Hosea 2:19

I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy;

Hosea 2:19

After these judgments the Lord would deal with Israel more gently. By the promise of rest in Jesus we are invited to take His yoke upon us so the work of conversion can be forwarded by comforts as well as by convictions.

Nowadays we are more concerned with conversion rates and costs than we are with the betterment of our self and the cost of our souls …

But usually the Lord drives us to despair of earthly joy and help from ourselves, that, being shut from every other door, we will knock at Mercy’s gate. In too many cases today, we see people turning a blind eye to God’s calling and they seek other methods of distraction and satisfaction …

From that time Israel would be more truly attached to the Lord; no longer calling him Baali, or My lord and master, alluding to authority rather than love, but Ishi, an address of affection.

This may foretell the restoration from the Babylonian captivity; and also be applied to the conversion of the Jews to Christ in the days of the apostles and the future general conversion of that nation.

Genuine believers are able to expect infinitely more tenderness and kindness from their holy God, than a beloved wife can expect from even the kindest husband.

When the people were weaned from idols and loved the Lord, no creature could do them any harm.

This should be understood of the blessings and privileges of the spiritual Israel, of the true believer, and the partaking of God’s righteousness.

Here is an argument for us to walk so that God may not be dishonored by us: “Thou art My people.” God calls us His children …

If a man’s family walks disorderly, it is a dishonor to the Master.

Mark 11:12-14 Fig Tree

“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.”

Mark 11:12-14

And on the morrow. When they were come from Bethany, Christ, and His twelve disciples.

The tree, having leaves, very large and spreading, which appeared from a distance as if there might be fruit on it.

“If haply He might find anything thereon” That is, any fruit; for Jesus saw at a distance there were leaves upon it, which was remarkable since it was the time of the fig tree just putting forth its tender branches, leaves, and fruit.

“And when Jesus came to it, He found nothing but leaves” No fruit at all upon it, contrary to his expectation as man, and the promising appearance the tree made.

“No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever” That word did not make the tree barren, but sealed it up in its own barrenness.

First of all is the question, Why did Jesus curse the fig tree if it was not the right season for figs? The answer to this question can be determined by studying the characteristics of fig trees. The fruit of the fig tree generally appears before the leaves, and, because the fruit is green it blends in with the leaves right up until it is almost ripe. Therefore, when Jesus and His disciples saw from a distance that the tree had leaves, they would have expected it to also have fruit on it even though it was earlier in the season than what would be normal for a fig tree to be bearing fruit. Also, each tree would often produce two to three crops of figs each season. There would be an early crop in the spring followed by one or two later crops. In some parts of Israel, depending on climate and conditions, it was also possible that a tree might produce fruit ten out of twelve months. This also explains why Jesus and His disciples would be looking for fruit on the fig tree even if it was not in the main growing season. The fact that the tree already had leaves on it even though it was at a higher elevation around Jerusalem, and therefore would have been outside the normal season for figs, would have seemed to be a good indication that there would also be fruit on it.

As to the significance of this passage and what it means, the answer to that is again found in the chronological setting and in understanding how a fig tree is often used symbolically to represent Israel in the Scriptures. First of all, chronologically, Jesus had just arrived at Jerusalem amid great fanfare and great expectations, but then proceeds to cleanse the Temple and curse the barren fig tree. Both had significance as to the spiritual condition of Israel. With His cleansing of the Temple and His criticism of the worship that was going on there (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17), Jesus was effectively denouncing Israel’s worship of God. With the cursing of the fig tree, He was symbolically denouncing Israel as a nation and, in a sense, even denouncing unfruitful “Christians” (that is, people who profess to be Christian but have no evidence of a relationship with Christ).

The presence of a fruitful fig tree was considered to be a symbol of blessing and prosperity for the nation of Israel. Likewise, the absence or death of a fig tree would symbolize judgment and rejection. Symbolically, the fig tree represented the spiritual deadness of Israel, who while very religious outwardly with all the sacrifices and ceremonies, were spiritually barren because of their sins. By cleansing the Temple and cursing the fig tree, causing it to whither and die, Jesus was pronouncing His coming judgment of Israel and demonstrating His power to carry it out. It also teaches the principle that religious profession and observance are not enough to guarantee salvation, unless there is the fruit of genuine salvation evidenced in the life of the person. James would later echo this truth when he wrote that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). The lesson of the fig tree is that we should bear spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), not just give an appearance of religiosity. God judges fruitlessness, and expects that those who have a relationship with Him will “bear much fruit” (John 15:5-8)

This tree may not only be a symbol of the Jewish people, who made a great show of religion and from whom the fruits of good works, righteousness, and holiness, might have been hoped and looked for but instead there was nothing but talk and an observance of some insignificant rites and traditions of the “elders”.

But also a symbol of the outward appearance of those who profess to be Godly and from whom it might be expected that they should do good works well pleasing to God and bring forth fruit to the glory of His name; but he who only talks of good works and does none and at the last day he will be cast as dry wood, as a withered branch, into everlasting burning being fuel for them.

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Matthew 4:4 Temptation

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4

“But He answered and said” In reply to this artful temptation, Christ answered by a quotation from the Old Testament.

The passage is found in Deuteronomy 8:3. In that place the discourse is concerning manna. Moses says that the Lord humbled the people and fed them with manna, an unusual kind of food so that they might learn that man did not live by bread only but that there were other things to support life and that everything which God had commanded was proper for this.

From this temptation we may learn:

1. That Satan often takes advantage of our circumstances and wants to tempt us. He often tempts those in need to be discontent and complain and to be dishonest in order to supply their necessities.

2. Satan’s temptations are often the strongest immediately after we have been remarkably favored. Jesus had just been called the Son of God and Satan took this opportunity to try Him. He often attempts to fill us with pride and vain self-conceit then will urge us to do something in an attempt to cause us to sin.

3. His temptations are plausible. They often seem to be only urging us to do what is good and proper. They seem to even sometimes urge us to promote the glory of God and to honor Him. Some of the most powerful temptations of Satan occur when he seems to be urging us to do what might be for the glory of God. We fail in this discernment because of our blind use of pagan holidays …

4. We are to meet the temptations of Satan, as the Saviour did, with the plain and positive declarations of Scripture.

We must understand and realize that Jesus came to us as God in the “flesh” to know what it is to be human, and to be sacrificed as a man for us.

 

Ezekiel 3:21 Warning

“Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

Ezekiel 3:21

This mission made the holy angels rejoice. All this was to convince Ezekiel that the God who sent him had power to bear him out in his work.

He was overwhelmed with grief for the sins and miseries of his people and overpowered by the glory of the vision he had seen. And however sweet retirement, meditation, and communion with God may be, the servant of the Lord must prepare to serve his generation.

The Lord told the prophet He had appointed him a watchman to the house of Israel. If we warn the wicked, we are not chargeable with their ruin.

Though such passages refer to the national covenant made with Israel, they are to be equally applied to the final state of all men under every dispensation.

We are not only to encourage and comfort those who appear to be righteous, but they are to be warned, for many have grown high-minded and secure, have fallen, and even died in their sins.

Surely then the hearers of the gospel should desire warnings and even reproofs.

Self Entitlement

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

1 Chronicles 28:9

Know thou the God of thy father – “Knowing God,” in the sense of having a trust in Him, is an unusual phrase in the earlier Scriptures. It rarely occurs anywhere else in the historical books. David, however, uses the phrase in his Psalm 36:10; and its occurrence here may be accepted as evidence that the entire speech is recorded in the actual words of the monarch.

During David’s last sickness, many chief priests and Levites were at Jerusalem. Finding himself able, David spoke of his purpose to build a temple for God and of God’s disallowing that purpose. He opened to them God’s gracious purposes concerning Solomon.

David charged them to cleave stedfastly to God and their duty.

David says, Know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind. God is made known by His works and word. Revelation alone shows the whole character of God, in His providence, His Holy law, the condemnation of sinners, His blessed gospel, and the ministration of the Spirit to all true believers.

The natural man cannot receive this knowledge of God. But we learn the value of the Saviour’s atonement and of the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and are influenced to walk in all the Lord’s commandments.

It brings a sinner to his proper place at the foot of the cross as a poor, guilty, helpless person deserving wrath, yet expecting everything from the free mercy and grace of God our Father, the Lord Jesus. Having been forgiven much, the pardoned sinner learns to love much.

Too many people seek forgiveness, yet do not seek change, truth and wisdom. Many believe they are doing right by God, but are decieved and misguided.

Lack of discernment or lack of caring or both are lost to the whole of society. God’s Holy law has been forsaken by us and yet we have the audacity to believe He us has forsaken us …

Self entitlement has been the ruination of churches and societies throughout the ages. Today it’s a far worse plague on mankind than it has ever been.