Monday, December 22, 2008

He Still Does

I find the story of the King of Babylon one of the strangest that is in the Bible. His kingdom was second only to King Solomon's in wealth and power. What happened to Nebuchadnezzar is the stuff of fables, of old wives tales; dark nights and wild animals howling at the moon, it brings to mind the legend of … "wolf man."

But the problem is … this story actually happened.

Chapter 4 in the Book of Daniel was most likely written by Nebuchadnezzar himself, and was given to Daniel, or it was written by Daniel as told to him in the first person by Nebuchadnezzar. It speaks to the sovereign rule of God over one of the greatest kings of the earth, this being acknowledged by himself, who was one of the proudest monarchs that ever lived. In fact "pride" was his main problem. Chapter 4 begins by declaring the greatness and power of God; follows the king's dream, the interpretation and the fulfillment of the dream, and then tells of Nebuchadnezzar's restoration to his sanity and kingdom, for which he praises God.

Chapter 4 of Daniel … (Edited.)

Daniel 4:1-5 …"Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth … I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs … I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace … I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me."

The king had it all, no man could ask for more, he was at peace with all he had done … but he had a dream that troubled him and made him afraid. When none of his wise men could tell him the meaning of this dream, he looked to Daniel for the interpretation as he had done once before.

Daniel 4:8 …"Daniel came in before me … and before him I told the dream …"

After Nebuchadnezzar told Daniel his dream, he was astonished for a time as he thought about what was to come upon the king and it troubled Daniel; but the king spoke, and said … "Let not the dream, or the interpretation trouble thee." In other words, it's alright, tell me what it means. So he does.

Daniel 4:24-30 …"This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king … they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

And … thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee … All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?"

From the time of the dream to its fulfillment, God gave him one whole year to humble himself and repent of his pride, proclaiming to be the one who built Babylon … through his power, and his majesty. Here we see the manifestation of human pride; the king glories in the work of his hands, as though he had created his own greatness. This pride brings upon him the judgment of God.

Daniel 4:31-33 …"While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.

And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws."

His power and greatness is reduced to the level of a beast. Pride and self exaltation work together to separate man from God; the very same hour he becomes like a beast, with no real intelligence. Seven times, (seven years) pass over the kings head as he is now deprived of his reason, his rational powers of understanding, judgment, and memory; so that he acts like a beast, living in the wild as a beast eating grass. He had exalted himself; but now he is humbled by God.

Daniel 4:34-37 …"And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him … he doeth according to his will among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me … and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me."

The Latin Vulgate reads …"and to the glory of my kingdom I returned …" which was assured in the dream … ("thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee"… vs. 26)

"Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."

It appears that this was a true fact in history; the entire dream was fulfilled … the King was humbled under the mighty hand of God; and after his kingdom was returned to him Nebuchadnezzar did know that the most High ruled in the kingdom of men.

Proof that Nebuchadnezzar's understanding did indeed return to him is shown in his statement …"I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him"… and then the king proclaimed the truth about what he had seen of God … "He doeth according to His will among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou?"

What a statement the king now makes …"He doeth according to His will among the inhabitants of the earth"… meaning, He disposes of men on earth, and appoints them to conditions and circumstances according to His sovereign will and purpose.

"And none can stay his hand"… or stop His power, resist His will, or hinder Him from acting; His hand cannot be stopped or turned back from the execution of His will.

The sentiment expressed by Nebuchadnezzar is true in the following respects …

1.) That man has no power to prevent the fulfillment of God's purposes.
2.) That God will accomplish His will in all things.
3.) That God has absolute control over everything that pertains to man.
4.) That God rules over all things so as to make them fit into His plans.
5.) That God can and will use men to accomplish His own purposes.

The humbling of Nebuchadnezzar's pride is just one example of what God must constantly do on earth as He deals with man. What man is there who has never had to face trouble, disappointment, sickness, sorrow or death?

You may say that God isn't the cause of these things. That may be exactly right … to a degree. But I believe that God is ultimately responsible … for everything.

Philippians 2:13 …"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." The word "worketh" means to work, to be active, to produce.

The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:9 about …"the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure …" We don't always know what His will for us is in all things.

Ephesians 1:11 …"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will …"

Concerning all things that come our way in life, and God's reason for them, which is unknown to us, is called …"the mystery of his will."

"Who worketh all things" … The affirmation here is not that God accomplishes His own will, but that "He does everything." The working of His government, His will and purpose is not confined to just one thing … salvation; but every object and event is under His control and is in accordance with His eternal plan and purpose.

God's hand is seen in everything, everywhere. Every leaf, flower or blade of grass; every sunrise and sunset, every flash of lightning all declare His glory and the power of God. There is not an object that we see that does not speak of the control of a God who has purpose in what He does.

It would be impossible to affirm more positively that God’s rule is universal and over all things, than Paul does with the statement … "who worketh all things." He does not attempt to prove it. It is one of those points on which he does not deem it necessary to pause and reason, to further explain why God does what He does; he merely affirms that fact which may be regarded as a conceded point of God's providence.

He works all things everywhere. But He does it in accordance with the laws of nature that He has already given. The general doctrine is … "that God works in all things and controls all things" everywhere in accordance with … "the counsel of his own will."

The phrase "counsel of his own will" is designed to show that it is not by consulting man, or conforming to their views, but by His own views of what is proper and right.

We are incapable of perceiving the reasons for what God does and He is not required to make them known to others. The meaning is, that His purpose for what He does is determined by what He alone views to be right. In every instance, we are to believe that there is a good reason for what He does, and may I add, that we ought to have such a confidence in Him as to believe that He will do all things that are just and right.

Therefore, I must conclude that in God's dealings with Nebuchadnezzar … it matters not whether I agree or disagree in God's conduct toward this proud, arrogant and boastful King; God worked His "good pleasure" and purpose "according to His will."

I don't know why God worked this time as He did; but Nebuchadnezzar said "all God's ways are judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." I think we should take this as a lesson in the …"sovereign rule of God"… even yet today.

Proverbs 16:18 …"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

Romans 12:3 …"For I say … to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought …"

The King looked at himself as a god, the ruler over his kingdom and men; but Daniel told him the lesson to be learned was …"until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men"… and not you King Nebuchadnezzar.

So, may I ask a question that each of us have to answer for ourselves? When events in life come and confront us; knowing God has a purpose for all things that He allows in our lives; should we ask …"Lord, what can I learn from this event?"

Remember … every object and event is under His control and is in accordance with His eternal plan and purpose. Paul said it is God …"who worketh all things."

Nebuchadnezzar's understanding did indeed return to him; and he ended up saying …

"He doeth according to His will among the inhabitants of the earth."

And I believe … He still does.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Does Confession Bring Possession

I remember many years ago there was a doctrine being taught by many well meaning people that said "Confession Brings Possession." Today I was reminded of that teaching once again and feel like I should address this subject.

One exceptional teacher of the Word I listened to back then would always begin or end his teaching with the words of Jesus found in …

Mark 11:23 …"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."

It seemed like no matter what his subject matter was it always came back around to this verse and the one following it, verse 24 that
says …

"Therefore (which means … because of this) I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

Wow … what a statement of promise given by the Lord Himself. I want to look at these statements by Jesus and some others along these same lines and see if we can figure out just what He meant by these highly exalted words of faith when we compare them to the reality of the world around us.

By using the term "figure out" … I mean we will most likely bring our mental understanding into play, which might be a mistake knowing our minds can't analytically comprehend the things of "faith."

But first I want to look at some preceding verses before I comment on these two main subject verses with a little history time line.

Earlier the day before, addressing the father of a child brought to Him in …

Mark 9:23"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

And then next on day two …

Mark 11:12-14"And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever. And his disciples heard it."

Continuing on to the third day …

Mark 11:20-22"And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God."

Jesus then delivers some of the most profound words that ever came out of His mouth. I use the term "out of His mouth" to remind you of something else Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 …"out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

Our main text spoken by Jesus came from His heart; therefore He must have believed what He said to His disciples. Consider Numbers 23:19 concerning the words that proceed from the mouth of God. "God is not a man, that he should lie hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"

If I understand it right … Jesus "was" God in the flesh; and wasn't He also called "the Word of God"? So if my thinking is correct, our text, Mark 11:23-24 carries the same weight and authority as if God the Father had spoken it.

Here it is again as Matthew recorded what Jesus said to them the morning they saw the fig tree had … "withered away."

Matthew 21:20-21"And when the disciples saw it, they marveled … (His disciples wondering at his power, in causing the fig tree to wither so suddenly)
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily (truly) I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done."

"If ye have faith" … that is, in God, in His power; the object of your faith must be … "in God" … that He will enable you to receive what things soever you desire; "faith" which must also be understood, not only in the promises of God, but the faith for miracles; faith in the power of God to perform things that are even above the power of nature as this fig tree was.

"If ye have faith and doubt not" either in the power or the will of God to do … for you and by you"what things soever ye desire."

Mark adds this phrase that Matthew doesn't … "Have faith in God" … not in your faith, not in what you know, not in what you think God has told you to go and do, not in your prayers; for if they are like mine, in and of themselves they don't accomplish anything; instead … "Have faith in Godand doubt not."

My feeble prayers aren’t much when compared with the lofty words of Jesus; but then again we don't do it, He does it, that's why we ask Him.

Getting back to our subject … "Does Confession Bring Possession"… I want you to notice some key words which I have highlighted in this verse.

Mark 11:23"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."

In the past when "faith teachers" dissected this verse, it went something like this, and I quote … "Notice doubt is mentioned only once; believe is also mentioned only once; but the word say or saith is mentioned three times. Therefore we must conclude that speaking, saying and confessing is three times more important than believing or even doubting" … unquote.

With this kind of teaching one can see where the doctrine of "Confession Brings Possession" came from. In all honesty, confession does play a role in our belief; but this doctrine is bent out of shape just a little too much for me. I'm thinking of The Book Revelation where John wrote about Satan accusing believers before God day and night and how they overcame him … "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." Both are important.

Pay close attention to the last half of verse 23 … "and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things, which he saith, shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith."

The understanding to receive "whatsoever" must be this … provided the person"shall not doubt in his heart." The word translated doubt in this verse is "diakrino," which means "to withdraw from, to hesitate." The word translated heart is "kardia," which means "the middle feeling or heart of your being."

I have considered many of the elements that make up prayer … need, purpose, will, faith, doubt, confession, unbelief, our own sinfulness, God's mercy and grace and anything else you want to throw into the mix … leaving me to conclude that it all comes down to "doubt" as being the main cause of unanswered prayer. I don't believe that confession has anything to do with it. We don't have to "say" the right words, the right way, at the right time … only believe.

Is confession or speaking a declaration of faith the same thing? To me a declaration of faith is speaking what the Word of God already says about something. That way it's not just our words confessing what we desire; but rather what God has already said about the situation we are facing.

Notice in the next verse … Jesus is also talking about prayer, not just confession.

Mark 11:24"Therefore (because of this) I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

Jesus told His disciples to "Have faith in God" or as it reads in the Latin Vulgate … "Have the faith of God"… that faith which has God as its source and author.

Paul speaks of the type of faith "God uses" when he writes in …

Romans 4:17"God … speaks of the nonexistent things … as if they already existed." (Amp.)

The K.J.V. reads …"God, who … calleth those things which are not as though they were."

John Gill in his commentary says this about mountain moving faith. "This must not be confined to the particular instances of drying up a fig tree, or removing a mountain, but the doing of any sort of miracle, how great soever. Nor is it our Lord's meaning that they should do these particular things; nor is it certain that they ever did: but His sense is, that, had they faith, they should be able not only to do such lesser miracles, as comparatively speaking, the withering of the fig tree; but they should be able to perform things much more difficult and surprising, whenever the good of the souls of men, the propagation of the Gospel, and the glory of God required them."

I think perhaps we should pay particular attention to how John Gill ended the remarks I have taken from his writings. He just may have given the most important key to receiving miracles rather then performing miracles; which is and I quote again …"whenever the good of the souls of men, the propagation of the Gospel, and the glory of God required them."

"Nor is it certain that they ever did" … it is unlikely that Jesus wanted them to change the landscape. To remove a mountain may also refer to overcoming or removing the difficulties and trials (mountains) which they would be called to endure in preaching the gospel. Remember these were His disciples.

We must never forget it is always God who provides the miracles when they are required to fulfill His purpose and plan; it's never us, it's God and God alone.

The words of Jesus in the following two verses is kind of like throwing a couple more logs on the fire … considering who said them … they have to be true.

John 14:13-14"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."

John 15:7"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

Does Confession Bring Possession? No … not by itself.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Just Some Thoughts

Count as lost each day not used in loving God.

God looks upon the heart … always has … always will.

For what God fills not … the devil will.

Satan is subject to the government of God.

There is no moment when His eye is off me …
or His attention is distracted from me …
and no moment therefore, when His care falters.

Without hope … there is no reason to use faith.

He is within us … seek Him not elsewhere.

Troubled … perplexed … cast down … but not destroyed.

The things which are seen are temporal.

We limit God … by how we perceive Him.

One does not become holy all at once.

The answer to prayer … is often delayed.

If God started it … God's going to finish it.

Jesus is … an unseen presence.

God …"will"… make a way.

The human soul is completely fallen.

If you want to look at the stars … darkness is required.

Have you ever been so right … you were wrong?

God …
has never made a mistake …
has never been late …
can not and will not fail.

Death is the end of life … resurrection is the end of death.

Darkness is nothing but the absence of light.

Have faith in God … not faith.

Recognize that God, at every moment is intimately "present" with us.

If it won't change where you spend eternity, then it doesn't really matter.

God regards not the greatness of the work …
but the love with which it is performed.

Your performance as a Christian doesn't regulate God's love.

The only name for grace is … amazing.

I must run the race that is …"set"… before me.

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

We walk by faith … not by sight.

Your belief is just … your opinion … held in good faith.

Nobody's leaving this earth alive.

What does the Lord require of me …
To do justice
To love kindness
To walk humbly with God … Micah 6:8

God is ultimately responsible … for everything.

You may not know you are in a valley until you see the mountains around you.

God is not the author of sin.

I would rather die … than sin and break my Savior's heart.

You will never know God any better than you know His Word.

To get out of the valley … you must walk through it.

I wasn't put on this earth to please you … only God.

God is a majority by Himself.

Can you see it … when you pray?

When an evil deed is done, there was a time in which it was done …
although God never made that time … for that purpose.

Satan is …"one who lies in wait."

We cannot judge from the occurrences which take place in life …
"who" the objects of God's love or displeasure are.

God often makes a difference. Correction … God always makes a difference.

God governs the world; but we cannot see the reasons of His conduct
or know why He does this or that … but all is just and right.

God is not a super human.

Love … is worth giving.

If the devil can't pull you into something … he will get behind you and push.

Be very careful of your motives … when in prayer for somebody else.

Grace and Mercy … comes only from God.

God's love can not and will not change.

Wise men … still seek Him.

I can't walk on water, but I can walk with Jesus and He can.

God governs all the actions of men and devils.

The heart of man is full of evil … no wonder the curse of God should
be so frequent upon the earth.

God will in the end … always win.

Some of us live and some of us die …
one day God will tell us why.

Bidden or not bidden … God is there.

No man can believe to much good about God.

I grow in character … only as God adds His to mine.

God's Will … will be done.

No God … No Peace
Know God … Know Peace

Jesus is the Rock …
David used a "Rock" to kill the giant he faced.

God's list has only two columns … saved or lost.

Why is Hell … "hell?" Because God isn't there.

Jesus must be a garbage man …
He keeps asking me for all the garbage in my life.

From God's perspective every person is either …
building on rock or sand …
wise or foolish …
prepared or unprepared …
fruitful or fruitless …
heaven bound or hell bound.

Why give up and quit … we are in God's hands.

It's not how hard you hit, it's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.

Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

Everything that is … is determined by the Lord.

Nothing comes by chance, everything is … as it is purposed by God.

If God leads you to it … He will lead you through it.

I've learned so much from my mistakes …
I'm thinking of making a few more.

The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are always conjoined.

What makes the Christian God different from other gods … He exists.

Monday, December 1, 2008

No More Curse

There is coming a day when there will no longer be a curse on all of nature as there is now. If you aren't aware that nature and our natural lives are cursed, let me tell you … it is a reality. But in all fairness to God, we are at the same time blessed by Him; at least many of us are.

Let me speak about the curse first; so I must go back to the beginning where it all started with Adam and Eve. Genesis, Chapter three … (selected verses.)

"And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed …"

"And unto Adam He said … cursed is the ground …"

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever … he drove out the man …"

God is the creator of and has ownership of the Earth and all those that dwell on it, man and beast alike; but because of the fall of man, sin caused God to curse the earth and also to pronounce the sentence of death upon all living creatures … man, animal and plant life … everything that has life in one form or another must now face death.

God chose "death" to be the main curse for all things with life in them on this earth.

But there are also blessings. I want to look at both of these …"blessings and curses" in this study. Moses speaks of them in … Deuteronomy 11 … (selected verses.)

"Thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, always … that ye may be strong and prolong your days … (blessings)

Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the LORD's wrath be kindled against you … (curses)

Behold (take notice, look and see) I set before you this day a blessing and a curse

A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD ... and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD …"

Yes, I know this is Old Testament, the Law … but God's nature and character has never changed; and may not the law of sowing and reaping be part of "the curse" that still resides in the laws of nature, both good and bad that we see all around us?

"Behold, I set before you … a blessing and a curse …"

Man has been given a free will and with this free will comes the power to obey God or disobey Him even in the face of promises (blessings) or threatenings (curses). The punishment for disobedience is proof in itself that we are free will agents and have been given the power to choose good or evil, life or death; or else our disobedience could not be punishable by God.

Man is accountable for his conduct … the choice is his and his alone. God has given man a free, self-determining "will" which cannot be forced by any power into obedience or disobedience. Even God Himself will never force man to choose any conduct good or evil unwillingly; it must be man's choice alone.

Moses continues with God's Word in Deuteronomy 30 … (selected verses.)

"And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee …

I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil … in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments … and the LORD thy God shall bless thee …

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life …"

The record in Heaven isn't so easy for us to see; but here on the Earth the record is very apparent. All we have to do is look around and we see good and evil, life and death, the struggle to survive amongst all of God's creatures … the so called evils in nature, God's curses, those things that assault us all the time … sickness, disease, famine, death, etc. are present in the world along with God's many blessings.

Because we have a free will, God has set before us … good and evil, blessings and curses for us to choose or refuse; of which then we are accountable for our actions, and because they are "our actions" freely chosen, we will be rewarded then accordingly … blessed or cursed … which is why He said, "Therefore choose life." It's our choice.

One of God's greatest prophets, Isaiah wrote …

"Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth and they that dwell therein …"

Daniel pours out his soul in confession to God, and asks pardon and restoration for his captive people when he says in Chapter 9 … (selected verses.)

"The curse is poured upon us, and he hath confirmed his words by bringing upon us a great evil …

As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth …"

Daniel states that because of Israel's sin, God brought upon them the evil curse which was at that time … going into captivity, but even so … all is still just and right.

God speaking through Malachi to the spiritual leaders, His priests, said to them …

"… this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear and if ye will not lay it to heart … I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings …"

Concerning tithes and offerings, God again speaking through Malachi said this …

"Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse … and prove me now … and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time …"

In other words, honor God and He will provide you with blessings instead of curses.

I may not always like what I find in the Word of God … but knowing the heart of God, and understanding that everything that proceeds from Him is always just and right … I must conclude then … even blessings and curses are as they should be.

Now, turning to the New Testament and some of Paul's writing …

Galatians 3:10,13 …"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us …"

What curse is Paul speaking about? Is this curse is different than the curse God placed upon nature because of sin?

The curse of the Law … All that seek salvation by the performance of their works of the law are under this curse, because it is impossible for them to measure up to the spiritual intent of the law … perfection; so the law pronounces them cursed that continue not in all the things which are written in the book of the law. They are under its sentence of condemnation and death because they are unable to fulfill all the Law, and live up to its regulations. They are therefore deserving of eternal spiritual death, the wrath of God, which is meant here by the word "curse."

It is therefore impracticable for fallen man to try and fulfill this law of works, for if he fails even in one point, he is guilty of all, and is pronounced guilty by the law; he stands before God convicted, condemned and cursed by that same law that he seeks righteousness from by doing the deeds of it.

"Christ … being made a curse for us …" The sense is, He stood in our legal place of judgment, having the sins of us all imputed to Him, and placed on Him making Him answerable for them as if He had sinned; the law then finding Him guilty of such charges and therefore … under the Law … curses Him for them.

Jesus was treated as guilty by the justice of God; by His own Father, who spared Him not, and delivered Him up to death, even of the cross, where it appeared that as He was hanging on it, He was made a curse"made"… by the will, purpose and design of God; and not the Father's will only but by His own will and free consent; for Jesus freely laid down His life, and gave Himself as an offering for our sin.

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us …"

I have tried to show that there are two basic curses in scripture; neither of which are to be desired. Both have sin as their cause and both end in death. One is the curse of natural death as pronounced by God on all living things through the fall of man.

The other is the curse of the law … spiritual death which comes from man's own sin; and in both cases … God is the one who pronounced the same sentence, the punishment … death … but only one has a way out; and that way came through Jesus.

Romans 8:2 …"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

It may be called "the law of sin and death" because it threatened man with death when disobedient; it sentences and judges transgressors to spiritual death.

But what is imputed to us, "Christ's righteousness," makes us free from this law of sin and then death. The law requires a holy nature in us; we have not one, therefore Christ assumed one for us and in doing so brought the end of the law. He answers the requirement of the law in this respect, but does not free us from the being of sin … sin in our flesh … with all its force and power, but frees us from all condemnation that sin brings.

John Wesley says that the simple meaning of this verse is … "Jesus has freed us from the Mosaic law."

There is a natural death, it has been appointed for all to die; but there is also eternal life, but only for those who believe that their sin has been placed on Jesus, knowing that He was made a curse for us.

Moses said that God has set before us "blessings and curses." I believe they're still here now … but there is coming a day when they won't be.

Revelation 21:4-5 …"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' And he said unto me, 'Write: for these words are true and faithful'. "

Revelation 22:3 …"And there shall be no more curse …"

This scripture is in strong contrast with our present earthly situation; all that is now under the name of a curse, or whatever is part of the curse God pronounced on man because of the fall, will be no more. The earth will no longer be cursed, and will no longer produce thorns and thistles; man will be no longer earn his bread by the sweat of his brow; and there will no longer be any natural evils such as storms, earthquakes, floods, drought, famine, wild beasts, sickness, disease, sorrow, tears or death.

When one considers the world as it presently is … cursed by God … because of sin; can there be a more meaningful phrase of hope than this …

"And there shall be … no more curse …"