Video: God with man

Solomon asked a question in the Old Testament that was answered in the New? He asked: will God dwell with man?

2Chronicles 6:14-18

2Ch 6:14 and said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart,
2Ch 6:15 who have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day.
2Ch 6:16 Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.’
2Ch 6:17 Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David.
2Ch 6:18 “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! (ESV)

Video: The House of the Lord

2Kings 19:14-20 (ESV)

2Ki 19:14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD.
2Ki 19:15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.
2Ki 19:16 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.
2Ki 19:17 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands
2Ki 19:18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed.
2Ki 19:19 So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”
2Ki 19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.

 

video: The House of the Lord

2Kings 19:14-20

2Ki 19:14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD.
2Ki 19:15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.
2Ki 19:16 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.
2Ki 19:17 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands
2Ki 19:18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed.
2Ki 19:19 So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”
2Ki 19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. (ESV)

They say to me, “Where is your God?”

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cumulus-499176_640Psalm 42:3: My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”

The writer was obviously distraught. He professed faith in God, but his circumstances seemed contrary to that.

Job

In the bible, Job is the poster boy for that kind of situation. All was going well for him, but at a time all hell broke loose, and he was flat on his face, but at the end, all was truly well as God restored to him twice what he lost.  In that contest with the devil, he laughed last.

Jesus

Jesus, though God, hung on a cross dying, and people truly asked him: where is your God? They told him: if you are really special, since you carried on as if you are a big deal, a supernatural big shot, why not save yourself now (Luke 23:32-48)?

He had a reputation for doing many miracles for others. So they told him: you saved others, can’t you save yourself? One of the thieves that was crucified with Jesus, joined the mockers. But he had the last laugh, (not them) rising from the dead.

David

Can you imagine how David must have felt as someone anointed to be king, but was in the wilderness running for his life, and eventually relocated to another country? He must have heard the mocking voice of the devil telling him: “Where is your God? That anointing by Samuel what was it about? You have been sold a dummy. How pathetic your life now is?,” hence some of the sad psalms he wrote.

He got negative comments from people like Nabal, who made a remark about David that hit him “below the belt”, using his difficult situation to shame him.

He made a caustic remark about David, saying: “who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? Many servants nowadays break away from their masters (1Samuel 25),” when David sent for provision after he had helped guard his sheep in the wilderness.  He felt he did not deserve such insult. He needed someone to understand him, but he got a mocker in Nabal.

This was one who was the armour bearer of the King, who led bands of soldiers to defeat the enemy. How dare Nabal talk to David like that?

And if David pounced on Nabal, he will be wondering what hit him, and he was going to do that, but Abigail, Nabal’s wife, met him on the way, spoke soothing words to him and he changed his mind.

Nabal was telling David: “you are nothing, you are not worth my attention in any way. You are not better than an irritating fly or a dirt under my finger nail.” He was the kind of people referred in the bible as speaking as the piercing of the sword (Proverbs 12:18).

Hezekiah

Sennacherib said to King Hezekiah that his God cannot save him from his hand. He gives a record of his successes over other nations, and makes a mockery of his trust in God. But God showed up for him big time. He was talking down on him and asking him, “where is your God.” But God showed up big time and decimated the army of Assyrian in one fell sweep through an angel (2Kings 18-19).

Israel

Goliath the giant, representing the army of the Philistines, disdained the army of Israel for forty days, with his actions, he asked: “where is your God (1Samuel 17)?” He stood before the army of Israel and asked for a representative to confront him. He said that if he is defeated his people will be their servants, and if he defeats the other man, Israel will be the servant of the Philistines. This was repeated every day for forty days.

When David heard, he was livid, and could not wait to remove the head of Goliath and he has helped by God. Israel laughed last.

David wrote to God: “many are saying who will show us mercy, God cause the light of your countenance to fall upon us (Psalm 4:6).” These are the mockers who say there is nothing to seeking God. The fool says in his heart: there is no God, so it is only natural for him to mock you who follow God.

Noah

God asked Noah to build an ark that there will be judgment coming upon the earth, which will change everything, destroy all living being not in the ark. But those who did not believe probably mocked, saying that since the world was formed nothing of such had happened, so you Noah must be crazy (Genesis 6-7, Luke 24:37-39). He must have gone bonkers to think that there will be rain, much less a flood, and much less one that will sweep everything away. But that message turned out to be true and he “laughed last,” in a manner of speaking.

Jeremiah

Jeremiah gave a prophecy about how Israel needed to submit to the yoke of Babylon, and as a prophetic symbolism, he puts a wooden yoke round his neck on God’s instruction, to impress the message on the people (Jeremiah 28).

But another prophet, Hananiah, claimed to bring a contrary word from God, giving a timeline of two years when Israel would be returned to its proper place, and Babylon will no longer be a threat, signalling that with the breaking of the wooden yoke on the neck of Jeremiah, literally mocking the prophetic statements of Jeremiah, making a mess of his prophetic reputation.

His was a populist prophecy, stating that things will be go well soon, so they would not have to submit to the Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or to anyone, and Jeremiah responded, “May it happen as you have said.”

If he had to choose between the prophecy he gave and the one given by this man he would have chosen the latter.  But God later revealed that that prophet was lying, only saying things based on the imagination of his heart and God said he was going to die. And not only that, God will replace the wooden yoke with that of iron. God gave him a judgement of death to the false prophet, who was committed to his imagination and not to God, to his feel good message and not the message of God. He died that year. And who laughed last?

Micaiah

Prophet Micaiah gave a prophecy that did not please king Ahab, which revealed he was going to die in the battle he wanted to go, when the rest of the prophets came before him and said that all things is well. One of the prophet slapped him mocking: where did the Spirit of God pass to come from me to you (1Kings 22:1-40)?

To crown his shame the king put him in a prison and promised to be back regardless of his prophecy, filled with a false sense of security. He gave a word and the King and the prophet who slapped him, by their action said: “where is your God?” They wanted to put him to shame, but God did not allow the word to fall to the ground unfulfilled. In the end, Ahab died, that aggressive prophet was punished, and Micaiah was vindicated. Who laughed last?

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were to be thrown into the furnace (Daniel 3), Nebuchadnezzar was so sure that that will be their end, their death. He has requested that the furnace’s heat be increased sevenfold, increased until it could no longer be increased.  They were meant to die there and be licked up by the fire, but at the end Nebuchadnezzar was not saying “where is your God?” as he said before, he said: “everybody worship their (Shadrach Meshach and Abednego) God.”

God is set to come to the defence of his people and they will laugh last. Those who say to you: “where is your God?” will bite their tongues.

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The heart and its desires

dreamy-20100_640Psalm 21:2: You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.

The heart is full of desires, and there is safety when you realise that all these desires will be met in God. God told Abraham, I am you exceedingly great reward walk before me and be perfect.

It was his heart’s desire to have a child and even in that God exceeded his expectation (Genesis 15:1-3). His wife, who had given up on the possibility that she would have a child, suggested that he father a child through their servant, Hagar. But God has another plan, an ‘exceedingly great’ plan.

When Sarah was 90 years old when she gave birth to Isaac, against the course of nature, against even the expectation of the Abraham and Sarah. They were surprised by joy (Genesis 21:6-7). They did not know they could be so happy (possibly giggling to no end) at such old age.

Hannah had a similar desire for a child (1Samuel 1:1-2:11). Nothing she did worked. Then she met God at Shiloh where she laid bare her mind before him, and the next year, she came with a child, and wrote a song about it. She was surprised at how happy she can be (people around her too), after years of sadness and weeping at her barren state. For her, weeping may endure for a night but joy came after that (Psalm 30:5).

Elisabeth the wife of priest Zechariah was also barren. She and her husband had become old. They were faithful to God but it seems that God was not faithful to them (Luke 1). They prayed long prayers for a child over many years but it looked like both of them will go to their graves with their desire unfulfilled, childless. But God had a surprised up his sleeves. God blessed them with a child, but it was no ordinary child, it was the forerunner of Jesus the Messiah that the whole nation of Israel was waiting for. A child filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. They were also surprised by joy.

Dorcas died but the desire of the church was that she will be raised up (Acts 9:36-43). They sent for Peter who came to pray and raised her up. She was full of good words, meeting the desires of many people and was rewarded with a longer life, just as king Hezekiah was.

The king was told by Prophet Isaiah, when he was sick: set your house in order because you will surely die and not recover. That was the word of God but he has a different desire. Therefore he decided to engage God in the place of prayer, seeking for a long life. In answer to his prayer, God sent Isaiah back to him to tell him that he can now have 15 more years to live, since he loved life so much. Through prayer bent God his will (Isaiah 38).

But David had one desire that was not fulfilled. Having impregnated Bathsheba, killed her husband, and he had repented before God, but God said that the child will die. When the child fell sick, David went without food for seven days, seeking the face of God to change his mind concerning the death of the child. But it was to no avail. The child died (2Samuel 12:13-23).

However, the bible says: delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). The flip side is that in association with the Lord, we get to make his desires ours. When we delight in him, he puts his desires in our heart, as we become one with him.

When we don’t delight ourselves in him, the wrong desires fester in our hearts and leads in the wrong direction, sowing the right seeds for the wrong kind of harvest (James 1:13-16).

Paul said that when humanity did not want to retain the knowledge of God in their hearts, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do what is not right (Romans 1:28). This is because it is in the presence of God that divine desires are nurtured in us, otherwise wrong things are nurtured.

The things the worldly people desire are different from what those in Christ desire. Paul mentioned the need for us to have our minds renewed; if our mind is not renewed, then the wrong desire will grow in us, leading us to the path of destruction (Romans 12:1-2). It will cause us to desire what the world desires. But we are new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17). The renewed mind fosters the development of the right attitude in us.

John warned against loving the world and the things in the world (1John 2:15-17). It is clear that the direction of our love is the direction of our desire and our consequent pursuit. John mentioned the three components of the love of the world: the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life. These things are not found in God, and are all components of fleshly desires.

Lust of the eyes versus the eyes of our heart

There is another set of eyes that should superimpose its influence on our natural eyes, and whatever lust it wants to develop in our minds. Paul said that we need to have the eyes of our heart enlightened so that we may desire and come to embrace what God planned for us from the beginning of the world (Ephesians 1:15-23). If life is about getting whatever you set your eyes on, then you are running on the lust of the eyes. If you cannot restrain your eyes, then you cannot restrain your life.

Lust of the flesh versus the leading of the Spirit

The flesh (as a principle of the operation of man’s sinful nature) cooperates with the other senses of the body to move it in the direction of fulfilling its desires. What about being led by the Spirit? We should rather connect with the strong desires (lusts) of the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:14-18). Paul says that Spirit lusts (strong desires) against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit. To not be overrun by the desires of the flesh, we need to set out to follow the Spirit and allow his desire to latch on to us, and our desires defined and by Him, refined in the fire of his altar (Isaiah 6:1-6).

Pride of life versus glorying (boasting) in the Lord

Pride of life talks of the tendency to compare oneself with others; Paul said that if he wanted to glory, he has a lot of reasons to boast: in his education, his family pedigree, his religious observance (Philippians 3:1-9).  All these give him a reputable standing in that Jewish world (1Corinthians 1:31).  But he said that he’ll glory in his weaknesses so that the power of God will rest upon him (2Corinthians 12:19). He also said that if anyone wants to glory we should do it in God, since “what do you have that you were not given (1Corinthians 4:7)?”

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A man after God’s heart

(mydesignguide.blogspot.com)
(mydesignguide.blogspot.com)

1Samuel 13:14: But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

God’s man has to have certain specifications and from the focus verse we learn that the man of God must be someone whose overarching concern is the pursuit of the heart of God in the earth, to be concerned about what God is concerned about. That is a man or woman whose defining trait is to please God. And the man prophet Samuel was referring to in the focus verse turned out to be David (1Samuel 13:1-14).

The words spoken in the focus verse was in the aftermath of an act of disobedience of Saul the first king of Israel. He did not exhibit the quality of someone after God’s heart. And he lost God’s support.

In the sin he committed (to warrant the words directed at him from the focus verse) he was moved by his emotion to do something contrary to the word of God. He panicked and did the wrong thing. Be careful what you do when you are under pressure. The pressure that comes to you gives God an opportunity to see what is really is in your heart, if you are after his heart, or your own convenience.

God saved King Hezekiah from a sickness but when the people came from Babylon to congratulate him for his recovery, instead of telling them about the God of Israel who through the words of prophet Isaiah made his recovery possible, he was busy doing public relations for himself and not for God (Isaiah 39, 2Chronicles 32:23-33).

He spent ample time taking the visitors around his house showing them his treasure. He was not after sharing God’s treasure with people but his own treasure. He did not return back to God in the same measure of mercy God showed him.

The bible said that at this time, God withdrew from Hezekiah to see what was in his heart. It was then clear that what was in his heart was the tendency to be self-serving and not delighting himself in the Lord. He was about getting prestige for himself and not for God.

David was different. After he became king, he sought to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem the capital city and he did it with pump and pageantry, dancing his heart out, impervious to people’s opinion (1Chronicles 15). He delighted himself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Paul the apostle, centuries after that event, said: I would not be a man of God if I am focused on pleasing men (Galatians 1:10), and not focused solely on pleasing God.

Jesus was a man after the heart of God. In the temptation he faced with Satan, he constantly referred to the word of God as his guiding principle (Luke 4:1-13). But when the devil came into the Garden of Eden, the first parents easily fell to his antic (Genesis 3:1-10). They pushed the word of God aside for the purpose of getting ahead (the devil had told Eve that if she disobeyed God, eat the forbidden fruit, she will become like God).

Satan made a similar offer to Jesus Christ. He promised to deliver the world to him but the fine print of that contract reads: just bow to me. That was creature presuming to have the creator bow to him? It was an insult but Jesus had the will of God to do on the earth and did not mention his own prehistoric prestige (as even the creator of Lucifer himself who fell and became Satan).

He was not interested in proving anything to the devil; he was after proving his obedience of God. The bible said that he learnt obedience by the things he suffered (Hebrews 5:8), but Adam and Eve were disobedient even though they were not suffering.

The bible says that Jesus was tempted on all points yet without sin. He rejected the devil’s offer of “supremacy” to embrace God’s offer of death on the cross. He made the hard choice for God’s sake because he was after God’s heart. He shared God’s concern.

From the focus verse, we find that God is looking for men who fit his specifications for his purposes. Paul wrote Timothy that anyone who wants to be a vessel unto honour must purge himself from all impurities (2Timothy 2:15-23). That person must make holiness a priority. There is no two way about it. It is either the way of holiness or no way (Isaiah 35:8).

God will not compromise his standards. He does not want rebellion or pride in his men because those were the traits that got the devil cast out from the presence of God and irredeemably so. The bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1Peter 5:5).

A man after God’s heart has a listening hear for his instruction, because that is what he lives by.  Jesus said: my meat is to do the will of the one who sent me (John 4:32-34). That is the oil he runs on. If he is not doing the will of the father, all will not be well with him. He will not bubble with joy.

Nehemiah told a set of people: the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). That means once they stir joy up in the Lord towards themselves, it should make them feel strong.

Similarly, in the book of Daniel we read: those who know their God will be strong and perform exploits (Daniel 11:32). Let’s do the maths:

If, Joy of the Lord = your strength

And knowing God = your strength

Therefore, knowing God = joy of the Lord (God =Lord)

What that equation shows is that having the drive to know God gives joy to the lord. It goes without saying that God does not like to the ignored, he likes to be pursued. If your life is not about knowing God, then you might as well forget about being used by God. You are not the kind of man he is looking for.

David wrote that as the deer longs for the water brooks, his soul longs for the Lord (Psalms 42:1-2). He had a hunger and thirst for righteousness and being filled with him. If we hunger and thirst for God, we will be filled with Him. And it is what you are filled with that you release into your world. If you are after his heart, you will communicate that to the world. What a privilege that is!

There is nothing to it

from examiner.com
from examiner.com

Joshua 10:8: And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”

When the almighty God gives you such a word of assurance as He gave to Joshua, you know that there is no issue that is hard when He is involved. There is no limit to God and therefore there is no limit to you who walk with Him. Whatever looks like limit is ready to be done away with, pushed aside and walked over by you.

God has a no-limit sign on His house. We know that eyes have not seen nor ears heard what God has prepared for those who love him (1Corinthians 2:9). Confidence in Him will always be justified. He will never disappoint.

Difficulties are nothing when it comes to Him. The book of Isaiah says that the Lord makes a way in the wilderness; he brings forth water in patched places (Isaiah 43:19). What we need is to believe. He gives strength to the weak and for those who faint he increases strength (Isaiah 40:29). When we walk with him, our path is like a shining light, shining ever brighter.

The question for you and I is: is there anything too hard for God (Genesis 18:14)? In a marriage in Cana of Galilee, Mary the mother of Jesus knew that it was nothing for Him to do a miracle to get the wine supply flowing after ran out. To solve that problem He turned water into wine in a first-of-its kind-miracle (John 2:1-11).

He always knew what to do. If he wanted to walk on water (Matthew 14:25), there was nothing to it, if he wanted to feed thousands in the desert with a few loaves of bread, he did it without batting an eyelid (Matthew 19:14). God led a group numbering in millions to walk through a sea as if on dry ground (Exodus 14). It was nothing to Him. He is that powerful. He is the one in charge, having written history before they happen.

When it comes to saving the world, it was nothing to him. When Jesus told a parable that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich to get to the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-26), his disciples asked: who then can be saved? He answered: with man it is impossible but with God nothing shall be impossible.

There is no impossibility with God. And in relationship with him, we are empowered to be like him, act like him, move at His speed. We are enabled by Him to do great things. Daniel wrote that those of us who know our God will be strong and do exploit (Daniel 11:32). Of Jesus it was sad that he was endowed with power from on high and he went about doing good and healing those who are oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). God was with him and the issues of life that people grapple with were non-issues.

In front of the grave of Lazarus, the people around were mentally getting used to not having the dead man around (John 11:1-46). He was dead and buried not for one day, not for two days, but for four days. Lazarus’ sisters no longer expected Jesus to do any miracle. They thought that case was closed. But with Jesus, with God, there was nothing to raising him from the dead.

Jesus asked that the stone covering the grave of Lazarus be removed, and he called him out of the grave in an amazing display of the power of the power of the one who describes himself as the resurrection and life.

A man brought his demon-oppressed child do the disciples of Jesus, but they were not able to cast the demon out, but for Jesus, there was nothing to it. With a sentence he dispatched the demon, freeing the boy from its oppression (Mark 9:25). A long-standing problem was solved in a moment. Jesus described himself as having authority on the earth (Mark 2:10).

Jesus manifested the glory of God in unusual manner. John said: we beheld his glory, as of the glory of the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). That was John’s way of saying that Jesus walked in the fullness of God. He lived fearlessly.

Living fearlessly is the result of seeing from God’s point of view, of being in league with him. We are empowered to be like Him, think like Him and act like Him. Then we would realise that God is with us like a mighty terrible one and that He makes the impossible possible.

Mary asked: how will this thing be seeing I know no man, when angel Gabriel said that she would be supernaturally pregnant (Luke 1:26-38). Such a thing has not been heard of in the history of the world. But the prophecy was declared many years before then when Isaiah said that God was going to show a sign of His favour, of His restoration and that will be in the form of a virgin becoming pregnant, and the child that will be born will be called God with us. To Mary’s question, Gabriel said: the power of the highest will make the impossible possible.

When a foreign army came against the nation of Judah in the time of the king Hezekiah, threatening to ransack the nation; Hezekiah prayed to God about it and God sent an angel to kill nearly 200,000 soldiers in one day (2Kings 19:20-37). What was a big deal for the army of Judah was nothing to God.

When Jesus was about to be arrested and taken to stand trial before the high priest prior to his crucifixion, he said it was nothing to it for him to be supernaturally rescued from those who came to arrest him, because He could get twelve legions of angels to come and rescue Him if He wants (Matthew 26:53). He was arrested not because things got out of hand but because He was yielding to the will of the father.

The subsequent resurrection of Jesus was cheap, since it was an act done by the Most High. Many times before his crucifixion, Jesus informed the disciples of his impending death and the subsequent resurrection (Luke 24:26). These are things that have been predetermined before time began, because Jesus was called the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Everything was according to the plan of God.

Jesus rose up with an immortal body, a body that can no longer decay as a prediction of what will happen to the believers too (2Timothy 1:10, 1Corinthians 15:12-57, Romans 8:11). The resurrection of Jesus shows that it was nothing for God to get each and every one of us new bodies, out of this old one; the new ones with no expiry date.