Ecclesiastes 3:14 – Fear Before Him

Ecclesiastes 3:14
14 
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

-The Bible goes into great detail about the importance of fearing God and there are many influences in the world that will teach you that same lesson.  The world and even Satan himself will teach you to fear the Lord, but this verse of Scripture in Ecclesiastes gives us great insight into the difference between learning to fear God according to His word versus learning to fear God from an ungodly influence.  The difference is simple.  God’s word and His actions will teach us to fear before Him, as in to come into His presence with fear.  The world and the devil will teach you that you should run from God in fear.  God will always seek to close the distance with mankind; He went so far as to send His own Son to die so that we might be able to draw near to Him.  If what you’ve learned about God leads you to believe that you should keep your distance, you need a new teacher.  The choice is simple, you can either run away in fear from the one Being in the whole universe who cannot be hidden from, or you can let fear motivate you to receive the Savior who teaches us to “Fear Not”.

Advertisements

Luke 9:62 – Don’t Look Back

John 8:31
31
 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Luke 9:62
62
 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

-A disciple by definition is a follower of a particular discipline; the word “disciple” is right there in the root of the word “discipline”.  It takes discipline to keep your hand on the plow and not look back (Luke 9:62).  It takes discipline to read your Bible every day (Psalm 1:2), pray every day (1 Thessalonians 5:17), be a light and a witness every day (Matthew 5:16, Acts 1:8), etc.  It’s a lot to expect, but the Lord doesn’t expect it from everyone; He expects it from His disciples.  How can any of us call ourselves disciples if we lack the discipline to follow Jesus?

Ecclesiastes 7:14 – Days of Prosperity and Adversity

Ecclesiastes 7:14
14
 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

-Who doesn’t like a good day?  A day when everything goes exactly the way you want it to.  There’s is a lot such a day can teach you about the Lord’s goodness and His blessings.  But those bad days, the kind where it seems like everything is working against you, it can be harder to see the value in those.  Nevertheless, God promises that He is using both the good days and the bad days to help us grow.  To what end?  The answer is found right here in Ecclesiastes 7:14, “that man should find nothing after Him.”  If God doesn’t give us blessings, how would we know to return to Him with thanksgiving?  Likewise, if the Lord doesn’t show us trials and suffering, how would we ever learn to turn to Him for comfort and peace?

Matthew 11:2-5 – Hear and See Again

Matthew 11:2-5
2
 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

-The same John the Baptist who stood in the face of Jewish authority and plainly declared that Jesus was “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), now sends his disciples to Jesus seeking confirmation that He is the One.  How could such a thing be?  How could such a great prophet of God begin to doubt?  Was he exposed to some new doctrine that caused him to wonder?  No.  Did the terrible circumstances behind his imprisonment shatter his faith?  No.  Jesus’ answer to the disciples tells us the reason behind John’s doubts, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see.”  You see, being locked away in prison meant that John was not able to “hear and see” the Word of God.  Faith is not self-sustaining, it is authored and completed by Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), which means that even the strongest faith will wither if not fed constantly by the Word.  That’s why when Paul the Apostle found himself similarly imprisoned, he urged Timothy to bring “especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13).  Paul needed many things while in prison, but he understood that the thing he needed most was the Word of God.  What’s our lesson from this?  We may be avid church-goers and prayer warriors and strong believers, but if we skip the Scriptures, soon we will start to waiver and doubt.  The remedy for us is the same remedy that Jesus prescribed for John.  It is not a new word or a new revelation, it is to “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of.” (2 Timothy 3:14)

Luke 7:6-9 / Mark 6:4-6 – He Marveled

Luke 7:6-9
6
 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Mark 6:4-6
4
 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

-A recorded in Scripture, these are the only two occasions where Jesus is said to have marveled at what He had seen.  Think about how powerful something must be to make the Lord marvel.  As the Creator of the universe, He has seen wonders beyond any of our imaginations and all of those wonders actually sprang from His creativity.  You would think that nothing could make Him marvel and yet two things do:  1) The idea that a human being could have such strong faith in God and 2) The idea that a human being could have such weak faith in God.  If you think about it, every action we take in life is an expression of our faith in the Lord; that means every day we give the Lord a chance to marvel at us.  The question is- Does He marvel because of our belief or our unbelief?

Revelation 1:13-18 – Fear Not

Revelation 1:13-18
13
 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

-“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) There will come a day when we stand in the presence of God and will truly see Him for the first time.  Could even the redeemed face such a meeting without experiencing fear at the divine presence of the Lord? But just as Jesus was so apt to do in scripture, He will make His presence known and allay our fears.  He will reassure us that He is the very One who died so that we may enter in.  He will reassure us that He is the very One who holds the power of Hell and Death.  He will reassure us that He is the One who has been with us all along and who will be with us for all eternity.  With a simple utterance, the Lord can bring light to a dark universe. (Genesis 1:3)  But what is even more impressive is that with a simple utterance, the Lord can bring us peace and show us that our faith in Him was never misplaced.  “It is I; be not afraid.” (John 6:20)

Hebrews 6:19-20 – Forerunner and Overcomer

Hebrews 6:19-20
19 
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

-It is evident from Scripture that Jesus Christ is The Good Shepherd who leads His followers through the pastures, and the waters, and the valleys. (Psalm 23, John 10)  Certainly that would be reason enough for peace; but God is not the God of “enough peace”, He is the God of “perfect peace” (Isaiah 26:3) So Jesus is given another title in Hebrews 6, “Forerunner“.  A forerunner carries with it the idea of a scout or one who runs ahead looking out for danger.  But Jesus is more than a lookout, He is an Overcomer. (John 16:33)  Not only do we have the assurance that Jesus will lead us day by day, but we have the assurance that Jesus is leading us through paths that He Himself has already run and gotten the victory.  Whatever pain you face, Jesus has already faced and beat it.  Whatever trial you face, Jesus has already faced and beat it.  And ultimately, when those of us who are saved enter into the Lord’s final rest, we will find that Jesus has already been there to “prepare a place for [us].” (John 14:3)

John 15:1 – The True Vine

John 15:1
1
 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

-Jesus identifies himself as the True Vine and in doing so, establishes the reality of false vines.  There are countless religions out there that all promise a way to righteousness, a way to holiness, and, ultimately, a way to Heaven.  This is a real problem because these religions cloud the waters and lead many astray.  God the Father knew this would happen and sent His Son to bear witness to the truth so that everyone would have the chance to believe.  We live in a culture that places emphasis on how good your fruit looks, but in the eyes of God, all that matters is which vine you’re on.

Numbers 23:19 – Shall He Not Make It Good?

Numbers 23:19
19 
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Malachi 3:6
6
 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

-God is omnipotent.  God is sovereign.  How many of us truly believe these words?  How many of us find comfort in these words when troubles come?  Almighty God is not a part-time arrangement and God cannot be “sometimes sovereign”.  Either He is and so He always is or He is not and so He never is; it cannot work both ways.  You will never have complete peace if you are not trusting in a God who is in complete control.  The God of the Bible is always in control.  If you don’t always have peace, in what god are you trusting?

Luke 17:1 – …that in me ye might have peace

Luke 17:1
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

-There are two very important truths at work in this verse of scripture.  In the latter part of the verse, Jesus tells us that we never want to act in a manner that would bring offense to those around us.  While that is very important, I want to focus on the beginning of this verse- “It is impossible but that offences will come.”  So often in life we react badly when circumstances turn against us or when people turn against us because so often we are caught off guard by that very notion.  It inevitably comes as a surprise that things can get as bad as they do.  Why is that?  We certainly didn’t get such an idea from the Lord; He plainly tells us not that we “might” be offended, but that we “will” be offended.  We should enter into our days expecting things to go wrong and then when they do go wrong, we should be surprised that things didn’t go more wrong than they did.  I know that may sound cynical, but consider that this sin-sick world is an offensive place.  To live in such a place and not expect to be offended would be foolish and for the Lord not to tell us so would be dishonest.  We may not be able to put confidence in the world, but we can always put confidence in Him.  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)