Thursday, June 30, 2011

Water in the Wilderness

Isaiah 35:7 KJV
And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

This text is speaking of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
That one thousand year period will be marked with the miraculous and extraordinary as the Lord literally reshapes the landscape of Israel in parallel with His promises to His people. The desert will blossom as a rose when the Lord make springs in the wilderness.

But this is spiritually the hope of every believer even today.
The Lord is more than capable of bringing to life those areas in our lives we see as
• Dry
• Barren and
• Dead
We live daily in the hope of answers to prayer.
• Unfruitful aspects of our lives watered and made to produce
• Unsaved loved ones coming to know the Saviour as we do

The assurance of God's promises to Israel is, as He is able to make springs of water in the habitations of dragons, so He is able to make what seems hopeless in our lives spring to life and beauty.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

His Power, Our Power

Acts 1:7-8 KJV
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

There is a contrast of appropriated power between this verse and the next.
Here is a power God the Father has reserved for Himself.
• It is not for us to know
• We have not been given the power to know
Try as we might, let the great minds of the faith collaborate: they will not discover the times or the seasons of the Lord's consummation of all things.

But we have received power from the Father, promised us and promise kept.
The Father has given us the power to be witnesses.

And this power must be our focus. God has not given us to figure out His times and seasons. But He has given us to be witnesses.

Shall we not then give ourselves to that which He has given us?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Should Peter Have Been Fishing Naked?

John 21:7 KJV
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

The Bible says Peter put on his fisher's coat and cast himself into the sea to go to Jesus.

He had been fishing naked.

The context makes me think this is a lapse into sin in Peter's life. He likely went fishing thinking of going back to life as it was before Christ. He had a fisher's coat; obviously meant to be worn while fishing. Course people can be careless about modesty, so even if it was customary to strip the coat it doesn't mean it was considered modest or culturally acceptable. The fact that he put it on to swim to shore (I would think you would take it off - swimming in cloths is difficult and sometimes dangerous) implies it would have been inappropriate to be on shore and before Christ with what he didn't have on.

I scanned through every reference to nakedness in the Bible and found that, with the exception of before the fall, it is always considered shameful.

Peter's backslidden condition was shameful and in no circumstances should he have been naked on that boat.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Men, Women and the blessing of Waiting

John 20:10 KJV
Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

The difference between men and women:
Mary had gotten up very early to go to the tomb.
• She was attending to the Lord before the men
• Because of it she was the first to see the stone rolled away

The men, hearing the news, (from Mary) raced to the tomb.
There appears to be a bit of competition among them.
• One outran the other but the other went inside the tomb first
• The first then came inside, not to be out done
But then, in a typical fashion, they just went home.

The woman, who was there before them all, and had no sense of rushing; remained, and in remaining she heard from both the angels and the resurrected Lord.

I fear we are in much too much of a hurry as believers.
• We want to race around, outdoing each other
• We want to see spiritual things first
• We certainly don't want to miss something that some other believer gets to see or do

And in our hurry we wait far too little. The disciples saw what they saw and they went home. Mary stayed. And in waiting in weeping in remaining where she was, she saw Jesus risen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wrong Fear

Isaiah 29:13 KJV
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

There is a sort of fear of the Lord that is not the beginning of wisdom.
• It is a fear of the Lord that has removed the heart far from God
• It is a fear that is taught or perhaps imposed upon us by others
• It does not come from a right heart before the Lord

In the context Israel is facing the threat of Sennacherib. God tells them to wait on Him, to not flee from the enemy but to put their trust in the Lord. God says He blesses those who will wait while He waits, even though they are afflicted in the waiting.

Christianity is a matter of the heart. It is not a religion that can be taught. It must come through faith and faith can only come through waiting on the Lord.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


John 18:15 KJV
And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.

The scene in the garden is impossible to believe except that Christ controlled it. Verse four says He knew all things that should come upon Him.

• That the soldiers fell down backwards
• That Peter cut off the servant's ear without immediately being slain by soldiers.
• That Peter wasn't taken into custody
• That Jesus could speak with Peter to put away his sword
• That the soldiers allowed Peter to follow and
• That the relative of Malchus only thought he recognized Peter as being in the garden and not as the one who had striken Malchus

All of this is unbelievable unless some force bigger than the band of soldiers was controlling the circumstances.

Another Gospel says that Jesus also healed Malchus' ear. There were those watching the very event who could not see Christ's deity at work in front of them even as they must have known none of this was normal, except something else was at work among them. Lord open the eyes of people today.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Given and Gifted

John 17:2 KJV
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Scofield's Notes on this verse have two worthy pieces. The second of the two is;
"Seven times Jesus speaks of believers as given to Him by the Father (John 17:2); (John 17:6); (John 17:9); (John 17:11); (John 17:12); (John 17:24). Jesus Christ is God's love-gift to the world (John 3:16), and believers are the Father's love-gift to Jesus Christ. It is Christ who commits the believer to the Father for safe keeping, so that the believer's security rests upon the Father's faithfulness to His Son Jesus Christ."

It is a blessing to me to think of being given to Jesus. I stand as one of the Father's gifts to His only begotten Son. Praise the Lord!

I place the first of his notes secondly for my purposes
"Christ's gifts to those whom the Father gave Him"
• Eternal life (John 17:2);
• The Father's name (John 17:6); (John 17:26); (John 20:17),
• The Father's words (John 17:8); (John 17:14));
• His own joy (John 17:13);
• His own glory (John17:22). "

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Still Today

Isaiah 23:13 KJV
Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin.

How many thousands of years have passed since these words were prophesied yet how little has changed in that part of the world. The mode of accomplishment has been altered.
• They now have tanks and planes and rockets to help them in the setting up and taking down of peoples and
• There were those 1900 years when the Jews did not occupy even a portion of the land

But still today, it is exactly as the Lord described in Isaiah.
• Israel is a there, surrounded by enemies
• No one the world around hardly supports them
• Neighboring countries ebb and flow in power against Israel
Everything is just as God depicts it through Isaiah. The one constant through all of history has been God's eye of love for this people. That constant provides all of the validity Israel needs. Though they have forgotten Him today, He has not forgotten them.

And my hope as a believer rests in God's plan to one day revive Israel. When God's promises to Israel are fulfilled, then will God's promises to all others be fulfilled as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


John 15:4 KJV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Scofield's Notes on "abide" is a blessing today: I have modified it only a small amount to, I think, draw out message contained.

"To abide in Christ is,
On the one hand, to have
• No known sin unjudged and unconfessed
• No interest into which He is not brought
• No life which He cannot share

On the other hand, the abiding one takes
• All burdens to Him, and draws
• All wisdom
• All life and
• All strength
from Him."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Drenched In Love

John 14:28 KJV
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Chapter 14 is drenched in love.
• There is the love of Jesus for the disciples in giving them reassurance
• There is the love of the Father for Christ and
• There is the love of Christ for the Father

Jesus not only reassures the disciples but promises them new help in prayer and new comfort in the Holy Spirit.

Monday, June 20, 2011

He Loved Them

John 13:1 KJV
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

My personal reading through John this round has led me to fix more on the Lord's love. My goal has been that in meditating on His love, I might grow in my love for Him.

This text is touching in so many ways. I can sense the emotion of the Lord knowing that His hour had come. Life is growing short on earth; His current relationship with the Apostles was about to come to an end and He loved them.

• The personal touch of the towel and washing of their feet
• The conversation with Peter
• Even His admonition to Judas, "that thou doest, do quickly"
Speaks of the emotion of love.

How thankful I am for the Love of the Lord for me and for those I love. How I pray that I can both love the Lord and love the church more for His sake.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Martha, Lazarus and Mary

John 12:2-3 KJV
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Scofield's Bible in the center column says, "As Martha stands for service and Lazarus for communion, so Mary shows us the worship of a grateful heart. Others before her had come to his feet to have their needs met; she came to give Him His due."

Great thought! May we come the house of God to give Him His due.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Message of the Tear

John 11:35 KJV
Jesus wept.

Such a short verse but still filled with truth
• Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus. His love for them was plain enough people could see it
• Jesus loved those who had assembled around the tomb and could not see the truth of who He was
• Jesus loved the disciples who had questioned whether it was wise for Him to enter into Bethany, so close to Jerusalem and those who sought to kill Him
• Jesus loved even those who would call for His death
• Jesus loved those who would live generations later, still in need of a Saviour
And His tears reflect His love for all of them.

Lazarus would be resurrected. But the story would not end there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What Would Jesus Do?

John 10:41
John did not miracle but all things that John spoke of this man are true.

If we who are Baptists truly claim to follow the teaching of John the Baptist then this passage ought to become a signal verse for us. Ours is not to make much of ourselves.
• We do not need to have the people speaking about the great things we have done.
• We do not need to have recorded the miracles of our lives and ministries.
This one thing ought to be our interest; that what we have spoken about Jesus is true.

It is more than a simple affirmation I am after here. Some things that have been spoken about Jesus are not true. Especially some things spoken about what Jesus loves are not true. Too many apply the "What would Jesus do?" question without discerning what He would really do but give instead what they think He should have done.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Sabbath Day

John 9:14 KJV
And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

Jesus could have avoided a great deal of the controversy of His ministry of He had only done His miracles on a different day than the Sabbath. The miracles themselves attracted attention. But by doing them on the Sabbath He put the Pharisees in a constant position of confrontation. Jesus did not come to be popular or to win a congregation or to live in peace with the religious leaders around Him.
• He came to seek and to save the lost; which required they accept the true Christ and not the popular one.
• He came to fulfill the Law, which required He point out the error of the law they had devised. And
• He came to show them God, which meant He expose the false gods they had conjured up.

Our world needs to see true Christians. That will mean that we are not always the popular Christians and it means that we will need to be true Christians in the face of that which is false. We cannot make the difference unless we make the difference in public.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The End of the Debate

John 8:17 KJV
It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

I am focusing this morning on the words of the Lord Jesus, "your law." It is a reference to Deuteronomy 19:15 and so is the word of God.

Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law, so He could not mean to totally disassociate Himself from the Law. But, first, they were abusing the Law. Though it was the Word of God they had claimed a sort of possession of it, feeling a liberty to use it in any fashion they deemed suitable and to let it aside whenever it did not suit their purposes. Even they would excuse saving an animal on the Sabbath or leading it to drink, but they used the Law against the Lord when He healed on the Sabbath.

Secondly, Jesus was above the Lord, the Lord of the Law. He, as God is the giver of the Law. As the giver of the Law, it does not mean that He is not subject to the Law, but that the Law is a reflection of His character and that He is the best interpreter of the Law.

Men debate Law without ceasing. Christ is the end of the debate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


John 7:24 KJV
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV
Abstain from all appearance of evil.

1 Samuel 16:7 KJV
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Matthew Henry's commentary says,
"With reference to [Christ], his outward appearance was far short of his real dignity and excellency, for he took upon him the form of a servant (Phi_2:7), was in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom_8:3), had no form nor comeliness, Isa_53:2. So that those who undertook to judge whether he was the Son of God or no by his outward appearance were not likely to judge righteous judgment"

All Scripture is true so there it is important that we avoid even the appearance of evil. But one of the real problems we have as people is that we make too muc of the appearance, even demanding in some cases that so long as the appearance is right, the substance will take care of itself.

The great reason the Jews missed Christ as the Saviour is because they were entirely focused on the appearance. Jesus did not meet their expectations from the external side of things. He did not look and act like they perceived the Messiah would look and act.

It is true that too often people make choices to do wrong without consideration of the consequences of those choices.

But it is also true that judgments are made based upon appearances without the deeper investigation of righteousness. Actions, attitudes, associations are all too often judged according to the appearance of them without regard for the right of them.

Jesus teaches us not that we do not judge, but that we do the diligence to judge righteous judgments.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Only Believe

John 6:41 KJV
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

Jesus had told them in verse 29 that the work of the Father was to believe in the One whom He had sent.

Here is their opportunity to believe Christ but they were stuck with one problem; they knew Joseph and Mary.
• They knew he had grown up not far from the very place they stood
• They knew His brothers and sisters

All they had to do was believe but "believe" isn't something we do. Believing is a gift from God. Jesus told them they could stop murmuring, the fact is some believe and some do not. And those who do believe do so because God has taught them.

All who are the children of God are such because they have been taught of God.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Make It So!

Isaiah 7:3 KJV
Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;

God never wastes a word of Scripture.

So it is significant that He told Isaiah to take his son with him in this ministry.

Though not always, very often God uses families in the work of the ministry.
• The brothers of Jesus all seem to be very involved in the ministry, not as apostles but certainly as a pastor and as a writer of a New Testament book
• Aaron's children were to take up the priesthood after him
• David's family was to be the royal family and
• There was a school for the sons of the prophets

Not all preachers' kids turned out great.
• Samuel's sons were scoundrels
• Eli's sons were worse
The idea that the preacher's kid gets the ministry inherently then, is to be rejected.

But if the son of the preacher is qualified and the Lord has His hand in it, it is a great testimony for the work of the ministry to progress through generations.

May the Lord make it so among the McKenzie's.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

That Parcel of Ground

John 4:5-6 KJV
Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

I had in mind all that had transpired on that parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. It had been almost two thousand years.
• Israel had won the ground from the Canaanites.
• They had divided it among the tribes and developed it. but
• They had also rebelled against God on it.

Knowing that Jacob had given it to Joseph, whom God had used to save this people, still they ignored its significance and taken it with them into rebellion. This parcel of ground had witnessed no doubt, battles among Brethren as Judah and Israel fought. And it had been taken by the Assyrians when they conquered the northern kingdom. All through these two thousand years the history of Jacob and Joseph had been kept. God's dealings with His children continued to be remembered while the very ones who remembered ignored the God who had so moved among His people on this land.

So many things can happen in a person's life that they tread on hallowed ground every day without stopping to meet with the one who makes it hallowed.
• Would to God we would stop and think and return to the God of our fathers
• Would to God we would consider His hand in lives past and
• Would to God we would seek His hand in our own lives.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Be Careful With That Branch

Isaiah 4:2 KJV
In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

That one of those descriptive titles of Christ is the Branch is well known. But I was impressed today with Scofield's four classifications of that name and of his tying that in with the four gospels...

"(1) "The Branch of [the LORD]" (Isa_4:2), that is, the "Immanuel" character of Christ (Isa_7:14) to be fully manifested to restored and converted Israel after His return in divine glory (Mat_25:31).

(2) the "Branch of David" (Isa_11:1); (Jer_23:5); (Jer_33:15) that is, the Messiah, "of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom_1:3) revealed in His earthly glory as King of kings, and Lord of lords;

(3) Jehovah's "Servant, the Branch" (Zec_3:8) Messiah's humiliation and obedience unto death according to; (Isa_52:13-15); (Isa_53:1-12); (Phi_2:5-8).

(4) The "man whose name is the Branch" (Zec_6:12); (Zec_6:13) that is His character as Son of man, the "last Adam," the "second Man" (1Co_15:45-47) reigning, as Priest-King, over the earth in the dominion given to and lost by the first Adam. …"

Now here was the interesting part to me:
• "...Matthew is the Gospel of the "Branch of David";
• Mark of "Jehovah's Servant, the Branch";
• Luke of "the man whose name is the Branch";
• John of "the Branch of Jehovah."

I can see where the tie between the title of the branch and the four gospels is, but I do question whether it is "hard truth." Sometimes our creativity, though creative, is merely the work of the imagination and not of the Spirit. Comparing Scripture with Scripture is a Biblical practice, but interjecting Biblical passages into another without Scriptural precedent to do so is a means of creating false doctrine.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Who Says?

Isaiah 1:3 KJV
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

Who says people are smarter than the animals?
• The ants band together with no ruler to provide their food in the summer
• The spider puts her hand to work and lives in palaces
• The birds know better than to worry
• The ox knows his owner
• The ass knows where his master feeds him
But Israel neither knew God's sovereignty over them nor considered His care of them.

And Israel, in this case, merely becomes a type of all people. How much better off we would be if we stopped trying to work out our own life and trusted the Lord day by day.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

We Beheld His Glory

John 1:14 KJV
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

I focus on the phrase, "we beheld His glory."

The apostle is of course speaking of himself and those others that witnessed the life of Christ.
• Though Christ, in His earthly frame, entered the world through the same door as all humanity
• Though He was in all points tempted like as we are
• Though Jesus hungered, and grieved and experienced loss, yea
• Though Christ "learned … obedience by the things which He suffered"
they said they beheld His glory.

• His glory was not in His earthly successes
• His glory was not in miracles performed and seas parting before Him
• His glory was in His Person
and that it was full of grace and truth.
• His glory was that He declared the Father

And in just the same manner might we display His glory.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Jesus Himself

Luke 24:15 KJV
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

So much of Christianity today is about Jesus but without Jesus Himself. Here are three bands of believers:
• The women at the tomb
• The disciples on the road
• The apostles in the upper room

• Each of them has followed Christ
• Each of them had hoped in Christ
• Each of them was apparently talking about Christ
but until this moment,
• Each of them was missing Christ

Then Jesus Himself drew near. He:
• Expounded the Scriptures
• Opened their eyes and then
• Opened their understanding

This is what souls need today. This is the missing element in too much of Christianity; we talk about Christian things. We even talk about Christ. But our problem is that we are missing Jesus Himself.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Real Power

Luke 23:24 KJV
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

Life always seems to be about the power struggles; who is ultimately in control. It makes perfect sense to me. That was the fruit the serpent offered in the garden, the right of choice.

There was the Sanhedrin
Whom Rome had given pretence of power. They were able to govern over the affairs of Israel, but only in those matters Rome permitted.

There was Rome
They permitted this lame body of Jews and degree of authority because it made it easier for them to hold on to what they thought was control.

There was Pilate
As a representative of Rome here wielded what appeared to be the power. But even he ended up doing what the people required.

The truth of it was that none of them were in control.

There was Jesus
Like a lamb led to slaughter He opened not His mouth. He was treated in the cruelest of manner.

But when everything was said and done the Bible says Jesus laid down His life and took it back again. That is real power.

Man blows a lot of air over power and kicks up a lot of dust over authority. But in the end it is God who is sovereign.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon 6:1 KJV
Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.

Scofield has some interesting perspectives and insight in the passage. I completely see that the song is a pre-description of Christ and His church. In chapter five then,

The bride is consumed with her gifts and position next to the groom
Vs 1
She certainly could not be deserving of such favor with the groom, the king, but here she is.

She has had her feet washed, and cannot be bothered to go out and risk becoming soiled in the world
Vs 3
And in her disposition of self exalting;

She soon finds herself separated from the groom
Vs 6
Who has others He is also interested in.

The bride finds herself in a search for her lost love
Vs 6
Note that Christ found us and saved us (justification), but then the bride begins her own search for Christ (sanctification.) And note that

Once the bride's heart was removed from the love of the gifts of salvation
Vs 9-16
to a love for the Saviour Himself

Others began to desire to seek Him too
Ch 6:1

Our rightful devotion as Christians in not in what Christianity does for us, but in Christ Himself.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

An Escape

Luke 21:36 KJV
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

This passage gives both warning of the reality of Tribulation, and the hope that there is a way of escaping it.

There will be Christians caught up to heaven who are not watching when they make their escape from this earth to stand before the Lord.
• Many will be those whose prayer lives are not what they should be when Jesus calls them into His presence.
• There is no work for salvation but there is work in salvation. The professed believer who is not at work may rightly question the genuineness of his profession.

Nevertheless the passage tells us of an escape from the Tribulation, one that places the escapee before the Lord. It is therefore speaking of the rapture of the saints from this earth by the Lord Jesus Christ to keep them from the hour of temptation that will try this earth.

That is something worth watching and praying for.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Absolute Truth

Luke 20:3 KJV
And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:

Jesus asked one question and sought for them to answer; not that He needed the answer but to demonstrate the shortcoming of their character. They had an answer but could not give it without exposing themselves. Gill writes of this, "they chose rather to sacrifice their consciences than their interest..."

This is the constant state of the man without the Lord. At his very best He can never come to the knowledge of the truth because Christ is the truth.
• He reasons
• He consults others and
• He proposes ideas
But he never arrives at the absolute truth because that would bring him to the place he wants least to be; accountable to Jesus Christ for his salvation.

In Christ is all truth. It rests on Him and the one who trusts in Him has the assurance of the truth.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Live Long and Prosper

Ecclesiastes 11:8 KJV
But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Solomon could see that there was something after death but in his present state of faithlessness he could not see anything good beyond the grave. Vanity and darkness could refer to lifelessness, cessation of being, but I don't think this is what he meant because he spoke of many years. There is this concept of time even after the grave. There is no doubt that the man without God, as was the rich man of Luke 16, though he fares well in life, will find hell to be darkness and vanity.

What Solomon never comes up with is that there is the possibility of joy beyond imagination on the other side of the grave. This is the hope of the child of God; not merely a decent life now but a glorious life eternally.

Though Ecclesiastes never gets us there, it does point to the hopeless situation of the moralist, religionist and Old Testament Jew. Without Jesus Christ the best any man could ever know is a prosperous and long life, but always with the underlying sensation of vanity and darkness beyond the grave.

Jesus is the light that makes the darkness of the grave the entrance into immeasurable blessing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Faith on Earth?

Luke 18:8
I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, will He find faith on earth?

The verse seems disjointed at the first but this is how it works out in my mind…
Chapter eighteen, verses one through the first half of verse eight have the stated purpose "that men ought always to pray and not to faint." With that purpose in mind the Lord said that his elect ought to cry out day and night and He would avenge them speedily.

It is impossible that the phrase about finding faith on earth is not associated. And it is both an encouragement to pray as well as an indictment against our lack of prayer.

Barnes Notes has this commentary,
"The danger is not that “God” will be unfaithful - he will surely be true to his promises; but the danger is that his elect - his afflicted people - will be discouraged; will not persevere in prayer; will not continue to have confidence in him; and will, under heavy trials, sink into despondency. The sole meaning of this phrase, therefore, is, that “there is more danger that his people would grow weary, than that God would be found unfaithful and fail to avenge his elect.” For this cause Christ spoke the parable, and by the “design” of the parable this passage is to be interpreted."

• Likely none of us invest the time and effort into prayer that we should, electing to expend our resources on activity that yields more immediate and visible result and
• Likely our choice to be active in things other than prayer is a major reason that, when Jesus comes again Christianity will be largely apostate.