In this passage, we see that the people of Jerusalem begin to ask questions about Jesus. His words and actions arouse their curiosity. They ask the question as to whether He is the one who is sought to be killed. They note that if this man is the one who the religious leaders and others want to kill, He continues to speak boldly. Time is running out, and Jesus continues to speak with divine authority.
The message of the good news of Jesus Christ must be taught. No matter what kind of response is given. When God’s Word is delivered, whether teaching, preaching or witnessing, we should be prepared for negative responses. This is not always the case. There are times when the Word of God is responded to in a positive way. A soul is saved from the penalty of sin. We should strive for this result. When the response is negative, we should be prepared to stand firm and focused on what we are presenting.
Jesus knew that He would face opposition, but He kept going. We know we will face opposition, but this should not deter us from being effective witnesses for the Lord. I am reminded of a woman in a foreign land. She was pregnant when they arrested her. She had her baby in prison. They did not want her to remain a Christian. She told them that she would not recant. They tore out her tongue, and as the blood ran from her mouth, she pointed to Heaven giving the praise to the Lord anyway.
Can we do this? Can we still give praise, honor and glory to the Lord when we are faced with violence? That is something that we need to consider–even as Americans. Although the government and society are slowly tearing away at our religious freedom, can we still stand flat-footed in the midst of the heat? Do we know our Bible like the back of our hand? Can we quote His Word like we give our Social Security number from heart? I am ashamed to say that I do not know scripture that well, but I am working on it. Someday we will not be able to walk freely with our Bibles. We might have to meet secretly like others in foreign lands. Will we be ready to die for what we believe? I hope we will
Psalm 108:1-6 (KJV) (1) “O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. (2) Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. (3) I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. (4) For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. (5) Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth; (6) That thy beloved may be delivered: save with thy right hand, and answer me.”
The first thing I notice about this psalm is David immediately mentions the condition of his heart. It is fixed. His heart is not unsteady. It is not moving from one desire to another. His heart gives praise to the God of the Universe. He will sing and give glory to the Father. He uses the word “praise” twice, and the word “praises” once. He then speaks of instruments of praise. He will awake early to give God the praise. All the nations shall hear David praising God and glorifying His Name.
Can we say the same? Is our heart fixed on God alone? Do we praise Him when we rise in the morning? Do we seek to praise Him on our jobs—even if it is a silent praise? Do we speak of His mercy that has been extended to us? Do we tell of His loving kindness toward us? We must be willing to share our faith and praise with the world. We must be willing to give Him praise no matter where we are. All the praise, honor and glory belongs to Him. He is our God, and we should let the world know this.
Numbers 21:23-25 (KJV) (23) “And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. (24) And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong. (25) And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.”
They were on their way to the Promised Land when this happened. Sihon would not allow them to travel through his land. He decided to fight them. This army met Israel in Jahaz. There they fought against Israel, and Israel won the battle. They gained possession of his land from Arnon to Jabbok. Israel overcame its enemy.
Are you traveling through a strange land? Do you have to fight your way through? Just as Israel had to fight its enemy, you find you are facing a battle, too. You have the victory over your enemy. Your enemy cannot stop you. You will gain what is yours because of the God you serve.
Stand flat-footed and believe that you have already won the battle. Go forth and move into the territory that has your name on it.
As believers, we know what the truth of the gospel is. We have learned what is error as well. Those who have made the choice to not hear and be obedient to the Word of Truth are spiritually blind. They not only are blind, but they listening to false doctrine.
We are known of God because we are obedient to His commandments. We are able to hear the voice of the Shepherd because we are His sheep. Those who are not of God do not hear His voice. They are being led by that which is not righteous. This is how we know whether a person is following the truth or error.
When the Council of Nicaea convened in A.D. 325, the gathered body included many who had suffered fearfully for their faith during the persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian. For eight terrifying years, Diocletian had wrecked churches, burned sacred books, and tortured and beheaded Christians. As thirty bishops paid honor to Constantine at the first council session, ten of the thirty were blind, their eyes having been burned out by Diocletian’s forces. Every one of the thirty had bodily evidence of the years of persecution. Many of them had worked in the salt mines, others as galley slaves.
Have you been persecuted for righteousness’ sake? Do you think you could endure like these men did? Something to think about.
If we do not feed upon Jesus spiritually on a daily basis, we will become spiritually ill. No man-made medication will heal us. We need an adequate spiritual meal to keep our spiritual strength. It also involves growth. When a child does not get the proper nourishment, they become sickly and weak. When they do get the proper food, it should be fed slowly to them. Their stomachs must get used to a regular diet. Jesus’ words must penetrate the heart of the believer. This will cause the individual to become spiritually healthy and strong. Their minds and hearts will be strengthened so they can go through life’s challenges.
Deuteronomy 1:42-45 (KJV) (42) “And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies. (43) So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill. (44) And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah. (45) And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.”
Even though Israel was told not to go into battle, they went anyway, and their enemy defeated them. They did not listen to what the Lord said in verse 40. They admitted their wrong. The Lord told them not to go to battle. He would not be with them. Without the Lord on their side, they were defeated.
We cannot do anything on our own. If the Lord tells us not to do something, and we do it anyway, we will be defeated. If we inquire of the Lord concerning something we want to do, we have to listen to him. If we do not listen, we will lose the battle. Why should we seek to enter into the enemy’s camp without the Lord on our side? This is dangerous. The enemy of our soul will win.
We must seek to be in the will of the Father when it comes to fighting a battle. Learn from these Israelites. When the Lord says no, it does not mean yes.