May 29, 2011 God is my Peace/Jehovah-shalom

God is my peace/Jehovah-shalom.

It is easy to be at peace when there is gas in the car, food in the fridge, a paycheck coming in, family and friends nearby, and a godly leader at the helm.  If that is your peace, then you do not know the God of peace.  He is the One Who shows up when you have just been downsized or just left the counselor trying to save your relationship or when the storm thunders at you or the bullets of war land all around you.  He is the certainty you hold onto in an uncertain world.  He is the God of Peace found by Kings Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20.12) and Hezekiah (Isaiah 37.20).  Gideon earlier had proclaimed Him as Jehovah-shalom!  Learn from his story in Judges 6.1-40.

Midianites Oppress Israel (verses 1-10).

  • Sin removed God’s protection; verses 1 and 10.
  • Israelites planted the seeds but missed the harvest; verses 3-6.
  • After 7 years, the Israelites cried out for God’s help; verses 6-7a.
  • He sent a prophet before He chose a warrior; verse 7b.
  • Sin does bad things to good people.

Gideon a warrior? (verses 11-35).

  • Hiding from the enemy; verse 11.
  • Courage and bravery recognized by God; verse 12-13.
  • God’s orders, and Gideon’s reluctance; verses 14-15.
  • Assurance of victory; verse 16.
  • Gideon’s first proof that God was with him; verses 17-21.  What convinced him?
  • Peace from the unseen voice; verses 22-24.  See Genesis 32.30 for a similar experience.  What is the peace in Ephesians 2.11-22?
  • First assignment and response; verses 25-32.

How does this explain verse 1?

How is this similar to God’s task for Jeremiah (1.7-10)?

  • A different response to the enemy; verses 33-35.

Contrast this with verse 2.

  • Gideon’s second and third proofs that God was with him; verses 36-40.
  • Gideon became so confident in God’s leadership that he did not resist sending 31,900 of the assembled troops home, leaving only 300 to defeat the enemies completely.

Takeaways from the lesson:

  • Peace acknowledges that God is reliable as the only Savior.
  • Peace discounts the size of the problem.  ‘God is with me!’
  • Peace confirms His voice as giving the instruction.
  • Peace allows God to do His work through us.

Some New Testament illustrations.

  • Paul and Silas’ praise brings an earthquake, freedom, and salvation; Acts 16.16-34.
  • Peter slept soundly before pending death until an angel freed him; Acts 12.1-11.
  • Jesus sums up peace for believers; Luke 22.35.  God is our peace!

Copyright by Maurice L. Painter; all rights reserved.

May 22, 2011 The Lord is my Protector/Jehovah-nissi

The Lord is my protector/ Jehovah-nissi.

The priest, Ezra, had been commissioned by Persian King Artaxerxes to return the Temple treasures to Jerusalem from Babylon, a five month journey through open country.  Though the king offered security, Ezra (8.22-31) declined because he had declared God’s ability to protect him and his companions.  How much security would you want for you, your family, and your friends if you were asked to transport one billion in gold bars in family automobiles from New York City to Los Angeles?  What did Ezra know about God that you must learn?  This lesson is about the protecting hands of Jehovah-nissi.

God revealed Himself Moses and Joshua as Jehovah-nissi; Exodus 17.8-16.

  • During their journey to the Promised Land, God led the Hebrews from the Wilderness of Sin to Rephidim, in a range of hills, including the ‘rock of Horeb’ that Moses struck, at God’s command, to provide water (see verses 1-7).
  • The Amalekites chose the superior advantage of the mountains from which to attack the defenseless Hebrew people.
  • But, God defeated Amalek whenever Moses’ hands were lifted up in praise to God for His protection.
  • After the victory, Moses built an altar and called it ‘The Lord is my banner’.  This is the first time God was named Jehovah-nissi because of His protection in the battle.
  • Now, what have you learned so far?

God did the same for Judah’s King Jehoshaphat; 2 Chronicles 20.12-30.

  • What should you do when you are surrounded by a great-throng of satan worshippers?
  • In verses 1-11, we find that the king asked God what to do, in verse 3.  He also commanded the people to join him in seeking Godly wisdom.
  • Verse 12 contains the proper cry of any leader in uncertainty.
  • Verses 15-17 contain God’s response and the reality upon which He based it.  Is this true of any conflict between good and evil?
  • Jehoshaphat’s actions in verses 21 and 22 may seem unorthodox, but they produced the result in verse 23Should you memorize the words to the song?
  • So, what learning have you added to how you should view Jehovah-nissi?

God saved the Jews from another attempt to annihilate them; Isaiah 37.20-38.

  • What was King Hezekiah’s appeal to God in verse 20Who should be recognized in a ‘saving’ experience?
  • What was God’s reply in verse 21?  Verse 36 records God’s salvation of the Jews.

Jesus showed Jehovah-nissi in John 18.1-6.

  • Just as God destroyed the enemies of Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah, so He demonstrated in restrained manner to the crowd that came for Jesus.  What did Jesus say to them?
  • Just as God’s unseen army surrounded Ezra’s band, so they will for you, when you ask.
  • What did you learn about Jehovah-nissi from this study?
  • Contemplate: Psalm 10.1-18; 2 Corinthians 2.14; Psalm 27.1-14; Isaiah 64.4, 49.23Isaiah 45.22: Look to God and be saved from whatever trouble.  He is your protector…your banner, just like He was for Moses!  See John 16.33.

Copyright by Maurice L. Painter; all rights reserved.

May 15, God is my righteousness/Jehovah-tsidkenu

God is my righteousness/Jehovah-tsidkenu.

Middle-Ages Jewish commentator, Moses Maimonides, stated that, “All the names of God which occur in Scripture are derived from His works except one, and that is Jehovah….” (The Exhaustive Dictionary of bible Names, page 84)  Thus, Jehovah works tsidkenu means Jehovah works righteousness.  Hosea 14.9 states the reality that what God says is right will judge what our right and wrong.  Jesus said the same thing in John 12.48-50.  So, should we obey His words or not?

Jehovah-tsidkenu appears only twice in Scripture: Jeremiah 23.5-6, 33.16.

  • God does not want anyone to perish (John 3.16-18), but He will judge the guilty.  See Deuteronomy 30.19-20.
  • The book of Jeremiah is the story of one, lonely prophet proclaiming righteousness and resulting salvation to kings of Judah who no longer followed His ways.  Jeremiah 13.10 and chapters 21 (especially 21.12-14) and 22 (especially 22.3, 8-9) issue God’s charge and judgment against King Zedekiah and Jerusalem.  Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar would conquer the city and kill or enslave its people, because they turned their backs on God.
  • All other prophets were assuring Zedekiah of salvation and victory, which God called their words the ‘vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord; the imagination of his own heart’ (Jeremiah 23.16-17).  Note the contrast in 23.28-29.
  • But, because God always wins in the end, ‘behold, days are coming, says the Lord, that I will raise…a Branch of righteousness….’ (Jeremiah 23.5-6)  He will be called Jehovah-tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness!
  • How does Jeremiah 23.4 express righteousness?  How do Jesus’ words in John 8.31-32 explain this?  Negative illustrations are in 2 Samuel 24.1-25 and 1 Chronicles 21.1-30 and another is in 2 Samuel 21.1-14.
  • Whereas Jeremiah 23.5-6 revealed a King Who would lead the people in righteousness, Jeremiah 33.15-18 tell about the restoration and safety of Jerusalem, God’s chosen city for His name (2 Samuel 5.6-10; 7.12-16).

Why is righteousness important?

God has had to re-establish righteousness many times in His-story; He needs to again today.  What will you change?  You will, then, know Him better (Jeremiah 9.24).

Proverbs 14.34: ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.’
Praise God!!!

Copyright by Maurice L. Painter; all rights reserved.