The Tried And True Old Paths
Many years ago there was a dirt path that went from our house, around the wheat house, by the old well, and up to the front porch of my grandma's house where she threw homemade biscuits and corn bread to my Dad's beagles. The dogs went back and forth, day after day, time after time, and their paws wore down the grass and made a sure path. Grandma has been gone a long time and the dogs an even longer time, so the grass grew up in the path and there is no longer any sign that it was even there. There used to be a gospel trail where preachers, singers, and church goers gave out the gospel message in churches, in tent meetings, and even on street corners. More people walked in the good way, but times have changed. The world is losing much of the Christian influence as the older generation goes on to heaven and there are less and less of the younger generation choosing the old paths and the gospel way. God sent out a warning to Jerusalem in Jeremiah 6:16. "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Many in America today are rebelling against God and against the good way, and I believe that this old message is true for us today. Let's ask for the old paths and walk in the good way!
As Old As It Gets
To begin these devotionals let's look back to the oldest references of time that we can find. I like to begin my Bible reading in January with the beginning. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) God created day and night and that was the first day. This was the beginning of time. But the Word of God shows us that we can actually go back beyond the beginning of time. Our minds can't grasp it, but God is from everlasting to everlasting. "Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting." (Psalm 93:2) "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalms 90:2) God always has been, and He always will be, for ever and ever. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)
The Old Testament
As I read through the book of Leviticus I am so grateful that I did not live during the time of the Old Testament. There are chapters and chapters of laws and commandments, and the sacrifices that had to be offered to pay for their offences. Even sins that were committed in ignorance had to be paid for with sacrifices. "And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity." (Leviticus 5:17) No one could keep every letter of the law, and being guilty of the least offense made the person guilty.
After all the years of sacrificial offerings, in the fullness of time, the spotless Lamb of God came and gave Himself to pay for our sin. We are living in the time of the New Testament, a better testament, with salvation full and free. "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament... But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." (Hebrews 7:22 and 8:6) Jesus left His heavenly home and came to earth to give His life on the cross to pay for our sin. We no longer have to take a lamb as an offering with us to church. All we have to do is believe in our heart and ask the Lord to save us. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Don't Change The Old Rules
Micah and Maggie came to visit and they brought a Disney Sorry Game. They asked if we knew how to play and we said that we knew how to play Sorry, but had not played the Disney version. Michael and I sat down on the floor to play with them and on one of my first plays I drew a blue card that I think was a 12. Micah told me that because I was blue I could advance my player home with this card. This was a new rule. As we continued to play we discovered several new rules. I was playing Sorry when I was a young girl and I knew the rules... but this version had added and changed several rules to the game. You know what! I don't like new rules. If I play a game that I have played for years, I want the old rules.
As I read the news stories I am amazed at how many "rules" people are trying to change. But, I want to tell you something. God's rules never change. Yesterday we talked about how the Old Testament is filled with laws and commandments. And just because some of our politicians think they can change the laws of our land, God's laws never change. God is still God and sin is still sin. Our Bible is our rule book for life, and it will do us good to read it and listen to what God is saying to us. His rules don't change.
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." (Isaiah 40:8)
"For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89)
"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." (Luke 21:33)
A New Day
We Shall All Be Changed
We have been looking at men and women in the Bible whose lives were changed in a moment. We saw how each of them faced a new day, and how their lives were affected. As Christians our lives were changed the moment we accepted Christ as our Savior. But we shall have a greater change! Our bodies grow old and life becomes more challenging with age. We won't have to worry about the troubles we have down here when the Lord calls us to our heavenly home. We can rejoice that God gives us victory through Jesus Christ, our Lord! I look forward to our blessed new day in heaven!
"51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:51-57)
Belshazzar And The Hand Writing On The Wall
Chapter 5 of Daniel begins, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.” Then he commanded that they bring out all the golden and silver vessels that he had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. “They drank wine, and praised the gods of gods, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” (Daniel 5:4) He was using the holy cups taken from the temple of God to drink wine in praise of other false gods. In a moment his countenance was changed.
“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers… but they could not read the writing… Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.” Daniel 5:5-9
He was scared, just as we would be if we saw a hand appear and begin writing on the wall. The wise men of the kingdom could not interpret the writing, and the queen told him to call in Daniel. Daniel reminded him of how his father, King Nebuchadnezzar had humbled himself when he was changed to the similitude of a beast (vs. 18-21). Then he said, “And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:” (Daniel 5:23) The writing meant, “MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou are weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5:26-28) That very night Belshazzar the king was killed. I often see articles in the news about people who lift themselves up against God. God is a merciful God and they don't immediately bow in fear. But, you can be sure that one day, they will stand before our holy God Almighty and they will bow in reverance and fear. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (Romans 14:11)
Our Last New Day
2018 is behind us and we are almost three weeks into the new year. I enjoyed looking at "This Day" Bible scriptures. It was also challenging to see how men and women in the Bible faced their "New Day" following life changing moments. Well, this is our last new day in this series and it is so appropriate to look at the last new day in the Bible. Before John closed the book of Revelation he gave us a glimpse of the glory of the new heaven and new earth and the new Jerusalem.
"1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 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.
5 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.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Revelation 21:1-7)
This is our last new day because along with no more death, nor sorrow, nor pain in heaven there will also be no more night. God is the light and there will be no more darkness. Are you ready for that day?
"23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there." (Revelation 21:23-25)
"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 22:5)