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 Green Pastures

July 6, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 119                                     Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 119:89

Thy Word is Settled

"For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven." 

1.  The Production.  Before the foundations of the world were ever laid, the Word of God was completely produced and settled in the mind of God.  All 66 books of the Bible, from Gen. 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 were established.  However, the Bible was progressively given to mankind according to God's own timetable.  The final book given was the book of Revelation, which closed the Word of God to man.  In the Bible, truly, God said it all.

2.  The Prophesies.  Having perfect knowledge of past, present, and future, God's Word is always applicapable to any situation we may face.  I am fond of rembering my dear Pastor friend, Bro. Don Rice, who used to say, "Has it ever occurred to you, that nothing has ever occurred to God?  No, He is never taken by surprise, and God's Word has the answer for every problem.  What He says happened, did happen, and what He says will happen, is going to happen, just as He said.

3.  The Protection.  The text of God's word was then, settled long before David ever penned the 119th Psalm.  Man has attempted to add and subtract from God's word, but God has protected His word with the solemn warning of Rev. 22:18-19.  Many have attempted to change it, but what we need to do is simply to believe it, and follow it.  

July 5, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 117-118                             Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 118:8

God's Central Verse

"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."  

1  Provision.  It is always better to trust in God than in Government.  As an example, I remember years ago the terrible famine in Ethiopia.  We heard reports of mass starvations and when we had an Ethiopian missionary come to our Church, I asked him about the terrible deprivation his people must be suffering.  He assured me that God takes care of HIs people.  The famines were engineered by the Government, but God's people had enough to eat.  God provides when man cannot.  Who has your confidence, God our government?

2.  Protection.  Mitchell Paige, Congessional Medal of Honor recipient, testified that God delivered him time and again in World War II.  On one occassion, he bent over and his New Testament and Psalms fell to the ground and happend to open to Psalm 118.  He glanced at it and saw vs. 8.  He realized that even in the midst of terrible warfare, trusting in the Lord was more importaint than trusting in himself and his ability to wield a gun.  Where is your confidence, in God or in your own ability?

3.  Politicians.  Christians can and should be involved in the political process, but we must realize our ultimate help as a nation will not come from the White House, but from the prayers that are answered in God's House.  Confidence in God will never be regretted later.  I sure can't say that about putting confidence in man.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 4, 2003

Reading:  108-116                                     Today's Green Pastures Text: Psalm 111

The Heritage of the Heathen

He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen."

1.  Reliable.  God has demonstrated time after time, that He is totally reliable.  As vs. 4-5 remind us, He gives of provision of all good thimgs.  He does so by wielding His awesome power on our behalf.  Truly, every good and perfect gift, cometh down from above.

2.  Responsibility.  God has also given us another gift, the gift of responsibility toward the heathen.  Indeed, the welfare of unbelievers is the chief occupation God has set aside for us.  This responsibility is our heritage, to care about and to care for others.  So, what does God want us to do with our heritage of the heathen?  

3.  Redemption.  He wants most of all that we show them the power of redemption.  Show it in such a way that such power is apparent in our lives, and communicate that the power of redemption is available for them also.  Let's now squander our inheritance, let's invest in it.  

July 3, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 105-107                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 107:2

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

"Let the redemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy."  

1.  Truth.  It is the Lord who redeems us, not we ourselves.  We are helplessly lost in sin, until the Lord is invited into our lives, then we become redeemed, bought back, and become His own people.  (John 1:12)  

2.  Testify.  Our job is to 'say so' regarding our redemption.  We need to stand up, speak up, and cause people to look up to the Lord our Redeemer, who can redeem others as well.  No one else has real answers for this crazy time we live in.  Only those who know the Lord know the truth.  So, let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

3.  Testimony.  Our testimony, that is, speaking up for the Lord is done not only in words alone.  Indeed, our attitude should be different from the typical cynical attitude of society today.  Our faces should reflect love, not anger and selfishness.  Secondly, our appearance should be different.  Our choice of clothing should be modest and God honoring,  Indeed, that will bring us to the attention of our present world as nothing else will.  Thirdly, we should let our actions be always motivated by love for the Lord and for others.  Come on, let's stand up and tell the world, "I'm redeemed!'.  

July 2, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 98-104                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 98:1

A New Song


O sing unto the LORD a new song:  for he hath done marvelous things:  his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory."  

1.  Motivation.  Why should a new song be sung unto the Lord?  We should sing because he has done marvelous things for us.  When we realize anew the things He has done, and when we are aware of His continual work on our behalf, a new song of praise should come from our lips, praising and extolling the Lord of Glory.

2.  Marvelous.  How is it God accomplishes His marvels?  I see here, a wonderful picture of the Trinity.  First, it is God the Father, the LORD who has done marvelous things.  Secondly, He has accomplished them with His right hand.  Remember, it is Jesus Christ who sits on the right hand of the throne of God, having accomplished the atonement on Calvary, and having sealed our salvation through His own resurrection from the dead.  Finally, we see that it is through His holy arm, the Holy Spirit of God, that He has done such marvelous works.  Has He not convicted, completed, and so converted us?

3.  Mary.  Mary may have had this marvelous psalm in mind when she praised God in Luke chapter 1  Notice how she also says in vs. 51, "He hath shewed strngth with his arm:  he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts."  At any rate, God has done marvelous things for us.  Let us sing unto Him, a new song.  

July 1, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 90-97                                                  Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 90:9-12

Numbering Your Days

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."  Ps. 90:12

1. Life is Brief.  The older I get the more I understand that life is brief, indeed.  Having arrived at that stage of life when there are many more days behind me than before me, I realize I have neither lived a long time, nor do I have a long time to live.  It seemed when I was a boy that time dragged on, but now it practically gallops by!

2.  Life Must be Budgeted.  As with all our resources we are given, we need to budget (number) our days.  That is, we need to take stock of where we are in the course of our three score and ten lifespan.  We must also try to visualize what we want our life to be at its end.  We need to set goals and budget each day so as to achieve those goals.  Otherwise, time will slip away and nothing will be accomplished.

3.  Life Has Benefit.  If you do budget your time, put God first.  Set aside time every day for prayer and Bible reading.  Then, set aside time for meaningful conversation with your family.  Set aside the proper time for work and of course, recreation and rest.  Then, although time will still go by quickly, it will go by profitably.  

June 30, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 82-89                                              Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 85:2-4

Turn Us, O God

"Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease."  Psalm 85:41.

1.  Spiritually.  Spiritually speaking, God has done a tremendous work of Grace for us.  Forgiveness is His gift, and all we need to do is repent and receive it.  LEt's look at aspects of His gift of Grace.

2.  Nationally.  First, He had in a national sense forgiven Israel for their iniquity, their lack of righteousness.  Lacking righteousness, they had turned to idolatray and also tempted God in the wilderness through their consistent complaining.  Secondly, He had covered their sin.  This was done throught he promise of the Messiah who would shed His blood for man.  They looked forward to His coming, as we look back upon it.  In either case, it is the blood that cleanses from sin and give us security.

3.  Individually.  What is true of Israel is true of us all.  God has done this work of Grace for any who will receive it.  (Eph. 2:8-9)  Now, we must rely upon God to 'turn us'.  When saved people submit themselves to God's control, He turns them back into the way of righteousness, much as a rider turns a horse with a gently tug on the reins.  

 

June 29, 2023

Reading:  Psalms 78-81                                          Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 78:1-33

The Dark Sayings of Old

"I will open my mouth in a parable:  I will utter dark sayings of old."  Psalm 78:2

1.  The Chiding.  Vs. 1-4.  We are instructed to hear the 'dark sayings of old'.  These dark and unpleasant truths must not be hidden from us or our children.  We naturally want our children to be happy, but they also need to be spiritually healthy.  Therefore, they must be exposed to dark sayings concerning judgment, justice, etc.

2.  They Chose.  Vs. 10-11.  These dark saying of old concern those who went before us, who chose not to fear and obey the Lord.  They tell of those who refused to keep the covenant of God, and forgot His works of blessing and mercy.

3.  They were Chastened.  Vs. 31-33.  It is bessential for people to realize that God is a God of both mercy and judgment.  He will not pardon iniquity or sin, but will bring realistic chastisement upon the unrepentant.  It is interesting, is it not, that the dark sayings of old furnish light for the prsent and future?

June 28, 2023

Reading:  Psalms 72-77                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 73:28

Near to God

"But it is good for me to draw near to God:  I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works." 

1.  Draw.  We not only draw near to God voluntarily, but we are drawn to Him by His desire to have fellowship with us, and to aid us in our life work.  Getting close to God is a good thing.  It is always beneficial, and never not so.

2.  Dependence.  Here we see Asaph speaking of how he had put his trust in the Lord.  We have also, haven't we?  Indeed, tha faith that saves us is trust in HIs work, not in our work.  We can depend on Him for not only salvation, but for succor, for security, and for all the sustenance we need.  Depend on Him, for He is always dependable.

3.  Declare.  Asaph wanted to declare all the wonderful things God did and does.  This should be our desire as well.  The most prominent characteristic of God's love for us, and our love for Him, is seen in the desire we have to share that love with others.  There is no greater joy than to share the love God has for you with others who need His love.  

 

June 27, 2023

Reading:  Psalms 67-71                                  Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 71:9, 18

A Godly Heritage

"Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not."  (Ps. 71:18a)

1.  The Plea.  (vs.9)  Let's face it, we are all going to get older.  In my case, this has already happened, and long ago.  It is a fact of life that we must face; parts are going to wear out, strength is going to ebb, and we are going to feel increasingly useless and frustrated in our inability to do what we used to do.  Now, we have a choice.  We can make everyone around us miserable by complaining, or we can seek God's help and just do the things we can.  He won't forsake us, so let's not forsake prayer and service.

2.  The Power.  (vs. 16)  Just because our strength is gone doesn't mean strength is unavailable.  It not God still able to help?  Is He not able to enable us?  Let's go forward in His strength, remembering that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  

3.  The Project.  (vs.18)  So, perhaps we can't do what we used to do.  Perhaps we can't do what we want to do.  However, we have a job still to do, so let's get it done.  Our task is to acquaint a new generation with the awesome strength and power of God.  We can show them by tellimg them what God has done for us, and by showing we still have a life filled with power and purpose.  Are you still breathing?  Then, God is not finished with you yet.  

June 26, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 60-67                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 63:1-2

Seek Him Early

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee...."  Ps. 63:1

1.  Beginning.  Why wait to seek God until every other resource is exhausted?  Seek Him early.  I think seeking Him in the morning is the best way to start your day.

     There is no better way, to start your day,                                                                                                      Than to spend time with God, read your Bible, and pray.

2,  Before.  This Psalm was written while David was in the wilderness of Judea, fleeing from the murderous hand of King Saul.  Why not imitate David and go to God before we face trouble and trial?  I believe David was in prayer long before he met Saul in the wilderness.  He sought God early, and so he was prepared when trouble came.

3.  Because.  One reason to seek God early is because we have seen His power and glory in the Sanctuary.  We have seen God save souls, transform lives, and do many mighty works.  Surely He can and will do great things for us if we only seek Him early, before it is too late.   

 

June 25, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 52-59                           Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 55:11-22

The Worst Wound.

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee...."  Psalm 55:27a

1.  Bearing.  We can bear most things life brings our way.  There are going to be many hurts and difficult times in any one's life.  Job said, "Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble."  (Job 14:1)  Indeed, that is the case.

2.  Betrayal.  However, the worst wound, and one that seems impossible to bear, is when a friend betrays us.  When someone who has been your confidant and comrade in prayer turns on you, it is almost too much to bear.  So what can we do when it happens.  It is never a question of "if", it is only a question of 'when'.  

3.  Burden.  The answer is, of course, to cast your burden on the Lord.  All judgment, all vengeance, and all attempts at vindication need to be placed in the capable hands of the Lord.  He can take care of the situation far better than you or I can.  

June 24, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 45-51                                   Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 49:16-20

Don't Worry About the Wicked

1.  Prosperity of the Wicked.  God reminds us in vs. 16-17 that the riches and hounor of the wicked is temporary at best.  God, who is rich in mercy to all, knows that the wicked can carry nothing away with him at death, and therefore, knowing the misery that awaits the wicked, God sometimes grants pleasures and prosperity in this life to those who will never know them hereafter.

2.  Prospects of the Wicked.  While such a person lives, he may be very popular.  Vs. 18 says, "...men will praise thee,when thou doest well to thyself."  It seems as if all the attention and accolades are showered on those who thus grow rich in worldly things.  However, when he goes to his fathers in death, he will never see light, but will dwell in eternal darkness.

3.  Picture of the Wicked.  A man who has no concern for spiritual things is like a beast in the sense that his is totally sensual, concerned only with self-gratification, and lives only for the moment.   Those who love only for the moment, find themselves entering eternal torment.

June 23, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 44:22-26        Today's Green PasturesPText:  Psalm 44:22

An Ominous Passage

"Yea, for thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are counted as sheep for the slaughter."             Psalm 44:22

1.  Chosen People.  This passage applies to Israel.  It seemed to the Psalmist as if God had cast off His people.  The enemies had risen up and were defeating israel left and right.  The Psalmist cloese this passage with a prayer for God's help.

2.  Chosen Preachers.  Paul quotes this passage in Rom. 8:36.  The early preachers of the Gospel suffered intense persecutions.  Paul himself was stoned, shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned, and would finally be executed.  He quotes this passage to assure other Christians that in spite of adversity, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

3.  Chosen Prophecy.  This is, I believe, also a prophsy of things to come.  We will not have to go throught the terrible Tribulation Period, but that doesn't mean we won't have some difficult days.  If and when we do, we must consider this passage as proof that even in the midst of persecution, the love of Christ is still with us, and that is really all we need.  

June 22, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 33-37                                          Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 37:37

Choosing a Role Model

:"Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:  for the end of that man is peace."  Ps. 37:37

1.  The Complete Man.  We are to mark or notice the perfect or complete man.  The spirit of man, born dead in sin is born again when we trust Christ, making us a complete or perfect man.  As a perfect circle is a complete circle, so a perfect man is a complete man, one who has been born again.

2.  The Conduct of Man.  Such a complete man will fear the Lord and shun evil.  It seems like the majority of our modern societal leaders are any thing but perfect and upright.  Whether in role playing, or in real life, our heroes need to be those of Heaven, and not Hollywood.

2.  The Consideration of Man.  Such men are at peace with themeelves because they are at peace with God, and thus can be at peace with others around them.  Wouldn't you rather have a perfect man for your role model, than a moral cripple?  

June 21, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 23-31                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 23:4

The Valley of Shadow

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:  for thou art with me:  thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."  Psalm 23:4

1.  The Fear.  Anyone who says they do not fear death is not truthful.  God has put in man an instinctive desire to live, an instinct to survive.  Also, we have not experienced death, and everyone fears what they cannot understand due to experience.  However, death holds no terror for us, because we know we will never have to step into that valley alone.

2.  The Fellowship.  I rememver when my son was small, that his job was to take out the trash.  One day he got busy playing and put off the job until it was dark.  Fearing the dark, he cried and hesitated to go out and fulfill his responsibiliity until I told him I would go with him.  After that, he chattered happily all the way out and back.

3.  The Fortitude.  We will all have to go through the valley of the shadow of death.  However, the mighty arm of God will go with us, so we need not fear.  Also, we know He is armed with His rod, (the symbol of power) and His staff, (thy symbol of His authority.  

June 20, 2023  

Reading:  Psalm 18-22                                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 21:1-4

He Was First

"For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness:  thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head."  Psalm 2:3

1.  The Rising.  In vs. 3 we see that fine old word "preventest".  We must understand that word in order to get the sense of this passage.  In the old sense, "prevent" did not mean to hinder, but to rise first.  "pre"=before, and "vent" = to rise.  The same sense is seen in 1 Thess. 4 when Paul tells us we will not "prevent" those who are asleep in Jesus.  God rose first then, to bless David's life, as He does ours.

2.  The Requests.  David had asked God for life, and in response God had given him length of days for ever and ever.  He was given eternal life for himself of course, but also was promised that his descendants would occupy the throne of Israel for ever.

3.  The Rejoicing.  It is no wonder that David would rejoice in the Lord to a great degree.  You know, come to think of it, so ought we to rejoice, for hasn't God given us all these same gifts"  He has given us His love, eternal life, and has made us Kings and Priests.  (Rev. 1:6)  

June 19, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 10-17                                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 12:6-7

"The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever"

On the Other Hand

1.  The Wicked.  This Psalm presents a contrast between the wicked who are carnal and temporary, and the Word of God, which is righteous and eternal.  Now, the wicked are those people who have never accepted Christ, and thus are not spirit-controlled, since their spirit is born dead.

2.  The Works.  God enumerates the types of works in wicked people.  They speak vanity, they flatter, they oppress the poor, and they behave in vile ways.  

3.  The Words.  On the other hand, the words of God are the total opposite.  They are pure.  We can rest assured that the Bible we have today is preserved not only in concepts, but in the very words of God.  He has preserved them through inspiration, translation, and preservation.  

June 18, 2023

Reading:  Psalm 1-9                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Psalm 7:1

A Prayer for Protection


"O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust:  save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me."  

1.  Deliverance.  This is what David desired, deliverance.  He wanted God to take an active hand and role in his life, and to deliver him from the problems he found himself in.  When we are in trouble, we should likewise make our complaint to God, for He is the one who can really do something to help.

2.  Disputers.  In the introductory note to this Psalm, we see that it was written concerning the words of Cush, the Benjaminte. It appears that Cush had accused David of conspiritng against Saus.  Spurgeon says this could well be called, "The Psalm of the Slandered Saint".  When others say things against you falsely, take a lesson from David, take it to the Lord.

3.  Devil.  Perhaps a deeper although secondary application of this passage would be that we ought to pray for protection against the Devil, who is at the bottom of all the persecution we experience.  "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour."  1Peter 5:8.  With such a dangerous adversary, we certainly need to pray for God's deliverance.  

June 17, 2023  

Reading:  Job 38-42                                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Job 42:10

When He Prayed for His Friends

"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends:  also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before."  

1.  Misused.  There was no doubt about it, Job had been badly misused by his friends.  Instead of comforting him in his time of sorrow, they tried to elevate themselves by criticizing and condemning him.  

2.  Abused.  They had heaped up abuse against Job, and had accused him falsely.  Many evil things had been said about Job that had no foundation in reality.  Yet, we need to see his reaction to them, or rather, his reaction to what the Lord told him about his duty to these abusers.

3.  Refused.  Job refused to do what most of us would do naturally.  He refused to respond in like manner to them.  Even Christians have a natural desire to be vindicated, and to achieve this they are often vindictive.  Not so with Job.  Instead, at the Lord's direction, he prayed for his friends.  This was not so much as to help the friends as it was to help Job.  Only be reaching out for others, can we experience inner healing ourselves.  

June 16, 2023

Reading:  Job 34-37                                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Job 34:21

He Sees

"For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings."  

1.  Sincerity.  God is always with us.  He is always just and righteous.  He promised in Heb. 13:5, "...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  Therefore,w hen we worship in church, He sees and hears the sincerity (or lack of it) in our prayers.  Nothing is hid from Him.  No need is too small to escape His notice.

2.  Sympathy.  God sees the sympathy we display for others also.  Of course, in the book of Job, He saw the lack of sympathy in Job's so-called friends.  Real sympathy is near to the heart of God and should be displayed in our lives toward those who are undergoing hard times.

3.  Sin.  It is important to remember that God is always with us, not only in prayer times, but also when we sin.  Remember that God goes everywhere you go, hears everything you hear, and sees all you see.  I anything should hinder us from sin, that's it.  

June 15, 2023

Reading:  Job 29-33                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Job 29:1-11

Longing For Yesterday

"Oh that I were as in months past..."  Job 29:1a

1.  Lingering.  Some of us, like Job, long to linger in the memories of how things used to be.  Here we see Job in the present, beaten, bowed down, and betrayed, lingering in the memories of when he was young, when his children were gathered around him, and when he was treated with respect by all.

2.  Longing.  He really wanted things to be again like they had been in the past.  The truouble is, yesterday is gone and we can never get it back again, no matter how much we desire it.  TIme is like a bird, alighting just for a brief moment and then flying away.

3.  Living.  Some people find living in the present so intolerable that they try to constantly live in the past.  They make themselves and others around them miserable by refusing to accept life as it is and continually compalining on how it used to be.  God did not created us to live in the past or the future, but in the present.  Rather than longing for yesterday, let's concentrate on what we can do today to serve God and glorify His holy name.  

June 14, 2023

Reading:  Job 22-28                                    Today's Green Pastures Text: Job 23:1-10

When God Seems to Hide

"Oh, that I knew where I might find him!  That I might come even to his seat!"  (Job 23:3_

1.  Futility.  Sometimes it seems as if God has hidden his face from us.  In those times, like Job, we must continue to trust.  In vs. 1 of our text, we see Job found it futile to try and explain the pain he was undergoing.  The stroke of God he was living under was more than he could even express.

2.  Failure.  In vs. 8-9 we see the worst thing, God seemed to have totally departed from Job.  No matter in what direction Job went, he could no longer preceive the presence of God.  Now he felt alone and forsaken.  Have you experienced such a time?  If you do, rest on Heb. 13:5 when God promised that regardless of how we feel, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."  

3.  Faith.  Then in vs. 10, Job displays faith in the darkness of despair.  Although he did not kow where God was, he still believed God knew where he, Job was.  He also believed that someday, somehow, he would come out of the darkness and back into the light.  Then, he would be like gold that has been tried in the fire and he would come away purified by his experience.  When God seems to hide His loving face we must rest on His unchanging Grace.  
 

June 13,2023

Reading: Job 16-21                                     Today's Green Pastures Text:  Job 21:-15

Assumptions

"Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.."  Job 21:9

1.  Conduct.  (vs. 3)  The three friends of Job assumed they knew what he was going through.  They also assumed they knew why he was going through it, for they assumed he was guilty of sin and then was complaining instead of repenting.  Job however, did not find their corrections a help, but considered they were doing no more than mocking him.

2.  Complaint.  (vs.4-5)  Why should Job not complain?  After alll, why should his spirit not be troubled with all he had to hear from these men?  When we make known the sorrow of heart or body that we are experiencing, that kind of complaint is not sin, but is rather just a statement of fact.  It is when we complain about God's decisions of judgment and leadership that our behavior becomes sin.  

3.  Consideration.  (6-15)  The fact that the wicked prosper even when they reject God and his leadership negated the argument that Job was suffering due to his sin.  Now, we can be punished for sin it is true, but we need to be oh so slow in assuming this is why others suffer.  We cannot know the mind of God, and we cannot know the heart of man.  Let the Holy Spirit do what correcting needs to be done.  He doesn't need you or me to help.  

June 12, 2023

Reading:  Job 11-15                        Today's Green Pastures Text:  Job 14:1

The Tragedy of Man

"Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble."

1.  Fallen Man.  Ever since the fall of man in the garden of Eden, the life of mankind on earth has been a tragedy.  Every man is a born sinner.  Due to sin, death, decay, and defilement are on every hand.  There is no man without sin, and no man who does not suffer the effects of sin.  One wonders how Job's friends could have felt so smugly superior, when they themselves were nothing but sinners.

2.  Few Days.  Whether we live our full three score and ten years, or whether we live much longer, life will seem like just a few days.  I once asked my father in his 93rd year if it seemed he had lived a long time.  He said, "Oh no!  It seems like I was a child only yesterday."  So it is with us all.

3.  Full of Trouble.  Every one of us will see trouble in our days.  Trouble, trials, and tribulations are the lot of mankind.  Many who are good citizens and good family members suffer great pain and agony also.  Even children, to young to have done much evil, suffer.  However, the Grace of God get us through the valleys, one valley of shadow at a time.  

June 11, 2023

Reading:  Job 6-10                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Job 5:17, 6:14,17

Being a Friend

"How forcible are right words!  But what doth your arguing reprove?"  Job 6:25

1.  A Principle.  (Job 5:17)  Eliphaz, one of Job's 'friends', cites a valid principle, but he misapplies it.  Truly, when God chastens one of his children, we ought not to despise His chastening and correction.  The problem was, Eliphaz assumed Job was being chastened when that wasn't the case.  We can never know for someone else what is going on in their lives, other than through what they tell us.  That kind of judgment is reserved for God and the subject of his chasening alone.

2.  Some Pity.  (Job 6:14)  Truly, pity ought to be showed by friends, not criticism and sarcasm.  This pity needs to be shown as compassion and understanding, and a spirit that tries to alleviate the pain of another by sharing it, will be blessed for such a deed.

3.  The PIt.  (Job 6:17)  Rather than showing pity, the 'friends' of Job dug a pit for him.  Who needs friends like this?  A critical spirit is always found in a prideful person who puffs himself up at the expense of another.  

June 10, 2023

Reading:  Job 1-5                                             Today's Green Pastures Text:  Job 1:6-12

Behind the Scenes

:"But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face."  Job 1:11

1.  Our Advantage.  We can see what Job and his friends could not see.  Behind the scenes,  before the throne, we can see God allowing Satan to touch Job in grevious ways.  The main premise of thie book is, "Why do the righteous suffer?"  This is a question we all ask, sooner or later.  

2.  The Accusation.  Satan accused Job of only serving the Lord because God had given him the best of everything.  Satan stated that if God would only remove His hand of blessing and protection, Job would have no faith, and would curse God.  Behind the scenes we see that God allowed Satanic activity against Job so Job's trust and faith would be demonstrated to be true and factual.

3.  The Application.  When we experience grevious times we must realize that God is allwoing these things for a purpose.  Perhaps He is chasteneing us, but we would know if that were the case.  Perhaps He is giving us an opportunity to demonstrate how a faithful Christian deals with adversity.  In any case, we must continue to trust.

June 9, 2023

Reading:  Esther 8-10                                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  Esther 9:23-29

The Defense

"But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head.."  (Esther 9:25a)

1.   The Plot.  Haman was wiley and crafty.  He arranged to affix the king's signet to an order giving the Amalekites authority to destroy the Jews.  It was a policy in the Persian empire, that as a subjugated people, the Jews could not have weapons.  What would they do?  How would they find deliverance?

2.  The Plan.  WHen Esther achieved the victory over Haman, she still had to do something to rescue the Jews.  Therefore, although the king's order giving the Amalekites authority to destroy the Jews could not be reversed, authority was granted the Jews to defend themselves.  Now, the implication is, the Jews could have weapons.  (see Esther 8:11)

3.  The Punishment.  As happens so often, the wickedness of the plotters against God's people returned upon their own heads.  Haman perished on the gallows, and the Amalekites were defeated for good.  War and violence are awful, but sometimes there is no other way.  

June 8, 2023

Reading:  Esther 4-7                                        Today's Green Pastures Text:  Esther 4:13-16

Duty

"...and if I perish, I perish."  Esther 4:16c

1.  Facing the Problem.  (vs.13)  There is no greater responsibility or privilege, than to do our duty toward God and God's people.  Notice how Esther fulfilled her duty.  First, she had to face the problem that she was also mortal and frightened.  Although she was the Queen of Persia, and had the entire kingdom at her beck and call, she knew she would be killed if the King did not hold the golden scepter out toward her as she approached the throne.  However, her duty to her Kingdom and to her people was clear, regardless at what the cost might be to her personally.

2.  Fasting in Preparation.  (vs.16)  Esther fasted to prepare herself for this duty.  To deprive oneself food allows one to focus more on the spirit and spiritual duty we face.  It seems as if we can concentrate more completely on God at fasting time, and  Esther certainly needed that spiritual help.  Esther asked her maidens and all the Jews to join her in this fast.  

3.  Fatalistic Perspective.  (vs.16c)  "If I perish, I perish."  These words spoken by Esther are a model for all of us who need courage to face our trials.  We are going to die, sooner or later, but it is far better to die having done our duty, than to live a few extra days in cowardice.  Do your duty today when life is easy, then you will be more likely to face life bravely when days grow dark and dangerous.  

June 7, 2023

Reading:  Esther 1-3                                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Esther 2:1-16

God Was Behind It All

"And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins:  so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti."  Esther 3:17

1.  God's Presence.  The name of God is not once mentioned in the book of Esther, but His presence is certainly visible.  No other book of the Bible shows the intervention of God on behalf of His people better than the book of Esther.  Although a remnant had returned to Israel, God did not forake His people who had remained behind.

2.  God's Providence.  God is never surprised by anything.  He knew Haman would arise and try to destroy the JEws, so He provided Esther, a Jewish Queen to rescue and preserve His people.  God often uses the unlikely to accomplish the unimagineable, just as He did in this book.

3.  God's Procedure.  There were many things that were wrong about the way Esther was chosen to be Queen, but it illustrates that God uses us in spite of our flaws and errors.  God is not responsible for the things men do, but accomplishes His purposes in spite of the things men do.  AS God provided for the Jews, so He will provide for all who trust in Him.  

 

June 6, 2023

Reading:  Nehemiah 11-13                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Nehemiah 11:1-2

A Tithe of People

"And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.'  Neh. 11:2

1.  The Votes.  Lots were cast to see who would move into Jerusalem to live with the rulers of the land.  1/10 of the people 'lost' and moved into 'harm's way.'  You see, the eyes of the enemies of the Jews would be on Jerusalem, and any attack would occur there.  It was much more dangerous to dwell in Jerusalem than any where else in the land.  Thinking about that, I think even in our Churches today, only about 1/10 of our people do the work of God.  The rest seem content to just 'go along for the ride.'

2.  The Volunteers.  It seems evident from vs. 2 that there were in addition some men who volunteered, who willingly offered themselves to love in Jerusalem, and did not wait to be 'drafted'.  God bless volunteers!  Every church has a few, but all too few volunteers.  We need thosew who will volunteer to work the buses, teach classes, count offerings, work the nursery, clean, and perform a myriad of other tasks.  How about you?  Are you a volunteer, or are you waiting to be drafted?

3.  The Victory.  God blessed and protected those who did go to Jerusalem, and they were in favor not only with God but with all the people.  Why not step out from the crowd, talk to your Pastor and volunteer today?  When you do however, watch your Pastor closely, he may pass out!

June 5, 2023

Reading:  Nehemiah 9-10                               Today's Green Pastures Text:  Nehemiah 9:1-3

Half A Day In Services


...they stood...and read in the book of the law of the Lord their God one fourth part of the day, and another fourth part they confessed and worshipped..."  Neh. 9:3

1.  Separation.  Do you think your worship services are too long?  The very first thing we notice about the services recorded in Nehemiah was that they lasted half a day!  It was when the people separated themselves unto the Lord and from the worldly crowd that they began to confess their sins.  They god serious about separation, and spending time with the Lord didn't seem so long after all.

2.  Scripture.  Scripture reading went on for on fourth of a day.  In our day and age I am convinced we need much more Bible than we are getting.  I will never apologize for reading the Scripture too much.  One day I may however, have to apologize to God for reading it too little.

3.  Services.  Now, the services went on another fourth part of the day.  They was because people got serious about getting right with God.  After that confession, then worship could really begin.  You know, that is the order things happen, isn't it?  Let's start confessing our sin and then worshipping.  We are going to be with God for quite awhile, but it won't seem like it.  

June 4, 2023

Reading:  Nehemiah 7-8                                     Today's Green Pastures Text:  Nehemiah 7:70-72

The Gifts to the Work

"And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work."  (Neh. 7;70a)

1.  The Giftrs of Preparation.  I believe the mark of our seriousness is demonstrated by our willingness to give to the work of the Lord.  Among the gifts given here in Nehemiah, we see in vs. 70 there were some 50 basons. (sic)  These basins or bowls were used by the priests for many things, but most notably for washing and preparing themselves for service.  These gifts of preparation were very practical.  What can we give that will aid others in their service for the Lord?

2.  The Gifts of Provision.  Great amounts of gold and silver were given.  We notice that the leaders began the giving, and others followed their example.  This money was for provision for the many needs of God's House which are not often noticed by most people.  It costs a great deal to provide all of the supplies necessary for fellowship, education, and worship.  What can we give to aid in those needs?

3.  The Garments for Priests.  These priestly garments were, of course, very expensive.  They had to be made exactly to pattern, and were inteneded to bring glory to God and beauty to the eye.  What can we give to help beautify the House of God?  

June 3, 2023

Reading:  Nehemiah 4-6                                   Today's Green Pastures Text:  Neh. 4:21-23

A Full TIme Job

"So we labored inthe work......"  Neh. 4:21a

1.  The Work is VIgorous.  We cannot attempt to do the work of the Lord with half a heart.  Nehemiah illustrated a good principle in that they started work, and continued all day long.  Our service for Christ begins also when we rise, and continues all during our work day, whether others are present or whether we labor alone.  We show our true character especially at home.

2.  The Enemy is Vicious.  Satan and his legions are constantly gearing up for the attack.  The world also has eyes upon us, waiting for us to stumble or fall.  They then will pounce upon us and destroy the integrity of our testimony.

3.  The Job Requires Vigilance.  Half of the people watched while the other half worked.  Here is another important principle for us to remember.  We must always be on guard and ready to resist the Devil.  If we do, he will flee from us.  (James 4:7_

June 2, 2023

Reading:  Nehemiah 1-3                                                 Today's Green Pastures Text:  Nehemiah 4:6

So Built We

"So built we the wall:  and all the wall was joined unto the half thereof, for the people had a mind to work."  

1.  The Construction.  It takes everyone doeing their own part for the work of the Lord to be built.  Here we see everyone had their own section of the wall to work on. (chap.3)  Now the wall was getting done because everyone was taking a hand.  No one was doing everything, but everyone was doing something.  

2.  The Connection.  We see in vs. 6 that the wall was joined together.  We are building according to God's master plan of evangelism.  One day, it will all come together, and all of our witnessing, our inviting, and our praying will bear fruit and the Church will be built.  Until then, don't quit, for we are not done until the job is done.

3.  The Condition.  The condition of Israel at this time was unique.  They had a mind to work.  Too many today come into service and desire only to be served.  Let's be diferent.  Let's roll up our sleeves and learn to help.  Let us be a blessing also.  

June 1, 2023

Reading:  Ezra 9-10                                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  Ezra 9:8-10

The Surrender of Separation

"And now, O our God, what shall we say after this?  for we have forsaken thy commandments."  Ezra 9:10

1.  The Principle of Separation.  What we mean by 'separation' is that special closeness to the Lord, and the resulting distance away from sin and selfishness that results when we obey God.  When we lose our separated position, we lose our power.  To the Jews was given a prohibition against marrying ourside the nation.

2.  The Practice of Separation.  Separation is plainly obedience to God.  The closer we stay to God, the stronger we stay for God.  Ezra was quite upset with Israel's behavior, for after God had been so good and kind to deliver them back to the Promised Land, now they were once again guilty of breaching their separation unto Him.

3.  The Problem of Separation.  As stated earlier, our strength is directly dependent upon our separation position.  Samson't life is an excellent example.  He laost his strength when he surrendered his separation in favor of a relationshp with a worldly woman.  We can always repent, it is true.  However, as we see here, much misery is caused when we don't separate ourselves according to His commands.  

May 31, 2023

Reading:  Ezra 6-8                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Ezra 6:19-22

Separation

"And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat."  Ezra 6:21

1.  Procedure.  Note that the Israelites did not separate themselves from the heathen, but rather from the filthiness of the heathen.  Separation is never about separating from people, but from practices.  We have to live in this world, and yet maintain standards of behavior so we are not of the world.

2.  Progress.  We note that separation follows deliverance from captivity, just as surely as day follows night.  It was only after their deliverance that separation naturally ensued.  It is a normal step of Christian growth that we get closer to the Savior, and so further away from sin.  

3.  Practice.  Service tot eh Lord can only be accomplished by seeking a continual presence of God in our lives.  That presence must be so pronounced as to be visibly noticeable.  (see Gal. 6:20)  This practice should continue our whole life long.

May 30, 2023

Reading:  Ezra 3-5                                                  Today's Gfreen Pastures Text:  Ezra 4:1

Attack and Defense

"Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the congregation builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel..."

1.  Attacking Construction.  The Devil won't bother most existing churches.  why should he waste his time trying to kill that which is already dead?  No, it's when people get serious about building something for the glory of God that he gets upset, becomes alarmed, and sets out to attack.

2.  Attack by Compromise.  The world doesn't mind us having our churches, as long as those churches are politically correct.  Such compromise must be rejected by true churches.  We must not build to please society, but we must build to please the Savior.  We don't need or want the world to join in and accredit us, approve us, or license us.  We want to be left alone to serve our God.

3.  Attack by Complaint.  Wehn the enemies of God were not allowed to join in, they complained to the king of Persia.  Churches today are attacked by restrictive laws, regulations, zoning laws, welfare laws, and attempts to attack Biblical moral stands.  Such attacks have only one recourse, they must be resisted.  

 May 29, 2023

Reading:  Ezra 1-2                                             Today's Green Pastures Text:  Ezra 1:5-6

Builders and Encouragers

"...to build the house of the Lord."  Ezra 1:5

1.  The Rising.  Notice that it started when the leaders began to rise up and build.  After them came the priests of the Temple, and finally everyone else got up and prepared to get doing, doeing the work of God.  If you want to see your Church built up for the glory of God, someone is going to have to be a leader and rise up and set an example.  How about you doing that?

2.  The Responsibility.  In this part of the passage (vs. 6a)  we see that 'all' that were about them helped.  It is not the responsibility of just a few to do and encourage the work of God.  It is the responsibility of all of us.

3.  The Response.  The encouragement and strengthening offered went far and above mere prayer support and well wishes.  People sacrificed and gave to those who had already determined to go.  We all can and should have a part in the work.  What are you doing to aid the Church in fulfilling the Great Commission?  

 

May 28, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 34-36                                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 34:18

The Book of the Law

"Then Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a gook.  And Shaphan read it before the king."  

1.  The Reading.  (vs.18)  What good is a BIble that is not read?  Many homes contain them, but they gather no readers, they only gather dust.  An unread Bible is like the 'pet rock' craze of the 1970's.  It just lies there and does nothing for you.  The Bible had become like that in Israel in the period of our lesson.  It was shut up in the house of God and did nothing for anyone.  That is, until it was read to the king.

2.  The Response.  When Shaphan read the Biblwe to the king it caused a wonderful response.  The king rent his clothes in sorrow and turned his heart toward the Lord.  Reading the Bible will do the same thing for you.  R. A. Torrey, the great preacher of the 1800's, found himself graduated from college, but consumed with doubts.  He had heard faith ridiculed and mocked, and now no longer knew what was real.  He bought a new Bible, read it cover to cover, and became a new and vibrant Christian.

3.  The Result.  Regular Bible reading will be a profitable activity.  As 2 Tim. 3:16 assures us, it will be profitable in confirming our doctrine, in giving us reproof and correction, and in instructing us in righteousness.  Are you a daily reader, or a hit and miss reader?  It you are the latter, you will 'hit' on a few truths, but will 'miss' many of God's blessings.

May 27, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 31-33                             Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 30:6-11

God's Postmen

"So the posts went with the letters from the king..."  2Chron. 30:6a

1.  The Realization.  Have you ever realized that when you hand out a gospel tract that you are a messenger for the Master?  You are acting as God's postman!  Just as the posts went with letters of invitation from King Hezekiah, so we deliver an invitation from the King of Kings to join Him at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!  (Full directions are inclueded in the invitation.)

2.  The Rejection.  In vs. 10 we see that many who received such invitation laughted and scorned them.  Did that make the message any less valuable and important?  No indeed, for those who received te message would find peace, but those who rejected it would find punishment.  In either case, delivery of the message from the King would accomplish something, wouldn't it?

3.  The Resotration.  In vs. 11 we see that some did accept the invitation.  They first humbled themselves, and then came to the King.  In this case, these 'outsiders' were restored to full fellowship. believe that everyone who delivered the mail, knew their task had been worthwhile.  

May 26, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 29-30                             Today's Green Pastures Text: 2Chron. 29:16

Where Revival Begins

"And the priests went the inner pasrt of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found..."

1.  At God's House.  Many folks think the task of the Church today is to feed or reform the world.  We can slow degeneration down, but we can never 'change the world'.  What we can do, is to employ the House of God for the purpose it was intended to perform, and fulfill the Great Commission.  Reaching, teaching, and preaching, that is the job of the Church.  This is the only way we can really influence our world today, and if the world continues its bent toward self=destruction, the fault will not rest in the White House, but in God's House.

2.  In God's House.  First and foremost of course, we must get rid of the filth and uncleanness in the inner part of God's House.  Let us consider that 'inner part' to be the hearts of Church members.  Only by opening up those closed and locked doors, and confessing and having our innermose sins cleansed and forgiven, can we measure up to what God wants us to be as a Church.

3.  Through God's House.  God's people need to take the responsibility to get right.  Only then can God use us as a healing tool, instead of a tool that contributes to harm.  See 2Chron. 7:14.

 

May 25, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 26-28                          Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 26: 15b-16a

Marvelous Help

:...for he was marvelously helped till he was strong...But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction..."

1.  Help.  The old axiom is true, "God helps those who help themselves."  It is interesting however, that the people who are helped by God, often attribute their new found blessings or in this case, strength, to themselves rather than ascribe it to God.  Who was it who gave Uzziah the cunning men who invented his engines of war?  (vs.15)  Who helped Uzziah in his war against the Philistines?  (vs.8)  Who was it who advised Uzziah and gave counsel that caused him to prosper?  (vs.5)  The answer to all these is, of course, God.

2..  Harm.  When he was strong, his heart was lifted up in pride. He did not consider all God had done for him.  He looked around at all that had been accomplished and said in effect, "Look at what I did!"  All too often, we do the same thing.  This happens most often when we forget to tell God, "Thank you." 

3.  Hindered.  Uzziah decided that since he was such a marvelous leader, he might just as well take over the spiritrual leadership as well.  However, God struck him down with a terrible disease.  As God blesses our Churches, we have to be careful not to think it is what we have done.  If we do, we will soon be intruding into God's area, and attempt to rule our own lives.  

May 24, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 23-25                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 23:12-15

The Terrible Queen

"...then Athaliah rent her clothes and said, Treason, Treason..."  2Chron.23:13d

1.  The Actions.  Back in chapter 22, we saw that when her own son was dead, Athaliah committed horrible murders, killing all the children of the royal family just so she could make her own position secure.  Of course, Satan was behind this,  for he was trying to destroy the line through which Messiah would come.   Athaliah was a willing tool, so obsessed and drunk with power that she would sacrifice innocent children in order to secure her own position.

2.  The Abode.  The daughter of the king however, took young Josiah and hid him.  He would be revealed in time as the only one who had a legitimate claim to the throne.  God always keeps His promises, and found this young and loyal woman who courageously hid the king's son from the terrible and evil queen.

3.  The Accusation.  Isn''t it always the case, that those who fling accusations at others are usually guilty themselves?  Athaliah cried, "treason", when she was the one who committed it first by killing her own grandsons.  My, can't ambition cause people to commit horrible crimes?  Let's make sure that our ambitions are centered in fulfilling the will of God.  Our deeds then will be righteous deeds, and not reprobate.  

 

May 23, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 19-22                          Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 20:1-30

The Key to Victory

"....for the battle is not your, but God's.:  2Chron. 20:15b

1.  The Prayer.  (vs. 5-12)  When he was faced with seemingly overwhelming obstacles, Jehoshaphat did the only thing he could do, he took his problems to the Lord in prayer.  No, he wasn't sinless, for in fact he had recently been warned against his evil alliances.  (19:1-3)  However, he was God's child, and when he had a need he took it to his Father.  We should do the same, for our Father is always ready to listen to the prayers of His children.

2.  The Praise.  (vs. 21-22)  How can you praise God in the midst of trouble?  Well, that is the very key to victory.  It was when the people began to praise God that God took a hand for them.  It was again illustrated in the book of Acts, when Paul and Silas sang praises to God at midnight, that God delivered them from teh midst of the prison.  You have problems?  Start praising, and God will start solving.

3.  The Promise.  Yes indeed, always remember that the battle is not yours, but God's.  He can and will fight on your behalf if you humble yourself and ask Him to do so.  Why not ask Him today?

May 22, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 15-18                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 15:1-10

Asa's Encouragement

"Be strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."  2Chron. 15:7

1.  The Decision.  Azariah did not give Asa a new message.  Actually it was the message of his father the prophet Oded, who got it from the Lord.  .  He encouraged Asa in several ways.  First, if you stay with the  Lord, the Lord will stay with you.  Secondly, he enouraged Asa to 'be strong',  Most people think of strength as something you either do or don't have.  With God however, it is something we either choose or don't choose.  The decision is up to each of us to choose also, to accept or reject God's strength.

2.  The Duty.  When we work for God, He expects no less that our best.  He will bless our efforts, but we must first put out the effort.  Asariah exhorted Asa to his very best efforts, and promised God would reward him accordingly.

3.  The Determination.  God will determine success.  For instance, let's suppose we are witnessing to a lost person.  God will bless our sincere efforts by the Holy Spirit touching the heart of the hearer with the knowledge that the Gospel is truth.  If that one is saved, we have a great reward.  If not, we still await our reward in Heaven.  The key is, use your opportunity to the best of your ability.

May 21, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 11-14                           Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 11:18-12:1

Our Weakest Point

"...when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord..."  2Chron. 12:1

1.  Stability.  Rehoboam had committed great folly as a new king in listening to the advice he wanted to hear, and rejecting the advice he needed to hear.  Now, he set out to stabalize what portion of the kingdom he had left, and at least in that, behaved himself wisely.

2.  Strength.  In Chap. 11:11-13 we read how Rehoboam fortified the strongholds and succeeded in getting Judah and Benjamin on his side.  THe Levites also resorted to him because Jereboam in the north, had fallen into total apostasy.

3.  Sin.  Now, when he was at his strongest point, and when the kingdom was at its most stable, Rehoboam forsook the law of the Lord.  What could he have been thinking?  On the other hand, I often see folks who seek the Lord until they get secure financially.  Then they don't need God any more.  I have to ask,  what can they be thinking?  

May 20, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 8-10                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Chron. 9:13-18

"...And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold..."  2Chron. 9:14

1.  The Weight of the Gold.  It is almost incomprehensible, but each year Solomon received 666 talents of gold.  A talent was worth about $29,085, so just his income in gold was a wopping $19,370,610 per year.  It is also interesting that the 666 talents is the same number used as the number of a man in the book of Revelation.  So, what did Solomon do with all his gold?

2.  The War Gear.  In vs. 15 we see the number 6 occurring again as Solomon made 200 targets of gold, worth 600 shekels of gold.  Of couse, other things are mentioned also, but it is interesting that he put his gold to such use.  Did it perhaps reflect that he now wanted to glorify himself as a warrior, who once had been so humble before God?

3.  The Way to Glory.  FInally, in vs. 18, we see there were 6 steps to Solomon's throne.  At the end of the ascent was a footstool made of gold.  It seems, that since 6 is the number of man, perhaps Solomon's focus was changing from God to gold.  

May 19, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 5-7                                   Today's Green Pasture's Text:  2Chron. 5:1-14

The Day God's Glory Filled His House

"...then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord, So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God."  2Chron. 5:13-14

1.  The People.  This was truly a momentous occasion.  All the men who were invited to come had done so.  Has this ever happened before or since?  If only those who are invited to God's House would come, we would be filled to bursting at the seams!

2.  The Praise.  We notice here that it was when the singers and musicias were playing, singing, and so praising the Lord that His presence filled the house.  Perhaps there is not so noticeable a presence today in God's churches, but if we wouild praise Him with all our hearts, perhaps there would be!

3.  The Plan.  Let's make a plan here and now that the next time we enter God's house, we will praise and worship Him with all our being.  Let us determine to give Him glory due His holy name.  If we do that, I think we will know His presence is truly with us, even if we don't see a cloud come in.  

May 18, 2023

Reading:  2Chron. 1-4                                      Today's Green Pastures Text: 2Chron. 3:1-2

Beginning to Build

"Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord...."  2Chron. 3:1

1.  The Duty.  David had assembled much material for the building of the House of God.  He had everything ready.  The only thing that kept him from building God's House was that it was not God's will.  Sometimes it hurts when we want something so badly and are not able to do it for God.  I have, for instance, surrendered to go to several mission's fields.  The only problem is, God didn't call me to go.  He called me to stay.  Well, even so, we can, like David, help others to do what we wanted to do.

2.  The Desire.  It was the desire of Solomon to do the best job he could in building God's House.  The things David had prepared were only the beginning.  Solomon would go far above and beyond David's plans, in order to bring glory to God.  How exciting it is, when our children not only serve the Lord, but even go farther that we ever planned for them to do!  How proud David must have been of his son.

3.  The Deed.  So, Solomon began to build.  You know, you and I have prepared to build up our Church, but it seems as if something always interferes with our plans to go soul winning, or to pass out tracts and issue invitations to come.  We have all the materials we need.  We have our Bibles, we have tracts, and we can make the time.  Let's rise up and build!

May 17, 2023

Reading:  1Chron. 27-29                                      Today's Green Pastues Text: 1Chron. 29:1-9

When They See You Give


"Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly."  1Chron. 29:6

1.  Giving.  Jesus taught that we are not to let our right hand know what our left hand doeth.  (Matt. 6:3)  However, although we are not to boast about how much we give, we ought not be ashamed to let others know we do give, whether we are speaking of giving tithes, time, or talents to the Lord.

2.  Gaining.  As David showed here, his example of giving was an encouragement to many others to do the same.  Thus it is that God's work is accomplished, when we all get involved.  We can gain much support for God's kingdom by encouraging others.

3.  Guarding.  Above all, we must guard against pride.  We must never boast or consider ourselves to be superior because of what we give.  If we do, we have lost all the advantage we could have gained for God.

May 16, 2023

Reading;  1Chron. 24-26                  Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Chron. 24:1-3

Filling In

"But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children:  therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office.'  (1Chron. 24:2)

1.  Sin.  Nadab and Abihu had died when they offered 'strange fire' before the Lord which God had not commanded them to do.  Attempting to mix our own ideas with God's ideas of worship never works.  Worship must be conducted according to His commands.  Here are two men who I think would be more than willing to testify as to the accuracy of that statement.

2.  Sorrow.  No doubt, all Israel was full of sorrow when the young men died.  No doubt their father did, and so did their uncle Moses.  Now, who would step up to take their place?  Such a thing had never happened before, so who would be willing to fill their shoes?

3.  Selection.  God is never surprised byanything that happens.  He had already pre-selected someone else to fill the vacancies.  The brothers of these young rebels stepped right up to fill the needed positions.  In our Churches today, there are often needs when folks leave their positions.  Are you ready to 'step up to the plate' and meet the need?  

May 15, 2023

Reading:  1Chron. 20-23                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Chron. 21:1-7

What's the Big Deal?

"And Satan stood up against Israel, and pronoked David to number Israel."  1Chron. 21:1

1.  The Procedure.  Truly, Israel had been counted and numbered many times in the past,but it had always been at God's direction.  God ordered a census at times, to convince Israel that they could do what He told them to do, militarily.  Now, this time, David took it on himself and did not consult the Lord. This was a blatant lack of faith.

2.  The Punishment.  The aspect of this whole thing was so bad, was that David displayed no confidence in the Lord.  Joab tried to warn him in vs. 3, butr David was adamant.  This rebellious attitude and self-dependance was obviously displayed in the people also, for not only David but the people would be severly punished.

3.  The Parents.  I have heard parents be at odds over punishment for children.  One parent thinks it was not such a bad deed, and the other says punishment is necessary.  Parents should be aware that rebellion is what must be punished.  A mistake is a mistake, but rebellion is always sin.  

May 14, 2023

Happy Mother's Day

Suffering Shame

"Then there went certain, and told David how the men were served, And he sent to meet them:  for the men were greatly ashamed.  And the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return."

1.  Being Shamed.  The men in our story were ashamed because they had been surprised by those they thought were friends, and were overcome.  Their beards were shaved to show the spite of the enemy.  It wasn't so much the loss of a beard as a loss of dignity at being overpowerd so easily.  WE ought to also be ashamed when we let the Devil overcome us as easity as he does.

2.  Bearing Shame.  David helped the men bear their shame.  In the book of Acts, the apostles of the Lord were put to shame and beaten upon orders of the leaders of their own people.  The crime they had committed was simply preaching and teaching the Lord Jesus Christ.  They went rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.  (See Acts 5:41)  Most folks today would just quit.

3.  Bringing Shame.  We need to have a good attitude toward shame.  Certainly we should be ashamed of sin and ashamed of ourselves when we commit it, regardless of how society views it.  We should though, be ready to rejoice if we are put to shame for the sake of our Savior.  Remember that, the next time the Devil comes calling with temptation under his arm.  

May 13, 2023

Reading;  1Chron. 13-16                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Chron. 14:25

Do It God's Way

"So David and the elders of Israel...went to bring up the ark of the covenant with joy."  

1.  The Decision.  David made his decision to get the ark on a vote, rather than through prayer.  Furthermore, he used modern methods and put the ark of an ox drawn cart,  in an attempt to secure the ark, rather than follow God's plan of having the Levites carry the ark.  Small wonder things did not work out well.

2.  The Dilemma.  In chap. 13:11-12 we see that David ws displeased and also distressed since God had killed Uzza for touching the ark.  "How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?"  There was no need for distress however.  A little deliberation would show that David just needed to do things God's way.  

3.  The Declaration.  Now, in chap. 15;1-2, David decided to do it God's way.  Guess what?  IT WORKED!  Today, so many churches are trying to use the world's methonds to bring people to God's House, and it won't work.  Instead, they are using a recipe for disaster.  

May 12, 2023

Reading:  1 Chron. 10-12                                   Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Chron. 10:13-14

Why Judgment Falls

"So Saul died for his transgressions which he committed against the Lord...And enquired not of the Lord."  )1Chron. 10:13-14)

1.  Hell.  Hell is God's final  judgment on those who have refused to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Contrary to popular opinion, man does not go to Hell for lying, stealing, murder, adultery, or doing evil.  The only reason a person faces God's eternal judgment, is because he refuses to accept God's plan of salvation by calling on the person of Jesus Christ.  God will also judge His people now, when they refuse to obey Him, as He did Saul.

2.  Harm.  However, judgment will be harshest on those who have done evil in their lifetime.  God's judgment falls on people for two reasons:  because of transgressions we have done against God's law, and because of sins of omission, when we don't do what God says we should.  Saul transgressed greatly against the Lord (sin of commission) and did not enquire of God.  (sin of omission)  That is why he faced judgment.

3.  Help.  The Scripture is given to us for help.  2 Tim. 3:16 assures us the Bible gives us doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.  All we need to do is to obey the Word of God, and we will get along fine.  

May 11, 2023

Reading:  1 Chron. 7-9                             Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Chron. 9:1b

Written in the Book

"...and behold, they were written in the book...."  (1Chron. 9:1b

     God has a book called, "The Book of LIfe"  (Rev. 20:12)  It will be interesting to see whose names are written down in it.

1.  Pedigrees.  Israel has always placed great emphasis and store on their genealogies.  Although in our day and age the word 'pedigree' is used almost exclusively for animals, Israel was concerned about their own pedigrees.  (Num. 1:18)  According to Ezra 2:61-63, those of the returning remnant who could not show their pedigrees could not serve in the ministry.

2.  Promise.  Our names are written down in God's book of genealogies when we accept Christ as personal savior.  However, the genealogy is short.  We are descended from only one Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.  (John 14:6)

3.  Profession.  It doesn't matter if we profess to know Christ; unless He knows us and our name is written down in His book of Life, it will avail us nothing on the day of judgment.  (Matt. 7:22-23)  An old gospel song had this wonderful lyric:  "And it reads on the page, where my name is written down, paid in full, by the blood, of the lamb."  

May 10, 2023

Reading:  1Chron. 5-6                               Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Chron. 5:9-22

What Happened to Hagar?

"And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites..."  1Chron. 5:10a

1.  The Promise.  Hagar was the handmaid of Sarai, who was given to Abram to be his wife.  She was the mother of Ishmael, and here we see what happened to her and her posterity after she was cast out.  (Gen. 21:17-21)  God promised Hagar that her son would become he father of a great people.  Indeed, that promise was kept as all His promises are, and 12 princes would be the posterity of Ishmael.  Never however, would they forget that they were cast out so Isaac could become the son of promise.  They would be the constant enemies of Israel.

2.  The Prosperity.  In our passage today, we see that this people prospered greatly in wealth.  Wealth was measured in livestock primarily among nomadic people, and the Hagarites had great numbers of camels, sheep, and asses.

3.  The Proof.  God kept His promises.  However, He had also promised that those who were a blessing to Israel would be blessed, and those who were a curse to Israel would be cursed.  This proved to be true as the Hagarites were soundly defeated and their wealth was taken away.  The blessings of God can become a curse for those who choose disobedience.  

May 9, 2023

Reading:  1 Chron. 2-4                                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Chron. 4:21-23

They Worked for the King

"...there they dwelt with the king for his work...."  1 Chron. 4:23b

1.  The Potters.  These folks were the gardeners for the king.  They potted his plants, nurtured them, and in the due season they harvested the products for their sovereign.  They probably didn't get much recognition from men, but the king who partook of the harvest was certainly grateful for their labor of love.  

2.  The Planters.  In Churches all across the world, there are a relative few who roll up their sleeves and get involved with the work.  These plant the seed through sharing the word, nurture the seed with discipleship visits, and sometimes get to see the fruit of their labor when someone comes into Church membership after receiving Christ.

3.  The Potentate.  Our King Jesus is the one who partakes of our harvest.  All we do is for HIm and not for ourselves.  Let us always remember that we may be few in number, but we must be large in committment.  Let others take time off, we have work to do, in the garden of our Lord.  

May 8, 2023

Reading:  1Chron. 1                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Chron. 1: 24-28

The Lineage

"Abram:  the same is Abraham."  1 Chron. 1:27

1.  The Family.  In this passage, we see the clear line from Shem to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation.  Shem, as you recall, was the eldest son of Noah, and with the cooperation of Japheth, honored his father by shielding him with a blanket. (Gen. 9:23)  This is why the Jews are referred to as Semites, or Shemites, because they count their descent from Abraham, who came of the line of Shem.  It is also for this reason that people who are anti-Jewish are referred to as "Anti-semites."

2.  The Friend.  Now, Abraham was a unique individual.  So close a relationship did he have with God that he was referred to as God's friend.  (2Chron. 20:7)  God could trust Abraham and confide His purposes to His friend.  (see Gen. 18:17-19)  I have no doubt that Abraham likewise, confided in God.  He told God his troubles and trials, but also spent time just enjoying sweet fellowship.

3.  The Fellowship.  Do you also enjoy sweet fellowship with the Lord?  Many people grow so accustomed to their salvation that they take God 'for granted', and neglect to spend time with Him in prayer and Bible reading.  Don't neglect Him.  Don't let that happen to you.  Any relationship takes maintenance.  Maintain your relationship with God by keeping in continual contact with Him.  He will take care of His side of the relationship.  

May 7, 2023

Reading:  2 Kings 22-25               Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Kings 22:8-20

Reading the Bible


And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book.  And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes."  2Kings 22:10-11

1.  Remorse.  Note how the king 'rent his clothes' when he heard the Bible read.  He saw how far short the nation had come of keeping God's Word and will, and he was filled with remorse on behalf of his nation.  However, I believe there was personal remorse also.  Although Josiah was a great king, he was still s sinful man.  When we are confronted with our sin through the mirror of God's Word, it does indeed, bring remorse.

2.  Repentance.  As we read down in vs. 13-20 we see that Josaiah didn't merely feel bad, he determined to do right.  He immediately went to God to find out what he could do to get right.  This is very important to note.  God dosen't want us to feel bad, He wants us to change our direction and do good.

3.  Resolve.  We see in Chapter 23:1-4 that Josiah made a covenant with the Lord to do according to the Word of God.  He led all those under his authority to do the same.  If wer are only responsible for ourselves, then we need to concentrate on our own spiritual condition.  But, if we know others who are not 'right' with God, we must do everything we can to bring them also to repentance.  Remember, if the reading of God's Word doesn't change you, then perhaps you need to change how you read God's Word.  Concentrate!

May 6, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 19-21                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Kings 20:19b

Peace in Our TIme

"...Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?"   

1.  A Decpetive Peace.  When people seek peace in the wrong places they are often deceived.  For example, Nevill Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister announce that he had met with Adolph Hitler and they had achieved, "Peace in our time."  The British had made concession after concession, even betraying many allies to do so, and believed they had achieved peace.  However, they had not.

2.  A Definite Peace.  Hezekiah made his peace with God by accepting His Word, His WIll, and His judgments.  Note in vs. 19 he said, "Good is the Word of the Lord which thou hast spoken."  Acceptance of God's judgments and actions is a major step toward peace.  Of course, we must accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior first and foremost, then be obedient to the Bible, and we will see real peace, in our time.

3.  A Deep Peace.  As our society disintegrates around us, we are unhappy witht he way things are going.  However, if we will continue to trust the Lord and His leadership, we can even in these times of upheaval, know deep settled peace in our hearts and souls. 

May 5, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 17-18                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Kings 17:2

Not So Bad

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him."  

1.  Comparison.  A lot of people make this same comparison of themselves.  "I may be bad, but at least I'm not as bad as __________ is."  Compared to the other kings of Israel, Hoshea wasn't as bad either.  I suppose he probably thought, "At least I haven't done all Ahab did."  However, Scripture assures us this is a very dangerous way to think.  see 2 Cor. 10:12.

2.  Consider.  It ought to be obvious that a lesser amount of sin is not the same thing as righteousness.  Consider this example.  As a boy I often worked on a farm.  After a hard day's toil I could look at myself and say, "Well, at least I'm not as dirty as the pigs", but that didn't make me clean.

3.  Conquered.  Hoshea was still overtaken and conquered by God's judgment, as was his whole nation  The time of judgment comes and is fast approaching for our nation as well.  Let's make sure we have the righteousness of Christ on our lives, and not simply rest in the thought that others are worse than we are.  

May 4, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 15-16                                              Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Kings 15:32-35

That Which Was Right

1.  His Mother.  As we see so often in the books of the kings, a good king was often influenced by a godly mother.  In the case of Jotham, he is listed as one of the good kings of Judah.  It is also mentioned that his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.  There is little doubt that this man was taught and trained by his mother.  As it has been truly said, "The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world."  

2.  His Ministry.  As a king, Jotham had almost unlimited power.  He could conduct wars or he could wield the scepter of peace.  He could build himself a name to be feared, or he could behave so as to gain in God's sight, much favor.  Jotham chose the latter.  

3.  His Monuement.  Jotham is chiefly remembered for the improvements he made, especially that he buiilt the higher gate of the house of the Lord.  If all we are ever remembered for is that we tried to do our best to build up God's House, I believe our lives will not have been lived in vain.  May God help us, to be like Jotham and be concerned with things that really matter.  

May 3, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 13-14                           Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Kings 14:1-4

:Boundaries

"And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father:  he did according to all things as Joash his father did."  2Kings 14:3

1.  Training.  Most people have already determined just how far they will go in service to God.  Why do they refuse to go any farther?  Amaziah evidently had good training.  Notice his mother's name is specifically mentioned.  No doubt she had trained him in the way he should go, and had taught him to love the Lord.

2.  Tradition.  However, tradition stopped him short of giving everything to God.  Amaziah served God no more and no less than his father had done.  That is the tragedy that often happens.  Children and grandchildren will probably serve God to no greater degree than they see us serve God, even though Scripture enjoins us to give Him our all.

3.  Tragedy.  It could surely be that Amaziah could have had a greater impact on the nation if he had completely surrendered to God.  As it was, he allowed the people to continue their evil practices of worshipping in the high places because his father had done so also.  Trouble was, God is pleased with truth in service, not tradition.   

May 2, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 10-12                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Kings 10:1-7

Cutting Off the Enemies

"...if ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men of your master's sons..."      2Kings 10:6b

1.  Cruelty.  It seems cruel I know, but Jehu was not unnecessarily cruel to demand the lives of Ahab's sons.  Think about it.  If left alive, these men were potential rivals who would raise up soldiers to war against Jehu.  War does seem cruel at times, but war is about killing and eliminating enemies.

2.  Culpable.  Each of these sons of Ahab were not little children.  These were men who had been reared in the idolatry and wickedness of Ahab and Jezebel.  They were not God worshippers, but idol worshipers, who would sacrifice their own children if they thought need presented it.  Each was culpable, guilty in his own right.

3.  Killing.  We need to deal with sin and lust in our bodies just as emphatically.  Paul says we are to 'mortify our members', which means  to put to death those propensities to sin we all have.  In order to do that, we have to eliminate our potential enemies and deal with the thought of sin, before it takes root and becomes action.  

May 1, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 8-9                  Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Kings 9:32-33

"And he lifted up his face to the window and said, Who is on my side?"

There comes a time when we all have to answer that question, a question posed to us by the Lord.

1.  The Confrontation.  Jehu confronted the people who were standing with wicked Jezebel.  It doesn't matter who you are, you will one day have to answer, which side are you on?  Many try to hide in the crowd and escape notice, but God sees all and demands a personal answer from all.

2.  The Consideration.  Jehu was anointed by God to destroy the house of Ahab.  When he asked therefore, who was on his side, that was the equivalent of asking who was on the Lord's side.  If  your Pastor is a Scirptural leader and asks if you are on his side, he asks also, who is on the Lord's side?

3.  The Conflict.  The two or three eunuchs had served Jezebel for many years.  No doubt they had grown comfortable in that position, but they knew what was right and knew what they had to do.  When Jehu issued his challenging question, they made their decision.  They were on the Lord's side.

The Lord's side is always the winning side.  

April 30, 2023

Reading:  2 Kings 5-7                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Kings 5:10-14

The Clenasing

1.  The Resentment.  (vs.11-12)  Simple faith is always the avenue through which God works.  Sometimes however, as in this case, people are offended that they must humble themselves in obedience to display faith.  

2.  The Resolve.  (vs. 13)  The servants of Naaman helped him to see that faith is simply believing and doing what is commanded.  God never asks us to do anything too difficult, He only asks us to believe and follow.

3.  The Reward.  (vs.14)  The hardest thing Naaman had to do was to humble himself.  When he did so, God rewarded him.  Do you have simple faith?  If you do, your faith will cause you to simply believe the Bible's precepts and principles, and put them to practice in your life.  

April 29, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 3-4                        Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Kings 4:8-10

1.  Conduct.  What conduct determines when a person is "great" in the sight of God?  It is not necessarily that one is a doer of great deeds, but rather that one has a great motive for the deeds he does.  

2.  Constraint. (vs.8)  To constrain someone carries the idea of forcing someone to do something.  No doubt, knowing how hard times were, this great woman constrained Elisha and his servant to eat with her and her husband, and did so as often as he passed by.  Finally, it turned into a habit, and no doubt, a pleasure Elisha liiked forward to.

3.  Construction.  (vs. 9-10)  These were not wealthy folks, but they were folks who had a heart for God's servants.  They couldn't put him up in a palace, but they made what has become known as "a prophet's chamber" where Elisha and Gehazi could have some privacy and take some rest. The woman was amply rewarded for her investment in the ministry of Elisha, and it is a lesson to be learned that you cannot out give God, when you care for His man.

April 28, 2023

Reading:  2Kings 1-2                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  2Kings 2:23-24

The Mocking Children

1.  The Place.  Elisha was headed to Bethel. (Which means, the house of God)  This was where Jacob first came to know the Lord, and was also where Jereboam had placerd a golden calf idol.  People there still worshipped the golden calf.

2.  The People.  These were not tiny tots in our text today, but were children obviously beyond the age of accountability.  These followed the example of their idolatrous parents and had no respect for the man of God.  When they met him, they mocked the old prophet.  "Go up thou bald head."  By mocking God's man, they were mocking God.

3.  The Punishment.  It is noted that Elisha first looked on them.  Perhaps he was giving them an opportunity to repent, but the mockery continued and so he cursed them in the name of the Lord.  It was not for his own sake he cursed them, but for the sake of the Lord he served.  God sent she bears to punish them.  There is no animal so fierce as a female bear. and many of them were destroyed.  Today, parents mock God and put Church and the Bible way down the list of priorities.  When their children are killed or crippled by STDs, drugs, alcohol or the like, don't you suppose they feel a little responsible?  

April 27, 2023

Reading:  1Kings 20-22                                 Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Kings 22:4

1.  Serious.  It is a serious business, this making of an alliance.  Prov. 6:3 advises, "...make sure thy friend."  In any kind of partnership, make certain that you are allied with someone you can count on, and not just someone who counts on you.

2.  Sympathetic.  Many times we ally ourselves with folks we imagine to be like us, and whom we desire to be like us, but that is really not the case.  Johoshaphat was attracted to Ahab, even though Ahab was the last person of God fearing man should identify with.  Again, 1 Tim. 5:22 enjoins us, "Lay hands suddenly on no man."  

3.  Separation.  Biblical separation means to 'come out from among them and be ye separate."  OF course, we are to love all people, and isolate ourselves not from people but from ungodly practices.  However, we cannot enter into any kind of cooperative effort with the ungodly, lest we risk being partakers of their sin.  This is a lesson Jehoshaphat learned the hard way.  It almost cost him his life.  

April 26, 2023

Reading:  1Kings 18-19                               Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Kings 18:17-18

Who's Causing All the Trouble?

1.  The Guilty Party.  I can remember as a boy that my Mother always wanted to know the answer to this question, "Who's causing all this trouble?"  She would ask that loudly whenever my brother and sisters and I were having a tiff, or there was a disturbance in the house.  No one ever wanted to admit to it, but she always seemed to be able to ascertain who the guilty party was.

2.  The Great Problem.  In our passage today, Israel had gone a long time without rain.  There are indeed times when God withholds His blessings on people to try and bring them to repentance.  When Ahab finally met up with Elijah, he wanted to lay the blame on Elijah for the drought.  "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?"  Elijah's answer was that it was not him, but Ahab and his house that were to blame.  Elijah merely stated the prophesy, it was God who dealt out the punishment.

3.  The Guilty Perspective.  Even today we see the same scenario played out over and over.  The 'worldly crowd' wants to deny God's authority.  I can remember hearing old time preachers speak out against the unisex movement.  "The time will come", they preached, "when people won't even know what gender they are."  How we used to laugh at them.  Well, no one's laughing now.  As our society disintegrates around us, soon the blame will be placed on those who try and proclaim God's rules, when the guilty are really those who disobey God's rules.  

April 25, 2023

Reading:  1Kings 15-17                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Kings 17:13

God First

"And Elijah said unto her; Fear not, go and do as thou hast said; but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thy son."  

1.  The Promise.  Note that inherent in Elijah's demand was a promise.  This poor woman had told him she had just enough meal for a cake for herself and her son; and then they were going to starve.  Elijah told her to make him a little cake first, and then (the promise) she could make for herself and her son.  It sometimes seems impossible, but if we do things God's way, He will provide the way to do them.

2.  The Proof.  This lady had to learn the truth of the principle we all live by, "but seek ye first the kingdom of God and HIs righteousness, then all these things shall be added unto you."  We have to put God first, then He will take care of the rest.  The first check you write ought to be for your tithe.  The first thing you should plan on each day is to spend some time with the Lord.  Seek Him first, and you will never be last.

3.  The Provision.  The meal lasted not for one cake, or two, but for many days!  God has a way to stretch our resources out to meet any need we have.  Remember, He will never ask you to do anything, unless He makes a way for you to accomplish it.  

April 24, 2023

Reading:  1 Kings 13-14                                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Kings 14:25-31

He Listened Too Little, Too Late

1.   To The Counsellors. As we have already seen, Rehoboam did not listen to the old counsellors who had given advice to be easy with Israel.  Instead, he sought out the younger counsellors, heeded them, and lost most of his kingdom.  He learned to heed the advice he needed and not to continue to seek the advice he wanted to hear.  This is a lesson we all should learn.

2.  To the King.  Solomon had warned Rehoboam in Prov. 27:23-24 to, "Be diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds, For riches are not for ever..."  I am sure he thought the immense wealth he had inherited from his father would never end, but it did.  When Shishak invaded Judah, Rehoboam had no idea whether he could or could not go against him in war, and so tried to buy him off.  Shishak took not only all the personal treasures of the king's house, but all the treasures of God's house as well.  The wealth of Solomon was gone in a flash, because Rehoboam had not listened again.

3.  To Consider.  Evidently he finally learned his lesson, for it is recorded in vs. 28 of our text that the shields of brass he made were now locked up securely at night.  Finally, Rehoboam was taking precautions, but it was much like locking the barn door after the livestock is out.  It was too little, too late.  Let's listen to God now, while we have opportunity.  

April 23, 2023

Reading:  1 Kings 11-12                                       Today's Green Pastures Text: 1 Kings 12:8-17

The Rejection of Wisdom

"But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him."

1.  The Counsel.  The counsel the old men had given the new King was good counsel.  They advised him to ease up on the people, to speak comfortingly to them.  Win their hearts and they will serve you forever.  There is nothing wrong with such counsel, and in fact, it was exactly the right advice to give.

2.  The Consultation.  Like so many others before and since, the young son of Solomon rejected the wise counsel of the elders, and sought to consult with those his own age.  He was interested in what young people thought, not old men.  It is ever thus, age is always despised and youth is always exalted.  However, sometimes disaster follows.as it did here.  Civil war ensued, and Rehoboam lost all the tribes of Israel but one. He still reigned over Judah, but he could have, and should have, reigned over the entire nation.

3.  The Conduct. Of course, Rehoboam came by this propensity to reject advice naturally.  Solomon had rejected the words of God Himself, and allowed his multiple wives to steal his heart away from the Lord.  Although we see multiplicity of wives in the Bible, God never commanded, commended, or approved of it.  Now his son rejected the advice of Godly men to whom he should have listened.  I think there is a lesson for us here.  Let's listen to God, and listen to the Godly.  It is the safest course.  

April 22, 2023

Reading:  1Kings 9-10                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Kings 9:13

Displeased

"And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother?  And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day."  

1.  Reaction.  Solomon had already paid for the timber he had received from Hiram and his people, therefore, it must be assumed that the 20 cities Solomon gave were a pledge for 120 talents of gold that are mentioned in vs. 14.  However, when Hiram came to see the cities, he was very displeased.  "Cabul" may not just be the name of one of the cities, but it has been suggested that it meant "displeasure" in Hiram's ancient tongue.

2.  Relationship.  Even though he was displeased, Hiram still wanted the relationship he had with Solomon to continue.  He realized that nothing is so important as to jeopardize a true friendship.  Note how he still referred to Solomon as, "My brother."  

3.  Response.  We are not told how it was accomplished, but Solomon evidently made things right with Hiram.  He built a navy, and vs. 27 assures us that Hiram's people took part in this trading venture.  One thing to remember is, if someone is displeased with me, it is up to me to try and make it right.  If I am displeased with someone else, then it is up to me to make it right.  Noting is more important than friendship.  

April 21, 2023

Reading:  1 Kings 8                                                 Today's Green Pastures Text:  1KIngs 8:39

Forgive

"Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest:  (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men.."

1.  Foreknowledge.  God knows us better even that we know ourselves.  He knows ahead of time what we are going to do, and when we are going to do it.  His foreknowledge is amazing, for He has all knowledge.  Sometimes we don't even understand ourselves, why we do what we do, but God knows...And, He loves us anyway!

2.  Forgone.  Yes, I am afraid it is a forgone conclusion that we will mess up.  We will not make mistakes, we will not accidently err, we will sin, knowledgably, and of our own free will.  I wish it were not so, but as Solomon, the wisest man in the world said in vs. 46, "...there is no man that sinneth not.."  We are sinners at our worst, but that is when God is at His best.

3.  Forgive.  The forgiveness Solomon entreated of the Lord to extend, would only come to the repentant.  It would only come to those who were sorry for their sin, not just sorry they were caught.  Do you know the forgiveness of God?  Jesus Christ came for the very purpose of furnishing us salvation.


 

April 20, 2023

Reading:  1Kings 7                                              Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Kings 7:21

Which Kind of Pillar are You?

"And he set up the pillares in the porch of the temple:  and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin:  and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz."

1.  The Meaning.  The names we read in Scripture are always important, whether they designate people or objects.  Here, the pillars are called Jachin, which means, "He shall establish", and the other was named, Boaz which means, "in it there is strength." 

2.  The Members.  Church members are the pillars of a Church, if they are serious, sincere, and involved.  I think the pillars of a Church can be found in one of these two types.  They will be the ones who pass out tracts, issue invitations, win souls, visit and invite, and buiild up the membership.  They alswo support the doctrines of the Bible and help to establish the strength of the Church.  Then, there are those who quietly go about the work of God, supporting the work financially, prayerfully, and faithfully.  In them, we see the strength of God displayed in His children.

3.  Maybe.  Maybe you can see yourself as one of these pillars of your Church.  If not, maybe some adjustments need to be made until you can.

 

April 19, 2023

Reading;  1 Kings 4-6                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Kings 5:10-11

The Gift

"So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire.  And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food for his household, and twenty measures of pure oil.  Thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by years."  

1.  The Purpose.  Now that David was dead, and embassy came from Hiram to Solomon to express condolances for the loss of the king.  Solomon then related how he purposed to build the temple that David his father, had been prohibited from constructing.  This passage also gives us insight that the reason David was forbidden was not for any fault in him, but that he had to give his attention to the surrounding enemies.  Now that relative peace and quiet had been established, Solomon could proceed.  See vs. 2-5

2.  The Professionals.  Solomon knew his own people did not have the expertise that was needed to assemble the lumber for such an enterprise, so he sought out the best men available to help.  We ought to remember that when it comes to working on and in the house of God, we ought to seek the best available to help.  Therefore, take it as a compliment if you are asked to help.  It means you are considered the best for the job.

3.  The Payment.  The men of Solomon would work alongside of Hiram's professionals, and Hiram would be will compensated.  In today's measures, the payment would amount to 13,480 bushelf os grain and 120,000 gallons of oil each year.  The best work deserves fair and good pay.

April 18, 2023

Reading:  1 Kings 2-3                                        Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Kings 2:2

The Last Commands


"I go the way of all the earth, be thou strong therefore, and shew theyself a man.  And keep the charge of the Lord thy God to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest."

1.  Reality.  David knew his time was short.  It is appointed to each of us once to die and then to go out into eternity.  It is good to reflect on our own mortality and ask, "Have I finished my course, have I kept the faith?"  David exhorted his son to be manly, to do the right thing, and to follow the word of the Lord.  What better legacy could a father give?

2.  Retribution.  As far as Joab and Shimei were concerned, David had not been able to execute these men for their crimes, as they so justly deserved.  Joab had murdered Amasa and Abner, and Shimei had cursed David when he fled Jerusalem at Absalom's revolt.  Althought David let them live, they were still dangerous enemies who would put the life of Solomon in danger as he assumed the kingship.  They needed to be taken care of.

3.  Reward.  These enemies of God and God's man got the reward for their sin they deserved.  Barzillai, on the other hand, was also rewarded for doing good, and supplying the king and his men during the civil war.  That love and kindness would be continued through his son.  Sounds a bit like the judgment seat we will appear at, doesn't it?

April 17, 2023

Reading:  1 Kings 1                                        Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Kings 1:5

Adonijah's Attempt

"Then Adonijah, the son of Haggith, exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him."

1.  The Plight.  David was "old and well stricken in years."  It is true isn't it, that as we grow older the years seem to strike harder?  David now was so old that he was seen by Adonijah as bering virtually helpless and ready to die.  This then, was the time Adonijah made his move.

2.  The Plot.  Adonijah supposed, as the oldest surviving son of David that he ought to be the next king.  David had, however, made it plain that Solomon was his choice for king.  (1 Chron. 28:5)  In spite of this, Adonijah fabricated a plot to have himself proclaimed king of Israel.  Nathan the prophet, and Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, at the same time fabricated a plan of their own to ensure Solomon would sit on the throne.

3.  The Pronouncement.  When they acquainted David with the plot of Adonijah, David wasted no time in demonstrating he knew his own mind, and that his word was still law.  Solomon was named to be king and Adonimah had to throw himself on the mercy of Solomon to save his life.  THe principle is truly demonstrated here, "Whoeoever exalteth himself shall be abased:  and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."  Luke 14:11

April 16, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 23-24                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 23:8-11, 18-19

The Mightiest of the Mighty

"Therefore he was their captain, howbeir he attained not unto the first three."

1.  The Designations.  David's 30 mighty men were designated as the best warriors in the world.  SOme space is given to lauding their great deeds.  

2.  The Desires.  The loyalty and ability of these three men is beyond question.  As we look in vs. 14-17, David merely expressed a longing for a drink from the well of Behlehem, his home town.  These men at once hazarded their lives to get it for him.  All they wanted, was to serve their king.

3.  The Declaration.  It is interesting in vs. 18-19, that Abishai, the brother of Joab is mentioned as being chief of the three, even though he did not attain to their mighty deeds.  Abishai was a mighty man indeed, but was held in even more esteem that the mightiest of the mighty.  Could it be that his strength and courage were balanced with more intellingence or cool-headedness?  This son of Zeruiah, David's older sister, would come however, to be despised by David, along with Joab, for insubordination in the death of Abner and Amasa.  2 Sam. 3:30 and 20:6-10.

A person of faith is one of God's mighty warriors!

April 15, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 20-22                                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 21:15-22

A Battle Renewed

"These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants."                 2 Sam. 21:22

1.  The Scrap.  The Philistines just never gave up.  No matter how many times Israel defeated them, they always seemed to come back at them again.  Isn't that just like sin in our lives?  We think we have it defeated, but it comes back and attacks us again. At any rate, Israel was in a terrible scrap with the Philistines again, and once again, they had some heroes to fight.

2.  The Succor.  David was getting older, and he grew faint.  That is just what one of Goliath's sons was waiting for.  He attacked David and knew he would have him finally.  However, Ishbibbenob was in for a surprise.  Just when this giant warrior thought victory was his, Abishai tackled him and killed him.  David was then told in no uncertain terms that it was time to let the others fight for awhile.  David's warriors no longer were willing to risk him in battle.  David's men took care of the other so-called heroes of the Philistines in short order.

3.  The Speculation.  I heard an interesting speculation once.  A preacher said David took five smooth stones when he went out to meet Goliath so he would have one for each one of Goliath's kinfolks.  I don't know about that, but I do know 5 is the number of Grace, and it was God's Grace that gave David the victory.

God's Grace is the only way we gain victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil also.  

 April 14, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 18-19                                   Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 18:5-17

The Murderous Deed

And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom...."

1.  Decree.  We must be aware that David had made a decree that no one should harm Absalom.  (vs.5)  Probably, David intended to capture the young man and exile him once and for all.  David always displayed mercy, a recognizable quality of those who have received mercy.  

2.  Delivered.  God allowed however, the young rebel to be caught by his hair in a tree.  This hair, of which he was so proud, became entangled in the oak so he was caught and pulled off his mule.  Now, he was hanging and helpless.  Joab showed no mercy.  Someday, sin will catch up with every sinner, and leave them in terrible straits.  That is why it so important to take care of sin now, while you still can.

3.  Dispatched.  Joab, hearing that Absalom was there, took three darts (short spears) and went to the oak.  There, he thrust them into the young man's heart.  Now, the man who had betrayed Joab was dead, and he was satisfied.  

"The wages of sin is death."  Rom. 6:23a

 

April 13, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 16-17                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 17:1-24

Counsel

"And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom."

1.  Seeking.  It is not wrong to seek counsel.  In fact, the Bible advises us to do just that, for there is safety in a multitude of counsellors.  Prov. 11:14, 24:6.  a second opinion can reinforce the initial advice we receive and we can then be assured we are doing the right thing.  However, sometimes people seek so advice in so many places they gain conflicting advice and choose the wrong course.

2.  Satisfying.  Absalom was afraid of his father.  Although he wanted David dead so he could have the kingdom, he rejected the advise of Ahithophel who counselled him to attack David.  He listened instead to Hushai who advised prudence.  Since that is what he wanted to hear, that is what Absalom listened to.

3.  Serious.  Sometimes today, Church members will reject advice from their own Pastor and seek advice elsewhere until they hear what they want to hear.  It reminds me of a man I knew years ago, who was told he had cancer and needed an operation.  He didn' want an operation, so he sought a second and even a third opinion until he finally found one who advised no surgery.  The problem was, he died of cancer.

Seek advice from the man of God, who finds the advice he gives in the Word of God, for that is what God intends for the people of God.  

April 12, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 14-15                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 15:32-37

"But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant O king, as I have been thy father's servant, hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant,  then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel."  Vs. 34

1.  Friends.  Friends like Hushai are hard to come by, but should most certainly be valued.  Hushai was loyal to David and longed to be with him.  Yet, at David's word, he agreed to be a secret agent for David, playing a dangerous role.  He would pretend to be Absolom's man, yet would actually be on David's side.

2.  Furthering.  In one sense, this pictures us a little.  Consider that we would actually rather be at home with the Lord, and yet the Lord asks us to stay in this world a little while, acting as His agent.  The difference is, we are not secret agents, but ought to be quite openly on His side.

3.  Future.  Hushai looked to the future, to the time when he could be restored to the physical presence of his friend, the king.  So, we look forward to that time as well.  Oh what a home coming that will be, when we come home to hear the Lord say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."  

What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see.

April 11, 2023

 

Reading:  2 Samuel 12-13                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 12:5-6

"And David's anger was kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die.  And he shall restore the lamb four-fold because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."  

1.  The Parable.  David was so backslidden by this time, that he could easily have had Nathan killed for confronting him with his sin.  Had he not just had Uriah killed, one of his mighty men and best friends?  Therefore, Nathan told David a parable that he knew would touch the shepherd's heart.  He told how a man had stolen a female lamb from a neighbor, butchered it, and consumed it.

2.  The Prophecy.  David pronounced his own punishment when he said the man would have to suffer four-fold for the lamb he had stolen.  1.  The child of his adulterous union would diAbe.  2.  Amnon, David's son, would follow David's example of disregard for family values, and would seduce his own half-sister.  3. Absalom, her brother, would kill Amnon in reprisal.  4.  Absalom would defile David's concubines, try to take the kingdom and attempt to murder his own father.

3.  The Punishment.  God did not cause these things to happen, but allowed them to happen so David could learn the seriousness of his awful crime.  Repentance does not mean we don't have to answer for our offences.

When seeing sin in the Bible as its blessed pages I scan, I see the message there for me, "Thou art the man."  

April 10, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 8-11                                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 11:14-27

"And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife.....But the thing David had done displeased the Lord."  

1.  The Excuses.  We can come up with all sorts of excuses to justify sinful behavior.  If we go over our excuses long enough, we will even finally come to believe them ourselves.  

2.  The Example.  I think David did this very thing.  He knew adultery was wrong, but after he had committed it, he sent Uriah out to die so he could cover up his sin.  Perhaps David justified his evil behavior by blaming Uriah for not going down to his own house.  Perhaps David said to himself, "....I gave his a chance, it is his own fault."  Of course, David was lying to himself, if this was the case.

3.  The Execution.  David was about to face the execution of God's wrath.  What was he thinking?  The fact is, of course, he wasn't thinking at all, he merely obeyed the flesh.

Think before you act.  

April 9, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 4-7                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 6:20-23

"Then David returned to bless his household.  And Michael, the daughter of Saul cae out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day...

1.  Sarcasm.  Michael used sarcasm to criticize her husband.  He had taken off his kingly robes and apeared in common dress before the Lord and she was greatly offended.  A true daughter of Saul, she cared more abour appearances than about true worship.

2.  Spirituality.  David's defense was simply, "It was before the Lord."  Rather than be influenced by Michal, he maintained he would even be more base in his own sight.  While Michal displayed only a sarcastic desire for prestige, he displayed true spirituality.

3.  Severity.  Whether David divorced her, or whether she simply remianed barren is a matter of debate.  In any case, God could not trust her to be the Mother of the child of a King.

Can God trust you to be a spiritual example before your family?

 

April 8, 2023

Reading:  2 Samuel 1-3                                  Today's Green Pastures Text:  2 Samuel 3:1

"And there was long war between the house of Saul, and the house of David:  but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker."  2 Sam. 3:1

.1.  Certain War.  Two factions opposed to each other cannot continue to coexist.  Abraham Lincoln, paraphrasing the Bible said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand.  This nation cannot continue to exist half slave and half free."  No indeed, when two differnt philosophies come into contact, be certain warfare will erupt.

2.  Civil War.  After Saul's death, many people expected the next ruler would come from Saul's family.  They were willing to fight to ensure this would happen.  David however, had been anointed King over Israel, and his followers were just a willing to fight to ensure he would sit on the throne.  Civil war ensued.  One side had to win, and it was the side of David.

3.  Spiritual War.  In our lives, our carnal nature is in opposition to our spiritual nature.  One side is going to win.  It will be the side that is most tenacious.  Who will win in your life?

The winner will always be the strongest warrior.  

April 7, 2023

Reading:  1Samuel 28-31                                           Today's Green Pasture Text:  1 Samuel 31: 12-13

"All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh and burnt them there.  And they took their bones and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days."  1Sam. 31:12-13

1.  Caught.  Judgment finally caught up with Saul.  This man would never admit he was wrong, and never would seek true repentance, but finally was caught by his enemies.  Now there was no one else around to blame.  He was all alone in the midst of his enemies.  Truly, a child of God may run for a long time, but the day will come when they are caught in the web of God's justice.

2.  Killed.  As Samuel had prophesied, Saul and his three sons were killed that day.  Saul fell on his own sword and committed suicide, although we see in the opening part of second Samuel that an Amalakite actually delivered the death blow.  It is intriging that Saul's death occurred at the hand of the very people he was supposed to destroy, but had not.

3.  Cremated.  God's people have always buried their dead.  Ususally, it was the heathen who burned their own people.  In this case however, so mutilated and decomposed were the bodies of Saul and his sons that they were burnt, and the remanants buried.  Fire speaks of judgment, and judgment had fallen on the man who would not repent.

You can run, but you cannot hide from the justice of God.  

April 6, 2023

Reading;  1 Samuel 25-27                                               Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Samuel 25:10-11

Nabal

"And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David?  And who is the son of Jesse?"

1.  Not Helpful.  The name "Nabal" comes from the Hebrew word for "fool".  It is indeed a fool who refuses to help someone in time of need.  It is also a fool who refuses to reward people who have done good to them.  Nabal seems to have been obsessed with himself alone.  "Shall I take my flesh...and my water....for my sherers.."  Like the rich fool described in Luke 12:20, Nabal had thought only for himself, and refused to be helpful to others.

2.  Not Happy.  Stingy people are never happy people.  Even his wife would say of him, "...as his name is, so is he...."  (vs. 25)  When she learned how her husband had resfused to supply David's forces, she took control and did so, even though she knew what his reaction would be.  Indeed, the Bible tells us that when she told him what he had done, he was most unhappy.  Singy people are never happy people.

3.  Not Healthy.  Stingy people are among the most unhealthy people also.  When Nabal was told what Abigail had done, he go so upset, he evidently had a stroke.  (see. vs. 37)  Ten days later, he died.  Singiness and greed are two of the most destructive forces to physical health known.  People must get their eyes off themselves in order to be happy and contented.  How about you?  Are you happy?

Those who will not share, but always be aware, that just around the corner, sickness awaits them there.  

April 5, 2023

Reading:  1 Samuel 21-24                                       Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Samuel 22-7-8

What Used to Be a King

"That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to be in wait, as at this day?"  1Sam. 22:8

1.  A Sad Picture.  Saul certainly presents a sad picture of a King now.  He had at one time, been everything Isreal could have desired in a ruler.  Now, he resembled a ruler very little, and instead presented a caricature of what he had been, and what a King ought to be.

2.  Consumed with Paranoia.  Saul saw enemies everywhere, and imagined all sorts of conspiracies were all around him, threatening to destroy his Kingship.  He saw David as his enemy who was trying to usurp the Kingdom, and even saw his own son Jonathan as an enemy, whose friendship with David was, in Saul's mind, the equvalent of high treason.  

3.  Full of Self Pity.  Saul believed no one 'was sorry for' him.  It seems that when folks drift away from God, these characteristics start to be displayed in their lives.  Security in God's love is replaced by paranoia, love of God and others is replaced by self pity.  In the final state, such folks, like Saul, present a mere caricature of what a Christian is supposed to be.

Don't let emotions rule you life, rule your emotions, go on, and serve God.  

April 4, 2023

Reading:  1 Samuel 18-20                                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Samuel  20:17

Complete Love

"And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him:  for he loved him as he loved his own soul."

1.  Complete Love.  Very few people know what complete love is.  In most instances, whether it is the love of one for a friend, or even the love of one for a mate, there is a large element of selfishness present.  "What am I getting out of this relationship?  Am I being treated as I deserve to be treated?"  Complete love however, is selfless.  This is the kind of love shared between Jonathan and David.

2.  Concerned Love.  Jonathan, for instance, was always concerned about David's welfare.  He was concerned about his spiritual welfare.  We read in 1 Sam. 23:16 that Jonathan went to David and "...strengthened his hand in God."  He was concerned about David's physical welfare, giving David his own robe, weapons, and even daring wrath of his father Saul to ensure David would be safe.  He was concerned about David's emotional welfare, reassuring him that he, Jonathan, was always on David's side.  

3.  Commanded Love.  This is the kind of love God commands us to have for each other.  In the Great Commandment, Jesus said we are to, "love thy neighbor as thyself."  Are we showing that kind of love for others?  If not, why not?

Loving others as God loved us is difficult, but commanded.  
 

April 3, 2023

Reading:  1 Samuel 16-17                                          Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Samuel 16:13

God Called and God Prepared

"Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Raman."  1Sam. 16:13

1.  The Picture.  When someone was anointed, it was a picture that they had been called by the Holy Spirit of God.  Oil is always a pictue of the Spirit.  The same thing had been done to Saul when he was chosen to be King of Israel.  It is inter?esting to see that David was anointed in the midst of his brethren.  That being the case, why did they find it strange when he was the one to challenge Goliath in Chap. 17?  Were they jealous?

2.  The Power.  THe Bible says the Holy Spirit came on David from that day forward.  Without Him, we can do nothing.  With Him, we can do anything.  It was the power of God that would enable David to defeat Goliath, and eventually reign over Isreal as King.

3.  The Principle.  This principle of power concerns you and me today as well.  The Holy Spirit empowered the local Church one time for all time at Pentecost in Acts 2.  We don't need to seek special power, but merely utitlize the power we have already been given.

Are you using the power to convice and to convert others to Christ?  

April 2, 2023

Reading:  1Samuel 14-15                                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Samuel 14:1-16

Defeating the Philistines

"And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him:  and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him."  1 Sam. 14:13

1.  The Garrison.  The Philistines at this time were more or less in control of much of Israel.  They already had instituted a form of weapon control, as we read about in 1Samuel 13:19-22.  They had put garrisons or forts over much of the land to force Israel to comply with their demands.  The Lord put it into the heart of Jonathan, Saul's son, to attack one of these garrisons.  In those days when the Bible was not completely given, God often gave signs for the people to use in ascertaining His will.  Seeking and receiving such a sign, Jonathat didn't hesitate, but went to attack the Philistines.

2.  The Gain.  He climbed up to meet the enemy, and then attacked the garrison.  No doubt they thought they would have an easy time with these two brash warriors, but found out differntly.  When God takes a hand, no enemy can hope to survive.  It wasn't long before Jonathan and his armourbearer had 'cleaned up' the enemies of God.  

3.  The Guard.  I have always been fascinated with the armourbearer.  This unnamed man guarded the back of Jonathan, and 'slew behind him'.  Pastors today need someone in like manner, to 'watch their back.'  I wonder today, will you volunteer to be the one who goes to battle at your Pastor's lead?  Will you guard his back and make sure the enemy can't attack him from benind?  Well, the Philistines learned an important lesson that day, didn't they?  

When God takes a hand, no enemy can stand.  

April 1, 2023

Reading:  1 Samuel 11-13                   Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Samuel 12:20-23

Reassurance

"...Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God that we die not, we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king."   

1.  Forsaken Not.  (vs.20-22)  Perhaps these few verses contain some of the most important helps for us in Scripture.  We all know we have failed the Lord, and each day seems to add to our failures as we sin against Him.  However, we have this reassurance, "Fear not....For the Lord will not forsake his people..."  Although we often forsake Him, He has promised by His own great name to never forsake us.  What blessed reassurance this is of His love!

2.  Forbid.  In vs. 23 Samuel reassures the people that he will continue to pray for them.  Indeed, it would be sin if he did not pray for them.   They had rejected Samuel, but he had not rejected his duty.  The chief duty of any man of God is to pray for his people.  It is good to be reassured of this fact, your Pastor prays for his people.

3.  Fear the Lord.  In vs. 24, Samuel exhorts the people to fear the Lord and continue to serve Him.  They need to be aware that if they continue in wickedness, they would be consumed by His punishment, but there is reassurance even here.  You see, God wouldn't chasten us, if He didn't love us.

God reassures us daily if His love.

      

March 31, 2023

Reading:  1 Samuel 8-10                              Today's Green Pastures Text:  1Samuel 10:26-27

A Band of Men

"And Saul also went home to Gibeah, and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched."  1Sam. 10:26

1.  The Provision.  When God calls us to a task, He always makes provision for us so we may accomplish that task.  Here, God had called Saul to the Kingship of Israel.  It would be impossible for Saul to perform his tasks alone.  In addition, it would be very lonely, as it always is, in such a position of leadership.  God sent with him a band of men.  These were men whose hearts He had touched,who would be the helpers Saul would need for the trying days ahead.  In your Church, your Pastor needs a band of men who will help him as well.  Are you one of those whose heart God has touched?  Are you the provision God has made to enable him to do the job?

2.  The Protection.  In vs. 27 we see that Saul already had enemies.  Someone is always going to be ready to oppose God's constituted authority.  Whether from jealousy or some other motive, when a person is put into a position of leadership, someone is going to oppose him.  The band of men God had chosen to be with Saul were men who would 'watch his back'.  They were meant to protect God's leadership.  In your Church, your Pastor needs someone who will be loyal and watchful over him.  Are you that one?

3.  The People.  The band of men were ordinary people, yet they had an extraordinary responsibility.  They would aid Saul by filling the offices and performing the day to day functions of government, all the while keepin a watchful eye on their leader.  God chooses those who are serving to be His special 'band of men'.  Are you one?

God is lookikng for a few good men.  Will He find one in you?.  

March 30, 2023

Reading:  1 Samuel 4-7                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  1 Samuel 6:7-14

The Straight Way

"And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went...."  1Sam. 6:12a

1.  They Followed.  There is a lesson we can learn from these simple animals the kine (cows), for they picture in a very real way the servants of God.  Remember, God often uses animals to teach us life lessons.  He used a raven to feed Elijah, a donkey to speak to Balaam, and a whale to transport Jonah.  Here, He uses two cows to teach us faithfulness.  These two animals followed God exactly, following the 'straight way' at His direction.

2.  They Forsook.  It was not natural for these cows to leave their calves, but they did and went on lowing, (mooing, or bawling) as they went.  Sometimes God's servants are called on to leave all they hold dear as well, and in such a case must forsake the delights of family and friends, for the service of the Father.  It is not always pleasant, but it is always right to do so.

3.  They Fulfilled.  These animals lost their lives at the end of the road.  However, they did not fail, they merely fulfilled the purpose God had for them.  So it must be with us.  Paul, James, Stephen, and so many others were called on to make the ultimate sacrifice for God, not because they failed, but because they also, fulfilled the will of God.  

Obedience is sometimes difficult, but it is always duty.  

March 29, 2023

Reading:  1Sam. 1-3                                                   Pasture:  1 Sam. 1:10-19

Hannah's Prayer

"Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard:  therefore Eli thought she had been drunken."  1 Sam. 1:13

1.  The Appearance.  It doesn't matter if we are sitting, standing, kneeling, or lying down, God hears us no matter what position we are in.  Notice that Hannah didn't even pray our loud, yet God heard the prayer she prayed in her heart.  What a great God we have who hears even the unspoken prayers that arise out of the depths of our hearts in our times of need!

2.  The Act.  God honors the prayers of His people.  When you pray, God listens and God acts.  My children, when they were small, never came to me with a request I ignored.  Now sometimes I would say yes, sometimes no, and sometimes wait, but I always answered them.  God is a good Father and does the same for us.  

3.  The Attitude.  Of primary importance is our attitude in prayer.  We must not try to impres God with flowery phrases or long words.  God looks on the heart and gives according to the needs He sees and hears us express simply, plainly, and sincerely.  

When God hears prayer, He always answers

March 28, 2023

Reading:  Ruth 1-4                                                               Today's Green Pastures Text:  Ruth 1:1-28

A Sojourn in Sin

"Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land.  And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons."  Ruth 1:1

1.  The Danger.  There is always danger involved when one of God's people slips back for a while in the land of sin and carnality.  This is wonderfully pictured in the opening chapter of the book of Ruth.  

2.  The Designations.  Elimeleh, whose name means, "My God is King", decided that he had had enough of famine.  We often get discouraged by the troubles of life, but he allowed himself to be so upset that he left.  Bethlehem means, "the house of bread".  In spite of the promise inherent in the name, Elimelech left with his wife, Naomi, which means "Pleasant", and two sons to live for a while (sojourn) in Moab.  Now, Moab was an idolatrous country where the chief deity was Chemosh, a wicked type of worship demanding human sacrifice.  There, after a while, Mahlon, whose name means "sick", and Chilion, whose name means "pining", died.  Now, Naomi came home with her daughter-in-law Ruth, but told eveyone not to call her Naomi, but Marah, which means "bitter".  

3.  The Destination.  Although she was embittered by her life's choices, Naomi decided to go home.  Home was a place she never should have left in the first place.  Others who stayed there survived and even prospered.  Friend, always remember, no matter how far away from God you drift, you can always go home.  That not only should be your destination, it is your duty. 

Home is where the heart is.  You will never be happy in the world again.  Why not come home?    

March 27, 2023

Reading:  Judges 20-21                                           Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 20:12-48

Fighting Against Evil

"And the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array...."  Judges 20:22a

1.  Conflict.  Many people want to avoid conflict, but sometimes it is impossible to do so.  The tribe of Benjamin had fallen into evil behavior patterns and had to be punished and restrained.  Confronted with their guilt, they would not deliver up the perpetrators to justice, but set about to fight against those who demanded justice.

2.  Costly.  Sometimes justice is costly.  IN this uncivil war against Benjamin, Israel lost 40,030 men.  Benjamin lost an additional 25,000.  IT reminds me of our own civil war, where 50,000 casualties were recorded at Gettysburg, just in that one battle.  

3.  Continuous.  In order to achieve victory, one must continue to fight.  Victory is not always accomplished quickly.  Here, Israel had to go three times against Benjamin before victory was finally accomplished.  

The Battle is the Lord's,  keep fighting.  

March 26, 2023

Reading:  Judges 17-19                                                             Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 18:29-31

The False Religon

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:  from such turn away."  2 Thess. 3:5

1.  False God.  In vs. 30 we read how the children of Dan set up a graven image which Micah had made.  They wanted the comfort of religion, but they wanted it without the context of God's Word.  They knew the will of God, for they had the Word of God, at least the first 6 books of Scripture.  They knew better, but did it anyway.

2.  False Religon.  These people employed mere hirelings to act as priests.  The were Levites it is true, but they were not properly consecrated.  It reminds me today of the false preachers we see on every hand.  They preach all manner of false things in the name of the Lord, but no real helpful teaching is found.

3.  False Security.  Just as today, these men found a false sense of security in their religion.  It continued for a long time and grew to be an honored tradition, for they continued in their false religion and false security until the captivity.  However, that is the point.  Judgment was coming and their sincere but false relgion offered no real security.

Judgment is coming soon, are you really secure in a real faith?  

 

March 25, 2023

Reading:  Judges 14-16                                                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 16:  29-31

God's Purpose

"So the dead which he slew in his death were more than they which he slew in his life."  Judges 16:30c

1.  Separation.  All of his life, Samson was selfish.  He had been dedicated to the Lord, but he ignored many of the regualations regarding those who are so separated.  He always did exactly as he chose.  He consorted with women who were not of his own people, and could be vengeful and even cruel.

2.  Suffering.  When we break God's laws of separation, we are going to suffer for it, just as Samson did.  God says we are to "Come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing..."  2 Cor. God's rules of separation are there not to keep us from enjoying ourselves, but to protect us from evil.  Samson refused to obey those rules and suffered greatly.  He became an object of mockery to the worldly Philistines.  

3.  Supplication.  He lost his power when he lost thy symbol of his separation.  Our testimony is our symbol of separation.  Does the world see you as a child of God or as one of them?  Samson asked God for one more chance, and God gave him strength to perform one more mighty act.  

God is watching you to see if you will obey or need a little impelling.  

Reading:  Judges 11-13                                                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 11:1-10

The Crisis and the Captain

"Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour and he was the son of an harlot....."  Judges 11:1

1.  The Pattern.  Orininally, even Jephthah's family rejected him because he was the son of an harlot, a loose woman, but would become the one who would rescue them.   It is interesting that we see this same pattern in Jesus' life.  He was rejected also by his own national family, yet became their Savior.  As John puts it, "He came unto his own and his own received him not."  

2.  The Petition. Need covers a multitude of blemishes.  The people who had need of being rescued saw Jephtheh as one who would 'fit the bill.'  He was, as vs. 1 assures us, a mighty man of valor.  Now the same folks who had rejected him petitioned him to fight their battles.  This reminds me of folks who never seem to need the presence of God in their lives unless they are in trouble.  Then, He is welcome.

3.  The Promise.  God led Jepthah to a mighty voctory.  No matter who you are, if you are only willing, God will use you to accomplish His will.  He will enable and equip you to do just that.

It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, God can and will use you.

March 23, 2023

Reading:  Judges 9-10                                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 9:53-57

God Uses Women

"And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull."

1.  The Proof.  Women are not second class citizens in God's economy.  In fact, God used women many times to accomplish His will.  Let's consider the cases of three women God used in a great and mighty way.  In our reading today, God used an unnamed woman to cast a piece of stone on the head of Abimelech, and thus requite his bloody deeds.

2.  The Prophetess.  Deborah was a judge a (nd prophetess in Israel.  God used her to rally the troops against the enemy.  Barak would not go unless she went with him. Judges 4:8)  Then, according to her prophecy, a woman killed the great Sisera, captain of the host of God's enemies.  ( Judges 4:9,21)

3.  The Promise.  Of course, the greatest use of a woman of the Lord was the Virgin Mary, who became the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.  She was willing to do whatever God needed, (Luke 1:38) and so performed the greatest work for mankind in history.  (Luke 2:7)  

Brave and Godly women are the delight of the Lord, yet rare as diamonds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 22, 2023

Reading:  Judges 7-8                                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 8:4-16

A Lesson Learned

"And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briars, and with them he taught the men of Succoth."  Judges 8:16

1.  Faint.  Everyone gets weary of the battle.  Here, the men of Gideon were tired and hungry,. yet they continued to pursue the enemy and do the work of the Lord.  It seems only reasonable that Gideon should have called on the men of Succoth for a little help.  He didn't even ask much, just a few loaves of bread so the pursuit could continue.  

2.  Fear.  The men of Succoth were very foolish.  Instead of trusting the Lord and allying themselves with the forces of God, they refused to help at all.  They feared these worldly kings, that they would somehow still gain victory and then come back and punish those who helped Gideon.  Fear keeps people from doing what they know is right, and fear keeps people from helping those they know are right.  However, the time comes when you have to make a stand.

3.  Foolish.  The men of Succoth were foolish.  Rather than trust God and His leadership, they tried to stay "in the middle of the road".  That didn't work out at all for them, for Gideon returned after having gained the victory.  Then, according to his promise, he chastened these 'middle of the roaders' with briars and thorns.  I am sure they learned their lesson then.  Identify yourself with the local Church and God will not have to chastize you.  

Choose to stand for God and His people, and you will not be chastened by Him.

March 21, 2023

Reading:  Judges 4-6                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 5:24-28

A Song for Jael

"She put her hand t the nail and her right hand to the workman's hammer..."  Judges 5:26

1.  Courage.  Jael displayed great courage when she went to put Sisera, the great enemy of the Jews, to death.  He could have awakened at any time; and if he had she no doubt would have been brutally and cruelly murdered.  Instead, she took advantage of her opportunity and took the life of God's great foe.

2.  Carnage.  Death is what war is all about.  When are people going to learn this basic truth of life?  War is horrible, but it is all about killing people and breaking things.  War is sometimes necessary.  If we are going to fight, we have to fight to win.  To do so, we have to destroy the enemy, even as Jael did to Sisera.

3. Chorus.  THis song, extolling the deed of Jael, was sung as an anthem of victory.  God had enabled Jael to do what she did.  Truly, she is blessed above women.  

To be rendered powerless, enemies cannot be reasoned with, they must be destroyed.  

 

March 20, 2023

Reading:  Judges 1-3                                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 2:10

A New Generation

"And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers:  and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel."  Judges 2:10

1.  Previously.  The previous generation had seen many miracles wrought by the Lord.  They had heard the commands of Joshua, some even of Moses, and had seen great and wonderous things wrought.  They had seen the punishment of God, and had known the pleasure God takes in His people.  How could it be that a new generation knew nothing of these things?

2.  Pass.  Sometimes when playing a game, a player might say, "I pass."  This means, of course, that he does not want to, or is unable to participate in the play.  Now, witnessing is not a game.  It is relating to others, and especially to our children, the mighty things God has done in our lives.  If we do so, we cannot hold back to spare our own image.  We must admit sin, and how God deliverd us from sin.  Our children and their welfare are much too important for us to say, "I pass", and neglect to witness to them.

3.  People.  People don't change.  Oh, technology changes, the way we utilize our time changes, but people still are in need of the Lord.  If we neglect telling a new generation about the Lord, if we neglect witnessing to them of God's marvelous works in our lives, how will they know?  They won't get it at school.  They won't get it on TV.  They must get it from us.

Do you want your kids and grandkids to be part of a new generation, that knows not the Lord?

March 19, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 23-24                                                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 24:15

The Decision

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:  but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

1.  The Choice.  We always have a choice.  Israel was offered one.  Recognizing the free moral agency of his nation, Joshua told them they were going to serve someone, either the false gods of the past and present, or they could serve the Lord.  He clearly told them his decisive choice, He and his house would serve the Lord, just as they had always done.

2.  The Choosing.  One cannot live long without making a choice.  To try and delaof y is to serve Satan and the false gods of society and selfishness.  It has trully been said, "You can't stand long with one foot in the Kingdom and the other foot in the world.  The Kingdom and the world are traveling in different directions, and you must make a choice.

3.  The Church.  The Bible tells us in Eph. 3:21, "Unto him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen."  Many are leaving the local churches they have long served in during this day and age, and so are leaving the very entity through which God has ordained we glorify Him.  My prayer is that those who leave will get in and get busy in another good local church, but I cannot answer for them.  I can only answer for myself and my family.  "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

If God doesn't change, why should we?  

March 18, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 21-22                                           Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 22:4, 11-12, 25-26

"...get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan."  Joshua 22:4b

The Division

1.  The Decision.  The tribe of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh had made their decision.  They would not possess the promised land, but would stay on the east side of Jordan.  Their decision always reminds me of folks who vow they willl serve the Lord, and yet want to keep one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world.  

2.  The Division.  Those on the east side of Jordan built an altar.  When those tribes who had crossed over into the promised land heard of it, they immediately assumed those who had stayed behind had become apostate, and were already guilty of false worship.  They armed themselves, and prepared for war.

3.  The Defensiveness.  The tribes who had built the altar were very defensive.  "No, you completely misunderstood!"  I was thinking how like these folks we are today.  Those who keep one foot in the world never can fully grasp what it is to worship and enjoy the Lord with all the heart.  Inversely, those who are serving God can't understand how saved folks can still enjoy the world.  Misunderstanding develop, and trouble often comes of such dividion, especially among Church members.

God wants no division among us, He wants us all to speak the same thing.  That means, His way, according to His Word.   

March 17, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 18-20                                                   Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 20:1-9

The Cities of Refuge

"Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge..."

1.  Reality.  In reality, much of our law is based upon the Bible precepts and principles.  Here we see that, even though a person kills another, if it be accidental, no vengeance is to taken upon him.  The law becomes a refuge for him until his case is tried before a jury of his peers.  We state it this way, "A man is innocent until proven guilty."  I believe that concept comes directly from the Biblical 'cities of refuge'.

2.  Redeemer.  What a picture of Christ is here!  He is our refuge, our protection, our fortress.  Martin Luther said it well when he wrote, "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing."  We are all guilty, but we flee to Him for protection, and He always allows us in.  We can state it this way, "A man, though guilty, will be innocent when sheltered by the blood of the Redeemer.

3.  Remember.  In the cities of refuge, one was safe until the death of the High Priest.  Then his case would be judged.  We have a HIght Priest who will never die!  Therefore my friend, no matter how guilty we are in trespasses and sins, (and we are all guilty), we will never have to answer for them.  We are safe, in the refuge of the Redeemer.  

I never fear I'll answer, for all of my sin's harms, because I'm in the refuge, of my Savior's arms.

 

March 16, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 15-17                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 17:13

"Yet it came pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute,; but did not uterly drive them out."  Joshua 17:13

1.  Feeling Their Oats.  This old expression was often used by my Mother and Grandmother when I was feeling so grown up that I felt I could make my own decisions, and did not have to obey as I used to.  "Feeling your oats today?"  I knew that things were not going to turn out well, and they didn't.

2.  Fickle Disobedience.  Now, God had told Israel to utterly destroy the Canaanites, to utterly drive them out.  Usually, the people were obedient to God.  However, now they were 'waxen strong' and were evidently, 'feeling their oats.'  They decided they could do what they wanted and so put the Canaanites to tribute instead of destroying them.

3.  Failure in Decisions.  When we make a decision without running it by God, we are apt to fail in a great way.  The failure to destory and drive out the Canaanites would come back to haunt Israel, not just in this case, but time after time.  They would repeat their disobedience and would suffer for it.  The book of Judges is replete with many instances of how the enemies of God rose up against Israel, actually enslaving them until God raised up a deliverer.

The next time you are 'feeling your oats', don't fail to obey!  

March 15, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 12-14                                              Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 13:23-32

Living on the East Side of Jordan

"These are the countries which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward."  Joshua 13:32

1.  Satisfied.  Not all of the children of Israel wanted to enter the promised land.  Some were satisfied to stay east of Jordan.  Half the tribe of Manasseh, the tribe of Reuben, and the tribe of Gad chose to stay in that country and not possess God's promises.  To them, it looked like the best choice.  Back in Numbers 32 we read of their choice.  East of Jordan was a country for cattle, and they had cattle, so they decided to stay there.  It seemed like the obvious choice, but was it the best choice?

2.  Stunted.  Spiritual growth is always stunted when we don't follow God 'all the way'.  So it was with these people.  The evidence of this is apparent as we read about the Maniac of the Gadarenes in Mark 5.  Here, in the land that the people of Gad had chosen, folks had departed from God's regulations for the Jews.  Notice they were raising a large herd of swine, animals God had pronounce unclean for the Jews.  Secondly, they opened themselves up to demonic activity, demonstrated by the man in this story.  Could this ot have been prevented if these folks had just wholly followed the Lord?

3.  Simple.  To me, the choice seems simple.  Follow God all the way.  You will never lose when you obey His word with your whole heart.  No matter how attractive other lifestyles appear, choose to possess the promises of God.  You will be glad you did.  

 

March 14, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 10-11                                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 1:12


"Now therefore give me this mountain..."

1.  The Fortress.  Everyone else was afraid of this mountain, which was the stronghold of the Anakims.  This mountain was a fortress for the savage and gigantic Anakims, descendants of Anak the giant.  Progress in posessing the promised land was halted until someone could take this fortress.  When no one else stepped forward, old Caleb did.

2.  The Fight.  Caleb knew this fortress would not be taken without a hard fight, yet he had such confidence in God that he was sure that if God were with him, he, Caleb, could accomplish this task.  It appears that the majority of folks in our day and age are also afraid of obstacles, and are halted from witnesing and from openly living a Christian life style out of fear.  One can be encouraged by Caleb's example.  If God is with us, we can do it.  So, let's do it.

3.  The Future.  What does the future hold in store for you?  Will you be willing to step out and do the jobs no one else will do?  Do you trust God enough to give you the victory?  Will you also say, "Give me this mountain?"

Be a Caleb and be willing.  Be a Caleb and be victorious!

March 13, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 8-9                                              Today's Green Pasture Text:  Joshua 9:3-20

Bound by Their Word

"But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel:  now therefore we may not touch them."  Josh 9:19

1.  The Omission.  There was a time when a man's word was his bond, and it still should be so.  In our text we see a demonstration of integrity as the Princes of Israel kept their word.  Every decision we make ought toe be run by the Lord for His approval.  Israel knew this, but this time they omitted to do so as they made a league with some Canaanites they would never have otherwise made.  Be so careful of entering into agreements, partnerships, or other agreements.  It could come back to haunt you.

2.  The Oath.  You know, you could argue that the Gibeonites had lied and misrepresented themselves to Israel, but I have always admired the fact that irreregardless, Joshua and the Princes of Israel were bound by their word.  Have you given your word to do something?  Then, you must do it, whether that word was given to God or man.

3.  The Openness.  It would be good if people were still open minded and open hearted enought to bind themselves by their word.  Israel was not the loser in this case, and God blessed them for their integrity.  When keeping their word and defending the Gibeonites, God helped them in their defense.  (see Josh. 10:8-11)

Whether to man or God, it is absurd, to not keep your word.  

March 12, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 5-7                                                                          Joshua 6:20-25

From Obstacle to Opportunity

"...When the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat..."  Josh 6:20

1.  Deployment.  God deployed His forces around the city of Jericho.  The wall of course was totally around the city also.  It appeard as if God was showing the people it was impossible to take such a defended city, but in reality, God was simply ensuring that there could be no escape for the enemy.  Do you sometimes feel as if we are 'stretched too thin" in the service of God?  Perhaps God is just using us to 'surround' the enemy.

2.  Destruction.  The power of God caused the walls of Jericho to fall, not the shout of the people.  Their obedience to God's instructions was, I believe, a test of their faith.  They did exactly as God ordered, and He did exactly as He said He would do.  God's power can be just as potent and powerful in your life today as it was then.  All it takes is obedience to the Word of God; and that coupled with faith will be used to destroy the strongholds of the enemy.

3.  Defeat.  God defeated this enemy and gave Israel a great victory that day.  Really, the orders God had given to Israel, to march around the city seven times and then shout must have seemed militaritly pointless.  However, obedience to God is never pointless, it ts the point of the spear that ddfeats the enemy forces.

I believe many today stop trying to obey God, just before He starts blessing their obedience.  

March 11, 2023

Reading:  Josh 1-4                                               Today's Green Pasture Text:  Josh 3:15-17

God Controls the Waters

"...the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap..."  Josh. 3:16

1.  God Parted the Waters.  It is always important to remember that, no matter what we are called on to go through, God is in control.  He parted the waters for Moses at the Red Sea, and now He did the same thing for Joshua as Israel prepared to take possession of the Promised Land.  This helps us remember that there is no problem too big for God to get us through.  He can, with a wave of His hand, cause problems to cease and stand still while we walk on through, just as He did to the River Jordan.

2.  God Walked on the Waters.  Jesus showed His command of all forces also, when He walked on the water.  At His word, Peter joined Him, but began to sink when he took his eyes off the Lord.  Jesus walked to Him and lifted Peter up, rescuing him.  No matter what deep waters we are in, rescue is only a prayer away.

3.  God Calmed the Waters.  We also remember another storm on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus saying, "Peace, be still."  Immediately the stom was calmed.  He can always either calm the storm, or calm His child so we can proceed.  Either way, victory is won.

When I go through bitter waters in life, the Lord is there to help and see me safely to shore.  

March 10, 2023

Reading:  Dt. 32-34                                                      Today's Green Pasture Reading:  Dt. 34:1-8

The End of Moses

"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel, like unto Moses.... Dt. 34:1-10

1.  The Viewing.  (1-4)   This was of course, not the end of Moses, but only his graduation day, as he was promoted to glory by the Lord he loved and served so faithfully.  Moses, from the top of Mt. Pisgah, was able to see the Promised Land.  He was not allowed to enter it, but he was allowed to see it.  Moses was being punished for having magnified himself rather than the Lord when he struck the rock to get water out of it.  But, God always tempers His judgment with mercy, and at least allowed Moses the opportunity to view the land.

2.  The Victory.  (5)  There was,  a great victory won that day, when Moses went home to finally be with the Lord.  He saw Aaron again, and Mirian, he saw his Mother and Father, and doubtless many others who had gone on before him.  What a welcome awaited him at the gate, and what a welcome awaits you!

3.  The Volunteer.  (9)  No one had been close to Moses than Joshua, and now it was Joshua who was chosen to fill the shoes of Moses as a leader of the people.  Joshua had been a great volunteer, for he had first learned to be a good follower.  This is the absolute prerequisite for being a good leader.  

We must continue on, doing our best , until the day we also, are promoted to glory.  

March 9, 2023

Reading:  Dt. 29-31                            &nb


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