Archive for April, 2011

The Glory of the Lord is the Light of Our Life

 Daily God Walk for Sunday, April 17, 2010

 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you… The sun will no more be your light by day nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.                          – Isaiah 60:1,2.19

The prophesies of Isaiah revolve around the judgment that was coming upon the Jews and their restoration after the time of trial was over. Woven into the fabric of those prophecies is hope, not only for the Jewish people, but for all people who will believe and commit themselves to God.

After 70 years of being separated from their homeland God promises that a remnant of the people will be restored. It is to that remnant Isaiah prophesies that the Light of God, the glory of the Lord, rises upon them.

In all of the history of Israel they had consistently fallen prey to the natural world around them. They needed a god they could see so they created a golden calf in the desert. They needed a king they could look to so they rejected God’s system and got a king.

God had given them a system called Sabbath in which man, the animals and the land would be given sufficient rest, but man wanted more so he violated the Sabbath of God to gain more security from the world system.

It is with the memory of these things that God tells them they will not need the sun and the moon for light to guide them but the glory of the Lord will be a light to them. The Lord was telling them that the world system will not lead them into the light they seek. God was promising them that his glory would be their light.

This prophecy extends to all who call upon the Lord. If you have been in a period of gloom and doom I call to you as Isaiah called to the Jews, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

 Prayer: Lord, sometimes it is easier to lean on the world I can see than it is to trust you. Help me to see you as the light of my life.

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The Glory of God in the Manna

Daily God Walk Saturday, April 16, 2010

 Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him.         – Exodus 16:7-8

 The people grumbled when they saw Pharaoh’s army coming after them. They grumbled after three days in the desert. They grumbled because the water was bitter. It reminds me of the song from the late 50’s; You Talk Too Much. One verse goes, “You talk about the people wherever you go, you talk about people you don’t even know.” It sounds like that person was a grumbler too!

They were grumbling now because they didn’t have bread and just after Moses spoke about the promised bread they looked and the glory cloud was appearing over the desert. The Lord spoke to Moses from the glory cloud telling him, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’ “

There is a lesson we should all learn here. It is that if we will just trust the Lord, regardless of how things look, he will come through for us. In one of his psalms David wrote, “I was young and now I am old and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his people begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25).

Our tendency is to look at what we don’t have and complain about it and God is trying to get us to look at what we do have and be thankful for it. Israel had been slaves in Egypt, now they were free. They were placed under grievous labor for their masters, now they were going to a land already prepared for them to inhabit.

Would it be easy? No. Would there be some blood, sweat and tears involved? Probably. But they would be free – and the land they would work would be their own. The towns where they lived would be their own.

Sure, there are things we would like to have in the here and now, but we must remember that we are like Israel – in this life we are in the wilderness moving toward the promised land.

 Prayer: Lord, thank you for the sweet water and manna. Amen.

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The King of Glory

  Daily God Walk Friday, April 15, 2010

 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. – Psalm 24:7-8

Scholars believe that this Psalm was a song for the returning of the Ark of the Covenant to the temple, and in the years after the return of the Ark it was sung on the anniversary of its return. Christians also apply it as prophetic of the ascension of Christ.

However one applies this psalm the message is the same: Our Lord is the King of glory! He who triumphs over all his enemies inhabits his rightful place among his peoples.

It was because of the disobedience of Israel’s leaders that the Ark was lost in battle. In fact, the Ark was never intended to be taken into battle and the fact that it was is in itself a sin against God. The priests had become corrupt and the leaders of Israel had lost sight of the glory of the Lord. It was the judgment of God that the Ark was taken from them.

As is often the case God took this bad thing which happened and used it as an opportunity to show his glory. The Philistines captured the Ark, but they didn’t know what they were in for. They left it in a room with the idol of their god Dagon. The next day when they returned they found Dagon overturned and broken. Plague and sickness fell upon them until they returned the Ark to Israel.

The ark was kept on the farm of an Israeli farmer until David had it returned to the house of worship. The farmer that kept the ark was blessed abundantly while it was in his possession.

Then the ark returned to its rightful place and the people rejoiced. As the Ark entered the city they cried, “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battles.”

Today the same King of glory rests in his rightful place, but his place is now in the hearts of believers. Let us rejoice that the King of glory has returned to his rightful place.

 Prayer: Thank you King of glory for coming into my life. Amen.

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Glory Over Pharaoh

Daily God Walk for Thursday, April 14, 2010

 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen. – Exodus 14:17-18

The story of Israel being delivered from the Egyptians is among the most remarkable in the entire Old Testament. The entire event is full of miracles from the burning bush to the parting of the Red Sea.

Our text for today takes up the story after Pharaoh had released Israel to leave. When it fully dawned upon him that Israel had left and he no longer had any control over them he changed his mind about letting them go. He assembled his army, his foot soldiers, horsemen and chariots, and took off after them.

When Israel saw the Egyptian army approaching them they panicked. They accused Moses of bringing them into the desert so the Egyptians could slaughter them. Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.”

You may remember how the glory cloud moved behind the people and settled down between the enemy and Israel confusing the army just long enough for Moses to stretch out his rod over the Sea and watch it part leaving dry land for them to walk across.

God had told Moses that the Egyptians would go in after them and God would gain glory through the destruction of the army. Then the Egyptians would know that God was with Israel and the entire event would bring him glory.

Because of examples like this we know that when God calls us to do a task he is going to be with us regardless of how desperate  it may look. God told Moses, “My presence [glory] will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14). Jesus told us, “I am with you always even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

With God going before us it makes no difference who is behind us.

Prayer: God, I’ll follow you, just keep my back covered. Amen

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The Glory of God for the Remnant

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, April 13, 2010

In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. He will be a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. – Isaiah 28:8

 The story of Israel is much like the story of the church. From the burning bush to marching out of Egypt and across the Red Sea Israel moved with the glory of God. Then for 40 years they followed the glory cloud as they wandered toward their promised land. The history of the church is very similar.

From the time Israel entered Canaan their history records a series of backsliding, judgment and repentance, a cycle that it seemed could never be broken. Finally, under God’s judgment they spent 70 years in Babylon repaying their years of disobedience.

In comparison the church was born in the fire of Pentecost and spread to the far corners of the earth in a few decades. Then came the day Christianity was recognized as the official religion of the state and from that time the rocky road of compromise led the church into a period known as the dark ages. Beginning in the 14th century brave men like Martin Luther rose up against the traditions bringing a spirit of reformation to the church.

Through the centuries, just like Israel, the church has had its high points and low points, but there has always been a remnant which stayed true to the faith, and it is that remnant which is being addressed in this passage.

We who have remained faithful to the message of Jesus the Christ are the remnant of God today. He is the source of strength to those who will not turn back from the battle and who are fulfilling the promise of Jesus to build his church at the very gates of hell.

For those who are the faithful remnant the Lord himself will be a glorious crown and a beautiful wreath. I challenge you today to stay in the battle, and God will be your glorious crown.

 Prayer: Lord, grant me the strength to be faithful and to be a part of this glorious remnant that overcomes the world. Amen.

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The Glory Has Departed

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, April 12, 2010

 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”- because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” – 1 Samuel 4:21-22

It was a bad time for Israel. Eli was the priest over Israel and his sons were raised up under him to be the leading priests. As Eli grew old he lost control, not only of his sons but of the other priests and their servants.

The priesthood had become corrupt and they were taking from the people portions of the sacrificed they were not supposed to take as well as other grievous sins. The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were committing sin with the women who came to help in the place of worship.

Because of the sin God said he would strip the priesthood from the house of Eli and give it to another. Samuel is the one God had prepared to be priest, prophet and judge over Israel.

The day God judged Eli and Israel for their sins was a terrible day. Their warriors were overrun by the Philistines, the ark of God was taken, the two sons of Eli were killed and Eli, upon hearing the news fell over backwards, broke his neck and died.

The wife of Phinehas was heavy with child and when the news of the catastrophe came to her she went into labor. She gave birth to a boy and gave him the prophetic name, “Ichabod” (departed glory). The glory and the hope of Israel left with the ark.

It is unfortunate that there are some in ministry today who are like the sons of Eli and the church has suffered from it. However, those are not the rule in the church, but rather the exception. There are many like Samuel who are still faithful to serve the Lord with integrity.

We must live carefully before the Lord lest our own lives fail to be a reflection of the grace of God so that Ichabod will not be written on the pages of our life story. 

 Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the example of Ichabod. Grant me the grace to live worthy of your glory. In Jesus name, amen.

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Glory of God in the Temple

Daily God Walk for Monday, April 11, 2011

When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their services because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” – 1 Kings 8:11-12

 From the time that God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and had regular communion with them it has been his desire to have a place where his glory would dwell and man could commune with him. Moses had his tent of meeting outside the camp; Israel had the Tabernacle at the center of the camp, but both of those were temporary homes for an eternal God.

Solomon built a temple that he believed would be a place for God to dwell forever. God honored the sacrifice, dedication and consecration that produced this magnificent temple by conferring his blessing with his glory cloud descending upon it. But this would not be the eternal home for the presence of God.

When David wanted to build a house for God he inquired of the prophet Nathan and that very night God spoke to Nathan about the house David wanted to build. Here is what God said:

“Go and tell my servant David… I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders whom I commanded to shepherd my people, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”

Why did God not command the people to build him a house? Could it be that any house man would build for him would be less than representative of who he is and it would not be eternal? Could it be that he had in mind a house in a realm that man could not destroy? Indeed, his house is the heart of man, that eternal home which will be a lasting habitation for him.

 Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me the understanding that your home is in my heart. Grant me the grace to live worthy of being your temple. In Jesus name, amen.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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