His Act Unto His Own People
His Act Unto His Own People
His Acts Unto His Own People
Psalms 119:132: “Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name”
It is in my heart that we examine a verse from the longest book and from the longest chapter of the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. The book of Psalms 119:132. It is from this verse that I have drawn out this topic, “his acts unto his own people”. I have added these two words, “his own” to un-generalize this message. If I do not add those two words, the topic would have been “his acts unto people”, and it would have been all inclusive message, it will not differentiate those who are not followers of Jesus from others and I do not wish to make a generalized message like that here.
This book of Psalms 119 is divided into different sections of 8 verses each and on each of the sections is a heading which some bible documentaries say it is the Hebrew alphabet. Matthew Henry in his commentary on this Psalms says, “the composition of it is singular and very exact. It is divided into twenty-two parts, according to the number of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and each part consists of eight verses, all the verses of the first part beginning with Aleph, all the verses of the second with Beth, and so on, without any flaw throughout the whole psalm. Archbishop Tillotson says, it seems to have more of poetical skill and number in it than we at this distance can easily understand. Some have called it the saints’ alphabet; and it were to be wished we had it as ready in our memories as the very letters of our alphabet, as ready as our A, B, C.”
Some scholars believed the book of Psalms in general is a song, like the “hymnal” songs that are composed by believers these days and which we sing at different functions and occasions within and without fellowship. I do not think we should be amazed at this because Apostle Paul also talks about praising God using the book of Psalms in his epistle to the Ephesians. This shows that there is a possibility that the people of Israel do learn how to sing from the book of Psalms in their land.
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19)
I shall be talking on this title under these subheadings: observations, what are the acts and summation of all.
Before someone says of another person that, that is his or her acts, the person would have over the times been studying the person. Take as instance scientists and or observers who have taken their time to study very closely a snail and they have discovered that when a snail is moving along a path and someone or something suddenly drops in its front such a snail would retract its body into its shell. So, if a report would be made of the snail what has been observed to be its reaction would be clearly stated.
A senior analyst would say of such report that, that is its acts after the report has been submitted.
It has been documented of a magnet that it has positive and negative poles and we know that positive poles would repel each other while the unlike poles will attract each other. That is the act of magnets. And if iron fillings are nigh by a magnet, it is sure that the magnet will attract the iron fillings. That is the act of the magnet which have been studied and recorded.
This is also true f animals and humans. However, the conclusion about acts can only come after such acts have been observed for many years, after they have been made to pass through different conditions by people or say after they have been watched under different atmospheres and conditions by people or observers.
Parents after given birth to children will start observing them, it is through their years of observation that they will know the strengths and weaknesses of their children and they will be able to tell people where the strength of a child is and where the weakness of a child is.
When anyone brings the report of a child home that the child has done something, the observant parents can refute or agree to what has been said about the child base on their close observation of the child.
As parents are observing their children so are children observing their parents and they can say of what the reactions of their parents are while interacting with their peers in the school or neighborhood.
A person who wants long lasting friendship with his partner will pay close observation to his friends from this he will know whether he can be friends with the person or not.
Someone who is not observant of the person he wants to be friends with is in other words saying he doesn’t want to walk far with the person, he wants casual friendship with the person. An adage says, two people with similar character will make god friendship.
A lover that wants to understand his partner will take time to study the person, it is after series of studying that the person will be able to say authoritatively of his partner that if something like this comes along the path of my partner, this will be his reaction to it. She can say that about her partner and lover because she has studied him, she has known things about him that others do not know because they have not studied him as she did.
There was an incident that happened during the days of the official third king of Israel, King Solomon. There were two harlots living together. These two harlots according to history may have become tired of their harlotry and decided that they need to have children. Because they have decided that they wanted to have children they thence did not use protective measure again, they ignore their safe periods and had intercourse with their partners who do not use withdrawal method to and they both took in. whether or not those women told those people who had intercourse with them or nay the bible did not say or may be those people were strangers who have returned to their lands as Judah mate with a stranger who happened to be the wife of his sons without knowing (Gen. 38) it was not stated .
“When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.” (Gen. 38:15)
What we know was that they both took in. They started nurturing their pregnancies until they gave birth to baby boys. They, however, did not give birth to their children at the same day neither was it at the same time, there was 72 hours difference in the time of their delivery. They continued to live together after their deliveries.
The first woman has noted her son as well as the other woman. The woman who gave birth last for lack of “sleeping manners” slept on her son and she died. When she noticed what happened, she waited until her friend slept deeply and she removed her baby from her side and replaced hers where the woman laid her baby, went back to her bed and pretend to have slept off.
When the woman with the living child woke up, perhaps being pressed by the pressure on her breasts that are full of milk to give her baby food, she discovered the baby dead. What could have happened? She must have started wondering as well as weeping until something told her to re-examine the baby. On closer examination she found out that the baby was not hers and confronted her partner. Her partner denied the allegations and it resulted in uproar, noise where they were living.
When the issue could not be resolved amicably in the neighborhood, they took the case to the king and that was what made us know the story. By the wisdom given the king, the matter was resolved.
What I want us to see from the story is that the woman paid close attention unto her child and by that she could discover the discrepancies, the anomalies on the dead child’s body.
“And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.” (1 King 3:21)
It is via close observation that we can talk of somebody else. The author of this book and verse having been following the acts of God for years could here in say what he knows to be the act of God to his own people.
Let us see what God’s acts to his people are.
2. What Are Those Acts?
According to the book that we are examining, the observable acts of God unto his own are two: looking upon and having mercy on.
Shall we see those acts one after the other?
A) Look Upon Me
Looking upon has several sub-divisions, but I will want to share five of the sub-divisions here.
i) Looking Upon That is Good
This kind of looking upon someone is a lovely one. This kind of look happens when someone looks upon another person admiringly, looking on him or her with deep sited love in one’s heart for the person. It is a kind of look that draws a person closer but not pushing the person off, it is a look that is encouraging, a satisfying kind of look. A look that soothes and comforts souls, a look that will spur a person to positively act on what she or he wants to do, a look that removes anxiety and fear from the heart of the loved ones. It is a look that tells a person that there is a future, yea a better future for him or her. A look that gives a person a hope and a future, a look that makes a person to believe in himself or herself. A look that restores one’s lost confidence. This kind of look makes the person know that it is not everyone who rejects him, it is not everyone who forsakes him. This look is an energy booster, an enigma. (John 8:11; Mt. 9:9, 22; Exod. 3:7; 2:25)
“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him” (Matt. 9:9)
“But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (Matt. 9:22)
“And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (Exod. 3:7)
“And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exod. 2:25)
These are some of the kinds of examples of a look that is good.
It is this kind of look that has been observed to be common with God while looking on his own people, raising up the fallen, giving a shoulder to the weak to lean on, stretching out a hand for the stumbling to hold on to so as not to fall.
ii) Looking at Someone For Evil
This is another kind of look at a person. It is a kind of look that is full of hatred for the person. It is a look that pushes people off. This is the kind of look that one can find in the eyes of the racists. Some children at their tender age will tell their parents that they don’t like how Mr. XX used to look at them and would not want to go to his house when their parents want to go and pay such a person a visit. The child does not want to be associated with the man because of how he has been looking at him. This is because this kind of look is not inviting, it does not welcome people but rather pushes people away. People used to complain about this kind of look.
“And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,” (Exo. 14:24)
God also will not want to have anything to do with those who are pride, that is why he looks and sees them afar off.
“Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” (Psa. 138:6)
iii) A Look At For Scattering
After the annihilation of the first world through flood, the people of the world started growing, they got to a certain stage in which they called together their leaderships and discussed that it will be better if they can build a tower that would touch the firmament, heaven. This would make their worship easier, faster and more coordinated they opined for they will be talking directly to God as they may have heard from their predecessors that Adam and Eve, out of whom they all come out from do had direct and one-on-one contact with God before being sent out of the beautiful garden. They felt since they were offering sacrifices to him, seeking his face, it would be better if the gap could be bridged through the tower that they wanted to build as there won’t be much stress, if there are at all to access him neither would God himself have stress reaching out to them.
Many of us cannot but agree with this resolution of these people, their resolution was good humanly speaking, but to God it was not good because they have flouted his word that they should go into all the world and fill it.
We therefore could see that it does not matter how good our thoughts are, how wonderful looking our resolutions, decisions and desires are, if it is not in consonance with the Word of God, we are wrong, and we shall directly be moving God against that decision and indirectly at us too. God will be directly moved against that decision but since the decision cannot be isolated from us, he will be moved against us too.
Sometimes this is where problem arises and we shall be thinking oh, we have not done anything wrong, we have not done anything that warrant what we are passing through, we shall be thinking that we are yet on track but to him we are not since our desire, our thought is not in line with his’.
Difficulties, obstacles would then come along our paths in that wise. What are your thoughts or desires that are not in line with God’s words? Except they be changed to be in line with God’s words, he will continue to bring obstacles along our paths because he wants to correct the error we have entered.
In the meantime, when seeing something like this, we sometimes think they are from the devil where as they are not from the devil, but they are directly from God himself because he is on track to correct our anomalies.
From this we also see what God did unto the Apostles and first disciples after Jesus ascension. They were told to go to the entire world with the message of Jesus, but instead of following what he has tell them, they did not, and they were growing and multiplying in Jerusalem.
After God has waited for a while, closely examining them and discovered that they were not ready to make the move of leaving where they were, their comfort zone so to say, he allowed the religious leaders of the land to rise against them. the cause for this they did not know and presumed it was devil’s works.
In a way it was the devil’s work, but the devil was allowed when they remained static, stayed at a point, not making advancements, when the pressure on them could not be reduced, it resulted in the death of one of the strong man of faith among them who was Stephen.
When other disciples saw what happened, they were terrified and started dispersing all over the world not leaving behind the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Through this God brings to pass what they have been told that they need to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 7-8)
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Sometimes our intents may not in itself be sinful, but if not in total tune with the tune of God, the word of God, God will work around stalling our moves and we would be affected.
People were visited and looked upon and God saw that what they wanted to do will not allow his word that is forever settled in heaven to be established, he thence scatters them.
iv) Looking At For Chastisement
Chastise means to criticize somebody for doing something wrong and on another note it could mean to punish them. an incident happened during the itinerary of the children of Israel in the wilderness in which Prophet Moses became romantically involved with another woman from Ethiopia and married her. His elder siblings; Aaron and Miriam frowned at what he did and talked to him sharply. God who sees and hears all things heard of their rebuke and he was not comfortable with what they have done, God had to come down and talk to them, rebuking them and after doing that he left them and they discovered after he has gone in fury that prophetess Miriam has been struck with leprosy.
“And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
“And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
“My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
“With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
“And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.
“And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.
“And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.
“Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb.
“And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.” (Num. 12:5-13)
One of the lessons in this story is that God over the years has had it in mind to bring unto himself the entire human race, that is why he did not frown at what the people frown at in prophet Moses marrying an Ethiopian woman. He by this is saying that salvation would come to the gentiles, the Africans.
Going back to what I was saying, sometimes a look will signal chastisement. There was a man in the village of Mashey who has been doing what people do not want, disturbing the peace of the community. He has been dragged to the village head on many occasions, but he did not yield to correction. When he was apprehended and brought to the village head again, the man sternly warned him that he should stop his nefarious activities for if for any reasons he is brought to him again, he will have himself to blame.
People thought this man would change because they know the village head to be a man of his words, but the man did not change. Few days after the stern warning he was taken to the village head again as being complicit in a trouble. The village head on seeing him did not even listen to his plea, he only looked at his direction and the direction of his servants and he was immediately whisked away by the servants of the village head into the prison custody. The look of the village head is a look for chastening.
I foresee that something akin to this will happen in the last days, God has through different means been warning all and sundry on the earth now to come to repentance, to accept Jesus into their lives. Many people who have heard this are yet to repent, they are yet to give their lives to Jesus. When their days on earth are over without changes, they will be looked at for chastisement as it has been written that “it has been given unto man once to die after which is the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
v) Look At For Sorrow
Sorrow has been defined as feeling of a great sadness because of something very bad has happened. This kind of look comes through two means:
- Through Self Introspection: It could come when one has self-introspection about the condition of his or her life or about his or her status. When one looks at his status and the person is not contented about that status one would be sad. The sadness that envelops the person’s life could lead to the person doing something awful, something very horrible to himself or to what is around him.
On the other note, another reaction of such a person to such thought is that it could lead the person to do something positive about himself, but more often than not most of the people who have self-introspection about themselves usually do something negative, something very awful about themselves. Take as instance the case of Judas Iscariot the person who reveals Jesus to the leaderships of their days. After seeing what has happened, he had self-introspection and this self-introspection results in him returning the money he collected from them as well as committing suicide.
“When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
“And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
“Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
“And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” (Matt. 27:1-5)
This was how he could react to the situation he found himself some other people when they have such kind of look on themselves they will start destroying things that they have over the years accumulated, breaking their television, radio etc. in their homes because of sorrow that has enveloped their hearts on what has happened, their missteps and some other things that they do not expect that have happened unto them.
On the other side is a person who after having this kind of thought would become sober, would think it positively through and would decide to work things out in a positive way.
In other words, these kinds of people on seeing where they have missed it would repent of their ways and decide that such would not be allowed to repeat itself again. Take the case of the prodigal son (younger son) as example, this man looking at himself, looking at his estate felt very sorry for himself and decide that he would not allow such to occur again. There is a proverb in this part of the world to this writer hails from that says “when a child falls he will look forward, but when an adult falls the person will look back to see and identify what led to his fall so that if he passes through the path again, he will know how to avoid the thing or at best if it is a thing that can be removed at once he will get the thing removed so that it will neither affect him nor anyone again in the nearest future.
This younger son having examined himself, seeing where he has erred, stumbled and fell, decided that he will not allow such to be repeated again in his life and instead of doing something horrible, he deiced to repent, he decided to hold the bulls by the horns and doing the only right thing going back to his father to ask for forgiveness.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
“And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
“And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:” (Luke 15:17:22)
He went back and he was accepted, forgiven and integrated into the family again.
This is what the Lord expects of us to do too after looking at ourselves, our situation and we have sorrow on ourselves, instead of doing something stupid, something not dignifying, we should do like this younger son, we should take the bulls by the horns, we should tackle the problem at the source.
Many of the things that bring us sorrow if not tackled right from the source as did this younger child would remain there, giving us continuous restlessness, such things will continue to be a thorn in our flesh.
Have you missed a step in the Gospel? And you now examine your status and felt anguish of the spirit? Do you have sorrow of mind? Do not for this do what is not good. Do not for this act like Judas Iscariot. Do not for this do what is stupid. You have identified yourself, thank God for that, you have discovered the error, what God expects of you is to repent and come back to him, stop that self-incrimination, what has happened has happened, the past can’t be rewind to be replayed, yesterday is gone, you are in a new day, what you need do is seek for means to prevent the repeat of such. After a knife cuts a child’s finger, the child would in annoyance throw away the knife, will what the child do undo what has already been done? Will the child’s act of throwing away the knife stop the bleeding? Will what the child has done prevent a re-occurrence of it? The answer to this is that it will not, neither will it prevent it for any adult who acts like the child. But when such a child could think about how he has mishandled the knife that resulted in it cutting his fingers, he will indubitably be guiding against a repeat of such in the future.
This is what God expects of us to do after our missteps in faith. He wants us to identify the error and prevent its re-occurrence. This can and will happen when we go back to the cross, when we go back to him, telling him how sorry we are, the bible says he who comes to him he will in no wise cast away.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
He is not going to cast you off, he is going to accept you, embrace you welcome you back as the father of the younger son did unto his son when he returned home.
- After Wasting Opportunities: The second kind of look at for sorrow could come when somebody looks at another person and on seeing the status of the person would become sorrowful over the status of the person. This could come if the person looking and seeing the status of this person discovers that the person has wasted many opportunities. This kind of look could also come if the person being looked at has ignored the many advises given the person and has followed his path, now that the consequences have been telling on the person this man for the love still has for this person will be sorrowful in heart for the condition of this person.
Take the case of a child who has join bad company as example, a child that is a company of the fools this child would be a sorrow of heart to his parents every day.
“Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” (Gen. 26:35)
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Cor. 15:33)
This is whom we are before the Lord after our father did what God asked them not to do in the garden of Eden, they became a companion of the devil and it grieved the mind of the Lord continuously what our fore parents in the garden of Eden have done.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5)
God on seeing that what has been done has been done decided to take a step on how to stop repeat of such. The many steps taken by God at seeing that such did not repeat itself failed, until he decides to send his Son to the world undo what has been done in the garden of Eden. This is the reason why he sent his son to the world to bring us back to himself, so that the evil imaginations of our hearts would be removed or at best reduced to the barest minimum.
This can only be attained by anyone who gives God his or her heart through Jesus Christ. For this reason, has he been begotten, for this reason he has come to the world. If you are yet to give your heart to Jesus, you should do that today, because if you fail to do, you are daily inflicting pains on his heart, you are causing him sorrow and anguish of soul every second.
Having seen the afore, I want us to know that the kind of look that the author of this Psalm is talking about in this verse is the good look, a look that emanates out of love, a look that is surrounded by love, a look that is full of love, this is the kind of look that this author is talking about, this is the kind of look with which God looks at his people, those who are loyal to him, those who are following his rules, tenets and injunctions.
Mercy in the Old Testament
Three main Hebrew roots involve the idea of mercy in the Old Testament are: Racham/rachamim, Chesed and Chanan/chen.
“1. Racham /rachamim This word family consistently has the meaning of showing mercy, compassion, or pity. Related to the word for womb, it may have the connotation of a mother's affection or of the bond between siblings. Likewise, God's mercy is often likened to family relationships: as a father to his children, a husband to a wife, a brother to a brother, even as a mother toward a nursing child.
“God's mercy is bound up with His covenant with Israel. He is merciful to them because He chose them. God's mercy is never just a feeling but is expressed by His action: providing for Israel in the wilderness and delivering her from enemies, and punishing them when they turned away from him. Despite this, we need know that he is yet a forgiving God and shows mercy to a penitent people. He is merciful in restoring the nation and renewing His friendship with them. God's mercy is the very source of His people's life.
“Racham is also used to describe human mercy or lack of it. Israel's enemies were merciless. In legal contexts, Israel was to show no mercy to criminals. On the other hand, God expected His people to be merciful to their neighbors. He especially expected their mercy toward the poor and needy.
“2. Chesed: The Septuagint translators regularly rendered Chesed with the Greek word for mercy, eleos . King James version translates it regularly as mercy or kindness while other versions call it “steadfast love” (NRSV), “lovingkindness” (NAS) etc. Like racham, chesed describes a variety of human relationships and it expresses itself in action
“God expects His people to show chesed to one another because He shows chesed to them—to individuals such as Abraham, Jacob etc. Above all, He was merciful to His chosen people Israel. A final characteristic of God's chesed is its permanence.
“3. Chanan/chen: This is the third Hebrew word family involving mercy and pity. Job used it in appealing for pity and with it the psalmist described one who is generous to the poor. The latter examples show how chanan involves not only pity but also being gracious. It is in this sense that the word is applied to God, referring to His gracious and generous nature.
Mercy in the New Testament
Three word families express the idea of mercy in the New Testament which are: Splagchna, Oiktirmos and Eleos.
“1. Splagchna: Splagchna literally refers to the upper human organs (heart, liver, lungs). This usage appears in the grim depiction of Judas' death. Much like the Hebrew rachamim , splagchna has sense of strong emotional feelings, particularly of compassion and affection.
“2. Oiktirmos: This word also means “pity, mercy, compassion”. Christian mercy is rooted in God's mercy, a principle already given by Jesus.
“3. Eleos: The most common words in the New Testament for mercy belong to the eleos family. It was often viewed as a sign of weakness by the Greek.
“The New Testament revelation shows that Jesus brought the good news of a merciful, forgiving God to all mankind.
However, Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg says in his article on Mystery of the Hebrew woman that Hebrew word רחמים (pronounced rakhamim) is usually translated as “mercy.” However, it is actually plural in form, like some other Hebrew words like face, (פנים,panim), “water” (מים, mayim), and even God (אלהים, elohim). What is very interesting is that the singular form רחם (rakham) looks identical to the word for “womb” (רחם, rekhem), which is in fact closely related.
While Dr. Lois A. Tverberg says mercy is hesed in Micah 7:18. To Protestants, there is no more wonderful theological concept than "grace," which we understand to mean undeserved forgiveness of sin. In older Bible versions, the word "grace" is often the translation of the Hebrew word hen in the Old Testament, which really means "favor" or "beauty." But according to David Bivin, this is actually an error on the part of translators.*
“The Hebrew word that really comes much closer to our theological concept of "grace" is the word hesed (HEH-sed). It is a very rich and active word that is much deeper than just "mercy" or "lovingkindness," as it is usually translated, and maybe even "grace" as we understand it. Hesed is to love as God loves. Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is sometimes translated "unfailing love," which endures to eternity:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love (hesed) for you will not be shaken”. Isa 54:10a
“Hesed isn't just cheap forgiveness of sin or a disregard for God's laws. It is the gracious forgiveness that comes from love that is so enduring that it persists beyond any sin, always seeking to forgive:
“For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love (hesed)” Lam. 3:31-32
“The word hesed has another aspect that also goes beyond "grace" as unmerited forgiveness of sin. Hesed also describes unmerited kindness that seeks to actively intervene to help a loved one. It is love in action, not just in our heads. Without a word for this, translators needed to invent the word "loving-kindness" or sometimes just "kindness." An example is when the Lord helped Abraham's servant find a wife for Isaac and he blessed God, "who has not abandoned his kindness (hesed) and faithfulness to my master" (Gen 24:27).
“Together, both of these meanings of hesed describe the enduring nature of God's love and reflect the fact that God doesn't just show his mercy by forgiving our sins, but in actively intervening in all of our lives. It is the merciful, faithful love that God extends to us, and what he wants us to extend to each other.”
We can see from the words of the scholars above that mercy is God’s faithfulness within the covenant relationship he has with man. This covenant is fulfilled in his expressed saving work through his Son Jesus unto all in the New Testament.
He Keeps Covenant
From one of the Hebrew root words, “racham”, that is translated to mercy I will like to point us to something there and the things is that when God makes a covenant with someone or a nation, he is ever faithful in keeping the covenant. A covenant between God and man would neither be broken nor tarnished by God. When a covenant is broken, it is always broken by man, man is the one who is always at fault, always unfaithful when the covenants between God and man are no longer working or operational.
Men are however quick to blame God when a covenant fails or it is no longer working perhaps because of our inability to see beyond the ordinary, to know what we are not told of what has transpired.
Since God would neither force us to know what is hidden, the reason for the failure of the covenant to work nor would he jump out of his throne to begin to point to us in systematic order where the problem lies, that warranted the failures of the covenant we would be thinking we are right and the God has been wrong or has been unfaithful in the earlier deal, the covenant.
But one thing he always keeps which will eventually reveal the hidden things of the secret, exposing where the problem lies is time. Time is being said to be the great reveler of things.
As time therefore passes by, we begin to discover what has been hidden and afterwards would know that the fault wasn’t from God but from man’s part, our part.
Let us think about the breach that happened when the children of Israel were carrying the Ark of the Covenant resulting in the death of Uzzah. King David and others on the immediate that the incident happened thought God has broken his words, covenant with them because of the death of one of them and that was why they decided to take the ark to Obed-Edom’s house.
“So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.
“And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.” (2 Sam. 6: 10-11)
Assuming they knew they were at fault, I am compelled to say that what they will do was to make it right there and then, for we know that the “zeal of God’s house and things usually consume King David (Psalms ) but because they thought they were right and that God was at fault, God has broken the covenant he made with their fathers and them on them, that was why they took it to Obed-Edom’s place.
“For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” (Psa. 69:9)
But in the process of time, they were proved wrong while God became vindicated and they were able to retrace their paths and make amendments and they were received back and forgiven.
People of Israel perhaps have been thinking that God would not fulfill his words as per sending his Prince into the world through unexplained means, the virgin, but they were mistaken in this thought because God was working with time, and a thousand year before him is like a day
“For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Psa. 90:4)
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. (2 Pet. 3:8),
they were thinking it has been protracted, it has been long and that such covenant of redemption would possibly not come to pass again, but God revealed his faithfulness on this because when the fullness of time was come, the Promised Prince was given birth to.
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).
The fulfilled promise gave birth to a better covenant which is the salvation of mankind that is brought by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a sure and a better covenant than any of the covenants God earlier on made with Israelites neither with anyone in the world.
Having recognized what God used to do unto his people, those who love his name, which is showing them mercy, the author pleaded with God to show him his mercy.
“Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name” (Psalms 119:132)
The word used in this verse here for merciful is chanan, which is being defined e-sword bible to include pleading for mercy.
The author though knows that God used to do that, he knows that God uses to show his mercy but considers it a noble thing asking him to be merciful unto him, because he says, “ask and it shall be given thee.”
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (Matt. 7:7)
You and I may also do as the author has done by asking him to be merciful unto us. Since his mercy is his act of faithfulness in fulfilling or keeping his covenant, we have to know that as his children, he has made with us several covenants, all these covenants are embedded in his written word, the bible. That is why it is crucial for anyone who calls himself God’s child to be acquainted with the bible. It is when we familiarize ourselves with the bible that we shall be able to know those covenants he has made with us as believers. How much of the bible do you know?
C) Ways Through Which Mercy Appears
In explaining the ways through which mercy manifests unto God’s children, mi shall be citing the examples of people of old from the scriptures to see the means of mercy’s appearance unto them.
B) Having Mercy on Them
This is God’s second act unto his own people as discovered by the author after his close observation of him.
“Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name” (Psalms 119:132)
Merciful is an adjective which is defined as “showing or giving mercy; compassionate”. Online Wikipedia says "Mercy" can be defined as "compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power"; and "a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.
The e-sword bible says the word used in the above verse is “chânan”, חנן pronounced as “khaw-nan'”. There are three other words linked to this root
Holman Bible Dictionary says that mercy is “a personal characteristic of care for the needs of others. The biblical concept of mercy always involves help to those who are in need or distress. Such help covers a broad range, from assistance in finding a bride to God's forgiveness of sin.
i) Lot, Through His Uncle
Lot was a nephew of father Abraham. The name Lot means covering, to wrap closely, to envelope. His father was Haran and he had two mentioned siblings who were: Milcah and Iscah. His father, Haran, died before Terah his father (Lot’s grandfather) and even Shem, their greatest grandfather, son of Noah in Ur of the Chaldeans (a town in the present-day Iraq).
Probably after Haran’s death Lot became attached to Abram his uncle, while his other siblings became attached to Nahor (who was presumed to have been named after his grandfather by his father, Terah)
“And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.” (Gen. 11:25)
As Nahor became attached to Milcah and Iscah, he eventually took Milcah to wife just as Abram has been familiar with Sarai, his step-sister and married her while Lot who has been attached to Abram followed him everywhere.
“And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.” (Gen. 20:12)
Meanwhile prior to this Terah has received revelations from Yahweh to get out of his father’s house and land to go to Canaan land. At a later time, this same revelation was probably received by Abram too who would have shared it with his father.
After marrying their revelations together and they decided to leave the land of Ur of Chaldeans to go to Canaan land as being instructed them by Yahweh. When leaving, Lot who has been ardent follower of Abram followed them, Sarai the wife of Abram also followed Terah and Abram. They left the land with their possession. But Nahor, Milcah and Iscah did not follow them that time and it is believed that they probably left Ur of Chaldeans to join Terah at a later date.
Historians say that Canaan land was directly west of Ur of Chaldeans, but the way there was dangerous and a desert place these may be one of the reasons why Terah took a less dangerous route which was the south west route that led them to Haran (which is the modern village Altinbaᶊak, in present day Turkey).
Another probable reason suggested by scholars for taken that route was that Terah may have something to do in Haran being one of the trade route centers adjoining Canaan, Syria and Ur of Chaldeans then.
On getting to Haran, whose earlier name was not stated, Terah decided to settle there, because the place is known as one of the commerce centers of their locality, everything that he touches turns to gold in the land.
Having grown in wealth and other possessions (animals) he became mighty in the land and would afterward name the land after Haran his son, father of Lot who had earlier died in Ur of Chaldeans.
However, as the wealth of this man increased, he forgot the mission, he did not continue in his journey and sometimes afterwards joined the unbelievers of the land to return to his vomit he started worshiping idols back in the land. The idols for which purpose the Lord had appeared unto him that he must leave the Ur of Chaldeans, country and people believed to be worshiping moon the god of fertility in all spheres.
“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” (Prov. 26:11)
“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Pet. 2:22)
The Message Could Not Have Come Out of Nothing
The message that the moon and other lower gods, images of the firmament should not be worshiped was believed to have been passed on to Terah by his father and greatest grandfather, Shem, whom God has spared his life to live long.
It is believed that God has spared the life of Shem so that he will pass the message of Elohim on to his children and great, great, great grandchildren because mankind has failed God and he decided to do a new thing establishing a people, a country for himself.
In getting this done, that was why he spared the life of Shem, to tell his children things, events before the flood, during the flood and after the flood.
God spared him so that he will tell them the kind of God who brought flood on mankind, and how the God saved them out of flood. He will tell them how they used to worship that God and the variance between how they were worshiping God before the flood and after the flood, the innovations into the worship of God that he did not consider right would be told them.
Having been passing on this message to his children, it stands to reason that along the line, Terah became familiar with Shem and as young as Abram, Terah’s son was, he was able to familiarize himself with his greatest grandfather too, from whom he must have also learnt one or two things about that God.
God having used Shem to lay the foundation of the true God in the hearts of his children, great and greatest grandchildren, Terah and Abram must have believed the man’s words so well that they made his words their daily watchword, because the bible says, “faith comes by hearing” and decided to take a step that others were afraid of taken when the people started worshiping idols.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
What they desired doing would eventually be crowned by revelations from God, which of course would be strange and different as compared to how the people of the land were receiving from the moon and other images they worshiped.
Genesis 11 Verses 10 through 26
Three Sons of Terah
Born Lately during this period
Born Early this period
Born Very early this period
Born Lately during this period
Born Earlier this period
Born late this period
Born Earlier during this period
Born late this period
Died first quarter of this period
Died lately during this period
Died lately this period
Died first quarter of this period
Died lately during this period
Died late this period
Died first quarter of this period
Died lately during this period
Died during this period
- How Abram Knew it Was God Speaking
Terah and Abram’s knowledge of God stemmed out of their past experiences in Ur of Chaldeans, of how the idols being worshiped there talked to the people and what their greatest grandfather, Shem, the son of Noah had told them of how he believes God used to speak having been directly involved with his father’s activities before the flood, after the flood that they offer unto him, God, sacrifices.
The means of knowing how God speaks was gotten from Shem that was why they never missed it when God talked with them; they neither doubted the voice or the messages nor became confused of it (them).
We would see this clearly working for Abram later in life as he did not substitute his thoughts or reasoning for God’s words.
We have often times ask ourselves that how did Abram know it was God speaking but not his thoughts neither figments of his imaginations? We could answer the question ourselves now by looking at the table of birth to death of the generation of Shem after the flood and we shall see that Abram received tutorship from different people, his fore-parents whom the Lord has spared their lives to impact knowledge unto him and most especially Shem who was the direct link between the former world and their present world. Through these people and their teachings, he got to know the voice and the dealings of the original God.
- Focused Man: Terah, father of Abram after breaking through in the land of Haran, became friends with people who worshiped idols in the land soon enough he did not see any reason for him to leave the land again, his life became influenced by them, he patterned his life according to their lifestyles.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Cor. 15:33)
As he was doing this, Abram, his son may have been telling him that they need to forge ahead, that they were yet to get to where they were going. But it was obvious that he did not answer. His response to Abram’s words may be that they should wait a while. This was the situation with him till he breathed his last in Harran at the age of 205 years.
Before his death Abram his son too has made it as well as his follower, Lot. It was not stated maybe it was before Terah’s death that Nahor, his wife and Iscah also relocated to Harran, but it is a possibility because success has a way of drawing people. They could have been drawn by the success made by their father to Harran, or maybe while burying him that was when they moved to Haran and after the burial decide not to leave again, and they settled there.
He Picked it Up Where Terah Leaves it
In the meantime, after Terah’s death God appeared unto Abram again and told him to get out of where he lives, his people, nation and family and to go to Canaan where he will establish him and bless him.
“Now the Lord had said unto” (Gen. 12:1)
“Had said” here shows that it was not a new message that he was passing across to him but that he has known of the message before. Because he was focused and his mind has not been shifted, he gathered his possessions together and decides to leave the land of Haran. His ardent follower, Lot, who has tasted of the words from his grandpa, greatest grandpa (Shem) and uncle (Abram) would also not stay behind, be he decides that she will follow his uncle to Canaan land.
When you are very close to someone, not for anything will you want to leave the person. When spouses are very close, hardly can enemies enter their midst and families. Therefore, it is always good, encouraging that one makes his or her spouse a very good friend. When this is done, whatever they ask for in the world from God shall be expressly done unto them by their father.
“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:19)
In this part of the world it has been found out that some couples who have been living their lives like the story of “Romeo and Juliet” also die like that, in the sense that the days of their deaths were usually close.
It is not to say that those who lived for years after their spouses’ deaths’ does not love them neither that they were not friends with them, but this is saying that some have been psychologically attached to their spouses that they break down after the death of their partners and wouldn’t live much after their deaths.
Abram focus has been getting to Canaan land, the progress he made in Harran with his father neither moves him nor did he allow it to change his focus. How focused are you on your dreams? Do not allow anything to keep you off your focus. Know that whatsoever shifts your focus shifts you from fulfillment.
Abram picked it up from where Terah his father left it and continued to walk westward to the land promised by God to give him since Terah has gotten out of the picture.
Assuming Terah continued the journey to the land, it may be that the promise and covenant would have included his son, Nahor, but since Terah did not continue to Canaan land, such covenant could not be extended unto Nahor and others.
God decided to shift the promise and covenant to Abram and his descendants though as at when this was being said, his wife was yet to bear a child for him.
Having left the dangerous and deadly route, they continued until they got to Canaan land. On getting to the land, they were not in the dark as per the place, because God talked to Abram that he has gotten to the place.
Living Together For A While
Lot continued to live with Abram his uncle in Canaan land. Lot who before leaving Haran also possessed some cattle and servants formed partnership with Abram. Lot’s other source of making it was through the inheritance of the possession of his father after his death.
They, Abram and Lot, had great possessions and cattle and Lot was supervising the work. When their servants shepherded their cattle to where they will feed on green grass. Lot’s servants and Abram servants almost clash one day, and this became known unto Abram who called his nephew that they need not to fight, that it is better if they can be separated since they had great possessions.
He asked Lot to choose where he will be dwelling out of all the expanse of lands before them. Lot having been familiar with the habitat of the land because it was not immediately that they got to Canaan land that such happened chose for himself the habitat that is rich in grasses while Abram was left with desert area, dry habitat.
“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
“Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
“Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
“Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Gen. 13:8-12)
- Where Lot Chose
Lot gathered his belongings together and left for where he chose which happened to be Sodom and Gomorrah. God has decided to give the lands and countries in the area he chose unto his people because of their sins, this includes Sodom and Gomorrah. But two things have been stopping God from doing this, giving away the land unto his people, and those things are, he was waiting for their cup of sins to be full as well as waiting for when the person he shall give the land to, to become multiplied and become a great nation.
What I will like us to know is that prior the time of calling out Abram, God has been dealing with mankind as a whole, he was yet to totally hand off his dealings with mankind as a blog then because he was yet to have a people and a nation to be called his own, which he desired to do through Abram, thus he still sees all as one.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5)
Despite looking on all humans, the people through the means of worshiping God, as revealed unto them by those who got out of the ark of Noah which they passed on to their wards coupled with their morals and consciences were able to take the case of the grievous aberrations noticed to be paramount among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah to God. One of the chief aberrations was homosexuals, that is being practiced by people.
“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” (Gen. 13:13)
God considered this too dangerous for him to allow it to continue because the new world is getting close to a millennium after he has dealt with the first world using the flood.
“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
“I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” (Gen. 18:20-21)
He did not want what the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were doing to become an acceptable thing globally, because when such evil continued unchecked in no time it would become a social pandemic, spreading to other parts of the world. He therefore has been looking for means to put this to an end.
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
“And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” (Ezek. 16:49-50)
He Sent A Preacher There
God will never judge a man or country without first telling him or the country those things that they have been involved in that is wrong which he does not like. God, being omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent, the One who knows the ending from the very beginning allowed for what happened between Lot and Abram to happen because he wants to send a preacher of righteousness to the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isa. 46:10)
Not just a preacher who will go and come, not just a preacher who will be trading or transacting business with them, but someone who will reside there, someone who is expected to balance his words with their lifestyles in the land so that the people will be able to see this and would know that what has been demanded of them by Elohim is not out of their reach. That was why he allowed for what happened to happen, the separation between Lot and Abram.
We should not forget from the above table as stated by the bible that Lot also knew his greatest grandfather, Shem, he also would have learned one or two things from the man as did his grandpa, father and uncle. I said this because it is joy of the (greatest) grandparents in this part of the world to see their children, they will ask their sons and daughters to bring to them those children. Shem too was a human being whom blood flows in his veins, he could not have acted differently, he would have demanded to see his grandchildren and talk to them, impart into their lives what he has known and what he has been imparting in the lives of their parents, so that they will also hear directly from the horse’s mouth, more so that he was yet alive and perhaps very active.
Though despite this, God decided to act with him differently, he wanted him to believe what his grandparents, parents and uncle told him, mostly his grandpa and uncle, that is the reason he did not reveal himself to him like he did unto those people, his uncle and grandpa.
Having believed them, that was why he followed them out of the Ur of Chaldeans without questioning unlike his siblings and Nahor who did not follow them.
“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
“(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2 Pet. 2:7-8)
And when he got to the land as seen from the second epistle of Peter, he lived righteously, to show them that what God demanded of them is not grievous, is not difficult in addition to the message he shared with them, correcting them, showing them Elohim. This is what God does, he will make humans like us a standard for us to show us what he expects of us, how he wants us to live.
“And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.” (Gen. 19:9)
“And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.” (Gen. 19:14)
We can deduct from the above bible words that he does talk with them, but they ignored his words
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:28-29)
The man Lot was not deal with by God as he dealt with his grandpa and uncle, whom God appeared unto, or who hears the voice of God or receives some revelations from God on what to do. He did not receive any of such, but he puts it in his heart to believe them and he did that.
Lot’s kind of believe is akin to the believe of many if not all believers in the world today because we do not see Jesus and yet we chose to believe him, believe what was said about him. We do not see heaven, but we chose to believe what Jesus said about heaven to be real without questioning neither wavering.
Those of us who are presently living in the world do not see Jesus face to face as did the apostles and only limited number of us then and now do see Jesus through revelations as it happened to apostle Paul. But God still wants us to be like Lot, he wants us to believe what we have read, the gospel we have heard being preached to us by people who may have seen the light of the gospel ahead of us as did Lot.
Lot believed what has been told him, he left his people, his peers, colleagues, age mates and country to follow his grandpa and uncle out of their land to where God is taken them to, which was Canaan land.
When he left them, he continued to grow in what they were instructing him until he left his uncle to live alone. This was why Abram could vouch for him, plead on his behalf at the knowledge that destruction would come upon Sodom and Gomorrah.
Think about this for a moment and ask yourself this, “have I believed the gospel of Jesus that is being shared with me? Have I repented of my sins?”
Lot did not receive any revelation like his grandpa and uncle, but he still believed them because faith comes by hearing the word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
It is time for you to accept the Gospel and believe it, start practicing it.
I want you to know that it is not everyone who will receive open revelations neither would God make covenant with everyone as he did with Abram therefore you should not hinge on this, praying that until you receive revelations like Abram and or others before you will give your all to God.
However, as believers you need to know that God has made a covenant with you through Jesus Christ if you can believe in him. Jesus has by his blood that was shed on the cross of Calvary make a covenant with everyone who decides to go to the father through him.
On arriving at the land of Sodom and Gomorrah Lot did not shy from why he was chosen to go there, he did what was expected of him, he preached to the people to repent telling them what they were doing was bad, those things were not in tandem with the will of God, it is at variance with nature and that they should stop it. Day-in, day-out he preached this unto them and balanced this with his lifestyle. He became a standard for them.
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves” (Rom. 2:14)
But just as a dog that would be lost that will not heed the warnings of a hunter, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah did not heed his warnings.
As time progresses, the family members of Lot became influenced by the way of living of the people of the land, they soon become polluted, thinking less of their father’s preaching, for assuming what he was saying was true why has judgment not come? Assuming the teachings were right why can’t God make someone or a family a scapegoat for all to see? They brushed aside his teachings and would not strongly lay hold on them as they have been doing before. Thence it was not surprising that his children got married to people of the land.
Is this not the replica of what is happening today? This is true of the message of Jesus today. People use to say, if the messages of Jesus being preached have been true why has he not appear? People ask of where the promise of his coming is.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
“And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Pet. 3:3-4)
Everything continues as it used to go before now, no changes and with this in their minds people refuse to yield their lives to Jesus Christ and his God. Even those who have once yielded their lives to God eventually back pedal, they turned back, joined with the worldly activities, introduced worldly things into their set-ups and standards because after all nothing seems to have changed.
“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.” (2 Tim 4:10).
Is this not what is happening to you? This was what happened unto Lot’s family members.
- Judgment Declared
When people of Sodom and Gomorrah did not change, soon enough their cup of sins got filled up before God and he decide to stop them, to get rid of them, making them as example unto all that as he is a long-suffering God so is he terrible in judgment. In bringing judgment on them, he visited Abraham (Abram’s name has been changed by God here to Abraham), and revealed unto him what was in his mind for the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Having revealed unto him what he wanted to do, Abraham decided to plea for his nephew
“And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
“Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
“That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
“And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” (Gen. 18:23-26)
His Plea Was Granted
Father Abraham kept imploring the Lord that he needs to remember mercy even in judgment and God promised that he will do that.
“O LORD, … in wrath remember mercy.” (Hab. 3:2d)
He then starts to ask of what he will do if he finds 50 righteous people there and God was replying him that the city will be preserved if such people could be found in the city. He continued to implore him until he got to ten people, “let us assume you were unable to find the numbers of people stated afore, but the number that could only be found is ten righteous people, sir, will spare them for ten righteous people?” he asked and God promised that the city would be spared if ten righteous people were found in the city. It was on this request that he let go of pleading with the Lord.
Ways of God determining righteous people vary but the way used here was discovering Lot and his family and given others the grace of proving themselves, proving that they should be exempted from the lingering doom.
Those people failed but Lot was rescued for he proved himself righteous before the angels. We must know that God can use our relatives for us, use them to secure mercy for us.
2. Joseph: Through A Stranger
Joseph was the first son of Rachel, the second wife of Jacob and he had eleven brothers. If you love a person, you will love the person’s children. Rachel the mother of Joseph was the most loved of all the wives of Jacob it was therefore not surprising to discover that he loved her son greatly.
Apart from being the son of the most loved woman, Joseph also showed some rare features which would win the heart of any parent over, for he usually tells his father what his brothers were doing that was not right.
“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” (Gen. 37:2)
It was not on record of how the message of Reuben having affairs with his father’s wife got to Jacob, it may be through Joseph too
“And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve” (Gen. 35:22)
It is also very possible that Joseph may have acted like Abram and Terah (his great-great grandfather) by sitting and listening to his father’s oral instructions more than his brethren. These combined made him found outstanding favor with their father.
As he found favor with their father God also took interest in him and promised to make him great, this promise he got to know through his dreams which he shared in good faith with his family members.
His siblings did not accept what he shared with them in good faith, with brotherly love, as such they began to envy him. They were overcome by gall of bitterness and bitterness such that they do not speak to him peaceably again and they were looking for his death.
They could not find occasions to kill him readily until one day that their father asked him to visit his brethren where they were.
He immediately set out to go and visit his brethren. On getting to where he thought they were, lo and behold they were not there and asked from someone in the wilderness who told him that he overheard them saying they were heading for Dothan.
He set out for the place, but his brethren saw him afar off and planned against him to kill him, but the eldest son, Reuben advised them not to do that.
“And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
“And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?
“And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
“And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
“And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
“And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
“Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” (Gen 37:14-20)
He was taken and put in a pit, but after a while they saw the Ishmeelites troupe passing by and they quickly decide to sell him to them instead of leaving him in a pit to die. This decision was arrived at without Reuben’s knowledge.
They stopped the troupe, removed Joseph from the pit. Joseph would have been happy on seeing that he was being taken out of the pit and would be thinking that his brethren have changed their mind against him but unknown to them that they have not.
Having agreed to the price to sell him off, he was sold to them.
The Ishmeelites being slave trade merchants decide to sell him to an Egyptian who happened to be one of Pharaoh’s chiefs.
“And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.” (Gen. 37:36)
The Egyptian took him to Egypt to be serving him alongside other slaves that he had.
- After Close Observation
The philosophers used to observe things critically, this is also common to the ancient people and was not surprising that this man observed what was happening in his house as from the day that Joseph stepped into his house.
Having noticed the associated positive changes that, they were related to his movement into the house, he decided to promote him. His wife also noticed this and sets it in her heart that she will be romantically involved with him. She pressed Joseph so hard that he should have romantic affairs with him, but Joseph did not yield to what she says.
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
“But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
“There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
“And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” (Gen. 39:7-10)
When she saw that she did not yield to her verbal utterances she decided to use other means, she may have sent other indoor servants on errand that day so that she and Joseph would be alone in the house. She undressed herself, became naked, thinking that her nudity would move him, but she was shocked to discover that he was not moved by that.
“And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
“And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.” (Gen. 39: 11-12)
In an attempt to force herself on him, Joseph fled the scene, leaving his cloths behind in her hand. Having gotten his cloths with her, she lied against him when her hubby returned.
This man did not listen to slave’s side of the story because slaves those days were considered as “things”, they were treated in a worst manner than how people treat domestic animals like dogs. They usually would not be given room to defend themselves because their owners consider it that they are being helped, they are doing them a favor, someone who is being favored should learn not to go beyond his or her bounds. For this reason and because of his affluence, position, he was taken to the prison where those who have wronged king Pharaoh were being kept being the chief of the guards.
- Joseph in King’s Prison:
King’s prisons those days were like maximum prison, where security is at the maximum as well as where punishment is at maximum. There they will be taken to do hard works (labor) for the king and there is limited chance of breaking through this prison if there is any chance at all for them to attempt break. The security there, the structure of the prison the prison itself leaves anyone who gets to such prison without a singular hope neither a route of escape. Additionally, people who got into this kind of place, most of them if not all were always awaiting death, execution either by hanging or by any other possible means that the king found suitable for their case. Such was the condition of the place where Joseph was being incarcerated to and it is therefore not verily surprising to conclude that Joseph has lost hope of getting out of this place, for he was neither a riffraff nor a street urchin who could attempt jail break.
Due to this, I assume the little hope Joseph initially had of attaining his dream had gone, he became hopeless. A slave with no one to defend him, he can’t appeal the case before any jury in the land, no lawyer would want to stand for him.
The man who imprisoned him has money, he was wealthy, he occupies position of authority in the land, loyalist to the king who wields so much power in the society, that’s why he could put him in such a prison, the highest prison in the land.
Those of us who occupies position of authority, those of us who are masters with servants under us, how are we using our position? Do we use our position to oppress and suppress people?
“And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” (Eph. 6:9)
“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” (Col. 4:1)
God does not want us to oppress or suppress others with our position therefore, he says we must always remember that we have a master who is above us too, a master who is supreme ruler, the God of all who is no respecter of persons.
“For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Rom. 2:11)
For Joseph there is no means for him to fight back. His hopes were lost but despite this he manages to keep the hope alive, the dream alive, he kept the teachings he has heard and learnt from his father alive, thinking even if this dream won’t come to pass at least he won’t be one of those who will contribute to the evil deeds in the society.
You may have also been cheated like Joseph, you may also have been lied against, you may be suffering for a just cause and you do not know how to get out, be assured that God knows and sees you in the position you are in.
He has been in the prison for a while and the warden saw that everything he does turn out good, he was made the head of the prisoners. He has assumed this position when two of the chiefs of the king grieved him and King Pharaoh commanded that they be taken to prison custody until investigations to their misdemeanor be completed.
While those people were in the prison yard, Joseph made the place comfortable for them being the head of prisoners. His close interactions with each and every one of them makes him know their mien.
On a certain morning he discovered that their countenance was not as expected and he asked them to tell him what the problem was, what could have happened over the night that everyone has gone to bed that is now reflecting on them, their appearances that early morning. Having been close to them, they found it absurd and stupid hiding from him what they experienced during the midnight, their nightmares.
They divulged unto him what their nightmares were and that they were in such position because they couldn’t interpret those dreams. To compound the situation, they were not free else they would have gone t dream interpreters that they knew in the country.
- Applied Wisdom:
Joseph on hearing what it was that has kept them sullen, he heaved a sigh of relieve, telling them that he thought something terrible had happened to them during the night but since nothing terrible has happened, but only nightmare, dream, to which they are seeking interpretation was what was weighing them down, he told them that they need not be weighed down by such because it is God alone that has perfect interpretations to dreams and revelations that they should let him know what they have dreamt about and God would through him tell them what the meanings are.
They summoned courage having heard encouraging words from him to tell him what their dreams were.
May I say that to win people to our side, how we present our messages matter, to win people for Christ, how we present the Gospel matters. If we present the Gospel in an awkward manner, we may not be able to win the lost souls. If we dabble into a problem wrongly, those who we thought we want to comfort we may not be able to comfort them because of our approach.
Therefore, in comforting people, we must know how we shall present the words to them, we may need to ask for God’s guidance in presenting our case logically, sensibly and above all with God’s wisdom.
God’s wisdom does not necessarily mean placating people, trying to tell them what they want to hear, telling them words that would impress them, that is not what God’s wisdom means, but what it means is showing them the mind of God in the way of God with the words of God.
Those high chiefs having heard what he said became elated and they told him their dreams. He interpreted each person’s dream accordingly and the person who has good dream, who has positive future so to say he implored him not to forget him after he has been restored because he knew the dream will come to pass. He was confident of the gift he has and he was confident of the interpretation he gave, the spirit in him bears witness with him that what he said was correct and would come to pass.
Many of our problems in Christianity today hinges on our lack of confidence in the gifts that God has blessed us with. That is for those who know the kind of gifts they have been blessed with by God for some do not know the gift that God has given them.
For those who know their gifts but who yet lack confidence in the gift God has given them, they will not be able to put such gifts into effective use because of their lack of confidence in that which they possessed. If God has blessed you with something you need to develop confidence in the use of the thing that God has given you, because his gift to you is without repentance,
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29)
It is you who need to know the gift, be identified with the gift so that you will be able to put them (it) into maximal use to bring gains unto the one who calls you becoming one of the profitable servants of his’
“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
“And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.” (Matt. 25:16-17)
And you need to know that the word of God will come to pass on you if you identify your gifts and put them into use, effective use, because it will usher you to the front of crème-de-la-creme of the society.
“A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” (Prov. 18:16)
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” (Prov. 22:29)
- The Judgment, The Expectation:
As those people (chief Butler and Chief Baker) have received the revelation, it came to pass on the third day after the committee set up by the king to investigate what they have done submitted her report. In the submitted report it was discovered the chief butler was clean and clear, he was absolved of the charges levied against him that made the King to ask them to be put into the prison but the chief baker was not that lucky as he was found culpable and guilty of all the charges levied against him and deserves to die.
King Pharaoh on getting the report the third day, which marks the day after which they received the revelation and which was interpreted unto them, asked that they be brought out of the prison and he passed the judgment on them, restoring the chief butler to his position perhaps with pay rise for the inconveniences caused him and the suffering he has passed through while in gaol. On the other hand, the chief baker was condemned and sentenced to death, the execution of which was carried out immediately.
“And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.
“And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
“And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.
“And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand:
“But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them” (Gen. 40:1-3 & 20-22)
Ironically sadly however, the chief butler forgot Joseph after his restoration.
“Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.” (Gen. 40:23)
Talking like a human being who I am, I know Joseph would have been expecting something to happen to him weeks after the incident, because it would be on the local and international news, the chief warden would have told him that the chief butler has been restored. Hearing this would have re-ignited his hope and would be looking forward to a time that he will be released from the prison, because were the chief butler to be him, I know he will not forget.
What happened to the chief butler is not uncommon occurrence to each and everyone of us in the world after attaining what we wanted, what we have been craving for, our minds most of the times forget the promises we have made unto some people and sometimes we even forget the promises we made to God. This may be due to the euphoria of associated with this position or the associated demands with this new position and at times it may have some spiritual undertone in which some spirits from the pit of hell may have been released to cause us to forget our so called promises so that we shall be punished by God, or so that further blessings wouldn’t be released on us.
“And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
“And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
“And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.” (1 Kings 22:19-21)
A spirit sent out to lie and persuade the king to war so that he would be killed there, such spirits are sent by the devil to the people in the world to ensure that we make mistakes and that some forget what they have said or have promised.
It is therefore crucial for us to ensure that we put in mind our promises and it we can read and write it may be better if we can put it down somewhere where we shall be able to have quick access to them.
“Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Ecc. 5:5)
When weeks of his waiting turn to months without news that his case has been raised by the chief butler neither did he send anyone to him that he was working on the issue he lost thought of something good coming forth from the man, wishing though that something good could come up in another way, bringing to his mind some of the stories he would have heard from his father of how long it took his great grandfather before he got a covenant child, his grandfather and his father before he could be born. He was trusting that God will do something in another way, in this manner was he able to hold on to his dreams.
I Surrender - Hillsong Worship
- The Fullness of Time:
This man, the chief butler forgot Joseph and he continued with his daily chores in the palace for the king. And by then it has become obvious unto Joseph that he has been forgotten by the chief butler, he thence left the thought of him and continues to do what he knows how to do in the prison yard. His mind by now would have been taken off the chief Butler altogether.
At the fullness of time before God, he caused King Pharaoh, his servant (because all of us are tools in the hands of God, God calls gentile kings his servant in the bible (Isa. 45:1; Jer. 27:6)) to dream dreams. After dreaming the dreams, he became worried and would want to know the interpretation of the dreams. Before someone becomes a king those days, such people would have some knowledge about things like this, this we shall recall was part of the training Moses passed through in the palace before identifying himself with the people of God, his people.
“And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” (Acts 7:22)
The four Hebrews who were carried captives into the land of Babylon also experienced this training.
“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
“Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
“And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
“And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” (Dan. 1: 17-20)
You can see from the tests given to the Hebrews above that someone who does not have a knowledge in such things could not test them. It is a person who has knowledge in something that tests or examines another person on that thing.
The knowledge the king has in interpreting dreams became exhausted and he decided to call those who were into the work on a full-time basis, but the Lord of heaven shut the meaning (interpretation) of the dreams unto them because no one can receive anything except it be given from above.
“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John 3:27)
As the Egyptian astrologers and interpreters became clueless as per what the meanings of the dreams could be, the palace became tense, hands of everyone; workers and inhabitants of the palace were on deck to find a solution to the king’s dreams.
It was as they were on this that the spirit of forgetfulness that has overwhelmed the chief butler for long which made him to forget Joseph got out of him and he remembered Joseph. He sought for an audience with the king which was approved, and he told him how he met with a Hebrew man in the prison yard the man called Joseph who interpreted his dream and the dream of the chief baker unto them which came to pass as he has interpreted.
It was clear from King Pharaoh’s response that he neither knows about Joseph’s plight nor has at any time heard about his case before then.
This therefore may connote that the king’s prison is also a place used by the wealthy and affluence people in the society to put those who have grieved them into or that Joseph’s file case has been put under other case files that the king would sit on. And whenever his case is to be investigated, the palace registrar in charge of the case, having received gifts from the defendants or because of racism, will move the file down again.
Thus, as this vicious cycle continues Joseph continues to languish in prison without him being heard out.
When he was told of the man, the king ordered his immediate release and that he be brought before him instantly. Peradventure he will find answers to his questions, he thought.
Joseph was brought before the king and he interpreted the dreams of the king without mincing words adding to the interpretation what the solution to the impending problems will be. This is because it will be meaningless knowing or identifying a problem without knowing what the solution to the problem will be.
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.
“And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
“The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.
“And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.
“This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.
“Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
“And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;
“And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.
“And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
“Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
“Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.
“And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
“And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.
“And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.
“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” (Gen. 41: 14, 25-38)
Some people receive interpretation to their dreams, but they still suffer because the solution to the dreams’ interpretations elude them.
As God used a stranger man of different tribe to deliver Joseph, so can he use a stranger for us today, someone whom conditions brought us together once, perhaps someone you come across through the social blogs too could be used of God for us today. The use of a stranger is another means for us to receive God’s mercy.
3. Rahab The Harlot - Through accommodation:
God used prophet Moses to lead his children out of the land of Egypt, but due to stiff-necked, rebellion, the people were told by God that they would not possess the land promised unto them except their children and Caleb and Joshua.
At a certain juncture, those people pushed Prophet Moses to anger such that he uttered the unexpected
“They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:
“Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” (Psa. 106: 32-33)
After he uttered what he was not expected to utter, God also stopped him from leading his people into the promised land. He, Prophet Moses, was told to handover to his subject, Joshua.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Deut. 31:14)
After handing over to Joshua and he was no more, Joshua continued to lead God’s people. When they were about to enter Jericho, Joshua sent two spies to the city to know how they will face them, as it is written a person with 1,000s soldiers will map out strategy to know how he will face 10, 000 soldiers.
“Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:31)
This was what Joshua did when he sent those two spies to spy Jericho.
“And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.” (Jos. 2:1)
However, when those strangers entered Jericho, they were discovered to be strangers. On further investigations, the department of intelligence and immigration of the land discovered that they were Hebrews, Israelis.
This report got to the king of the land who ordered their immediate arrest for questioning.
On the immediate that this warrant of arrest has been issued, those spies started to panic and fear gripped their hearts, but the person whom they were staying with allay their fears and delivered them from the secret force men sent to arrest them.
After the local and federal law enforcement agencies failed to get those spies, they returned to the city to report back to those who sent them that they have escaped. During the time, Rahab the harlot asked that mercy be shown unto her and her family members when they come to destroy the city. The spies entered into agreement with her and told her the sign they shall be expecting to see on the window of her house when they return with others for the destruction of the city.
“Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.
“And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.
“And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.
“And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.” (Jos. 2: 18-21)
Because of what she did, accommodating and rescuing God’s people, she received God’s mercy and was listed among those who have exceptional faith.
“By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” (Heb. 11:31)
Accommodating God’s people is another means through which mercy of God can get to us.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Heb. 13:2)
4. Samson- Through Repentance:
Feeling sorry for our sins is not repentance. Repentance involves stopping to sin and turning from our sins to God. One of the physically mighty man who ever lived was Samson, but he exhibited pride which prevents him from listening to his parents and yielding to correction. Because he failed to listen (obey) his parents, he was unable to live long.
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exo. 20:12)
When people noticed this in him, they left him alone and that was his greatest undoing which resulted in him fallen into the hands of his enemies.
Our pride and arrogant will make people forsake us, we shall be left alone by people when they see things that will benefit us or injure us, they will not talk because of our attitudes.
“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
“For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” (Prov. 3:1-2)
He was arrested, his eyes plucked off and tortured. During the time when he was undergoing torturing, he discovered his errors, felt sorry for them all and repented and turned to God, asked God that he will be visited again, and it happened.
“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” (Judg. 16: 28)
When we repent of our sins, turn from those sins to God we shall receive his mercy, but if we fail to repent, we shall not receive his mercy.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Prov. 28:13)
5. Through Prayer:
Prayer is talking to God.
John W. Ritenbaugh says, prayer is a primary means that God has set up to communicate the blessing of His goodness to His people. While Don Stewart says, prayer is talking to God. It is a specific thing that we do, not merely an attitude. Christian reference Bible says this about prayer that it is loving communication with God. Prayer is the expression of our inner spiritual needs. Through prayer we can find strength of spirit, guidance, wisdom, joy and inner peace (Psalms 118:5-6, Psalms 138:3, Isaiah 58:9-11, Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7). Prayer may be long or short, alone or in a group, silent or aloud, but it should be a true communication with God and not done for public recognition (Matthew 6:5-8). Important aspects of prayer include-Christian Reference Bible site
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jer. 33:3)
Another means through which we can receive his mercy is by asking for it. Bartimaeus asked for his mercy and it was not denied him.
“And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Mark 10: 47)
If we can also ask for his mercy to be shown unto us it will be shown unto us as it happened unto the tax collector in the temple, because we have brought ourselves before him in humility, telling him that we are nothing of ourselves without him.
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luk. 18:13)
He received mercy because he was humble enough to ask for it, but the person who was full of himself left the temple the same way he has come, his conscience remains hardened, untouched, his countenance did not change.
When we are touched by God one of the outward indices to show we have been touched is the change of our countenance.
“And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” (1 Sam. 1:18)
Hannah’s countenance changed after the high priest talked to her, and she left Shiloh happier.
6. Apostle Paul - Through His Nephew:
Apostle Paul was arrested by the Jewish leaders and has been defending himself before the council for a while. However, some of the Jews, about 40 people who perhaps felt the case has been pussyfooting came together and made a vow to kill Paul.
When they were planning on how to present themselves unto the judge so that he will release the prisoner unto them in good faith, his nephew overheard their plan and reported them unto his uncle.
“Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.
“Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.
“Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” (Isa. 8: 9-10 & 12)
Apostle Paul thanked him and told an army officer to take the boy to the commander for an important message. The boy got to the commander and told him what they have planned against his uncle pre-empting the jurists to take laws into their hands albeit in hypocrisy.
The commander having heard the boy told him to keep the matter secret as he changed the plan and decide to send Apostle Paul to Felix the governor, saying if a baby knows how to die during the harmattan (dry period), then the baby’s parents should also be wise enough to know how to bury the child during the raining period.
“And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
“And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
“And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.
“Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
“And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
“Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.” (Acts 23:12-17)
On reading this account we shall recall that earlier, physician Luke who wrote this book has stated that, “and the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” (Acts 23:11). Apostle Paul perhaps wouldn’t know how this would be possible because the case is still on, it has not been referred to other court, but in the morning, the people associated themselves together with the aim of killing him, but unknown to them that they were facilitating how the word of God would come to pass.
There are things here which I presume our spiritual man may have seen but in case we have not seen them, they are these
- Less than 24 hours back apostle Paul told Luke the Physician what he seen, not sure of how it would work out and the people gathered together with plan well lay out on how to exterminate him, God at first ensure that their plan leaked out to save his son and servant. I hope we see this.
- Another thing that I want to point us to is when God says something, it is his duty to make the thing happen. How he will bring to pass what he has said is none of our businesses for he may decide to use enemies as it has happened here and for some he may use friends, all that matters is ensuring that we are in his will and when we are in his wills we shall know that all things work together for the good of those who love God.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
Sometimes, if not all the times when enemies are working, planning on what they will do against the children of God, they are working to seeing that what God has for us, his children become fulfilled. But we often do not know this, and we use to think God is neither seeing us nor noticing what is happening.
- Again, when something like this happens, where we need to take step, we should take step and not misplace priorities, we shouldn’t think God would now descend to take step for us. No, he won’t do that. That is why he gave us wisdom and knowledge, that is why he gave us Holy Ghost. Many believers in Jesus Christ because of some teachings heard by some people that it is not good to go to court, they will allow ungodly people to continue to cheat them, hiding under the canopy of lie that bible says do not go to court. That is wrong. When someone is cheating you and you have tried to work things out amicably but failed, take the person to court so that the matter would be resolved amicably for you.
Consider this example, one of my cousins an engineer supplied iron rods of about 20 million naira to a man, but this man collected the money from the government and spent it. The law enforcement agencies took my cousin detained and tortured him. After two or more weeks he was released on bail to go and get the man. The kept fleeing him, giving excuses, yet my cousin refused to take legal actions based on some religious beliefs. My cousin keeps praying instead of taking a step. We are in a world that is full of evil doers and evil deeds. Those people delight in doing evil, in bringing untold hardship on their fellow humans and some of them when they see that we are believers in Christ Jesus they will deliberately want to inflict pain on us, saying the bible says, when we are slap on the right cheek we should turn the left cheek to them, they forget that the bible also says, we should be wise as serpent. Staying at a position without acting has made so many believers to lose what is rightly theirs. We should wise up there so many unbelievers in the world, while dealing with them we need wisdom of God.
Apostle Paul here in did not act foolishly, he told the soldier to take his nephew to the commander in charge of the case and he was saved. If he had kept mute, resorted to praying alone instead of acting, doing what he did, the people would have succeeded, he would have been killed and God would have been vindicated because he was given wisdom but he did not use it, he chose the path of foolishness acting sub-cortically allowing the enemies to triumph over him.
In what way or ways have allow enemies to triumph over us but which we have been falsely accusing God? Check it out and discover maybe it is your stupidity that it is at play.
Through his nephew, Apostle Paul was delivered. Through his nephew he receives God’s mercy.
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7. Cornelius – Through Angelic Ministration:
Cornelius has been serving God to the best of his knowledge and ability for years without wavering.
“He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.” (Acts 10:3)
God was taken record of his activities and one day he decided to send angel to him to instruct him on what he needs to do. The angel appeared unto him and told him that all his religious activities are accepted.
From the above few examples taken from the bible of those who have receive God’s mercy, we shall see that the mercy each one receives comes through different means, it is not through the same way that the mercy comes from, this is showing us that God cannot be predicted, God is not a stereotypical God. The way he does and deals with individuals differ. How he will deal with you, he may not deal with me in that manner.
Thus, we do not have to be dogmatic, we do not have to copy anyone, we do not have to think that how he deals with brother or sister A that is how he must and will deal with us. What is important is that we should learn to learn from one another and through such learning we shall see the mightiness of God in our lives and situations. When we see something like this it will give us confidence and boldness that the Lord who has helped brother Q will also help us.
3. Summation of His Acts Unto His Own:
In looking at his general acts unto his people, his children, the spiritual Israelites, we shall examine in brief the book of 1 Peter 5:10.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet. 5:10)
We shall see some points here of his act unto his people, before dissecting this verse to see those things, let us see something about grace.
I will at first want us to see some few things about this wonderful word that our race is hinge on from other Christian authors.
Biblestudytools.com defines grace as “An accurate, common definition describes grace as the unmerited favor of God toward man. In the Old Testament, the term that most often is translated "grace,” is hen (ej); in the New Testament, it is charis (cavri).
On the part of Christianity.com grace is, “a shorthand for what grace is - “mercy, not merit.” Grace is the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and not getting what you do deserve. Christianity teaches that what we deserve is death with no hope of resurrection”.
“While everyone desperately needs it, grace is not about us. Grace is fundamentally a word about God: his uncoerced initiative and pervasive, extravagant demonstrations of care and favor. Michael Horton says, “In grace, God gives nothing less than Himself. Grace, then, is not a third thing or substance mediating between God and sinners, but is Jesus Christ in redeeming action.”
“Christians live every day by the grace of God. We receive forgiveness according to the riches of God’s grace, and grace drives our sanctification.Grace transforms our desires, motivations, and behavior.””
Precept Austin in his write up has the followings to say on grace “Grace in New Testament is “charis” derived from “chairo” which means to rejoice. In English this is written as charity. We know beggars need "charity" while sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ, but "God gives where he finds empty hands"-Augustine. Grace is a word which defies a simple definition but at its core conveys the sense of favor while the specific nuances of charis depend on the context in which it is used. Someone has written that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater even than “love,” because grace is love in action, and therefore includes it.
“The English word grace is from the Latin gratia meaning favor, charm or thanks. Gratia in turn is derived from gratus meaning free, ready, quick, willing, prompt. Webster defines grace as the “unmerited love and favor of God which is the spring and source of all benefits men receive from Him, including especially His assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification. (Grace is) a virtue from God influencing man, renewing his heart and restraining him from sin.”
“Grace in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural ennablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give (charizmai). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy addresses man's misery. The gift of grace makes men fit for salvation, miraculously making separated strangers into God's beloved sons.
“J H Jowett summarizes grace as God's "holy love on the move"
“Charles Allen offers a succinct synopsis of grace noting that, in the Bible there are three distinctive meanings of grace; it means the mercy and active love of God; it means the winsome attractiveness of God; it means the strength of God to overcome.
“The grace of God could be described as, glorious, abundant, rich, manifold and, sufficient for our christian growth and living.
“The Grace of God expresses the Source of the Grace, who is God Himself, "the God of all grace" Who reigns as sovereign on "the throne of grace", and Who Alone "gives grace and glory" (Acts 11:23; 13:43; Ro. 5:15; 1 Pet. 5:1; Ps. 4:11)
“C H Spurgeon while explaining grace tells us how many believers fall below measure of grace in the story of the poor European family who saved for years to buy tickets to sail to America. Once at sea, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought for the journey. After 3 days, the boy complained to his father, “I hate cheese sandwiches. If I don’t eat anything else before we get to America, I’m going to die.” Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship’s galley and buy an ice-cream cone. When the boy returned a long time later with a wide smile, his worried dad asked, “Where were you?” “In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!” “All that for a nickel?” “Oh, no, the food is free,” the boy replied. “It comes with the ticket.”
“Dr. Donald Hubbard nicely sums up grace, mercy and peace writing that: grace is for the worthless (meaning it is God giving me what I don’t deserve); mercy is for the helpless (meaning God withholding from me what I do deserve) and Peace is for the restless (meaning the assurance that whatever happens to me will work out for God’s glory).
“Ray Stedman writes that, the two great heritages of the Christian are grace and peace. These are two things you can always have, no matter what your circumstances. Grace is all God's power, all his love, all his beauty available to you. It is a marvelous term which wraps up all that God is and offers to us. It comes from the same Greek word from which we get our English word charm. Grace is charming, lovely, pleasant. It is something which pleases, which imparts charm and loveliness to a life. Peace is freedom from anxiety, fear, and worry. These are the two characteristics which ought to mark Christians all the time: Grace - God at work in their lives; and peace - a sense of security, of trust.
“Guy King commenting on grace and peace writes…Grace - a quality which is, at once…
(i) an Attitude, which He adopts towards us, as in Eph. 2:8 ;
(ii) an Activity, which He exerts for our help, as in 1 Cor. 15:10 and
(iii) an Accomplishment, which He works in, and out from, us, as in Acts 4:33.
Paul ardently, and prayerfully, desires for his converts everywhere - for he uses the words in all his church letters - that they may experience to the full this "grace"…
Grace is needed for every service, mercy for every failure, and peace for every circumstance.”
Having seen some works from some Christian authors of what Grace is, we can deduce that, grace written as חן in Hebrew is called “chên” pronounced as “khane” which means favor (mercy) (Zech. 4:7) and in Greek it is called “charis” written as χάρις and pronounced as “khar'-ece” which means unmerited and freely given redeeming action of God through Christ by which sin is forgiven and its power broken and unbelievers are upheld and strengthened in their Christian lives. (Rom. 6:14-15; 15:15; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 1:2; 6:24) Precept Austin says of this unmerited favor that “one of the most familiar short definitions of grace is God's unmerited favor. Unfortunately, the practical, everyday, working definition of grace in the lives of many believers goes little beyond this basic simple definition.”
God who in the time past dealt with mankind as a whole, he changed gear when he discovered that men’s hearts are full of evil and desperately wicked, he was so moved to wrath that he decided to send flood t wipe away mankind from the earth.
Despite being annoyed he yet has mercy on mankind by sparing Noah and seven others who incidentally were members of his family.
After rescuing the people from the flood, the people that came out of them, the eight people decided to close the existing gap between mankind and God by attempting to build tower of babel which led to God initiating confusion among them by confounding their language.
When some sects hear themselves but could not hear others and another sect hear themselves himself, but they could not hear others, confusion sets in which leads to separation and people setting up colonies and towns for themselves, scattering all abroad from the place tower of babel has been initiated.
But, despite these, the people’s evils have not been abated as they now started worshiping images of the firmament.
God decides to set a standard which he expects others to follow, the standard to be set is to form a nation for himself, a nation he will directly be overseeing, that was what led to calling out Terah and Abram. But Terah later stumbled and fell and leaving Abram alone with the vision. God face him and made out of him a nation. This formed nation becomes a standard for all the nation of the world. As from this time, God starts dealing with individuals rather than dealing with mankind as a whole as he was doing prior this time.
We shall see that even among the nation he called his’, which is Israel, he is still dealing with individuals there.
It was through this that he brought redemption to the world and this salvation could not be jointly received but it will be received individually. It is not that we worked for this salvation as if to be reward of our hard work (labor), but we have been given this by the grace of God. This grace though freely offered but it does not connote being cheap. For no one can pay for it.
Apostle Peter says the God who gives us salvation freely, the God who favors us when we do not deserve to be favored is the God who calls us into his endless glory through Jesus Christ.
Having been called and we have answered the call we have become his, except those who have not answered the call. Think about this, when a person invites his friends to come and eat in his home, or when a person invites someone to have lunch with him or her, that person will shoulder the responsibilities of that guest when the person gets to him. This host is the God who gives us his unmerited favor, stoop down to take us out of miry place that we are in, taking us out of sin, saving us from destruction.
Having saved us, he looks after us, he caters for us, but in catering for us, Apostle Peter notices some things about him, having related with him physically and spiritually. Having gone that far with him, he noticed that the followings are common with him and they are
- Suffering for a while:
Yes, we have been called into his endless glory; a glory, doxa written as δόξα in Greek, pronounced as dox'-ah which means dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship. This glory is endless because from the earth we begin to enjoy that glory until we get to where he is with his father. For Jesus says, he goes and prepare a place for us that where he lives, we shall also live.
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (Jn 14: 2:3)
This glory starts from earth because where he stays, lives, sleeps, walks is where he wants us to be, going out of there would result in problems for us.
If we can always be where he is, then it means we are always in his glory and would continue in that “doxa” after our lives on earth.
Despite being in this position, having answered his call, Peter the apostle says we cannot but suffer. Although the kind of suffering which we shall suffer is not endless one, because our lifespan is limited while on earth, that is why the suffering would be for a while.
Why then do we need to suffer again having answered his call? We shall suffer because we live with unbelievers in the world, those who will see white and call it black those who will deliberately do evil, they do this because their works are evil.
“The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” (John 7:7)
The evil works of their hands will bring problems and untold hardships unto us sometimes.
Apart from this, we are yet living in a world whose soil has been cursed, a world where we would labor before we eat. But some do not want that to happen they want everything on platter of gold and thereby practice things that ought not to be practiced by believers in Jesus Christ.
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Tim. 6:9)
We suffer because the devil our adversary is yet in the world roaring and bringing stumbling blocks along our paths, and sometimes accusing us before the Lord.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Rev. 12:10)
The good news about this however is that the suffering is for a while.
- Makes Us Perfect:
After this suffering, the apostle says he will make us perfect. This word, καταρτίζω is the Greek word here called “katartizō” and pronounced as kat-ar-tid'-zo. It means to complete thoroughly, that is, repair or adjust: - fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore.
As we have answered his call, we are his responsibility, he will ensure that we are delivered from those things that bring problems and sufferings unto us as he did do for the Israelite while in Egypt; the same he did unto Mordecai whom Haman was troubling, he will first deliver us and after this he will perfect us.
From the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionary where we see the meaning of perfect above we see that part of the meaning of the word used here by the apostle is that we shall be repaired or adjusted, prepared and restored.
If something is lost and it is found, it would be restored to the owner. Someone who has suffer in a way or another needs to be restored, needs to be repaired, because in some ways he may have been affected psychologically, this would be done by God to the person’s life.
Part of the meaning of the word perfect here also shows that we shall be prepared. God will prepare us for what he wants to use us for. There is a saying that when one plans to prepare, one plans to fail. He will also prepare us for the kingdom to come.
What he wants to do for us after this need for him to get us prepared for what he has in mind for us, for our establishment. One cannot be established in a day without preparing for being established. He is going to prepare us for the establishment.
- Stablish Us:
Another of his act unto his own, those who faithfully endure what they are passing through to the end as noticed by the great apostle is that he will establish them. It is when one becomes established in what one is doing that one becomes recognized. When one is yet to be established, when one is at the initial phase of one’s work, one wouldn’t be recognized.
The Greek word στηρίζω called stērizō pronounced as “stay-rid'-zo” is the word used here and it means, “to set fast, that is, (literally) to turn resolutely in a certain direction, or (figuratively) to confirm: - fix, (e-) stablish, stedfastly set, strengthen”
When one is yet trying this and that one cannot be said to be established in an art. But immediately one turns resolutely in a certain direction, immediately one makes up his mind that this is what one wants to do, one will be said to be focused in the thing. And immediately one becomes strengthened in that thing one can be said to be established in the thing.
Apostle Paul was persuaded by the brethren not to go to Jerusalem when he wants to go there but he rejected their persuasions and when they had seen that his mind has been made up, they left him saying the will of God be done.
“And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” (Acts 21:14)
He will set us fast in what we are doing such that no persuasion can move us out of the position again.
Think about this for a second assuming Bill Gates at the inception of his work could not continue, the people will not recognize him, there would be people who will call him liar and thief, but when he continued in his work he becomes established there, he is set fast there such that today he is known all over the world.
Until someone becomes established in what one is doing such a one would not be recognized.
This Greek word, σθενόω, called “sthenoō” pronounced as “sthen-o'-o” which means “to strengthen, that is, (figuratively) confirm (in spiritual knowledge and power): - strengthen”.
After something has been established the thing needs to be confirmed, to be strengthened. Joshua has been established as the leader that will take the people of God into the promised land, but despite this, he was yet to be confirmed.
“And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.” (Josh. 3:7)
Earlier, Joshua has not been magnified before his brethren because to them he has not done spectacular thing, but as from the proceed of this word from the Lord everything changed for him and those who were not sure of leadership before started being sure of his leadership.
You may also see this in the light of a building. After a building has been completed, the owner will fortify the building, will provide security gadgets into the building, those security gadgets that are being installed into the building is a means of fortification. Even during the ancient times that our fore-parents say thieves (or armed robbers) were not common, yet none of them leave their properties just anyhow they will keep it safe, at least those things that were important to them would be kept safe. Why don’t they scatter or leave those things carelessly then since there wasn’t thieves anywhere? They couldn’t do that because they knew that carelessness is not good, it has a price to be paid and the price could be costly. That is why they used to say that “you have not kept your things, yet you say you don’t see them”.
Apostle Peter says after God has established a person, another act of God unto his own is that after he has established them, he will also strengthen them, he will confirm them. This is because he knows the importance of confirmation. He knows that what is not confirmed may not last long, it will pack up with time.
After three years of active ministration on earth, Jesus told his disciples that for the ministry, the gospel yea the church to continue, they need to be strengthened they need to be confirmed. He expressly and explicitly told them that they should wait in Jerusalem until they be confirmed, until they be endued with power from on high.
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49)
The disciples did as they were told and on the day of Pentecost the express release of the Power was noticed. It was after receiving the power that they started moving out.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)
Opposition forces that rose against them couldn’t stand because they have been strengthened. Assuming they have not been strengthened what happened when Jesus was apprehended by the religious leaders of the land would have repeat itself then and they would only be murmuring in their closets like pigs.
Do I need to say that assuming they did not receive the power they may actually not leave their closets to testify about the good news that they have received from Jesus?
Our God is a God who does things in phases, he does not muddle things up as many a one today uses to do. After the establishment the leader of the apostle says we shall be established.
- Settle You:
“θεμελιόω» is the Greek word used here whose translation is “themelioō” (pronounced as them-el-ee-o'-o). Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionary defines this word “themelioō” as “to lay a basis for, that is, (literally) erect, or (figuratively) consolidate: - (lay the) found (-ation), ground, settle.”
After strengthening, the great apostle says he will settle us, he says that is his act. May I use this illustration to explain this? A civil servant who retires from work and collected his pension. After collecting his pension, he decides that he will use the money to build a house because he has no house and knows that it won’t be long before the year runs off that he will be asked by the agent or landlord to pay another bill. He does not want this to happen, therefore he bought a plot of land, got all the necessary documents and the construction work starts on the land. The money can barely finish the building to his taste, but since majority of the work on the building has been done, he moved into the house trusting God for the finishing touches.
After some weeks that he has moved into the building some of his friends who heard that he now has a building paid him a visit and while interacting with him and seeing the building they noticed some of the things that needed to be done in the building and they promised to assist him with some of it. This the people did after leaving their friend.
Settlement involves touching some parts of the person’s life where there is yet some obvious deficiencies. Abraham and Sarah having followed God’s instruction become established, but they still lack something in their lives. What they lack was a child that would come out of their loins. This area of their lives was touched by God when he gave them Isaac the covenant child.
The area where you need God’s touch will be different from the area where I need God’s touch. Having been saved, it is that area that God desires to touch and settle you there, giving you peace of mind on that troubling aspect. It is sure he will do this because it is one of his acts unto his own people.
Going back to psalms 119, we shall see that these acts of God will only be made available unto those who love his name. what is the name that we should love? The name to be loved is the name Jesus Christ.
“I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (John 5:43)
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11)
This is the name given unto man to be saved, this is the name God recognizes, this is the name you must love if you are his’. Do you love the name of Jesus? If you are yet to love his name, you should start loving the name now so that you will be partakers of his act.
4. What are those acts: look upon and mercy