Spiritual Rants: April 22 “Make A Choice!” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Joshua 24:1-33 Luke 21:1-28 Psalm 89:38-52 Proverbs 13:20-23

Check out the Spiritual Rants podcasts at http://spiritualrants.libsyn.com

Old Testament:  Joshua 24:1-33

Joshua finally died, only two of his generation banned and rested at last in the Promised Land.

Read this passage on BibleGateway.com

Joshua 24:1-13   Airing The Wash

When Washington gave his farewell address to the army after the Revolution. Washington was crying.   Years later he gave his farewell to the nation after serving two terms as president.  In Joshua 24, we see an address that is a combination of both of those types of speeches.  We don’t know that Joshua was actually weeping but his deep concern for the nation is evident.  Pastors are to have the same concern for their flocks (1 Pet. 5:2; Luke 19:41; 13:34).  He recounts the nation’s history from Abraham to the conquering of the land.  He reminds the people they inherited a land that was ready-made for farming and teeming with life.  God had handed it to them on a platter (v. 13).

Joshua 24:14-28   Make A Choice!

Joshua exhorted the people, “choose for yourselves today whom you will serve . . .   but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (v. 15).  This verse is usually put on a plaque that many have in their homes.  Just as with Moses previously, the people promised to submit to Yahweh and His laws.  The term “serve” is used thirteen times in this passage.

Joshua gave the Israelites a choice and they accepted the challenge to serve the Lord.  Every Christian is given a choice to serve the Lord.  Every non-believer is given a choice to trust Christ.  God does not force anyone to do anything.  He wants our love.  He did not create robots.  He created human beings with a will who can choose to trust and serve Him or not.  The Israelites were saying that they chose to serve Him.

Joshua 24:14-28   The End

Joshua died at the age of 110.  Not bad.  They buried him in the place he had chosen as his inheritance.

Joseph was finally given a resting place in the Promised Land as he was promised (Gen. 50:25; Exod. 13:19).

New Testament: Luke 21:1-28

The widow gave what seemed to be small but she really gave a lot, in actuality her all.

Read this passage on BibleGateway.com

Luke 21:1-9  The Temple Mite Fall

A widow in the Temple put in everything she had even though it was only two small copper coins (“mites” KJV).  People talk about tithing, giving 10%.  But as we saw in the OT readings, there were actually three tithes in the Mosaic law.  The average per year was 23 1/3 % (only 20% if the third tithe took the place of the second tithe every three years).  Jesus said if you have two cloaks you should give one away (Luke 3:11).  So we’re at 50% giving.  Now with the widow we are at 100% giving.  So so much for 10% giving.  McGee says the measure should be not how much we give but how much we keep for ourselves.  Now that puts things in perspective.

When they were leaving the Temple, Jesus mentioned that it was built by the people’s donations but would be coming down.  The disciples asked when that would happen.  That resulted in a discourse on the end times.   Jesus said that there would be wars and rumors of wars but that did not mean that the end would follow “immediately.”

Luke 21:10-24  Roman Charges

Jesus said there would be wars, earthquakes, plagues, famines, and signs in the heavens.  Before all this, the disciples would be persecuted but Jesus Himself would give them the words to defend themselves (cf. Mark 13:11 where the Holy Spirit will give help them speak).  Most of Luke 21 has parallel in Matt. 24:1-44 and Mark 13:1-31 but verses 20-24 here are not found in those accounts.  These verses answer the question as to when the Temple would be coming down.  Jesus describes the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem by Rome in A.D. 70.  Wiersbe quotes the Jewish historian Josephus, “nearly a million people were killed by the Romans, and over one hundred thousand taken captive, when Titus captured the city.”

Jerusalem had been sacked in 586 B.C. by Babylon. That is when the “times of the Gentiles” began (c. 24).  A.D. 70 was a preview of coming attractions. Jerusalem will be taken again right before Christ comes back (cf. Zech. 14:1- 2).  That will be when the “times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled” (v. 24).

Luke 21:25-28  A.D. 70

Some scholars believe that the disturbances such as war, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis have not been increasing lately.  I think it is hard to believe that they are not.  Are these the “beginnings of birth pangs” that the Lord speaks of as being the signs of the end (Matt. 24:8; Mark 13:8)?

When my kids were born, I had to rush my wife to the hospital.  There was hardly any labor period when my wife delivered.  So maybe I’m more nervous than most when I read about the “beginning of birth pangs.”  My reasoning says that if there is going to be signs like earthquakes, wars and tsunamis (“roaring of the sea and the waves” v. 25) before everything starts breaking loose, then it would only make sense that those things might start before the main event.  Wiersbe quotes Thomas Campbell, British poet and educator, “coming events cast their shadows before.”  I could be wrong, but it seems like all the weather disturbances we’ve been having, wars, and prophecy being fulfilled regarding Europe as well as the break down of society all over the world, could point to the end being very, very near.  From the time of the apostles all has been in place for the return of the Lord.  Over the last two thousand years, more prophecies have been fulfilled and things seem to be escalating to our current situation.  If the Lord doesn’t return in the next two hundred years, then I am wrong.  It is possible that He won’t return for quite a while.  But there is certainly enough evidence right now that the Lord’s return is  much closer than ever.  If I was an unbeliever, I’d be very concerned!

Psalm 89:38-52   A Lament By Ethan The Ezrahite, Part 3

This part of the psalm is a lament, in the king’s shield God had made a dent.

Read this passage on BibleGateway.com

Psalm 89:14-37    Houston, We Have A Problem, Part 3

We have already seen that Ethan, a son of Zerah along with Heman and a Levite is the author of this royal psalm, number 89.  The beginning of the psalm was in the form of a hymn.  This section is a lament.  It was written because Ethan was afraid that God was breaking His promise to David, that he would have a descendant on the throne forever (cf. 2 Sam. 7:5-16).  We will see that the way God fulfills His promise to David is by having His Own Son, a descendant of David on the throne forever, Jesus Christ.

Ethan says in verse 38 that God has rejected His anointed, David.  He believes God has broken His covenant with David (v. 39).  He now describes the total and utter defeat of Israel under King Jehoiachim.  The defenses have all crumbled (v. 40) allowing the enemy to plunder them (v. 41).  Yahweh has strengthened David’s enemies (v. 42).  Ethan sees an affront against one of David’s descendants as an attack on David himself.  Israel is so overpowered, there is not even a battle (v. 43).  David’s relatives have been humiliated and have lost their respect and glory (v. 44).  The length of David’s dynasty seems to have been shortened, cut off before reaching full maturity (v. 45).

Again, another psalmist, Ethan, asks God how long He will take to act (v. 46, cf. Pss. 6:3; 13:1; 35:17; 62:3; ; 79:5; 80:4; 82:2, et. al.).  Ethan doesn’t want God to take too long since men don’t live too long (v. 47).  A man is not capable of prolonging his life and saving himself from the holding tank of death, Sheol (v. 48).

Psalmists love that “lovingkindness” stuff, don’t they?  Ethan appeals again to that concept, that Yahweh is bound to Israel by covenant and his loving hesed (v. 49, cf. vv. 1-2, 14, 24, 28, 33, 49).  David is mentioned for the fourth time by name in verse 49 (cf. Pss. 89:3; 20; 35).

Ethan hopes that reminding God how His people have been mistreated will move Him to protect them (vv. 49-50).

An editor may have added the doxology in verse 52 to put a cap on Book III of the Psalms (Pss. 73-89).  Ethan may not have been the one who praised the Lord at the end (v. 52).  But he should have!

Ethan probably didn’t realize that the answer to His prayer was embedded in his prayer.  Verses 25-29 can really only pertain to the Messiah.  Verse 27, in particular, points to Him, “I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.”  The fulfillment of the Davidic covenant in 2 Sam. 7:5-16 ultimately is found in the Millennial reign of Christ.  He is The King Who will reign for a thousand years (cf. Rev. 20:4; Dan. 7:9, 13, 22; Dan. 7:27 indicates that the Messiah will reign well beyond a thousand years).

Problem solved.  Psalm 89 is a testament to the Thousand Year Reign of Christ and beyond.  A descendant of David will rule over Israel forever!

Numbers 23:19 says that God cannot lie and whatever He says He will do.  1 Thessalonians 5:24 says that God is faithful and true to His promises.  Did Ethan understand that? Do you?

Proverbs 13:20-23   Good Graciousness

Good follows a good man, evil outpaces an evil man’s clan.

Read this passage on BibleGateway.com

The Apostle Paul said that “bad company corrupts good morals” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:33).  He wasn’t talking about the rock group though they might corrupt good morals, too.  Solomon said that whoever hung out with wise people was smart (v. 20a).  If you hang with fools, you’ll be a fool (v. 20b).

Sinners keep getting in trouble (v. 21a) but believers, who trust in the Lord, always end up being blessed (v. 21b).

Believers usually end up with something to leave their progeny (v. 22a) but the wealth of unbelievers often goes to believers (22b).  Well, that’s what it says.  I can’t think of when this ever happened but maybe it occurred in the Old Testament (cf. Job 27:16-17; Prov. 28:8).

God blesses believers who are poor, even in droughts (v. 23a).  But sometimes cheaters rob the righteous of what God has blessed them with (v. 23b).

Remember Proverbs deals in generalities.  So in most cases righteousness leads to being prosperous, certainly that is true in New Testament times.  But crooks and lazy people end up in poverty.  Generally.

Scripture:   Luke  21:25   NASB    “Tsunamis In The Bible?”

“‘There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.’”   Luke 21:25

A lot of people that believe like I do, think that verses like this one have to do with weather disturbances right before the Lord returns.  I think it probably speaks of the tsunamis we’ve had in recent years.  There was even a movie about one called The Impossible.

Have you noticed the recent weather changes?  A tornado ripped through the town we lived in in Texas.  Are the tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis recently signs of the times?  How about the wars and rumors of war (cf. Matt. 24:6).

I think they are signs of the end times.  But it doesn’t matter.  We are always to be ready in case the Lord comes back.  It could happen at any moment (cf. 1 Thes. 5:1-8; 2 Pet. 3:8-10).

Are you ready in case the Lord returns?

If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

Have you witnessed any severe weather changes where you live?  Check the web for sites that track recent weather disturbances that may indicate that the Lord’s coming is nearer, perhaps, than any time in history (check out Climate Change and Prophecy or 2014-15 Catastrophes.)

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  The End Is Near! (Or Is It?)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.