Bible, Confession, Judgment, Pity, Scripture, Uncategorized

A HISSING NOISE 

MICAH 6:16 

“‘The statutes of Omri and every work of the house of Ahab are maintained, and you walk by their plans. Therefore, I will give you up for destruction, and your inhabitants for derision, and you will suffer the taunting of My people.’” 

What a strange title for my blog today, right? Well, I’ll explain in a bit. I am not talking about the hissing of a snake or of a tire that is leaking. I am talking about a hissing sound made by someone who was disappointed in something. It is that sound you make blowing air through clinched teeth. 

Why am I explaining that. Because the word for “derision” here in today’s verse means “hissing” in Hebrew. Jeremiah combines this word with “a horror” four different times (Jer. 25:9, 18; 29:18; 51:37). God was going to make Israel something horrible to look at. People would walk by them, shake their head and make that horrible hissing sound.  

APPLICATION 

Do people walk by you and do that? Do they wonder what in the world has happened to you. I know someone who recently has renounced their faith and walked away from their family. Hiss! Hiss! It is said to see what sin can do. It has been said, “Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to stray, keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay and cost you more than you ever thought you would pay.” 

But there is a remedy. Come back to the Lord. Confess your sins and seek His forgiveness. He stands ready to do just that. If you are a believer who has strayed, come home. You will be safe in His arms. If you have never received Christ as Savior, ask Him now. He is there, waiting for you to respond. 

Above all, stop your own hissing sound as you look at others. Instead, seek a way in which you can help bring them to Jesus. It may be hard, and they may refuse your offer, but don’t give up. Jesus did not give up on you.  

I am thankful, Lord, that the hissing sounds of others as they looked at me have ceased due to the blood of Your Son. 

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TRUE REPENTANCE

JONAH 3:8

“‘But every person and animal must be covered with sackcloth; and people are to call on God vehemently, and they are to turn, each one from his evil way, and from the violence which is in their hands.’”

I may have told this story before in one of my blogs (I’m getting older, so just pretend you haven’t heard it, lol). I was on a trip once with a work colleague in North Carolina. We were driving back to Florida after a conference and decided to stop and get a bite to eat. We finished and got back on the interstate. After about 30-45 minutes I begin to notice things I had seen already along the highway, only this time they were on the opposite side of the road. We had headed in the opposite direction. Wrong way!

Jonah is watching what is taking place there in Nineveh. Now, the king continues his proclamation demanding that not only the people but that every animal be covered in sackcloth as a sign of mourning. But what he says next grabs me. He tells them to call on God with all their strength. That’s what the Hebrew word for “vehemently” means. And he says they are to turn from their evil ways and violence. That’s true repentance.

APPLICATION

True repentance requires a change in behavior. It requires us to turn from the direction we have been going and go in a totally new direction. That new direction is at the discretion of the Lord. He may change the direction, according to what He is trying to teach us at the moment.

The problem we have is that we like to determine our own direction. We veer off the course the Lord is showing us, determined to show Him how we can handle it. I just finished reading “Pilgrim’s Progress.” That was Christian’s problem. He kept trying alternative routes which all brought him pain and grief.

I am getting too old to try it on my own. I know if I stick with the Lord, He will always keep me safe. It may not be easy, but it’s safe. It always is when I am traveling with Him. Will you today allow the Lord to direct your steps? There is no telling what you may find yourself doing.

I come before You, O Great Elohim, and bow before You. I turn from my evil ways.

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FALSE HOPE

JONAH 1:13

“However, the men rowed desperately to return to land, but they could not, because the sea was becoming even stormier against them.”

Have you ever been given false hope? You had your heart set on something, but it didn’t come to pass. Perhaps someone promised something but didn’t deliver. Maybe you tried to do something on your own and failed. Whatever the circumstance, you can probably relate.

Jonah had told the sailors to throw him in the sea to stop the storm, but they didn’t want to do that. That was ridiculous. How would that stop the waves and wind? They figured they would try anything else. After all, they were experienced sailors, right?

APPLICATION

Sometimes God’s solution to a problem may sound totally ridiculous. His plan for your life may make no sense. I remember making a move in our ministry from one state to another. We knew it was God’s will for us to move, but the salary was half what we were making. That couldn’t be God’s will, lol

But we went and God blessed like you would not believe. While we were there at this location, we gave more than we ever had before. Money came in from sources we did not know even existed before. God is good, all the time.

I am so glad that I don’t put my hope in my plans. They are almost always false hopes. Psalm 62:5 says “my hope is from Him.” Amen? Place your hopes in Him today, beloved. His promises always come true. He will not leave you hopeless.

Lord, I love that I can depend on You. When all seems hopeless, You are there.

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DISASTER

OBADIAH 13

“Do not enter the gate of My people on the day of their disaster. You indeed, do not gloat over their catastrophe on the day of their disaster. And do not lay a hand on their wealth on the day of their disaster.

We have all either experienced disasters or seen them happen. Just a couple of years ago, on Easter Sunday, right at the beginning of the Covid crisis, a tornado struck my area of the city where I live. Many homes were destroyed. There was disarray everywhere. In fact, this area of town will never look the same.

Israel was experiencing that kind of disaster. Their entire communities were being destroyed by their enemies, and Edom was rejoicing. They were taking advantage of the situation. God warns them to not go there, to not gloat and to not lay a hand on anything Israel owned. Edom would be judged by how they treat their brother.

APPLICATION

Perhaps your life is a disaster right now. Nothing is going right. Every time you try to do something right, you get struck down. Your finances are a mess. Your marriage is on the rocks. Your children are rebelling. You feel like throwing your hands up and quitting.

Don’t! God is there. If you are a believer, you must trust Him. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you, except what is common to man. BUT God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. And when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” So, stay close to Him. He has you right where He wants you.

That’s hard to swallow, I know. Pain is no fun. Suffering isn’t easy. But everything that touches your life, as a believer, goes through His hands first. Believe that. Hang on to that. He has a plan, and it is always perfect.

O God, it is hard to trust what you cannot see, but I will trust You because I know You want to make me into the image of Christ.

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NOTHING HIDDEN

OBADIAH 6

“Oh how Esau will be searched, And his hidden treasures searched out!”

Having a hiding spot for special things is nothing new. A lot of people do. I had a spot in my bedroom when I was growing up where I hid some stuff I didn’t want my brother or sisters to bother. As far as I know, they never found that spot. Hmmm, I wonder if that spot still has stuff hidden in it.

Esau, if you didn’t know this, was the father of the Edomites. He was Jacob’s brother but separated from Jacob upon Jacob’s return. That separation led to the separate people group of the Edomites. These relatives of the Israelites had waged war against their brothers and treated them horribly, thus the judgment against them. Now all they had was being searched out and taken.

APPLICATION

Listen, my friends, there is nothing hidden from the eyes of God. You can’t find a hiding place so good that He can’t see what you are hiding. You can’t sneak around good enough to disguise your sins from Him. He sees all and knows all. So, if you are playing that game with God, you are going to lose.

Hidden sins only get worse the longer they stay hidden. They tend to grow like yeast does when it is applied to the bread mixture. That stuff just expands and spreads and before you know it, there’s a mess. Why do you think yeast is referred to as sin in the Scriptures so many times?

I gave up a long time ago trying to hide my sins from the all-knowing God. What I discovered is when I stopped hiding and started confessing, things got a lot better. I didn’t have to make up stories or create excuses. I learned to just confess sin as sin. That was so freeing. If you haven’t done that today, stop whatever you are doing and make things right.

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing me. I know I cannot hide anything from You. I want to be an open book.

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HIGH AND MIGHTY

OBADIAH 4

“‘Though you make your home high like the eagle, though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,’ declares the LORD.”

Where I’m from the term “high and mighty” usually carries a negative connotation. People who think too much of themselves fall into this category. They look down on others and truly think they are better than them. Their noses are stuck so high that if they got caught in a rainstorm, they would drown.

The Edomites had the same opinion of themselves. They thought they were invincible perched in their mountainous homes and dwellings. Surely, no one could conquer them. They began to think a little bit too much of themselves. I guess they weren’t aware of how the Lord God would humble the proud.

APPLICATION

I could quote verse after verse about God humbling the proud and arrogant. You probably know most of them. How about Proverbs 3:34 which says, “Though He scoffs at the scoffers, yet He gives grace to the needy.” Or James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

Those are just two of the many verses you can find on humility and God’s reaction to the proud. I would encourage you to do a search in one of the many online sources out there. As you read the passages, look at your own heart. Are you showing any signs of pride or arrogance that don’t belong there?

Pride surely comes before the fall. Too many people have fallen victim to the devil’s lies about this. He has a way of pumping you up and making you believe all those things. Turn to Jesus. Ask Him to examine your life and reveal all that self-made pride. Once He does, repent and allow Him to lift you up.

Father, I do not want to dwell among eagles without You first placing me there. I know You will place me where You want me to be to bring You glory.

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GREEDY

AMOS 8:4

“Hear this, you who trample the needy, to put an end to the humble of the land,”

It’s pretty low to kick a man when he’s down. It’s easy to take advantage of those who are having a hard time. When people are suffering, they are easy prey for the “vultures,” those who pray on the lowly. There really ought to be a lower jail cell for those individuals when they are caught and convicted.

God speaks against such individuals. The phrase “trample the needy” could be translated as “take advantage of the needy” or “devour the needy.” They wanted to get rid of them to get their land. They were simply greedy for what little they had. Greed, greed, greed!

APPLICATION

Perhaps you have been one of those people who were taken advantage of by someone else. It hurts, doesn’t it? It hurts, no matter who it is, but it especially hurts when it’s family or someone you thought cared about you. It happens every day. People all over the world face this injustice.

So, what does a Christian do about this? Well, first of all, you trust Jesus. He is completely aware of the situation. He will have justice on those who have harmed His children. Secondly, you can be Jesus to the one(s) who have wronged you. What? Carl, are you serious? Serious as a heart attack.

I know that is hard. Heck, it’s practically impossible. But all things are possible with Christ. Let Him love those individuals. Let Him show you how to love them. Let Him give you the words to say. He is above all things. He can give you the power to love and share. Only through Him.

I love You, Lord, and trust You to help me love those who have wronged me.

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FAMILY WHOOPING

Amos 3:2

“’You only have I known among all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your wrongdoing.’”

When I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s, whippings were pretty normal. I didn’t know any kids whose parents didn’t spank them. We all turned out pretty good, so I guess when it’s done correctly it’s okay. Now, don’t start writing me letters. This is simply my opinion based on my experience. My parents would have never spanked someone else’s child. That was reserved for family. I guess you could call them family whoopings.

The Lord is taking Israel to task because they were His children. Look what He says in this verse. “You only have I known…” He had cut covenant with Abraham. His seed were God’s children. So when they misbehaved, God punished them. Here in Amos, they are being told that punishment is coming. God is promising then a family whooping,

APPLICATION

Do you like whoopings? I sure don’t. I don’t want to be scolded or spanked. I want to live my life to please my Father. And when I mess up, He is quick to correct me. When I am sharp with my wife, His Spirit convicts me. When I talk disrespectfully the Lord reminds me whose I am. It’s like He’s asking me if I want a spanking. That gets my attention.

Even if you are smarting as a result of one of God’s spankings, remember how much He loves you, God is a just God, but He is also a merciful God. I really don’t believe God enjoys punishing us. He had rather extend mercy and grace. But He knows sometimes He needs to apply the board. Family whoopings.

I am thankful for a God that will not let me stray. Psalm 119:10 says, “I seek You with all of my heart. Do not let me stray from Your commands.” What a great reminder of our heart for the Lord.

Dear Father, I ask for You to help us manage the affairs of our lives so that we can free to others,

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DEFEAT

Amos 2:14

“’Refuge will be lost from the swift, and the strong will not strengthen his power, nor the warrior save his life.'”

I remember a football game I played in high school. We played a team that was way out of league. This team has us down 50 to 0 at halftime. Every time they touched the ball they scored. We couldn’t stop them. As hard as we tried, they were just bigger and better than us. It was a pretty hopeless feeling at halftime knowing we had to go back out and play the rest of the game.

The Lord is reminding the Israelites that nothing within them was going to rescue them from His judgments. The swift, the strong and the warrior were helpless, about as helpless as I felt in that locker room at halftime. God’s judgment was sure and certain. Their swiftness, strength and battle skills were no match for Him. It as time they learned that.

APPLICATION

Have you ever felt this helpless? During those time, what do you do? The beautiful thing about being a Christian is we have no reason for feeling that way. If we are following the Lord and relying on His Word, we know it’s not about us. Our potential skills don’t matter. All that matters is following Him. He will give us the swiftness, strength and fighting skills we need. We just have to ask.

But what about those low times? I know we shouldn’t have them, but be honest, most of us face them. Do you think the Lord wants you wallowing in self-pity and guilt? No, He wants us walking in victory. There js literally no power on earth that can keep us down if we surrendered to Him. Whatever you are facing today, let it go. He is there.

I am a child of the King. He is in control. I simply follow His marching orders. Right now that means moving into full-time missions work with Every Man A Warrior. In about one month that will happen. This is a path I would have never taken ten years ago. But God has reminded me that it is not about me. It’s all about Him. That’s the secret.

Father, remind me daily that it’s not my power. It is totally Yours. I am Yours to use as You see fit.

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BABY TALK

HOSEA 14:3

I don’t know about you, but compassion is a big deal to me. I have worked almost 42 years with children and teenagers. They need to be shown compassion. They need to know someone loves them. I have found that when kids know you truly care about them, they respond. When I was dealing with difficult children, compassion went a long way.

Our verse today ends with a phrase that really hit me hard. It says, “for in You the orphan finds mercy.” The word for “mercy” is not the normal Hebrew word chesed. It’s racham which means to love or have compassion. It’s similar in meaning to chesed, but it’s different. To me, it almost seems more tender. It actually refers to a motherly type of love and is similar to another Hebrew word which means womb. I just love that.

APPLICATION

How tender are you with your loved ones? How about your children? Moms, remember when you first laid eyes on your children. Dads, do you remember the first time you held your child? Maybe you aren’t a parent. Have you ever held a tiny, little baby? That’s the feeling I’m referring to with this word. It’s deep compassion.

I recently held a newborn. One of our young couples just had their third child. I was in the hallway of the church when they came in. The father handed me his son to hold. The feeling I had when I held my own children came back. I made a fool of myself cooing and using my best baby talk. That’s how God loves us.

We were reborn into His family. I can just picture the Lord holding us and loving on us. He wants us to feel His compassion and tenderness. He shows it to the orphans, but He shows it to us as well. Tender, sweet, compassionate love! That’s it. Have you felt that lately from your Heavenly Father? If you haven’t, come to Him.

I long for Your tenderness and compassion, Lord. Hold me and love me as only You can.

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