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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We Give Thee But Thine Own

725 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Sa 24:22,23 “Now Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 "All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king." And Araunah said to the king, "May the LORD your God accept you." (2 Sam 24:22,23) Araunah, who is also called Ornan in 1 Chron 21:18 is a farmer. The king pays a God-ordered visit to him for the purpose of making a sacrifice that would end the terrible plague that God had sent to Israel because of the sin of David. Ornan is certainly aware of this plague that has already resulted in the deaths of 70,000 men, and he sees this as an opportunity for him to do something about. David came to the threshing floor with no animals to sacrifice and no wood to kindle a fire, not even any grain to offer up to the Lord, and so Ornan says, “Here I have what you need for a sacrifice, take it, and may God receive it and stop the plague.” This was not an inexpensive gesture on the part of Ornan. He was giving up some pretty pricey animals and equipment for the sake of stemming the plague. We get further details on this exchange with David in 1Ch 21:23 And Ornan said to David, "Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all." “I give it all.” Ornan evidently understood that everything he had was a gift from God and therefore was willing to place it in the Lord''s hands. This reminds me of an old hymn entitled “We Give Thee But Thine Own We give thee but thine own, whate'er the gift may be; all that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee. May we thy bounties thus as stewards true receive, and gladly, as thou blessest us, to thee our first-fruits give. To comfort and to bless, to find a balm for woe, to tend the lonely in distress, is angels' work below. The captive to release, to God the lost to bring, to teach the way of life and peace - it is a Christ-like thing. And we believe thy Word, though dim our faith may be; whate'er for thine we do, O Lord, we do it unto thee. Ornan was willing to give it all as a balm for the woe and distress of the people. The lesson for all of us is be willing to give, “whatever that gift may be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Sacrifice Was Required

724 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Sa 24:19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people." (2 Sam 24:19-21) David, following Gad's instructions seeks to build an altar on the threshing floor. Notice how he ties in the sacrifice, to the plague being withdrawn from the people. God had already determined that the plague would be stopped. He had told the angel that “It is enough,” but David didn't know that. All he knew was Gad told him to build an altar and make a sacrifice. When the plague of sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden, God knew that He would one day put a stop to the curse. One Day He would say again, “It is enough!” He told Adam and Eve: Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." However, a once and for all sacrifice would be required to “withdraw” the plague of sin, and it would require the shedding of blood as foreshadowed by the skins of animals that were provided BY GOD for Adam and Eve's new wardrobe. The ultimate sacrifice to withdraw the plague of sin from the world was God's own Son, Jesus Christ: and when the time was right God sent His Son to that very same threshing floor to pay the price of lifting the plague: Ga 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Thank You God for the gift of Your Son. And the opportunity to be clothed with the robe of righteousness provided by Jesus. Help us to spread the word that the plague is ended. Move in the hearts of people that they may receive Your free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Place Where the Wheat Is Separated From the Chaff

723 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Sa 24:18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." God, speaking through Gad instructs David to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. This is no ordinary place, it is Mt Moriah, the site of the future temple built by Solomon. We read about it in 2Ch 3:1, “Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” How apt that the altar would be built on a threshing floor on Mt Moriah. This was the same place where Abraham went to offer up his son Isaac, it was the Amen place where Abraham's faith was accounted as righteousness, and of course it was the future sight of the crucifixion of Jesus, where all things are accounted as righteousness. A threshing floor is where the wheat is separated from the chaff. Abraham's faith was found to be real on the mountain as he trusted God to provide a lamb. And our faith is tested in this same place. Will we trust that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world or not? We must all come to the threshing floor on Mt Moriah, because it is what we do with Jesus that determines our final fate. On that final Judgment Day those who reject Jesus and the message of the cross will be like chaff, scattered in the wind and tossed into the fire, but those who trust Jesus will be brought safely into the storehouse of heaven! This is what John the Baptist said about Jesus in Mt 3:12 "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." We must all come to Mt Moriah, what will it be for you? Wheat for the barn or chaff for the fire. Receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and live!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Don't Forget the Cost

723 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Sa 24:18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." It was the third day of the plague. 70,000 men had died and David had taken full responsibility for his sin and he begged the Lord to stop the plague and put it on he and his family rather than the people. That very day the prophet Gad was sent to David telling him to build an altar. David was to offer up a sacrifice to God. This was a sign from the Lord that the plague would be stopped. There would be peace once again between God and His people. An invitation from God to sacrifice is a good thing. It is a plea for peace and at the same time, an affirmation of peace, and an expression of thanksgiving for the peace between God and man. The OT church had an open invitation to sacrifice to God, but sometimes those offerings became rote, second rate, after thoughts. Such was the case in the days of Malachi where we read: “And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 1:8) This is an easy trap to fall into even today as we start taking our peace with God for granted, forgetting the cost of His great sacrifice. God continues to invite us to sacrifice on a daily basis for the sake of remembering His mercies in establishing peace with our own souls. Of course we no longer offer up animals, rather we have the privilege to offer up ourselves as spiritual sacrifices. Ro 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Make this a daily habit! Recount God's mercies in establishing peace with you and then simply pray, “Lord, here I am, what is it that you would have me do.” Then keep your eyes and ears open for those opportunities to serve Him. It is indeed, your reasonable service.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's Not Just About Putting the Bad Guys Behind Bars

722 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Sa 24:17 Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, "Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father's house." (2 Sam 24:17) King David looks at his subjects and sees them dropping like flies as the three day pandemic continues. He realizes anew that it was his sin of numbering the people that was the flashpoint for the discipline of God and so he appeals to God to spare the people and put the punishment onto himself. History is replete with examples of rulers making wrong choices and the citizens suffering for it. (Ought to make us think twice before we cast our ballots!) It's no guarantee of course but we certainly should seek out qualified candidates with platforms and ideology that align with godly standards. Something we should remember though about this incident is it started with God's displeasure with the PEOPLE. As we read in 2Sa 24:1 Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah." Israel had strayed from God and needed to be disciplined so God used the ruler David (and his poor choices) to bring that punishment about. This action on God's part puts a different spin on Ro 13:4, “For he (governmental authority) is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. This verse is not limited to governing authorities putting individual lawbreakers behind bars, rather we should understand that sometimes God allows us to have bad rulers to execute His wrath or discipline against an erring land that hosts His erring church. 1Pe 4:17 says, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? In short, as it concerns our rulers, we often simply get what we deserve!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Discipline Is Not Punishment, It Is Training

721 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Sa 24:16 “And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, "It is enough; now restrain your hand." And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” (2 Sam 24:16) “It is enough.” Three words from God the Father that we all long to hear when we are being disciplined. It's like a parent who says, I am going to give you 10 spanks on the butt, but stops short of that mark, saying, “It is enough” Only the Father can utter them for He alone knows when we've had enough. Only He knows when the trial, the tribulation, the discipline, has accomplished its purpose. And only an omnipotent God can restrain the hand that brings trial and tribulation, and discipline. A couple of things we can be sure of. First of all, just living in the world will cause us to bump into sin and it's effects of trial and tribulation. Jesus said in Joh 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Secondly, as children of God, we will experience discipline. The NIV puts it this way in Heb 12:7 “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? The word “discipline” here in the Greek means, “tutorage, education, or training.” So, let's remember this about discipline! Discipline is not punishment, it is training! Training that sometimes comes by way of affirming right behavior or correcting wrong behavior. No matter the form of trial, no matter the length of the trial remember as David did, that we have a merciful heavenly Father who knows when “it is enough.” Trust that and believe that as you cast your cares upon Him believing that He cares for you (1 Pet 5:7)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is It Time To Pray and Fast?

720 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Sa 24:15,16 So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, "It is enough; now restrain your hand." And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. A pandemic rages through all of Israel. 70,000 men are dead and after three days it stops. Jerusalem is spared the ravages of deadly disease, only because that mercy that David was relying on came through. God said, “it is enough,” and the plague stopped. On October 17, 2015 the nation of Zambia declared a day of fasting and prayer. Bars were shut down and all football matches were shut down! Can you imagine such a thing occurring in the United States on a Sunday? Why did they do this? Well, they have declared themselves a Christian nation and they are in the midst of a currency crisis. Food prices have soared, the price of copper, (their main export) has tumbled, and they have experienced crippling power shortages because the water levels in Lake Kariba, where hydropower plants supply much of the nations energy are extremely low. Bishop Simon Chihana president of the International Fellowship of Christian Churches in Zambia said, “ Let us pray to God to have mercy on us. God has done that before and He can do it again!” I read this and find myself wondering, “What would it take to bring America to its collective knees?” Zambia is a nation that obviously gives glory to God acknowledging that He is in control and able to put an end to their crisis. They believe Joe 2:13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. 14 Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him-” Who knows if he will relent? Only those who humble themselves and pray! 2Ch 7:14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. If the citizens of Zambia can call for a day of prayer, cannot the church in America do the same? Or do we need to wait for things to get worse?