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1Peter 1:1  Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

a)  Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ

Among the first called to discipleship by Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Matt 4:17 [AKJV])

From that time, (Immediately after being tempted in the wilderness at the end of a 40 day fast:), Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(Matt 4:18 [AKJV])

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

(Matt 4:19 [AKJV])

And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

This is not the same Peter who Jesus called Simon, but seeing His plan for Peter, Jesus told him early on who He shall be in the service of the Lord, speaking of a divine transformation of character which should result from Peter’s encounter with the living God who now in the likeness of sinful flesh, fashioned as a man, walked among men.

(Mark 14:37 [AKJV])

And he comes, (Jesus having been in prayer in the garden of gesthemene on the night of His betrayal) and finds them sleeping, and said to Peter, Simon, sleep you? could not you watch one hour?

(John 1:40 [AKJV])
One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

(John 1:41 [AKJV])
He first finds his own brother Simon, and said to him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

(John 1:42 [AKJV])
And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, You are Simon the son of Jona: you shall be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

God has a way of making His call and intentions known to those who are His, even before they are able to understand it or walk in it. We see this even when God called Abram saying “go into a land that I shall show you”.  Obedience and faith go hand in hand. The one activates the other, the one encourages the other and like all the enabling graces of God bestowed upon us, the use of them multiplies them, unlike the natural course of events in this world in which the use of a thing diminishes it, in the Kingdom and economy of God, the use of the things of God actually increases them.

Note also; even as we see Abram straight away obeyed the Lord and by faith began to go into a land he yet knew not of,

(Gen 12:1 [AKJV])
Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you:

(Gen 12:2 [AKJV])
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:

(Gen 12:3 [AKJV])
And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.

…even as we see Abram straight away obeyed the Lord and by faith began to go into a land he yet knew not of,  so also Peter straightway left His nets and followed the Lord.

(Matt 4:20 [AKJV])

And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Again, obedience and faith go hand in hand. The one activates the other, the one encourages the other and like all the enabling graces of God bestowed upon us, the use of them multiplies them, unlike the natural course of events in this world in which the use of a thing diminishes it, in the Kingdom and economy of God, the use of the things of God actually increases them.

The Apostle Paul echoes this same principle in his words to Timothy:
(2Tim 2:1 [AKJV])
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

(2Tim 2:2 [AKJV])
And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

In Timothy’s giving away to others, that which Paul taught Him, not only does Timothy grow but those to whom he ministers also grow. They hear the word and receive the grace of God imparted. The faithful obey and walk in what they have and by this faithfulness, God makes them able to teach others also.

(2Tim 2:2 [AKJV])

And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

“to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

It is not merely a transfer of information, but a walking in and an experiencing of the things of God to the increase thereof, that these things, in a very real and living way, may be imparted to others. It is a living faith in a living God. It is life in the Spirit. Life begets life. Who wants to live tonight?

The Apostle Paul reveals this truth saying, “you are all partakers of my grace“.

(Phil 1:6 [AKJV])

Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
(Phil 1:7 [AKJV])

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my grace.

There is a time to respond to the call of God and that time is now. As we continue in faith and obedience, our ignorance and youthfulness in the Lord notwithstanding, the day of our commissioning will come. Often times there are things the Lord must deal with in us , therefore be confident, nothing doubting, that God will make you an able vessel if you would but respond to the call and continue in faith and obedience to Him.

You are called. Your hearing, (reading) of these words, at this moment, if there has ever been a moment, is the call. God hasn’t changed His mind. If He ever called you, you are called still. This is the call of God, right now, tonight (as you read). As I speak these words, the Spirit of God is at work affirming and imparting the call, to you, and the ability to respond even as Peter heard and responded.

The Pattern Revealed In The Shaping of Peter

We see Peter getting the word from the Father in heaven, revealing just who Jesus Christ is, and we see Peter getting the word straight  from the mouth of God in the flesh, the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, concerning just who God had decided Peter would be, and, in this we see the pattern revealed for all who are called into the service of God.

Let’s observe it here:

(Matt 16:13 [AKJV])

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

(Matt 16:14 [AKJV])

And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

(Matt 16:15 [AKJV])

He said to them, But whom say you that I am?

(Matt 16:16 [AKJV])

And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

(Matt 16:17 [AKJV])

And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.

(Matt 16:18 [AKJV])

And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Notice this pattern does not require us to have seen Jesus as Peter the First Apostle did. Notice we are but required to hear from the Father as Peter did.

“for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.”

(John 6:45 [AKJV])

It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.  Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to me.
(John 20:29 [AKJV])

Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Peter is here called to be a pillar which later he did become,

(Gal 2:9 [AKJV])

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go to the heathen, and they to the circumcision.
(Rev 3:12 [AKJV])

Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name.

Upon this divine attribute in Peter, of hearing from the Father concerning who Jesus Christ is, Jesus says He will build His church. A church which has the promise of a guaranteed victory, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

There is only so much dying, so much self sanctifying, so much cooperation with the things of God we can do. Although we must do all that we can, all that we can is not enough, it serves to show our love for God, our willingness out of a pure and sincere heart, it reveals our inadequacy and it opens the door to God’s grace for in our weakness, He is strong. As we proceed into the things of God, there yet must come a humbling; a purging; a preparing; a sanctifying by the Spirit; a Jacob becoming Israel, a man who once walked in his own strength; a man who walked in but the first things of God’s grace, becoming crippled by the Hand of God, through whatever agency God so deems most efficient, and coming out with the limp of brokenness and newness of life and dependency upon  that strength and anointing which is only found in the abiding presence of the most High God; a becoming as a vessel fit for the master’s use. This only can be done as a divine shaping, a divine transforming and it is done through the course of the events in the life of the called ones, here and now and only by the hand of God, only by the operation of God in ones life. Are you willing? We lose control and must simply be brought through like a blind man through the blazing flames and turmoil of life, but not without some knowing that this will occur, not without some notice from on high.

Let’s see the revealed pattern in the experience of Peter.

(Luke 22:31 [AKJV])

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

(Luke 22:33 [AKJV])

And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.

(Luke 22:34 [AKJV])

And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice deny that you know me.

Imagine the alarm that must have flooded Peter’s soul, “No!, no!, no!, oh God no!, no don’t let it be so Lord no, please don’t tell me this, Oh God how can this happen”. The horror and dread of this only but increased until Peter was in the very fulfillment of that which he never dreamed he could do. Deny the Lord that he loves. Imagine the tremendous remorse, “Oh God how, how could I ever have done such a thing, oh God I walked with you, I knew you, I was in your presence, Why oh God, why, why, did I do this, how could I do this. How can I ever serve you again, how can I ever recover from this, I denied you in public, I denied you, I dishonored your betrayal. The pearls of your mercy were laid out to me, displayed before me and I regarded them as something to be denied as though I never knew you. I followed from afar off as one ashamed to be your acquaintance. How can you ever forgive me? What hope is there for me now?” Have you ever felt such? Do these thoughts ring true in your soul?

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

The time came at some point in Peter’s mind, in his heart when he remembered the words Jesus spoke to him. These words did Judas never know but Peter had them even from before the falling away, even from before the foundation of the world, these words were known in the mind and heart of God, these words,

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

This is the Peter that wrote this epistle, this is the Peter that strengthens and feeds the flock, even to this very day, even in this very letter, even in these very words I am speaking to you now, Peter is bringing you strength, as Jesus said He would, as Jesus determined he would.

What has Jesus determined to do in and through you? Oh but to respond straightway to His call, he is calling, and you do hear it, you hear it, it pounds in your heart with excitement and fear but do not resist, just say yes to Him and let Him do what He does.

In this letter, 1st Peter, we see the power, the divine grace by which Peter is able to strengthen the flock. He has been there from the beginning, he saw Jesus in the flesh, he fell away and was restored. Peter knows by excruciating experience the frailty of the flesh of man, for even in his great strength and character as a man, he was so weak that in it he betrayed the Lord he loved. He betrayed the Lord that loved him. But Peter also new the restoration and transformation that comes through brokenness and he new first hand the unfathomable mercy of God. He need not appeal to doctrine alone but he draws from the living wells of the experience of the very mercies of God.  He was the one Isaiah spoke of, not the redeemer but of those who were the very object of the redeemer’s love and sacrifice; see Jesus, see Peter, see your self in these words, for they are for you, from the deepest mercies of God, these words which became flesh are for you, saying,

(Isa 53:3 [AKJV])

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

(Isa 53:4 [AKJV])

Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

(Isa 53:5 [AKJV])

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.

(Isa 53:6 [AKJV])

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(Isa 53:7 [AKJV])

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.

(Isa 53:8 [AKJV])

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

(Isa 53:9 [AKJV])

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

(Isa 53:10 [AKJV])

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

(Isa 53:11 [AKJV])

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Jesus Died and was crushed by the Father for this very thing, for our rejection of Him, for our disregard for Him, for our sin and for our rebellious hearts. For these things He died and rose again justifying and calling you unto Himself. From the heart of God, from the mercy of God, He took upon Himself our despising Him so we may be clothed upon by His grace, by His righteousness, that we may be transformed into and even bear His image, that we may be the dwelling place of his Spirit, that He may be our very dwelling as well. Peter fulfilled his part of this passage and so did Jesus and so it is with all of us. We must but respond right away, straight away to the call of God for look at what He has done to secure you unto Himself.

(Matt 4:20 [AKJV])

And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Finally, let us see the divine restoration that the Lord brings to Peter and let’s see how He again informs him of his future destiny as a servant bought with a price, a vessel fit for the master’s use. Oh to be so possessed and ordered by the living God.

Let us read beginning in John 21:15

(John 21:15 [AKJV])

So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

(John 21:16 [AKJV])

He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my sheep.

(John 21:17 [AKJV])

He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep.

Now think back to the time when Peter heard these words:

(Luke 22:31 [AKJV])

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

(Luke 22:33 [AKJV])

And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.

(Luke 22:34 [AKJV])

And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice deny that you know me.

Three denials Peter had done and here Jesus leads Him, Jesus leads him, (it seems as though Peter didn’t even know what was happening), but Jesus knows and he leads him into three confessions and says feed my sheep.

Earlier Jesus said:

(John 15:3 [AKJV])

Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.

Jesus spoke the cleansing and restoring words to Peter and led him to confession of his love and told him now…feed my sheep, it is done, you are now a vessel worthy of the masters use:

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

Finally:

(John 21:18 [AKJV])

Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

(John 21:19 [AKJV])

This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, Follow me.

Catholic Church history say’s Peter was crucified upside down because he could not allow himself to be crucified in the position of his Lord. There is no certain proof for this legend but we do have the written Word of God to draw on. Based on the very words of Jesus, it may be more likely that he was killed by the sword.

(Matt 26:52 [AKJV])

Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

How ever he did die, we do know this, He was led away where he would have not gone on his own and in his death, the Lord was glorified.

(John 21:18 [AKJV])

Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

(John 21:19 [AKJV])

This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, Follow me.

This is the Peter of this epistle. This is the Peter who is the epistle of Christ unto us. What kind of epistle will God fashion you into? You too are called to be a letter from God to the people around you. Will you be that letter? Will you let God do His work in you?

Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for your divine ordering of the lives and the deaths of your saints. Thank you that it is by your doing, that by our lives and our deaths, we may glorify you. Thank you Lord that in your unfathomable mercy and unsearchable wisdom, you are able to turn our weakness into that which ultimately glorifies you. Father we ask in agreement with you, Lord, glorify yourself in and through us, do with us as you will. Lord, we, the best we know how, humbly submit to the divine workings of your Holy Spirit in our lives. Help us, oh God, to see past the flesh, to see past the blinders of popular doctrines which men in their frailties may have fashioned according to their will after the flesh. Take us beyond Lord, to the clearing of Godly wisdom and Holy counsel, and fashion us as you see fit. Call and deliver us unto the ancient paths, unto the old paths of the Apostles’ doctrine and the righteous and Holy ways of God. Let us again be grace and salt in the earth as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that we would show forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Let us know with a Godly knowing what it is to be “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:” Let us know what it is for “Grace and peace, to be multiplied”.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

And all the people said, amen and amen.

peter-with-keys

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Judges Chapter 6 – Section One, Verses 1-6

Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

Judg 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.

Judg 6:3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;

Judg 6:4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

Judg 6:5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.

Judg 6:6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried to the LORD.

PART 1 VS 1

Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

(a) And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD:

(b) and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian

(c) seven years.

450px-Gideon300

(a) And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD:

Israel means “He will rule as God”, see the Strong’s as follows.

ISRAEL: H3478 יִשׂרָאֵל Yisra’el (yis-raw-ale’) n/p.
1. he will rule as God
2. Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob
3. (typically) of his posterity
[from H8280 and H410]
KJV: Israel. Root(s): H8280, H410

It can be said this way and hear it,

“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

Where else can anyone do evil but in the sight of the LORD? Can we hide from God?

(Heb 4:13 [AKJV])
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Perhaps the emphasis here is meant to be that of a conspicuous lack of the fear of God. Somehow these people have degenerated into a place where they have no regard for the God of their fathers, no sense of the ever present Holy One who knows and sees all. There is that condition in all men which wants to offend their God, disregard Him, sin against Him, turn their backs on Him. Even in His coming to walk among us did we have this insidious nature which despised Him.

(John 1:11 [AKJV])
He came to his own, and his own received him not.

He knew this all along. God is omniscient, that is to say He knows all things. He has always known all things. Never has there or ever will be a thing that God learns as something He did not previously know. He came to us knowing He would be rejected, even when we saw how wonderful He is.

(Isa 53:3 [AKJV])
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

But He still came for you even as He is calling to you now. He will not stop calling until you come or until you die and are eternally out of reach, in the confines of hell and outer darkness, awaiting that day of eternal judgment when all of death and hell shall be cast into the lake of eternal fire.
For those who come, for those who respond yes to Him, He continues to call, deeper and deeper until that day when the prize is secured. Not just your prize of eternal glory, incorruption and immortality but His prize:

(Titus 2:14 [AKJV])
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

“and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

And for those who have not responded to His calling, He calls and calls and calls yet still, even until you die. What if tonight you die? Why would you not respond to the God who made you and loves you? The scripture tells why.

(Isa 53:3 [AKJV])
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Does that describe you? He knew that from the beginning, yet He came and He calls you now; come, throw down your sins, confess them to Him and come. He is so willing to receive you and change you that He died on a cross and bled out the cleansing blood to make you clean and acceptable to Him; He rose from the dead that you may partake of His very Spirit, the Spirit of the living God and be changed into His glorious image forever. He sat down at the right hand of the throne of His Father that you may sit down with Him in His throne. Even knowing everything there is to know about you, He died to save you. He died to make you His. Will you deprive Him of His reward, or will you honor Him and say yes Lord Jesus I am yours, do with me as you will.

(John 1:12 [AKJV])
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Israel had known 40 years of peace after the defeat of Jabin in 1296bc. We see that in Judges chapter 4 verses 23-24.

(Judg 4:23 [AKJV])
So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

(Judg 4:24 [AKJV])
And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

It says, “So God subdued”. Israel had known 40 years of peace after God defeated Jabin in 1296bc. But apparently not 40 years of holiness. Just 40 years since God had done wonders for them, yet, at some point, the children of Israel began to flounder again. They did not remember their God. Someone remembered, the record is here for us to look at now, but these did forget their God and all His wonder. They esteemed Him not.

So now here in 1256bc we see the record saying “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

(b) …and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian

The Lord will do what it takes, according to His infinite goodness and wisdom to bring us to Him but in the process, some may be lost for all eternity. Now is the time to turn to Him for even as He did with these ones, He will do to all. God does not change.

(Gal 6:7 [AKJV])
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

(2Pet 2:19 [AKJV])
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage.

of those who serve corruption, it can be said, “of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage”.

“of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage”.

At first the children of Israel gave themselves to their first enemy, their own lusts and desires, their own sin. Then, God turned them over to their second enemy, the hand of Midian.

Isn’t that the way it works? We give place to a little thing and everything starts pouring in. When we allow sin, death and destruction soon follow. A crack, when it comes to sin getting in, a crack is as a door is as a flood gate. Just think about the little mouse in your house. “Oh he isn’t going to hurt anything, look how cute he is. He just has a little hole he comes and goes from. Lets feed him, just right here, so he only stays just right here in this spot. That way we know he doesn’t get in the places and things we care about. After all what harm can a little ‘ole mouse do?” The next thing you know the walls of your home have become infested with rodents, they are living and eating and defecating and breeding and dying in the walls and ceiling of your home. The smell permeates the house, even those walking by can smell it, the neighbors can smell it. All the food and food surfaces are contaminated with their droppings. It is their droppings that they use to tell the other mice where to go. So they make their droppings in all the places and things you care about. So every precious place and all that you care about are infested, fouled and defiled. All is a waste. In no time at all the entire house is contaminated, defiled and condemned. Sickness, allergies and disease flourish and it becomes altogether uninhabitable. Who would want to live in such a place? Certainly not God, even man himself has become putrefied by this condition of the abundance and infestation of his own sin.

That’s what we see here, Israel gave in to sin and God has given them over to their enemies.

(Rom 6:16 [AKJV])
Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?

(c) …seven years.

Suddenly now things are out of control for Israel, even as they become for all of us who choose to serve sin. No longer does Israel decide about her affairs, about her station, it is now decided for her and for a determined amount of time. Seven years! The time is set. Cry all you want, strive all you want, pray all you want, but the time has been set and God will not change His decree. Sentence must be paid. Want freedom? It will come when the lesson is learned and at God’s appointed time. It is Him who is in charge. We failed to recognize that so now we have an opportunity to become oh so aware that God is in charge, not us. Until then, be glad that God will not be angry forever. Be grateful that the time will be fulfilled. Be careful how you receive the chastisement of God. Be glad you are alive on this earth to be chastised and not dead and in an eternal hell from which there is no escape.

Seven years. A set aside time. A temporary time. We know 7 speaks of completeness, rest, perfection, sanctification and now we understand that 7 is, in this case, speaking to judgement. We can easily see all these attributes of the number 7 apply in this case. All we have to do is read the verse, “Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. He set them apart unto judgment. He set them apart for a holy purpose. Judgment is a holy purpose and a benevolent one. He could simply send the disobedient to hell right away and not fuss with them and still serve a holy justice. The number 7 is shown twice, once in the scripture address, Judges 6:1, (6 and 1 are 7), and once in the verse as the time decreed, “seven years”.

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It is a temporary decree. It will end. And soon. We see here by the fact that the decree is temporary, that God must have something ultimately good planned for the Children of Israel and again, by this we ought to see the same intention of God for us, for God does not change, God is immutable. He is, has always been and will always be perfect and He does not change. The same benevolence, the same good intention and purpose He has for one, He has for all both then and now and forever. That means you my friend.

(Jas 1:17 [AKJV])
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.

(Mal 3:6 [AKJV])
For I am the LORD, I change not;
These verses speak explicitly of God’s immutability. He does not change.

In the decreeing of 7 years is found much reason for rejoicing. Is found the benevolence of God. Is found the desire in God’s heart for His children to be reconciled to Him, to know the glory of relationship and communion with Him. His intention is nothing less than evident, it is trumpeted aloud to anyone paying attention. God wants all to be well with you. Otherwise why only seven years? Why not send them all into the depths of hell now and be done with them? Be done with the repeated heart ache they bring? Our God is a God of redemption, He wills not that we die, not that we perish, but rather that we share in His glory.

(Ps 30:5 [AKJV])
For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

God has a grand design for everything He does and it is your best interest He has in mind as well as His. Consider it earnestly, God’s best interest for Himself includes your best interest. It is better for Him that you do well. His well being is eternally tied to your well being and you can be sure that every measure taken to win your affection, to corral you into His will for you, is the absolute best and most efficient way possible and is aimed at the absolute best outcome for you and for Him. Even if it means seven years as it did for the children of Israel in this instance.

(2Tim 3:16 [AKJV])
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Here is more evidence, plainly written and easy to understand, God intends for us to be instructed in righteousness, ..in righteousness.

(2Tim 3:17 [AKJV])
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works. …

Reading about this experience of the children of Israel is for our being made perfect, being thoroughly furnished unto good works. The very judgment brought by God through the use of Midian was for the very same purpose. And such measure will be employed upon any of us when ever the infinite wisdom of God deems it necessary for our best interest, for our well being, for our turning to and being restored unto Him that He may secure us in Him for all eternity.

Even in what we are reading here in this first verse of Judges 6 we see powerful, everlasting truths of hope and warning for us.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…

In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul was talking about the deadly mistake of the children of Israel who after having been delivered from the bondage of Pharaoh and Egypt were entangled in their own sin to such a degree that the wrath of God killed many of them! And this he says is our example!

Lets look at it for a moment. 1st Corinthians 10: 6-11

(1Cor 10:6 [AKJV])
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

“examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things”, Why? Look at what happened to them. Notice, God is good, He is benevolent, He can not tolerate sin, He is not a tyrant, He will not ask of us that which we can not do. Sin separates us from God and that is not His will for either Himself or for us. It is the worst thing that can happen and He wants the best for Him and for us.
Let’s continue to read some things He is warning us not to do by this old testament example which is meant to apply to new testament saints.

(1Cor 10:7 [AKJV])
Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

If nothing is more important than to sit down to eat and drink, and rise up to play, then we are idolators. Jesus said it this way,

(John 3:19 [AKJV])
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

and this way,

(Mark 12:30 [AKJV])
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.

(1Cor 10:8 [AKJV])
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

What a warning to those who have been made alive by Christ and are slipping into sin. What a warning to those who are backslidden. He says this is our example! 23,000 were slain in one day.

It is a warning to new testament saints, let’s look at another example and a desired result:

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(Acts 5:1 [AKJV])
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

(Acts 5:2 [AKJV])
And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

(Acts 5:3 [AKJV])
But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

(Acts 5:4 [AKJV])
Whiles it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why have you conceived this thing in your heart? you have not lied to men, but to God.

(Acts 5:5 [AKJV])
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

(Acts 5:6 [AKJV])
And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

(Acts 5:7 [AKJV])
And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

(Acts 5:8 [AKJV])
And Peter answered to her, Tell me whether you sold the land for so much? And she said, Yes, for so much.

(Acts 5:9 [AKJV])
Then Peter said to her, How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried your husband are at the door, and shall carry you out.

(Acts 5:10 [AKJV])
Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

(Acts 5:11 [AKJV])
And great fear came on all the church, and on as many as heard these things.

The desired result…the fear of the Lord

“And great fear came on all the church, and on as many as heard these things.”

Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

(“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”)

They had lost their fear and therefore sin easily overtook them, so God brought the hand of Midian upon them seeing, among other things, in His infinite and unfailing wisdom, that their fear of God should be renewed.

(1Cor 10:9 [AKJV])
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Paul is clearly and most assuredly tying the old testament example to our conduct with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in New Testament times. He is saying “as it happened to them, so it can happen to you”. He said neither let us tempt Christ. Who is ‘us’? In verse one he says, “Moreover, brothers”, in Chapter 1 verse 2 he says, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and ours:”.

Let us not tempt Christ.

(1Cor 10:10 [AKJV])
Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

(1Cor 10:11 [AKJV])
Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.

Conclusion

It is even more serious for us to heed these warnings! How much more able are we who have been bought by the blood of Christ and endued with the Spirit of God to walk in His ways? Christ came! He died, shedding His blood on the cross! He gave us His Holy Spirit! He calls us Sons! He calls us to use this power of the Holy Ghost and cooperate willingly, with effort, with zeal and joyfulness with the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost unto holiness for the reward of Jesus Christ who bought us with His own blood.

(Titus 2:14 [AKJV])
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

What is peculiar in a world where sin is the norm? Holiness! What is peculiar in a world of darkness? Light. What is peculiar in an unrighteous world? Righteousness. What is peculiar in a world that disregards God? Regarding Him in all things all the time!

Let us remain focused and balanced, even though we must see as a bright and brilliant light, the glorious and hope filled intentions of God in times of judgement, there is yet a real and serious eternal danger. God can not tolerate sin in the camp, sin in the house. His benevolent intentions are universal, He intends and will accomplish the best for Him and for His elect, … that often means some will perish, it often means many will perish. We see in Paul’s example using the time of Moses as he address the Corinthians that people died! It was found in the heart and mind of God that that was the best thing to occur.
In the Judges 6 example we see that there was a remnant saved from death.

Look here at this example in Gideon’s time, during this seven years they had again been reduced to but a few and to a pitiful, week and impoverished state. Those who survive the ordeal are the ones who can be helped by this hope of a temporary judgment having in design the restoration of a people to their God for all eternity! In this we need to be fearful and cautious; for who knows who will live through the season of chastisement to see the hope and who will not?

When death befalls you, you want to be found in the favor of God and in holiness and not be found in the company of the devil and in the chains of sin. For the chains of sin are fastened upon the beds of hell and to die therein is to remain therein. But to die in Christ is to remain in Him for all eternity.

Will you be found in Him? That is your choice to make and God has afforded you the power to make that choice; the very Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is here now, He is here with you right now and will be with you forever, if you so choose. God has done all in Christ on the cross for you, He does all even now with the very presence of His Spirit, He is here now with you. All hinges upon the choice you make.

Make the choice now my friends for when Judgment comes full on, we do not know who will die and who will live through it. When it comes, it comes. And it is coming. And we need to be in Christ when it does. Latch on to Him and never let go!

(1Tim 6:12 [AKJV])
… lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called,…

Paul again sums it up so well as one inspired by the God who loves us and gave Himself for us, in his warning which is tied to the glorious hope and intention of God not only for us but for Him. What He did on the cross was also for Him. ..For Him. … For Him.

(Titus 2:11 [AKJV])
For the grace of God that brings salvation has “appeared”,(shined down on, manifested…delivered), to all men,

(Titus 2:12 [AKJV])
“Teaching”, (instructing, disciplining, making us able, raising us up in), us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
You see we have what we need to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

(Titus 2:13 [AKJV])
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

(Titus 2:14 [AKJV])
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

He is purifying a people unto Himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works. It’s for Him!

He will have a people unto Himself. He will have a new heaven and a new earth. He will come for His bride. Nothing dirty can be there. Not one speck of dust, not one iotta of sin. No darkness at all, no corruption at all. It will be glorious and holy. Now is the only time we have to respond.

(1Tim 6:12 [Webster])
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
(1Tim 6:13 [Webster])
I give thee charge in the sight of God, who maketh alive all things, and [before] Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified a good confession;
(1Tim 6:14 [Webster])
That thou keep [this] commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(1Tim 6:15 [Webster])
Which in his times he will show [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
(1Tim 6:16 [Webster])
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honor and power everlasting. Amen.

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