Lord in prayer and said, "O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth" (2 Kings 19:15). When Jehovah wills, He elevates Himself over all the false gods of the earth and proves that there is no God but Jehovah.

When Eli the priest was old and Samuel still young, God chose to show His superiority over the gods of the Philistines. With Israel encamped at Ebenezer and the Philistines at Aphek, a mighty battle ensued. Israel was defeated and lost 4,000 men in the fray. This completely devastated the Israelites, for they remembered the mighty deeds which God had performed against their enemies in the past. Why was He not smiling on them now? Had Jehovah abandoned them? If so, how could they take Him into battle? They hit upon a plan.

"Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that when it cometh among us it may save us out of the hand of our enemies" (1 Samuel 4:3). They clung to the superstitious hope that the mere symbol of God's presence would be enough to bring them to victory. It wasn't. In the second battle 30,000 men were slain, among them Hophni and Phinehas, the licentious sons of Eli. But even worse, the ark of the covenant was seized by the hated enemy of Israel.

The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to Ashdod, to the house of Dagon their god. Here the ark was placed before the idol. That night the Ashdodites slept with the sleep of sweet revenge.

Early on the morrow the Philistines arose to savor their victory (l Samuel 5:3). But Jehovah God was up long before the Philistines arose; and when they entered the temple of their god, they saw Dagon fallen on his face before the ark of the Lord. It was the height of humiliation. It was as if Dagon had prostrated himself before the symbol of Jehovah. Quickly they returned the idol to its place and all the Ashdodites breathed a sigh of relief.

But once again Jehovah arose long before the Philistines for "when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD" (1 Samuel 5:4). To add injury to insult, the head of the statue and both of its hands were broken off; so that only the stump of Dagon was left.

God allowed the ark to be captured by the Philistines to punish His superstitious people. But even in their punishment Jehovah was still jealous of His glory; and when the Philistines should have been savoring their victory, they were swallowing their pride.

Dagon was no match for Jehovah. The Philistines were learning what David had learned, what we all must learn. "Among the gods there is none like unto Thee, O LORD. . . . For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone" (Psalm 86:8,10). Since our God alone is God, let's praise Him today all the day long. We have a God who is a God of gods and worthy of our praise.

MORNING HYMN

A mighty fortress is our God,

A bulwark never failing;

Our helper He amid the flood

Of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe

Doth seek to work us woe

His craft and pow'r are great,

And armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr0 at 12:17 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2005 10:54 AM EST
Friday, 4 February 2005
Noisy Distractions
Now Playing: Do we listen to distractions or God's guidance ?
Topic: Warnings
Deceived by the Noise

"And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, 'There is a noise of war in the camp.' But [Moses] said: 'It is not the voice of those who shout in victory, nor is it the voice of those who cry out in defeat, but the voice of those who sing that I hear'." (Exodus 32:17-18)

Deceived by the Noise

Lost in the jungle, a man sought desperately to find his way to safety. His strength was ebbing fast. Suddenly he heard what he thought was a bell tolling in the distance. Surely civilization must be near by. Valiantly he struggled on, but never seemed to draw closer to the sound. Finally he fell to the ground exhausted, never to rise again. The uncanny call of the South American bellbird, which sounds like a reverberating "toll," had struck again. Instead of offering the weary traveler promised safety, it lured him to his death.

Joshua made a similar mistake. When he heard the sounds of shouting, his military mind immediately assumed he was hearing the sounds of battle. But Moses, experienced in the ways of human nature, realized it was something even more sinister. What Joshua mistook for the sounds of potential physical danger, Moses recognized as the sure sounds of serious moral danger. Instead of war, it was the noise of debauchery and immorality.

Satan is a skilled noisemaker, and he loves to disguise the reality of sin with deceitful noise. He cloaks his wicked ways with words that sound lofty and noble. He hides his lies and deceit beneath raucous laughter, emotional appeals or apparent sincerity. The consequences, however, are spiritual disaster or even death.

Don't be fooled by the noise. Always take what you hear back to the Word of God. If it's not consistent with the Bible, take no heed to it no matter how good it sounds.

Check out the words you hear by the Word you trust.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr0 at 3:35 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2005 10:56 AM EST
Wednesday, 19 January 2005
Effects of Selfishness
Now Playing: Are we putting God's plan first, or following our own wishes ?
Topic: Warnings
The Effects of Selfishness

Genesis 27:30-37

Isaac is suddenly awakened to his failure to heed God's plan. When Isaac learned that the last son to appear to him was actually Esau, he "trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed" (Gen. 27:33).

The key to Isaac's faith is that after he realized what he had done, he emphasized that the blessing would remain Jacob's--"and he shall be blessed." Although we can never thwart God's plan, we can reap bitter results by sowing to the flesh. God's Word says that "he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal. 6:8).

Although Isaac did not upset the plan of God, he reaped serious results from what he had sown. Jacob had to flee from home as a result of his conniving. Rebekah never saw Jacob again because she died before he returned. Even though Isaac lived another 43 years after the incident of the blessing, nothing else is recorded about him except his death. After sending Jacob away, Isaac disappeared from the biblical scene.

About 30 years later Jacob saw his father again, but his mother had already died. The entire family was affected because they had sown to the flesh. They had sought their selfish desires rather than seeking to please God.

"In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves" (2 Tim. 3:1,2).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 8:57 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 21 February 2005 4:09 PM EST

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