Digging The Word

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"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure."
 

 

Light Of The World

The Bible proves that Jesus is the light that we need.

 

John 1:4-5  The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 8:12  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

John 12:35-36  Jesus replied, "My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.  36  Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light." After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.

John 12:46  I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.

There has been nothing but darkness in the land, the Bible and world history tell us that when Jesus came to our world it was a very dark time. The world was in turmoil as various conquering empires came and then they became the conquered.

After the Babylonian captivity the Jews had to deal with the Persians and the Greeks and finally the Romans came along. Each of these groups brought wars to Israel, changes in government and attempts to change their religious beliefs. On top of all of that the Bible shows us a four hundred year gap in between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The people of Israel had been through a lot of suffering, harassment and there was only one thing to hope for. May the Messiah would come.

The Bible tells us that at just the right time Jesus came into our world. (Romans 5:6, Galatians 4:4) I have to wonder if maybe part of it being the right time meant that the world was so dark that surely the people would take notice of the Light and come running to it. 

Man has an appetite for darkness and his passions will push him further and further into the dark as he continues to look for what he is missing. We keep looking for the good life where it cannot be found. Even if we say that we hate the dark and the lost, desperate situation we are in we still have a carnal desire to plunge deeper and deeper into the blackness to find our own answers.

Suddenly, in this dark world where immorality, injustice, and sin is glorified, where separation, death, sorrow, and hopelessness reign, the darkness is shattered and it happens just like the prophet Isaiah said that it would. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

Matthew 4:12-16 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13 He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:  

15 "In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined."

The Great Light appears and it cannot be hidden, Jesus gave light to everyone, too bad that everyone didn't welcome the light. Some people are happy with Jesus as long as he keeps providing free lunch and healthcare. There are some that cannot stand to be around him and they run from the light just like the Pharisees that turned and left the adulterous woman at Jesus feet. (John 8:7-9)

Jesus is teaching in the Temple the day after the seven day long Feast of Tabernacles. During the Feast Jesus was the focus of a large commotion which grew when Jesus told the crowds that he is the source of living water. (John 7:37-38)

During the Feast of Tabernacles a priest went to the Pool of Siloam, drew water in a golden pitcher, and returned to the temple, and poured it out at the base of the altar. This part of the feast commemorated God’s provision of water from the rock that sustained Israel during their stay in the wilderness.

The people that heard Jesus offer to give them living water knew the symbolism. They knew that Jesus claim meant that he was declaring that he is the Messiah, that's why his statement caused such a stir, but wait there's more.

Another symbolic act that was a part of the Feast of Tabernacles was the lighting of huge candelabras in the Court of Women. This was to commemorate the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night that led the Israelite's through the desert. The huge light from those candelabras was gone and they were probably smoldering as Jesus says to the crowd, "You remember the light last night in the temple here which made you remember the light that led Israel...I am the light of the world."

Malachi 4:2  "But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.

Light is a characteristic of God that the Messiah was predicted to have. (Isaiah 9:2, 49:6, 60:1) Everybody in the temple knew that Jesus was telling them that he is the Messiah, they know that the light of the Messiah is what their hopes have been longing for, but this guy doesn't look like a Messiah to them.

God's Light Came

John 3:19-21 And the judgment is based on this fact: God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.
God sent light into our world because we needed the light. He gave us the sun for physical life on this planet and he gave us the Son so that we could have spiritual life.There wasn't any way that we could get out of the dark on our own, out of God's love and mercy he gave us light so that we wouldn't have to live without hope in darkness, misery and death.

When salt is applied, it dissolves inward and disappears, the salt speaks of the inward part, the character of the Christian. Jesus also described His people as being like light, which is on the outside, the light speaks of the testimony of a follower of Christ, revealing and illuminating the truth.
-Adrian Rogers

I need to love the Light and allow it to expose the things that God wants to change in me. I need to allow the Light to shine through me so that the world can see the truth of the gospel and have the opportunity to see their sin, choose to repent and live in the light.

Caught Needing Mercy

Only Jesus can satisfy God's demand for justice and our need for mercy.

 

John 8:2-12  but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them.  3  As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.  4  "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  5  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do You say?"  6  They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger.

7  They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!"  8  Then He stooped down again and wrote in the dust.  9  When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.

10  Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?"  11  "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."  12  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

What's going on here? The crowds must have wondered, they have never seen anybody stoned for adultery by themselves, did the man get away? How could he get away, the sun is out, there isn't any way that he could be nameless.

Maybe the guy was a Pharisee, they wouldn't haul one of their own to the temple and throw him down at Jesus feet and risk having him stoned. But it didn't matter to the Pharisees, they weren't looking for justice, the only thing on their mind was setting a trap that Jesus wouldn't be able to get out of. They were happy to have a question to ask him that didn't seem to have a safe answer.

The scribes and Pharisees came armed with the law as a weapon, that shouldn't surprise you, we have all seen it before in Christian circles. Our churches are full of people that use the Bible for their own selfish agenda, they judge others and they put down their enemies but they never apply the same rule to themselves.

Matthew 7:1-3  Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  2  For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.  And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?

The Pharisees and Jesus are standing here in front of the woman at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Pharisees are all charged up and poised to act immediately but Jesus is calm and cool. By stooping down and doodling in the dirt he allows them to show their hatred and their animosity toward him while he just remained calm.

They came to condemn the woman but instead they were condemned. They wanted her condemned and stoned with Jesus approval so that Jesus would be in trouble with the Romans for carrying out a job that was only for them to do.

Jesus said that they could throw the rocks at her but they needed to meet the qualification for administering Godly justice. He told them that the only requirement is that they be sinless. That should disqualify all of us from throwing rocks at each other but it doesn't slow us down very much.

Instead of falling down at Jesus feet and asking for mercy and forgiveness, the Pharisees turn and run away, they could see that a just God was demanding that they change.

The one that was sinless and therefore qualified to throw rocks asks the woman "Where are your accusers? The sinless Son of God wasn't going to accuse her even though he had the right to do so.

Does that sound odd? God demands justice but the Son of God let her go without punishment. God's demand for justice is the polar opposite of mercy. How can mercy be accomplished in the face of justice?

Justice and Mercy

Isaiah 53:5-6  But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all.
The cross is the place where justice and mercy meet. The greatest mystery of all time is why our creator loves us so much that he would provide a way for us to be righteous when we stand before him. My sin was dealt with 100% and the full payment for it was made at the cross and since the sacrifice was made I can receive mercy 100%. When God gave me mercy he didn't have to overlook my sin and let me off the hook and ignore the need for justice.

Micah 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

This verse has new meaning to me as a result of this study. It occurred to me that God requires from me the same thing that he did. My God did justice, he expects me to do justice, my God did mercy and he expects me to do mercy. If I follow his example then I will be able to walk humbly with him. I will have to be humble. The act of giving mercy out to those that have done me wrong helps me to understand the cost of the mercy that was given to me.

Like the adulterous woman, I was guilty and condemned before Him, and like the adulterous woman I have experienced mercy through God's sovereign grace He loved me enough to die in my place and offer me a full pardon. Like the adulterous woman I have met God and I am forgiven!

Thank you Lord for loving me so much that you satisfied your need for justice with my need for mercy!

RELATED ARTICLES

When Justice And Mercy Meet (relevantmagazine.com)

We Are One

We are one, we are all for one, all for Jesus, for the glory of the one true God.



The City Harmonic - We Are One


Ash to ash, dust to dust we live and die. 
But in the Son, in the Son we are alive. 
All for one, all for one from every tongue and tribe in Jesus crucified 
'cause Jesus is alive now, once and for all time.

We are one we are all for one,
all for Jesus Jesus, once for all. 
To the glory of the one true God 

King of kings, Lord of lords Till kingdom come. 
And in the end, in the end God all in all. 
He will be everything, everything to everyone, 
when death is finally done and victory is won, 
once and for all of us. 

We won't be moved, we're standing tall. 
Once of the dust, now of the Son. 
All life and death and what's to come belong to Christ, 
and Christ to God. 

So here we stand, hands lifted high. 
The very hands and feet of Christ. 
No holding back, no wasting time. 
We live for love

Ephesians 2:13-14  But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.  14  For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

Ephesians 2:17-21  He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near.  18  Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

19  So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family.  20  Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself.  21  We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.

Galatians 3:26-29  For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

Humility In Ministry

The gospel doesn't need a bunch of hype.

 

John 7:6-11  Jesus replied, "Now is not the right time for Me to go, but you can go anytime.  7  The world can't hate you, but it does hate Me because I accuse it of doing evil.  8  You go on. I'm not going to this festival, because My time has not yet come."  9  After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.  10  But after His brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view.  11  The Jewish leaders tried to find Him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen Him.

John 8:1-11  Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  2  but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them.

Yesterday in the temple Jesus invited the crowds to come to him if they had a spiritual thirst. The reactions to Jesus offer were very diverse. Some people were convinced that he could satisfy their spiritual longing but then there were others who wanted him arrested.

You may recall from John chapter seven that Jesus didn't enter the temple with a bunch of fanfare or attention, he just blended in with the crowd, that is until he started teaching. His teaching always made him stand out, even when he was a little boy, Jesus message always drew a crowd. (Luke 2:41-52)

John 7:14-15 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. The people were surprised when they heard Him. "How does He know so much when He hasn't been trained?" they asked.

John chapter seven is all about the commotion that followed after Jesus gave his message. The place was in an uproar, mean things were being said, people were being disrespectful to Jesus and then in the midst of all of this chaos Jesus finishes the message and moves on to the invitation.

"Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me! Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

That just made things worse because now they are trying to arrest him! Some people think that he is correct in saying things that the Messiah would say but they are a minority. Other people are skeptical and others are completely opposed to Jesus.

After all of the commotion in the temple, somehow it settles down enough for people to go home for the day, everybody except for Jesus. Maybe there were other homeless people in the temple that day but he was the least deserving person to be without shelter. While everybody else went to their house to rest for the night Jesus went to the garden.

He slept out in the cold on the Mount of Olives many times, I have to wonder how little he slept. Did he look tired and older than he really was because of sleep deprivation? Remember when he said the foxes and birds have homes but the creator of the universe didn't have a place to lay his head? (Matthew 8:20)

In the morning Jesus went back to the temple, he quietly went in, sat down and he taught. It would be tempting to think that there is no way that he is going to go back and teach a crowd that is so opposed to his message. But he returns and the opposition comes along too. (John 8:1-59)

You might think that Jesus should make an announcement or pass out flyers to let people know that he was going to be at the temple at a certain time. He didn't put out any signs, he didn't announce that the greatest teacher in the world was about to begin.

Keep It Simple

1 Corinthians 2:1-3  When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn't use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God's secret plan.  2  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the One who was crucified.  3  I came to you in weakness--timid and trembling.
The Apostle Paul knew that he needed to keep it simple, not that his audience was slow to learn, he knew that the gospel is supposed to be what draws people in. There's no place for sensationalism in a gospel presentation.

John the Baptist started his ministry in a remote location, there weren't any neon lights or banners directing the crowds to take a walk to the desert. John would always point people to Jesus and push the attention away from himself. The people that followed John had it all wrong, they should have come to John just long enough to be redirected to Jesus, their complaint that "everybody is going to Him instead of coming to us" was so absurd. (John 3:26)

Peter's message after Jesus ascension into heaven was so bold and simple. The crowds knew that he didn't go to rabi school, he was an ordinary man, and yet his message was extraordinary and it drew the crowds. (Acts 4:12-13)

John 12:32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself."

Jesus said that he would be the good news that would attract people. We need to remember:

✔  The more that people see of Jesus the less they will see of us.
✔  The key is availability and teaching.
✔  Just give the Word, it's all about the message not the method

Thank you Lord for choosing to use me to tell the good news of the gospel. I pray that I will not get in the way of the message.

Looking For A Better Country

God's people usually find themselves living in a culture that is hostile to their faith.

 

Hebrews 11:13-16  All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

14  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  15  If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.  16  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Do you get upset with the lack of morality in the world around you? Good! It should make you feel uncomfortable. Are you grieved that the world seems to be against what you believe and doesn't care about your morals? Get over it! God's children shouldn't feel too comfortable here in this world and we shouldn't expect the world to live up to our standards.

How do you think Noah felt? I think it is easy to rush through the story about the flood and miss the point of how immoral everybody in the world was with the exception of Noah. I suspect that the world was worse than it is today yet Noah was still living to please God and while he was building the ark he was evangelizing his neighbors. (2 Peter 2:5)

Matthew 5:10-12  God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  11  "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers.  12  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

In the Old Testament people like Joseph, Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel and his cool furnace friends, Esther and Mordecai all obeyed God and brought him glory. When God exiled his people from the Promised Land because they didn't obey him there was usually somebody that lived in opposition to the culture, somebody that didn't deserve to be exiled, somebody that had to live with the consequences of the sin of the rest of the nation. Those people didn't whine about the way the people around them lived and why they passed laws that did not honor God.

The New Testament gives us examples like John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and ultimately Jesus. The world hated the man that was the ultimate example of love and so they will also hate us as well. The gospel message was spread across the world because faithful men were willing to endure persecution. (John 15:18-21, 2 Timothy 3:12)

God's people have seldom ever lived in a culture that welcomed them in and had great respect for what they believed. We can get mad about the decline of Godly values in America but we should realize that God's people have never had it so good.

God's people should be easy to spot in a hostile culture but too often we are easy to spot for the wrong reasons. Throughout history we have been the people that have made the news for what we are against and for taking an ugly stand for it. Jesus told us that the world will know us by our love but a lot of people say that they know us by our hate.

Be Still and Wait

Psalms 37:7-9  Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper--it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
That verse is great advice for us as we live in this world full of evil. Don't worry, don't fret, don't get mad about it! Is it keeping you awake at night? Are you obsessed with watching or reading the news? Are you afraid of the future?

Just be still and wait. What! That's isn't natural! We like to handle things ourselves. We like to help God do what he needs to do. But God tells us to get out of the way, "I am at work here and you don't know what I am up to."

Just be still and wait. In a hostile culture you are forced to rely on God and lean on his strength. We have no human power to lean on, our reliance on people or things gets stripped away when God is all that's left.

Matthew 12:18-21  "Look at My Servant, whom I have chosen. He is My Beloved, who pleases Me. I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally He will cause justice to be victorious. And His name will be the hope of all the world."

Lord help me to follow your example, help me to be still and wait for you and help me to trust in you when the world around me seems to be drifting so far away from the truth found in your word.

Flawless

You have blown it plenty of times but the cross can make you flawless.



"Flawless" - MercyMe



There’s got to be more 
Than going back and forth 
From doing right to doing wrong 
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are 
Come on get in line right behind me 
You along with everybody 
Thinking there’s worth in what you do 

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when 
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late 
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

Could it possibly be 
That we simply can’t believe 
That this unconditional 
Kind of love would be enough 
To take a filthy wretch like this 
And wrap him up in righteousness 
But that’s exactly what He did 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

Take a breath smile and say 
Right here right now I’m ok 
Because the cross was enough 

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when 
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late 
Well let me introduce you to grace grace 
God’s grace 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

No matter what they say 
Or what you think you are 
The day you called His name 
He made you flawless
He made you flawless

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless

Perfect in Jesus

Romans 3:22-24  We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Flawless? Yes! Perfect? No! My perfection isn't based on any effort on my part. I am totally dependant on Jesus for my perfection.

Because of my faith in Jesus and the work that he came to do on the cross I have received the righteousness of Jesus. Not only is Christ’s righteousness transferred onto me but the penalty for my sin was transferred over to him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 2:20).

Thank you Jesus for making me flawless! Thank you for making it possible to stand before God in heaven without fear. I can say with confidence, “I am sinless, as Jesus is sinless.”

It's All About Him

God is great and he treats me way better than I deserve.



Nehemiah 9:2  Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors.

Nehemiah 9:6-10  "You alone are the LORD. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship You.

"You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham.  When he had proved himself faithful, You made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And You have done what You promised, for You are always true to Your word.

"You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and You heard their cries from beside the Red Sea.  10  You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for You knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors. You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten."

This may seem like a very obvious point and hardly worth repeating but as prideful as we humans are it is a point worth saying again. God is great and I don't deserve the benefits of his greatness. He is Jehovah, the one and only true and living God, he is the one that the angels worship. He is the creator of everything and yet he loves us above all of his creation.

I am reminding myself of these facts because I am very much like the Israelites that Nehemiah was working with and I bet that you are very much like them too. All of us have seen the goodness of God and we have seen how magnificent his creation is and yet we ignore what we already know about him.

In his sovereignty he choose a man and his ancestors to be his people, to be the people that would be a witness for God, to be the lineage of our Savior. A man and his descendants that were nothing special that God should choose them over any other people. They would prove that fact over and over again.

God led his people through difficulty (Nehemiah 9:7-9)


First he invited Abraham to leave home, we don't fully get that today, our travels are so comfortable that we don't comprehend what that was like. Then there was Joseph and Moses, they were forced out of their homes, Moses went to live in the desert and Joseph wound up in Egypt.

God showed his glory to his people (Nehemiah 9:10-12)


Why were they in Egypt for so long? If you think about it this is the first great display of God's power and glory since the flood. I think they needed to see God's power to help them in future battles.

Exodus 18:10-12  "Praise the LORD," Jethro said, "for He has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, He has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!  I know now that the LORD is greater than all other gods, because He rescued His people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians."  Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God's presence.

Moses' father-in-law was impressed with the display of God's power against the Egyptians. The word about what God had done to the Egyptians was spread all over the ancient world and the inhabitants of the Promised Land were scared of God's people when they got there.

God taught his people (Nehemiah 9:13-14)


The people were given instructions directly from this powerful God on how to please him. Over and over again they broke their covenant that they swore to him. God was so patient with them and sent more people to give them warnings but they refused to change. God was always patient with his people and slow to anger. (Nehemiah 9:31)

God sustained his people (Nehemiah 9:15)


The wandered around the desert for a long time, much longer than the trip requires, they always had food and water and their clothes never worn out. He was without question their sole provider, there wasn't any way to exist in the desert for that long without some divine assistance.

God's people walk away

Nehemiah 9:16-17  "But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to Your commands. They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles You had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them.
As much as they had experienced of God's mercy and grace and the great display they had witnessed they still walk away. God's children have been doing the same thing ever since. We never have stopped seeking out our own way. (Isaiah 53:6, 1 Peter 2:25)

God patiently waits on me and no matter how difficult the rebuke from him seems it is nowhere close to what I deserve. When I am in distress and live is hard I need to ask myself if God is trying to change me. Many times he uses the difficult times that we hate to draw us closer to him.

Nehemiah 9:33 Every time You punished us You were being just. We have sinned greatly, and You gave us only what we deserved.

Lord I have seen your power and goodness and I know that you treat me way better than I deserve. Your power and glory have been displayed in my life and I am without excuse for walking away from your instructions. Forgive me for being so ungrateful!

Life Is Hard So Come To Jesus

When life don't seem worth living and you need a helping hand.

 

Oh, my baby, when you're older
Maybe then you'll understand
You have angels to dance around your shoulders
'Cause at times in life you need a helping hand

Oh, my baby, when you're prayin'
Leave your burden by my door
You have Jesus standing at your bedside
To keep you calm, keep you safe,
Away from harm

Worry not my daughters,
Worry not my sons
Child, when life don't seem worth livin'
Come to Jesus and let Him hold you in His arms

Oh, my baby, when you're cryin'
Never hide your face from me
'cause I have conquered hell and driven out the demons
I have come with a light to set you free

Oh, my baby, when you're dying
Believe the healing of His hand
Here in Heaven we will wait for your arrival
Here in Heaven you will finally understand
Here in Heaven we will wait for your arrival
Here in Heaven you will finally understand

Complete lyrics for Come To Jesus by Mindy Smith

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Reactions To Jesus Offer

You have to decide what you will do with Jesus.

 

John 7:37-38  On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me!  38  Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

John 7:40-46  When the crowds heard Him say this, some of them declared, "Surely this man is the Prophet we've been expecting."  41  Others said, "He is the Messiah." Still others said, "But He can't be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?  42  For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born."  43  So the crowd was divided about Him.  44  Some even wanted Him arrested, but no one laid a hand on Him.  45  When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, "Why didn't you bring Him in?"  46  "We have never heard anyone speak like this!" the guards responded.

"Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me!" Jesus made an offer to the crowd that should have been great news but there was only a handful of people that saw it that way. Jesus invites us to come to him if you are thirsty for spiritual things, if you are thirsty for a full pardon for your sin and if you crave a relationship with your creator then come on down. Get yourself a taste of living water that can satisfy!

Everybody that has been introduced to Jesus must react, the claims that he made about himself cannot just sit there without a response, the crowds in the temple that day were split into four groups:

The Convinced

"This is the Messiah! The one that we have been waiting for since Moses told us about him." They thought that John the Baptist was the prophet but now they are sure that Jesus is the one that they have been anticipating. (Deuteronomy 18:18, John 1:21)

The Contrary

This group is bent on tearing down the people that are convinced that Jesus is the Messiah. Without looking at the facts they make a crazy remark about where Jesus was born. "You convinced people, what's wrong with you? You think Messiah comes from Galilee?" They didn't use the fact checker to see that Jesus really did fulfill the prediction about the birthplace of the Messiah.

The Confused

This group is stuck in the middle, there are the believers and the unbelievers and then there are the ones that are not sure what to think. Why didn't the guards bring Jesus in? It sounds like they are not sure about who he is and if he really is the Messiah then they don't want to mess with him.

The unbelievers ridicule the believers and also the confused. The religious leaders let the soldiers know who makes the decisions about spiritual stuff. The common everyday people can't decide for themselves, they need us to tell them what God is doing, there are still a lot of cults and religious systems that operate that way.

The Contemplative

It's been almost three years since that night when he visited Jesus. He was doing his own research to decide for himself what the truth is about Jesus. He is a thinking man and he wants to learn the truth instead of letting somebody else in his group of friends decide for him.

How Will You Respond?

Matthew 27:22  Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
There isn't any other offer that is as important as this one with such drastic consequences.The offer is out there and you must decide for yourself what you are going to do with it. Will you get the facts straight for yourself, let your friends dictate what is right or just ignore the offer all together.

Thank you Lord for your offer, I am so thankful that I am a part of the convinced crowd, help me tell others the good news and open their heart to get the facts and accept your offer.

Come To Jesus

Jesus is God and he is able to satisfy your thirsty soul better than anything else.



John 7:30-32  Then the leaders tried to arrest Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His time had not yet come.  31  Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in Him. "After all," they said, "would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?"  32  When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.

John 7:37-38  On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me!  38  Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

Another visit to the temple has turned into chaos, every time Jesus goes there is a disturbance, this time it is the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. There was a commotion before Jesus got there that only got worse, the crowds were trying to find Jesus and the were debating who he is.

The crowds are trying to decide who Jesus is but they are not looking at all of the evidence. Is this guy a good man or a deceiver? Are those really the only options for you to choose from?

John 7:12 There was a lot of grumbling about Him among the crowds. Some argued, "He's a good man," but others said, "He's nothing but a fraud who deceives the people."

We have been looking at some of the proof about Jesus in the study of the Book of John. John has given us a great deal of evidence about who Jesus is. John keeps coming back to this issue because he wants us to see that neither of those are viable options.

Jesus has been telling this crowd who he is but they didn't even list being God as one of the possibilities. Jesus teaching, his miracles and all of the prophecy that was fulfilled at his birth make a solid case to back up his claim to be God in a body.

The crowds got stuck on the fact that Jesus came in humility, he was selfless, he didn't attempt to gain money or political power, none of the things that a worldly leader should have, yet he had an incredible impact on our world. A false Messiah has never made this big of a difference in our world and he has never been humble and renounce money and power.

During the Feast of Tabernacles a priest went to the Pool of Siloam, drew water in a golden pitcher, and returned in procession to the temple, where he poured it out at the base of the altar. This part of the feast commemorated God’s provision of water from the rock that sustained Israel during their stay in the wilderness.

Knowing this helps me to see why the Jews were so upset, Jesus claim that he was what the symbolism of the ritual was about would be a very bold and shocking statement, one that would offend any of us if it happened today.

Jesus Makes Us An Offer

John 4:13-14  Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."

Jesus doesn't get into the debate, he has done enough to prove who he is, instead he makes an offer to the crowd. If you are hung up on whether Jesus is a good man or a deceiver then this offer isn't going to mean anything to you. He makes an offer to this crowd of Jews in the temple that is the same as the offer he made to an adulterous Samaritan woman next to a well and it is the same offer that is being given to each of us.

Jesus invites us to come to him if you are thirsty for spiritual things, if you are thirsty for a full pardon for your sin and if you crave a relationship with your creator then come on down. Get yourself a taste of living water that can satisfy!

Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let anyone who hears this say, "Come." Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

See how satisfying living water can be, get a taste of forgiveness, grow in your knowledge of who God is and what he desires for your life. Drink freely and experience his grace, salvation and pardon for sin that will last for eternity.

After you have had a taste of this water you will have to share it with others. Not only do you drink and have your own thirst quenched, but you also become the supplier for other people, you will have this satisfying water pouring out of you for the world to taste.

Thank you Lord for the drink of living water! Help me to be a river of water to the thirsty world around me.

Desiring God's Word

I need to be willing to pursue God's word in order to gain understanding. 


 
John 7:15-18  The people were surprised when they heard Him. "How does He know so much when He hasn't been trained?" they asked.

16  So Jesus told them, "My message is not My own; it comes from God who sent Me.  17  Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.  18  Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.

There are a lot of impressive speakers these days, people that can keep you listening without staring at the clock, it is pretty common to have someone that is very skilled at communicating. It really isn't a surprise these days but in Jesus time they didn't have any classes on communication.

To the crowds that have been drawn to Jesus, his teaching is surprising, there wasn't anybody that spoke like him, ever since he was twelve years old he has been surprising his audience. (Luke 2:41-52)

It is always obvious that he knows stuff and he isn't making this stuff up as he goes. If is difficult to believe that he could possibly know much since he hasn't been to any of the rabbi schools. Everybody knows that he learned the carpenter trade from his earthly father and none of the local authority's on scripture or spirituality have taught Jesus.

Jesus let's them know that he didn't need to be trained to know any of this stuff all he needs to do is listen to what his heavenly father tells him to say. I love Jesus remark to the skeptical crowd:

Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.

If you read that too fast you don't realize that Jesus was rebuking the crowd for not knowing the truth of his message. Jesus says they don't understand his teaching because they don't want to do the will of God. I have to want to want to know, Jesus told this crowd that they have a choice to make, if I want to do his will then I will have understanding and if I don't understand then it my fault. I have to be careful to be sincere in following Jesus and desire to make him my Lord.

Choose To Know God

Proverbs 2:2-6  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  3  Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.  4  Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.  5  Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.  6  For the LORD grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
We have an entire book in the Bible that encourages the pursuit of Godly wisdom. The whole book of Proverbs talks about making good choices. Nobody is forcing me to live with Jesus as the Lord of my life. I have to make the choice to pursue his teaching, I have to have the desire that prompts me to actively seek out how to please God, I can't be lazy, sitting around talking about knowing God and what his will is doesn't do me any good, I have to pursue it.

1 Corinthians 1:18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

Lord, I don't want to be in the crowd that thinks that all of this is a bunch of foolishness. I don't want to use you for my own personal gain. Help me to grow in my desire to study your word so that I can know you.

Responding To Jesus

How will you respond to the radical claims of Jesus?



John 6:41-42  Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because He had said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."  42  They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know His father and mother. How can He say, 'I came down from heaven'?"

John 6:60-69  Many of His disciples said, "This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?"

61  Jesus was aware that His disciples were complaining, so He said to them, "Does this offend you?  62  Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again?

63  The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  64  But some of you do not believe Me." (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn't believe, and He knew who would betray Him.)

65  Then He said, "That is why I said that people can't come to Me unless the Father gives them to Me."  66  At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him.

John chapter six could be called the bread chapter, it starts off with Jesus asking Phillip where they could get enough bread to fill the stomachs of thousands of people, then the next morning the crowd demands to get breakfast. Jesus reply to them is that he is not so concerned about their belly but rather he is the bread of life that their souls are hungry for.

The people that were following Jesus around were not really followers of Jesus, he gave them so much evidence to prove who he was and yet they still didn't get it, just look at all of the miracles that he performed in Galilee. In Galilee he turned the water into wine, he healed the nobleman's son without even seeing him, he fed the hungry crowds but none of that mattered to this crowd. The evidence is overwhelming and their lack of understanding is inexcusable.

Matthew 11:23-24 "And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you."

They are unaware of the danger in ignoring God's blessings. As immoral as those Old Testament cities were they are still better off than the city of Capernaum.

Even the guys that grew up with Jesus had a hard time believing and it wasn't until after the resurrection that they finally got it.

John 7:5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.

The crowds could handle the physical benefits of following Jesus, the free food and the free medical, the stuff that he did made him very popular but then the things that he said made them turn on him. They could take his works but not His words. As soon as He starts talking about being God's son and that he came to save them from their sins they are out of there.

Will You Believe?

John 6:67-69 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Are you also going to leave?" Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know You are the Holy One of God. "
At the beginning of this chapter there are thousands of followers and by the end there are only eleven. There are plenty of people that want the Jesus that came to do good deeds and talk about being nice to each other but the number of people that are willing to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior is much smaller.

Peter responds to Jesus question with another question, it is a question that we should all ponder, the answer to this question should help build up our faith. Where will you go if you turn from Jesus to follow something else?

Will you go to those who deny God’s sovereignty or to those that deny that he exists? Will you hang out with those that deny the power of sin or those that say it really isn't a big problem?

As John Piper says:

The world offers a long list of alternatives to Jesus but they all fall short of dealing with the issues. We may not have all the problems solved—the problems of following Jesus and saying yes to his teaching and his Lordship and his saving work.

We cannot possibly understand everything about God or his son Jesus, there are plenty of things in the Bible that baffle us and some things that we will find offensive, but where else can you go to solve the dilemma of your sin? Where else can you find the words that give eternal life?

Thank you Lord for your word that gives light to help me know you.

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