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13 September - 2 Kings 19; Ezekiel 9; Luke 5


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Posted 13 September 2007 - 10:22 AM

First Portion

2 Kings 19


19:1 It happened, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of Yahweh. 19:2 He sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. 19:3 They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, 'This day is a day of trouble, of rebuke, and of rejection; for the children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to deliver them. 19:4 It may be Yahweh your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to defy the living God, and will rebuke the words which Yahweh your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'"

19:5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.. 19:6 Isaiah said to them, "Thus you shall tell your master, 'Thus says Yahweh, "Don't be afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 19:7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him, and he will hear news, and will return to his own land. I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."'"

19:8 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah; for he had heard that he had departed from Lachish. 19:9 When he heard it said of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, "Behold, he has come out to fight against you, he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 19:10 'Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, "Don't let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 19:11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly. Will you be delivered? 19:12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden that were in Telassar? 19:13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?"'"

19:14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the house of Yahweh, and spread it before Yahweh. 19:15 Hezekiah prayed before Yahweh, and said, "Yahweh, the God of Israel, who sit above the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 19:16 Incline your ear, Yahweh, and hear. Open your eyes, Yahweh, and see. Hear the words of Sennacherib, with which he has sent to defy the living God. 19:17 Truly, Yahweh, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 19:18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they have destroyed them. 19:19 Now therefore, Yahweh our God, save us, I beg you, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Yahweh, are God alone."

19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Whereas you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you. 19:21 This is the word that Yahweh has spoken concerning him: "The virgin daughter of Zion has despised you and ridiculed you. The daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you. 19:22 Whom have you defied and blasphemed? Against whom have you exalted your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel. 19:23 By your messengers you have defied the Lord, and have said, 'With the multitude of my chariots, I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the innermost parts of Lebanon; and I will cut down its tall cedars, and its choice fir trees; and I will enter into his farthest lodging place, the forest of his fruitful field. 19:24 I have dug and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet will I dry up all the rivers of Egypt.' 19:25 Haven't you heard how I have done it long ago, and formed it of ancient times? Now have I brought it to pass, that it should be yours to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps. 19:26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power. They were dismayed and confounded. They were like the grass of the field, and like the green herb, like the grass on the housetops, and like grain blasted before it has grown up. 19:27 But I know your sitting down, and your going out, and your coming in, and your raging against me. 19:28 Because of your raging against me, and because your arrogance has come up into my ears, therefore will I put my hook in your nose, and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came."

19:29 "'This shall be the sign to you: You shall eat this year that which grows of itself, and in the second year that which springs of the same; and in the third year sow, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat its fruit. 19:30 The remnant that has escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. 19:31 For out of Jerusalem a remnant will go out, and out of Mount Zion those who shall escape. The zeal of Yahweh will perform this.'

19:32 "Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the king of Assyria, 'He shall not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before it with shield, nor cast up a mound against it. 19:33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and he shall not come to this city,' says Yahweh. 19:34 'For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake, and for my servant David's sake.'"

19:35 It happened that night, that the angel of Yahweh went out, and struck one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 19:36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and lived at Nineveh. 19:37 It happened, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Esar Haddon his son reigned in his place.

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 10:23 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 9


9:1 Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause those who are in charge of the city to draw near, every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. 9:2 Behold, six men came from the way of the upper gate, which lies toward the north, every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man in their midst clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. They went in, and stood beside the bronze altar. 9:3 The glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon it was, to the threshold of the house: and he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn by his side. 9:4 Yahweh said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry over all the abominations that are done in its midst. 9:5 To the others he said in my hearing, Go through the city after him, and strike: don’t let your eye spare, neither have pity; 9:6 kill utterly the old man, the young man and the virgin, and little children and women; but don’t come near any man on whom is the mark: and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the old men that were before the house. 9:7 He said to them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain. Go forth! They went forth, and struck in the city. 9:8 It happened, while they were smiting, and I was left, that I fell on my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord Yahweh! will you destroy all the residue of Israel in your pouring out of your wrath on Jerusalem? 9:9 Then he said to me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perversion: for they say, Yahweh has forsaken the land, and Yahweh doesn’t see. 9:10 As for me also, my eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will bring their way on their head. 9:11 Behold, the man clothed in linen, who had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as you have commanded me.

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 10:27 AM

Third Portion

Luke 5


5:1 Now it happened, while the multitude pressed on him and heard the word of God, that he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. 5:2 He saw two boats standing by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 5:3 He entered into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 5:4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch.”

5:5 Simon answered him, “Master, we worked all night, and took nothing; but at your word I will let down the net.” 5:6 When they had done this, they caught a great multitude of fish, and their net was breaking. 5:7 They beckoned to their partners in the other boat, that they should come and help them. They came, and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 5:8 But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.” 5:9 For he was amazed, and all who were with him, at the catch of fish which they had caught; 5:10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people alive.”

5:11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything, and followed him. 5:12 It happened, while he was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man full of leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face, and begged him, saying, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.”

5:13 He stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be made clean.”

Immediately the leprosy left him. 5:14 He commanded him to tell no one, “But go your way, and show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing according to what Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” 5:15 But the report concerning him spread much more, and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 5:16 But he withdrew himself into the desert, and prayed.

5:17 It happened on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every village of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was with him to heal them. 5:18 Behold, men brought a paralyzed man on a cot, and they sought to bring him in to lay before Jesus. 5:19 Not finding a way to bring him in because of the multitude, they went up to the housetop, and let him down through the tiles with his cot into the midst before Jesus. 5:20 Seeing their faith, he said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

5:21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

5:22 But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, answered them, “Why are you reasoning so in your hearts? 5:23 Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you;’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk?’ 5:24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (he said to the paralyzed man), “I tell you, arise, and take up your cot, and go to your house.”

5:25 Immediately he rose up before them, and took up that which he was laying on, and departed to his house, glorifying God. 5:26 Amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God. They were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today.”

5:27 After these things he went out, and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and said to him, “Follow me!”

5:28 He left everything, and rose up and followed him. 5:29 Levi made a great feast for him in his house. There was a great crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining with them. 5:30 Their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 5:31 Jesus answered them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

5:33 They said to him, “Why do John’s disciples often fast and pray, likewise also the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink?”

5:34 He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 5:35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. Then they will fast in those days.” 5:36 He also told a parable to them. “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old garment, or else he will tear the new, and also the piece from the new will not match the old. 5:37 No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 5:38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved. 5:39 No man having drunk old wine immediately desires new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:50 AM

13 September 2008

2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:07 PM

13 September 2009

2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 04:31 AM

13 September 2010

2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5

“PUT A MARK ON THE FOREHEADS”

One of the mysteries of the book of Revelation is the reference to the ‘mark of the beast’ [Revelation 14:9-11]; the beast being symbolic of all things anti-God and against Christ and in opposition to living a Christ-like life. There is great trouble and ultimate destruction for all those like this. [Revelation 16:2] After this there is Armageddon [Revelation 16:16].

Now yesterdays and today’s reading in Ezekiel is, in many ways, a parallel situation, but not entirely. The purpose of the mark on the forehead is the very opposite to that in Revelation. God tells the “man clothed in linen” to “put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed” [Ezekiel 9:4]. Then the “executioners” [Ezekiel 9:7] are told to pass through the city and kill everyone else, everyone who does NOT have the mark; men, women and children! The LORD (Yahweh) says “I will bring their deeds on their own heads” [Ezekiel 9:10] It is becoming ever more certain that an event like this is going to happen again – and it could be soon.

This world is so Godless; Bible based morals exist among so few. Events in God’s Holy Land are building up to a crisis and in other ways men are ruining God’s creation. When God acts, will we have God’s protecting mark on our foreheads? Or will we have the other kind of mark? The marks are not literal – they are the outcome of what God sees our minds to be like, just as we read that God took Ezekiel “in spirit” to see what was really happening in the Temple in Jerusalem.

We read yesterday that “the hand of God fell upon me there” [Ezekiel 8:1] “and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem” [Ezekiel 8:3] Then we read, “and he said to me … do you see what … the house of Israel are committing here to drive me far from my sanctuary?” [Ezekiel 8:6]

The wondrous Temple was where God dwelt – now remember how we saw in our thoughts last week that true believers are God’s new creation, the new temple in which God dwells by his Spirit. Let us make sure that we do not use God’s spiritual Temple in a way that would make his cease to dwell there. May the Lord put the right kind of mark on our foreheads to preserve us from his judgements in these last days because we “sigh and groan” because of all the fleshly attitudes that surround us.
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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:26 AM

13 September 2011

2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5

"PUT A MARK ON THE FOREHEADS OF ... "

Our readings in Ezekiel continue to show us the anger of God with the extreme sinfulness of most of the people of Jerusalem. The people that Ezekiel was with by the river (canal) Chebar were living in the hope of hearing good news from Jerusalem that soon they would be returning from their exile to their homeland. Ezekiel knew there could be no good news. The LORD had become extremely angry because of the godlessness of his people. This is illustrated in many chapters in Jeremiah. Yesterday’s chapter in Ezekiel [Ezekiel 8] ended with God’s words, “Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”

Today’s chapter tells us that “the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house (Temple)” [Ezekiel 9:3]. We understand this to mean that the glory of God had ceased to dwell between the cherubim in the Holy of holies, and we will read some dramatic imagery of wording tomorrow of the departure of God’s glory.

At this point the LORD calls “to the man clothed in linen”, most evidently a particular angel and “said to him, ‘Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” [Ezekiel 9:4]. These are those who were distressed at the ungodliness that surrounded them and are to be saved out of its destruction. As to the others “Your eye shall not spare and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark.” [Ezekiel 9:6]

There is a clear parallel in this ancient tragedy with the pouring out of God’s anger on today’s godless world when “the angels gather his elect” when “one is taken and the other left” and when “the door is shut” on those who have no oil in their lamps. Let us deserve to have the angels put a mark on our foreheads. The more we read God’s word the more we will feel distress in our hearts at all the godlessness that surrounds us today.
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 03:53 AM

13 September 2012

2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5

"THAT ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD MAY KNOW ..."

Our thoughts today flowed on from yesterday’s. We read King Hezekiah’s prayer and then Isaiah’s prophecy as recorded in 2 Kings 19. History continually repeats itself, human powers constantly rise, wane and fall; we have seen that with such as the British Empire.

The ‘picture’ in this chapter is how the boasting of the Assyrians would evaporate like the morning mist. Hezekiah’s prayer [2 Kings 19:14-19] shows his faith and commitment to the one true God. He is an example to us, to all who are in a dark situation. In some parts of the world today, such as Pakistan and Iran, the situation is really dark for Bible believers. Hezekiah prays most earnestly, saying “LORD the God of Israel … you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear O LORD and hear …Save us … from his hand (the Assyrian King) that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.” [2 Kings 19:15,16,19] Isaiah sends a message to Hezekiah, “Thus says the LORD … your prayer to me … I have heard … Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria. He shall not come into this city …” [2 Kings 19:20,32]

As we said, history repeats itself, but God’s word makes it clear that it is all leading up to a drama in these last days. Isaiah’s message includes a reference to this, “… The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.” [2 Kings 19:30-31] A remnant has survived through many many centuries and have taken root again and we look for the time when they will bear fruit for God and at that time “all the kingdoms of the world” will come to realize there really is one true Creator God.

Our Ezekiel reading [Ezekiel 9] is about the time when God’s anger overflowed against Jerusalem, there was no good king like Hezekiah on the throne; but as we read on in Ezekiel we will come to remarkable prophecies which we can see are in the process of being fulfilled in our days – those who really read God’s word build their faith on these together with the prophecies of Jesus and the apostles. “For the word of God is living and active … discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12] What about your heart?
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Posted 13 September 2013 - 11:00 AM

13 September 2013

2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5

“DEPART FROM ME”

Peter was an experienced fisherman, that is how he made his living on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus came along the shore and climbed into Peter’s boat. At first “he sat down and taught the people from the boat” [Luke 5:3] “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch’ And Simon answered, ‘Master we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets ” [Luke 5:4-5]

We may know this story well, but imagine yourself to be Simon. He would have used all his experience through the night to try and find some fish; he would have wondered at his Lord’s command to let down the nets, it was probably at least the middle of the day after the preaching from the boat.

What happened? “… and they enclosed a large number of fish and their nets were breaking . They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” [Luke 5:6-7] What would you be thinking at that moment?

We read “when Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Naturally, “all who were with him were astonished.” Peter in particular saw himself as unworthy of association with Christ. This had far greater impact than earlier when Jesus was “entering Simon’s house” when his “mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever , and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them’ [Luke 4:38-39]

Peter was now in utter awe of Jesus, he was acutely aware of his own unworthiness. The more we reflect on this – the more we should reflect on our own unworthiness before Christ. James, in his letter was trying to drive this point home to the believers, “Listen my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have …” [James 2:5-6]

What is the nature of that love? How total is it? My love? Your love? Our love? After the miracle of the fish Simon and the others were afraid, but Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men” [Luke 5:10] This caused a final thought – “catching” the hearts and minds of people today is now proving to be very hard – at least in the “western” world it is. But there was an occasion when Jesus said to “cast the net on the right side of the boat” [John 21:6] to catch fish – and they did. And there are impoverished countries today, like Bangladesh, where spiritual fishing is much more successful. Sadly the labourers are few – what about you?
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Posted 13 September 2014 - 02:11 PM

13 September 2014
 
2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5  
 
"THE SURVIVING REMNANT" 
             
Today’s chapter 19 of 2nd Kings brings Isaiah onto the scene.  King Hezekiah in his great distress at the conquests of the Assyrians and now their presence outside the walls of Jerusalem sends his secretary and senior priests to the prophet, with a message saying, “It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh,”  adding, “therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left” [2 Kings 19:4]
            
Isaiah’s response is very positive; “Say to your Master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'" [2 Kings 19:6-7]  This happens, but as the Assyrians depart they say, "Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. ‘Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered?” [2 Kings 19:10-11]
            
History is full of human boasting like this, but “The word of the LORD” comes to Isaiah over this [2 Kings 19:21-28] that the LORD is “aware of their raging against me” [2 Kings 19:27] Within a generation or two the Assyrians fade into history and Nineveh is a heap of ruins to this day –  the Babylonians then become the main enemy, but in time Babylon too becomes a heap of ruins, as it is today.   
            
Then Isaiah conveys a remarkable long term prophecy. “ … the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.” [2 Kings 19:30-31]  We witness the resilience of the “surviving remnant” today.  We can read in Isaiah’s book, the prophecy the LORD gives him, how “in that day the Lord will extent his hand a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people … and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” [Isaiah 11:11-12]  
 
We are witnessing that event and are in awe of the climax when God “shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.” [Isaiah 11:4]   Soon, in Luke’s gospel, we will come to Jesus’ awesome words predicting this. How awesome the fate of the great Assyrian army, because they reviled God! (185,000 died – 2 Kings 19:35) How awesome the fate awaiting at least some who do so today!  Let us do the opposite.  And what is the opposite?.   
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Posted 13 September 2015 - 12:45 PM

13 September 2015
 
2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5  
 
“DEPART FROM ME”                                                                                                                
            
Peter was an experienced fisherman, that is how he made his living on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus came along the shore and climbed into Peter’s boat. At first “he sat down and taught the people from the boat” [Luke 5:3] “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch’  And Simon answered, ‘Master we toiled all night and took nothing!  But at your word I will let down the nets ” [Luke 5:4-5]
            
We may know this story well, but imagine yourself to be Simon.  He would have used all his experience through the night to try and find some fish; he would have wondered at his Lord’s command to let down the nets, it was probably at least the middle of the day after the preaching from the boat. What happened?  “… and they enclosed a large number of fish and their nets were breaking . They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help … they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” [Luke 5:6-7]  What would you be thinking at that moment?
            
We read “when Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  Naturally, “all who were with him were astonished.”   Peter in particular saw himself as unworthy of association with Christ.  This had far greater impact than earlier when Jesus was “entering Simon’s house” when his “mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf.  And he stood over her and rebuked the fever , and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them’ [Luke 4:38-39)
            
Peter was now in utter awe of Jesus, he was acutely aware of his own unworthiness.   The more we reflect on this – the more we should reflect on our own unworthiness before Christ.  James, in his letter was trying to drive this point home to the believers, “Listen my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?  But you have …” [James 2:5-6] 
            
What is the nature of that love?  How total is it?  My love?  Your love?  Our love?  After the miracle of the fish Simon and the others were afraid, but Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men” [Luke 5:10] This caused a final thought – “catching” the hearts and minds of people today is now proving to be very hard – at least in the “western” world it is.  
            
But there was an occasion when Jesus said to “cast the net on the right side of the boat” [John 21:6] to catch fish – and they did. And there are impoverished countries today, like Bangladesh and Cambodia where spiritual fishing is much more successful.  The final call is going out for more labourers to be involved in the final ingathering.   
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Posted 13 September 2016 - 12:16 PM

13 September 2016
 
2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5  
 
“AND WHEN HE SAW THEIR FAITH”
 
Jesus – just as much as His Father – then and now – is looking to see genuine faith – faith demonstrated by actions - not just by words. In 2 Kings 19 today we see King Hezekiah appealing to Isaiah – for the king was in a desperate situation because of the vast army of the Assyrians outside the city. We read [2 Kings 19:1] how the king “tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD.” He sends his Secretary and “senior priests” to Isaiah with a message, "Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace …. It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God …” [2 Kings 19:3-4]
 
Today the world is increasingly mocking the words of the living God – in passing ungodly laws and in getting the approval of the people through a plebiscite, as is currently proposed in Australia.
 
When we came to our reading of Luke 5 we saw how “some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralysed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles” before Jesus – and “when he saw their faith” [Luke 5:19-20] the man was healed.
 
Now Hezekiah knew that his only hope was to have faith in God – it was an overwhelmingly large army that was surrounding Jerusalem. And what a miraculous deliverance occurred! And we are convinced – are we not (?!) that the only cure/deliverance for our utterly godless world will have a degree of parallel with God’s dramatic actions against the Assyrians! Remember what we read in 2 Kings 19:35!
 
“When the Lord sees our faith” – he will have additional reason to act to fulfil his word. May we, as Paul told the Colossians, “give thanks to the Father, who has qualified (us) to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” and “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” [Colossians 1:12-13]
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- DC


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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:37 AM

13 September 2017
 
2 Kings 19
Ezekiel 9
Luke 5
 
"YOU HAVE MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH"
 
We read today at the start of 2 Kings 19 the prayer of King Hezekiah. He "went into the house of the LORD" and then "sent Eliakim, who was over the household … to the prophet Isaiah." His message to the prophet was, "This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace … It may be that the LORD your God heard … (the words) … the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God … therefore lift up your prayer …" [2 Kings 19:3-4]
 
Hezekiah's prayer is inspiring, as our world is falling apart, as it most certainly will; it is a model for us! We read more of his words. "O LORD …  you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see …" [2 Kings 19:15-16]
 
"Then Isaiah" … sent to him the LORD's response to his prayer, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me … I have heard. This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning …" [2 Kings 19:20-21] and then follows a message about the fate God has ordained for the Assyrians because they "have mocked the Lord" [2 Kings 19:23] 
 
Today nearly all have 'mocked' any belief that a God exists and despise the inspired words of the Bible.  Let's take note those by Paul to the Colossians, "by (Greek. 'because of') him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible" [Colossians 1:16] So much meaning here!
 
What a heart searching prayer of Jesus we will read on Monday; it makes clear the submission of Jesus to his Father, the creator of all things, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children …" [Luke 10:21] Let us be 'little children' – and despise the 'pride' in today's world.
 
Finally, note the special message for us in that short but so meaningful 1 John "Little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming." [1 John 2:28] Let us have full confidence in him who "made heaven and earth" and constantly offer him prayers of praise. 
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- DC





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