Friday, January 30, 2009

Micah’s Prophecy of the Coming Reign of Messiah in Restored Israel – Part 2

As we continue looking at the message of the prophet Micah, we come to wonderful words of promise to the nation of Israel.

Micah 4:6-7 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

For almost 2000 years the people of Israel have been scattered all over the face of the earth. In the last century God put into the motion the regathering of His people to the land of Israel, and in 1948 the Jewish state of Israel was reborn. This dispersion and regathering had actually been prophesied by Moses.

Deuteronomy 30:1-3 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.

Though the regathering has begun, it is far from complete. In fact, the completion will happen after yet another time of judgment that will result in a godly remnant of the nation of Israel calling out to the Messiah for deliverance at the end of the refining fires of the 70th week of Daniel, the time we call the tribulation. This is according to the words of Jesus.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

It is in response to that call that the Lord Jesus will return to set up His earthly kingdom and bring all the believing Jewish people home to Jerusalem and make them a great nation. This is the emphasis of the next verse in Micah.

Micah 4:8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.

Scripture defines “the daughter of Zion” as Jerusalem.

Isaiah 10:32 As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.

Isaiah 52:2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

The Lord is often referred to in scripture as a shepherd and His people as a flock of sheep. The Hebrew for tower references a “bed of flowers.” I think the Lord is saying that He is going to restore Jerusalem to the beauty and glory she enjoyed during the reign of King Solomon, and the Lord of lords and King of kings is going to rule from Jerusalem.

In chapter 7 the prophet praises God for His mercy and faithfulness in determining to restore a believing remnant of Israel in love and forgiveness in fulfillment of His promise to Abraham and Jacob.

Micah 7:18-20 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

The language is beautiful and thought-provoking. God promises to perform truth to Jacob, the deceiver, the liar; and He promises to show mercy to Abraham. This reminds me of the truth Jesus taught in the beatitudes.

Matt. 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Abraham messed up more than once, but he is depicted as a man of mercy and compassion.
• He gives Lot the choice of pasture even though He was the man in authority.
• He desires blessing for Ishmael, the rejected son.
• He seeks to have Sodom and Gomorrah spared for just ten men.

As I continued to look for verses regarding God’s promise to show mercy to “the fathers of old,” I finally realized that for Him to keep His covenant with such a rebellious offspring as that of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is an act of mercy. In fact, as is often the case, when God restores Israel, it will be a time when God’s grace and mercy act hand-in-hand. They will be given what they don’t deserve and not given what they do deserve.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Micah’s Prophecy of the Coming Reign of Messiah in Restored Israel – Part 1

The prophet Micah was a prophet of Judah who was also a contemporary of Isaiah. His prophecies are directed to both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. Once we reach chapter four, his prophecy is one concerning “the last days.”

This chapter begins with a declaration that the “mountain of the house of the Lord” (the temple mount in Jerusalem) will be situated above all other hills; so this indicates a change in the current geography on planet earth. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed this same message. In fact, the first three verses of Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 are virtually the same.

Micah 4:1-3 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

This prophecy also declares that there is yet a coming temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. This time, however, the temple will be a place of worship for many nations, not just Israel. In direct contrast to the attitude of most people today, people from many nations will acknowledge the God of Israel as Lord and will be seeking to be taught according to His ways and desiring to live their lives according to that teaching. This should be the mindset of every Christian, and was declared by Jesus to be a proof of those who love Him.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

The word many stood out to me. Although Christ will be on the throne and ruling with a rod of iron, man will still have the choice of accepting Him as Lord and Savior; and, much to my amazement, many will choose to reject Him as indicated by the fact that scripture declares that Satan will be loosed one more time and will be able to gather a great coalition to come against Christ and His kingdom.

Revelation 20:7-8 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Though many will choose to reject Him, Messiah will govern with complete authority. Nations will not be allowed to pursue war against one another. As I noted in my journal on Isaiah, “The Lord will rule as a dictator, but not like any dictator this world has ever known. He will rule with complete righteousness and holiness. In today’s society He would be seen as infringing upon the rights of the individual. He would be tagged as intolerant and not politically correct.”

The next verse indicates that every person will be able to dwell in his own home in safety and without fear.

Micah 4:4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.

Even with all the technological advances at our disposal today, no ruler on earth today can make that type of promise—but Almighty God can.

The next verse is very interesting.

Micah 4:5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

When the Lord is on the throne, men will have true religious freedom. This verse teaches an important truth. Although nations will be governed in righteousness and truth, God never forces people to publicly declare Him as Lord until the opportunity to turn to Him in faith has come to an end. Love and obedience that is forced is not true love or obedience. I believe that is the main reason God sovereignly chose to give man the freedom of choice. Micah, as a prophet of Israel, boldly declares that the time is coming when the people of Israel will “walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever.” The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel confirm that prophecy and explain how that will happen.

Jeremiah 31:33-34 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Ezekiel 36:24-28 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Prophetic Insights from the Minor Prophets - Obadiah

In this next series of blogs I am going to highlight prophetic insights from my studies of the minor prophets to this point.
The prophet Amos was a contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea. He prophesied of judgment to come upon Israel and the surrounding nations. By the time we reach chapter nine, however, the focus of his message begins looking toward the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.

Amos 9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations….

Though there was a dispersion of the people of Israel when Assyria captured the Northern Kingdom and as a result of the Babylonian captivity, this prophecy found fulfillment through Rome’s destruction of the temple in 70AD by the legions of Titus. The Jews were scattered throughout all the nations on earth and faced continued persecution throughout the centuries. Sad to say, much of that persecution has come at the hands of “Christians.”

The next two verses move forward to a time when the house of David, his kingdom, will be restored. This will not happen until the people of Israel have experienced great death and destruction because of their rebellion against and disobedience to God.

Amos 9:10-11 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

This time of death and destruction that precedes the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom will culminate in the 70th week of Daniel, the time of Jacob’s trouble, more commonly known as the tribulation.

Though this seems to be a foolish dream today, God declares through Amos, that He is going to “raise up his ruins,” the ruins of David’s kingdom, and “build it as in the days of old.” This prophecy cannot apply to any time during Israel’s existence as a nation since the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. When Messiah takes the throne of David in the restored Kingdom of Israel, His rule will extend over all the heathen nations as well.

Amos 9:12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

God's Gift of Salvation

My life is a bit full right now, and I am short on time for preparation of new posts. So....I thought I would share some recent personal scripture cards I created to use in ministry for the next few posts. I hope you enjoy the beauty of God's creation in each picture and take comfort in the truths they declare from God's word.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What Shall I Give Thee?

In light of making New Year's resolutions, I wanted to share a poem the Lord gave me a few years ago that reminds us that we can succeed in anything we set out to do in obedience to and/or in honor of our God.

“What shall I give thee?
God inquired of Solomon one day.
What if He asked me the very same thing?
I wondered what would I say.

Would I ask for an understanding heart?
To know the bad from the good?
Would I ask to be clay in the Potter’s hands?
For the strength to do what I should?

To be known as God’s friend?
To be free from pride?
To possess a heart that is pure?

The choices are many.
Which one is best?
I want to be very sure.

The more that I pondered,
The shining light of truth began to dawn.
He couldn’t give more than He already had—
His precious only Son.

As an heir with Christ, there is nothing I lack.
I have everything that I need.

The choices I make show the value I place
On my gift from the King of kings.

He gave me the Spirit to teach me
And empower me from above.
It’s up to me to obey Him
And submit to Him in love.

I’d never trade with King Solomon
For his wisdom, wealth and fame.
I have so much more that is mine to claim
In Jesus’ holy name.

So, thank you, dear Lord for your patience and love,
For Your mercy and Your grace.
Please help me to humbly serve You with joy
TilI I see You face to face.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year Resolutions

My “New Year” resolutions for last year were to improve in dying to self, to grow in faith, and to become a more effective prayer warrior. My list for this year is the same since I am far from satisfied with my success in any of these areas. I am encouraged to persevere, however, because God has so graciously included in scripture a record of the struggles of great men of faith. They appeared to walk through the same process of one step forward and two steps backwards at times as well on their spiritual journey in life.

I am reminded how Elijah stood up so boldly in a demonstration of faith in God against the prophets of Baal only to run in fear right after from the threat of Jezebel to take his life. David is identified in scripture as a man after God’s own heart, yet he fell victim to pride and lust and took Bathsheba as his own after having Uriah killed at the front of battle. Peter spent wonderful years of teaching at the feet of Jesus while witnessing the mighty signs and wonders He performed, yet he fell to temptation and denied his Lord in fear for his own life when Jesus was on trial.

I am also reminded that the Lord did not hold their failings against them. He responded with comfort, encouragement, conviction, and consequence as necessary to grow them into the men of faith they became. And I know He will do the same for me if I will but yield my life to Him as they did. I am determined to hold fast to God’s promises and focus on the power of His Spirit in me rather than my weakness in the flesh.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

1John 4:4 … greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Isaiah 26:3-4 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength….

May you all have a happy new year and may you grow in your spiritual journey as well!