Tag: defrauding wages

Knowing God!

Scripture reading for August 10th: Jeremiah 21-25

Many people claim to know God and speak for Him.  Jeremiah’s day was no different from ours.  There were many self-appointed prophets giving a message of peace and safety to people who were living in sin and idolatry.  (Jeremiah 14:13-15)  These were not pagans, but people whose ancestors made a covenant with the Lord to walk in faith and obedience.  What does it mean to really know God?

Jeremiah used the example of  King Shallum (Jehoahaz) , son of Josiah, who had gone into captivity.  He focused on building a bigger palace and exploited the people of God for his own gain.  “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father (Josiah) have food and drink?  He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.  He defended the cause of the poor and needy so all went well.  Is that not what it means to know Me?” declares the Lord?  “But your eyes and your heart are set on dishonest gain, on shedding of innocent blood and on oppression and extortion.”” (Jeremiah 22:15-17)  This wicked king was sent ahead into captivity as an example to the people;  Jeremiah used his failure to follow his godly father as an example to the people.

Knowing God is very practical.  It is humbly following the ways of truth and justice laid out by God in His law and word.  It is being merciful to the poor and needy.  It is confronting injustice and defending those whose innocent blood is being shed.  It is refusing to be under the oppression of sin and unbelief, but truly knowing the heart of God by faith in His holy word!

We must be vigilant today concerning our own knowledge of God.  He has given us His word and His Holy Spirit to take that word and reveal a true knowledge of God to each person.  No longer do we need to be deceived by self-appointed prophets or political leaders.  We are each called to live by God’s word and speak truth to our neighbors.  We are to live a practical life that demonstrates we know God by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Some leaders of our nation and even some leaders of God’s church are speaking lies that take innocent life and oppress and extort from God’s people.  Check out their lives and fruit!

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The Refiner’s Fire!

Scripture reading for October 5th: Malachi 1-4

Malachi was the final voice of a prophet in the era of the Old Covenant.  After him, God was silent for 400 years until John the Baptist came on the scene.  Malachi was like a street preacher of his day.  He would go out where the people were and ask questions of them.  He loved to pose questions and then answer them.  With this style he sought to provoke God’s people to repent and do what God had commanded and required.

There were several issues that Malachi hit hard in his preaching.  One issue concerned the priests who were sacrificing blind, crippled and diseased animals.  God was and is holy and He demands pure sacrifices; His priests were dishonoring Him. (Malachi 1:6-14)  God is a great king who is worthy of our best!

Another issue was priests who were breaking their covenant vows with their wives and also with God, Himself.  They were sacrificing to God on the Sabbath, but then going up to idol temples, sacrificing to idol gods and having sex with the temple prostitutes.  God was watching and angry!  He warned them through Malachi that this practice would defile them and sow violence and divorce into their homes. (Malachi 2: 11-16)  This also dishonored God and broke their vows to Him as well!  This behavior hinders the development of godly offspring, God’s plan for covenant marriage.

God warned them as well of another evil practice.  The law of God strictly forbids stealing but these people were stealing from God.   They were not giving God their tithes, bringing them under a curse.  The devourer was eating their crops and taking away their sustenance.  (Malachi 3:8-12)  The remedy was simple–return to God by bringing Him His tithe!  God tells them that they can test Him in this, the only place in Scripture where testing God is allowed or encouraged!  God promises to open the windows of heaven for those who honor Him with the tithe!  He will also rebuke the devourer and bless their provisions.

God was going to send His messenger of the covenant to His temple.  He would be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap, purifying the Levites.  This process would bring about righteous obedience in the offerings and personal behavior.  Who could stand when this “messenger” comes?  God was going to be quick to testify against those involved in sins of adultery, perjury, sorcery, and oppression of orphans and widows!  (Malachi 3:1-8)  The people better prepare for this messenger and the refining fire!  This fire would reduce those who opposed the Lord to ashes but the righteous would go free!  (Malachi 4:1-3)

Malachi had a message that still rings true today for us.  Jesus is coming!  He is coming with fire this next time.  Those who believe in Him will have their works tested by fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Those who oppose Him will be defeated by fire and eternally judged by fire!  We need to heed the time and return to the Lord before time runs out!

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