Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." (Joshua 3:5) Consecration means to declare or set apart as sacred. Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. Consecration is the act of dedicating something to God, sanctifying it and making it holy. Different combination of words from different sources; all pointing in one direction and Joshua wanted the people he was leading in to the promised land of Canaan to be such...set apart for Almighty God. And God too was particular regarding this matter. He wanted the people whom he had chosen to be different; set apart for himself; living for him. And that is what God asks of us too; us, who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. During the journey to the promised land, God wanted the Israelites to obey Moses, their leader, so he told Moses, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you. Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothesand be ready by the third day, because on that day the I will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people." God reminded his people time and again that they were consecrated-set apart for him and his purposes...... I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. (Leviticus 20:24) You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.(Leviticus 20:26) And we as believers in Jesus Christ....as we go about living our lives, here on earth, with its ups and downs, must acknowledge the fact that we have been set apart for God and his purposes and so, live for him and bring glory to his name always.
Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 16:20)
A righteous God, he always desired his chosen people, the Israelites, to be just in their dealings, so he gave them a promise for following justice...and justice alone.....they would live and possess the land that he was giving them. But many of them failed to keep this requirement and could not enjoy the fullness of his promise.
One of things that God commanded them regarding this matter was that the should not pervert justice. He was clear in his instructions. He told them,
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd..... (Exodus 23:2)
But this is one thing that happened frequently then and keeps happening even now...........following the crowd.
Jesus set an example for us, by not following the crowd and by not perverting justice by siding with the crowd. We must follow in his foot steps.
There was even a curse reserved for them who perverted justice in the days of the Law. It said,
"Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow." ........(Deuteronomy 27:19)
How would it be if we have promise of a glorious inheritance but not being able to inherit it because of perverting justice?
That would be a tragedy, to say the least.
God wants his chosen ones to experience the fullness of his promises, but that is achievable only when they walk according to his ways and ........following justice and justice alone is one of the prime requirements.
If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. (Ecclesiastes 10:10)
Seriously, one wouldn't venture to fell a tree without sharpening the axe. But it does happen frequently and then alas! the one wielding the axe realizes the folly. Many who are called to God's work follow in the same vein; some getting frustrated in the process and some burning out fast. A call to God's work usually calls for preparation for the task, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Of course, there are few who are commissioned by God for immediate action, but the norm is, action after preparation. The period of preparation varies with individual to individual and the work called to. God remains in control all through, if one submits to him while being readied for the task.
The temptation to walk ahead of God or run ahead of him remains a great danger. To cite an example....One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian......... (Exodus 2:11-15)
In his heart, Moses knew that he could possibly save his people from the cruel Egyptian bondage, but alas!it was not God's time. He did something in his own strength and it backfired.
God's call came to him 40 years later, when Moses was 80 years old and no longer keen for heroics. Thus he tried to stall God's call by giving several excuses, but finally God made him do what he intended him to do.....leading his people out of Egypt en route to the promised land.
Age 40 and Moses was bubbling with enthusiasm to save his people minus God's direction and age 80, he wanted nothing to do with God's glorious plans and that's why he said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."(Exodus 4:13)
A period of 'no active work' in a minister's life could be God's call to wait upon him in prayer and time to sharpen the axe, whatever the gift or talent be. God's timing is perfect and we should stick to his schedule, rather than ours.
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
John, the Apostle placed a lot of emphasis on this one command that the Saviour gave before he went to the cross for saving humanity from eternal death. This was what the master said.....
Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
And the apostle reminds us and all who read his epistle of the same.
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23)
Repeatedly he exhorts his readers that love is very important, for, as he puts it, love comes from God.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.(1 John 4:7)
Many believers fail in this matter because of various reasons. There are some who don't even love their own family members, leave alone others. Among the initial churches established by the apostles, there was often lack of love and we read in the epistles, several exhortations from them, to overcome this shortcoming and love each other genuinely.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians,
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Let us then humbly accept this command of the Lord and live as sons and daughters of the Most High.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:12)
"Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will 'pass over' it and will rescue it." (Isaiah 31:5)
Shield, deliver, rescue......3 so very important words.....and this was the Lord's promise for Jerusalem; that he would shield, he would deliver and he would rescue. It is so evident that the Lord cared and still cares for his people. And you and me, we must know that he cares for us; us, who have put our trust in his son, Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul writing to the Thessalonians says,
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:2, 3)
Oppositions rose against Paul as he bore witness to Jesus Christ among the gentiles and he was often persecuted. There were times when he did not have anyone to support him or defend him. Wicked and evil men persecuted him and he barely escaped their clutches on many occasions. He wrote this to Timothy,
Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth.(2 Timothy 4:14-17)
The watchful eyes of the Lord were upon him always. He was there to shield, deliver and rescue him and Paul was confident of this, so he wrote,
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18)
Though Paul died a martyr's death, as he wrote, God was with him continually and rescued him from every evil attack till it was time for him to enter God's heavenly kingdom.
The promise is for us too...........the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect us from the evil one. He will shield, he will deliver and he will rescue. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you - may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.'" (2 Chronicles 36:22, 23)
These parts of v.22 give us significant insights....in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.........the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia..... The facts that we can infer from them are that God's word finds fulfillment sooner or later and that God does move hearts. God moved the heart of Cyrus, a gentile king, for granting permission for the temple to be built after the captivity in Babylon. God had great plans for this king, long before he was born. Isaiah prophesied these words that God gave him.............who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid."' (Isaiah 44:28)
As believers in Jesus Christ, we must believe that God's word to us will also be fulfilled in his time. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:3) We must also believe that God can move hearts for us and is always working on our behalf as we continually pray to him.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalm 34:6)
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; (Psalm 34:19)
What we can infer from these three verses is that the Lord is able to deliver and does deliver the righteous from all their troubles. This is not the only portion of the Bible where we read this. There are other verses that supports this fact. So we must believe that the Lord will deliver us too, if Jesus has become our righteousness.
David was hounded by several enemies, yet God delivered him from them all. He sang,
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:3)
Also....He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. (Psalm 18:17)
The enemy that pursues us may be strong, but we must remember that Jesus is stronger and that he will rescue us. He is the one who.....
....having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross and having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:14, 15)
Yes, he is able to deliver you and me from satanic foes and he will, when we call out to him. He says,
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly......." (Luke 18:7, 8)