Posts Tagged ‘Sustainer’

Better than the Angels

Better than the Angels!

© Chet Bishop 1/4/2017 THCF 1/8/2017

Hebrews 1:4-14

Introduction:

Last time, we began a study through the book of Hebrews: In our introduction to the epistle, we saw that the book is specifically addressed to the professing Hebrew Christians, most of whom are genuine, but among whom there is at least a definite tendency to think that “Well…if this doesn’t work out, I can always revert to Judaism….” The writer gives seven warnings throughout the book, some of them definitely addressing that thought: he says, “No, you can’t! It will no longer be effective!” Next time, we will read the first of those seven warnings.

But, also listed through the epistle, there are seven comparisons between Jesus the Messiah, and seven of the key ingredients to the historical Judaism as known by these believers. In every case, the reader is drawn to the conclusion that “Jesus is better.” Judaism is/was a prediction of the Messiah. Every factor of the temple services was, in some way, a pre-figuring of Christ. The sacrifices for sin all looked forward to His one sacrifice at the Cross. The entire priesthood looked forward to His ministry as our Eternal High Priest. The list goes on, as the book progresses.

Better than the Prophets: Last time we addressed the comparison between Jesus and all the prophets. The conclusion was that Jesus is better in every regard. But, someone may argue, the prophets were (sometimes) given their instructions by Angels! Angels are fearsome creatures who, though they looked like men, were so overwhelming in their mere presence that, in some cases, the prophets literally nearly died of fright. Surely they must be far superior…aren’t they? Well…no, actually.

Jesus is Better than the Angels; He is God the Son!

The writer pulls no punches, here—he immediately confirms that (yep!) Jesus exceeds the angels in every way, as well…and in some ways even more, as he hints in verse 14.

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

So, if Jesus is the Son, and the angels are not…then, what is the nature of the relationship between the Eternal Son and the angelic hosts? Read verse six:

And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

They Worship Him!

The writer says that when Jesus entered the world as a human baby, at Bethlehem (though he had eternally pre-existed the angels whom he created), God the Father commanded the entire, mighty, angelic army (the old English word “host” means “army”) to worship that newborn king.

(And we thought there were just a few little “lady angels” hanging around with halos, singing Christmas carols while animals and shepherds and wise men did the worshipping. Well—no, not really! Only those of us who didn’t read the text may have thought such nonsense.) This is not intended as a criticism against any of the hymns. It is simply a reminder that, whenever we talk about the things of God, the only dependable source of information is the Word of God…not tradition, not consensus, not conventional wisdom, nor even human logic. Go back to God’s Word and see what it actually says!

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

God further describes the Angelic hosts (armies) as spirit-beings, and as His servants: They are in no way to be considered his peers, as though He were just the Head Angel, or that they are demigods of some sort.

By the way, the angels themselves, because they are awe-inspiring, have sometimes been the unwilling recipients of worship. In every case, they instantly rejected the worship, sternly warning off the wrong-headed humans involved, and redirected all worship to God. That is a good thing to remember: the angels confirm the commandment that only God is to receive worship. And they are commanded to worship Jesus! What does that tell us about Jesus?

Jesus, God the Son: the Creator

So…the angels are created beings, and a servant-class, as well: that is what “minister” means. (By the way, if you ever feel that you don’t want to do “menial” work, remember that the root word for “menial” is exactly the same as that of “minister”…if you don’t want to do menial work, you don’t want ministry: you don’t want to serve God.)

But, who created the angels? Jesus did. See John 1:3: “all things were made by Him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” …and then compare it to the following verses:

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

Yes! Jesus is the Creator! And the Father addresses him as “Lord”, just as The Son addresses the Father as Lord! These three verses, as well as the following three, are all the voice of God the Father addressing God the Son. He calls Jesus “God”, and declares that he is Eternally God. He also declares that he has proven himself once for all in the “arena” of Earth, and that because of His proven character, he has been awarded Joy above all other humans (remember, He is fully God and fully Man.) But he is clearly declared to be the Creator, as well.

To me, all the doctrine concerning the full deity and authority and power of Jesus as the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, is beyond mind-boggling. It is beyond imagination. It is simply beyond human comprehension and beyond adequate description.

Jesus, God the Son: the Eternal One

And his eternality is underscored, saying that he will outlast the physical universe, as a man outlasts his clothing. God emphasizes the eternality of the Son, compared to the longevity of the physical creation, saying,

11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

 About thirty-eight years ago, I recall a man challenging my view of Eternal life, saying that the Greek word for “Eternal” didn’t really mean “eternal”, but only “a very long time”; that the Greek word was “aeoneon” (he was right) which only meant “to the ages of the ages” (He was right about that, too!)

I listened to him, and finally said, “Well, I can go look up that word, and see if what you are saying is true: but, right off the top of my head, I am going to guess that the word describing the ‘eternality’ of God is exactly the same as the word describing the ‘eternality’ of the eternal life He has promised us. So…if the reality turns out to be that I only last as long as God lasts, that is OK with me!” He didn’t have much to say after that, and I never saw him again. But I went home and looked up the Greek words to see if he had even been correct, and if so, whether I was also correct in my guess. Both were true. He meant it to diminish the concept of “eternal life”. What it resulted in was an expansion of the idea:

As it turned out, aeoneon is simply how the Greeks say “eternal”: the exact same words are used to describe the eternality of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and our spirits, as well as the spirits of the angelic hosts. We will last as long as He lasts. Oddly, the human believers are the only living things from this world that will outlast the physical universe as we know it. (I say this cautiously, because I am not sure just how much of the physical universe will be destroyed at the end of the age, as described in 2nd Peter 3:10, 11. It could just be the world we live in and the solar system it is part of. The description leaves open the possibility that it is a complete erasure or disintegration of the entire creation as we know it, and then a fresh start, but I can’t say for sure.)

Jesus, God the Son: Heir of all things!

But, the most telling point showing the innate superiority of the Son, is that… He is the Son! He is superior by relationship: by inheritance! The writer made that clear in verses 4 and 5. There are no promises in the scriptures made “to the Angels”. There are a number of promises made to us, and regarding them, but none made to them.

Very few rich people’s wills include their servants in any significant sense. Unless a servant has, in the lifetime of his or her employer, achieved something like “family status”, the inheritance all goes to the spouse and children, or perhaps grandchildren. There have certainly been exceptions, but that is the norm. In this case, verse 4 makes it clear that Jesus, by inheritance, has obtained a more excellent name than that of the angels. He earned His honor and glory in the arena of human existence, as well as it being his right as God. But the Name was his by inheritance. Even the demons knew him, and trembled at His presence!

So, Who are the Angels?

The Angels are a servant class, created for the specific purposes laid out in scripture. They are highly intelligent (far more so than any human), and they have a free will, as we do. But, unlike us, they were created to be consciously in the presence of God from the beginning, so, in the case of the one third of the angelic hosts that rebelled, no Grace was offered. Every one of them knew God face to face; and they knowingly, willingly chose rebellion.

No human has ever seen God the Father: possibly that is the reason Grace is offered to us, through Faith. We are said to have “sinned ignorantly,” and, to varying degrees, that is always the case. So, to any human who chooses to believe God, rather than the clamoring voice of the World, God offers eternal life. But he never offered such a gift to the angels who sinned.

In like manner, the promise is made to the Son, not to the Angels: He is told to take his place at the right hand of God the Father, until all His enemies are completely cast down. The writer poses this rhetorical question:

13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

 The answer, of course, is “None!No such promise was ever made to them. The writer goes on to explain why:

14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

The writer reminds the readers that the angelic hosts, as impressive as they are, are still the servants of God, and nothing more.

So, Where Do We Fit In?

Many similar promises are made to human believers. Why? Because we are now His sons, too! We have become literally His offspring. This is why Jesus said “Ye must be born again!” We have become the offspring of God through the new birth. The Greek word is “teknon”, which literally means “born-ones.”

The new birth is not some religious doubletalk or trendy buzzword: it was not coined by humans: Jesus is the one who stated the reality of the second birth, and made clear the absolute necessity that a human be “born again” in order to relate to God at all.

The Writer concludes the passage by reiterating that not only are the Angels not participants in God’s glory (though they have witnessed it constantly), nor are they the objects of His joy, love and attention; they are not only simply a servant-class, but they are specifically sent for the care of the elect humans. They are our “Celestial Babysitters,” if you can accept it.

That is also a mind-boggling fact. I can believe it, because God says it is true; but I have a hard time “wrapping my head around the idea” that there are many angels, invisible to us, but within arm’s reach, perhaps, and “rooting for us” to win the prize of God’s praise, so that we may hear “Well done, thou good and faithful Servant!”

You see…we are a servant class, too, as created beings; but we are created to be part of God’s Family, which the angels were not. Remember verse 5? They were never even called his sons, except in the generic sense, in the book of Job (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7)…in those passages they are called that name, but never in the same sense as Jesus, who is the “Only Begotten Son”—the crown prince—nor even in the same sense as we are called sons. By the way, this information should serve to dispel the myth that “humans become angels when they die.” They are two separate creations, never to be mingled.

We are actually called his offspring…“born ones”…little children; but specifically His personal offspring. He says that he has become our literal Father, and that we are his literal Children, appointed to be His heirs. (Compare John 1:12; 1st John 3:9, etc.)

Am I a Child of God?

There are those who teach the universal Fatherhood of God. Jesus sharply refuted that notion, saying “Ye are of your father, the Devil!” in John 8:44. So, how does one become a child of God? How can we be born again, into His family?

John 1:12, 13 states that “to as many as received Him, to them gave He power (Greek “exousia” authority) to become (the Greek word is “genesthe”—to be born) the children (Greek “teknon:” born-ones) of God, even to those who believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 5:24 says “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”  Jesus promised that the moment you believe, you have eternal life, and you will never face judgement for your sins: you have crossed over from being spiritually dead into eternal life

All God asks is that you place your trust in the person of Christ and His finished work at the Cross. The moment a person believes in Jesus’s blood as the full price of his or her salvation, that person is born again, into the family of God, whether they are aware of it or not. I cannot even tell you the day I was born again, because at the time I had been told such a variety of things, and was so confused about what it took to be saved. It was only later, when I learned this truth, that I could look back, and know for sure that I was saved—that I had been born again, and that all the other things people had told me were extraneous to that fact.

The Promises and Invitation of God

All the promises in the New Testament epistles that are directed “to the children of God”, or to “the Sons of God”, are to you, if you have been born again. They are virtually all spiritual promises, made to a spiritual people. We are not promised a piece of land, nor monetary wealth, nor physical health, nor even physical comfort. We are promised a permanent relationship with God, and an abiding purpose within that relationship.

We are given the opportunity to serve with God, and then to be rewarded as if we had done the work, when in fact, He did it through us. We are armed with His Word, and indwelt by His Spirit. In fact, in the person of the Holy Spirit, we are told that the entire Godhead has taken up residence in our bodies. What an overwhelming thought!

We are given the right to look into the face of God, by faith, and call him Father, knowing that we are not being presumptuous, nor pretentious. We are simply calling Him what He is. Our Father, through the new birth.

We are given access to the throne of God, and told to come there boldly! Not fearfully tiptoeing into the presence of God, wondering what sort of mood He might be in today. Unlike a human father (myself for example), God never changes. His “mood” never changes. He always hates sin, and he always loves the sinner, in spite of the sin. But his Grace is extended by way of the Cross. We approach the throne boldly because of Jesus’s blood at the Cross.

Consider carefully your relationship with God. If you have been born again, you are already permanently His offspring, and you are invited to draw closer to the Father, through Bible-study, through Prayer, and obedience. If you have not been born again, the invitation is different: He invites you to come to Him and experience His Grace and Love, by placing your faith in Jesus Christ, and His shed Blood.

If you do not understand this message, I would encourage you to talk to me or any of the other leaders in our church, and get your questions answered.

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to the vital importance of the Gospel, the good news of salvation through your Grace. Help us to draw near to you and be blessed daily as we feast upon your Word, and bask in your Joy.


Dealing with Grief and Avoiding Despair

Dealing with Grief: Avoiding Despair

© C. O. Bishop 12/27/14 THCF 1/4/15

Job 1:1-23, 2:1-10, 19:25; Daniel 3; Habakkuk 1-3

Introduction:

This past week, the week of Christmas, some neighbors around me had terrible things happen. One, an elderly man, the day after Christmas, lost his workshop to a fire, including tools, a classic car, racing motorcycles, and other things that had been his joy and private hobby for many years. One may philosophize, saying, “Ah, but no lives were lost!” Yes, that is true, but we humans hope to leave some heritage to grandchildren (if we have any) and that car and the motorcycles, his skill in building a race-bike, and whatever racing trophies he might have had were part of his legacy in his eyes. His most prized memorabilia were destroyed in the fire. Those cannot be replaced.

Far worse were the circumstances of another family nearby who, two days before Christmas, received the news that their youngest son (16 years old) has inoperable cancer, and that his only hope is very aggressive chemotherapy, as the tumor is on or very near his heart. He is still alive, but only a miracle can save his life. They will remember this grief and pain every Christmas for the rest of their lives. If God miraculously heals this young man, then they will also have the joy of remembering God’s supply.

How does one deal with such things? How can one endure the loss and not collapse under the weight of the grief? How can one find comfort, and even joy, in the face of such circumstances? How did people in the Bible deal with such things?

What about Job?

Job is the first person who comes to my mind: though his “friends” goaded him into some wrong statements, it is good to note that God (prior to his testing) said that he was a righteous man, a “perfect and upright man”. So the accusations later leveled by his friends were completely false. They were wrong, pure and simple. Not only were they wrong about Job, they were wrong about God…God says so, in Chapter 42. So, then, whenever we study the book of Job, we will do well to carefully examine who is talking, to see what God says about their comments.

Since today we are only touching on Job’s initial response, we will only hear four voices—God’s, Satan’s, Job’s and that of his wife, whose name is not recorded here. God makes authoritative statements regarding Job; Satan questions Job’s motives and character, thus saying God is wrong; God allows the test, and both Job and his wife respond. She broke under the pressure: Job did not. It is important that we do not join Satan or Job’s sorry “friends”, in accusing Job. If we differ from what God says, God is not wrong; we are.

Job’s response is one of the best recorded, in terms of handling grief: Job tore his clothes and shaved his head, in the classic reactions to grief for that time; but rather than railing against God, he fell on his face and worshipped God for His unchanging goodness, and for his authority. He made the statement that we so often piously quote at funerals: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away…”, but he continued with the part we very seldom include: “…blessed be the name of the Lord!” This was not a religious platitude; it was pure worship. He confessed that his maker had the authority to take away, as well as to give: he worshipped God, in spite of his grief. God’s comment, twice in these chapters is that “…in all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Later, under goading from his friends who wrongly believed that “bad things only happen to bad people”, Job made another famous statement of faith: “I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth…and that… I shall see him with my eye, and not another…” Job rested his faith in the coming final justice. Eventually, it is true, the friends goaded him into self-justification, but they and not he were judged for their actions. God corrected him, but rebuked them, saying, “My wrath is kindled against thee…for you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.” That is a good final note on Job’s life and discourse, and a cautionary note about Bible study. It is important to check who is talking in scripture…about two thirds of the book of job is recording the words of his friends, and God says they were wrong! We need to read carefully, and not make assumptions.

What can we learn from Job? First, that he was submissive to God’s will in his life: if he could have changed the circumstances, he would have—he loved his children and prayed for them daily, and offered sacrifices on their behalf; but when they were taken, it was through what even today, many people call “an act of God” (or, as the atheistic, secular world may say, an “act of nature”.) Job knew that there was nothing he could have done to ward off such an occurrence, nor certainly anything he could do to undo the damage. He was grieved at the loss, but accepted it as being from God, and stated that God had the authority to bring calamity as well as blessing.

He also knew that calamity is not always the result of sin…which his detractors had not learned. This is a hard one for us, too, even as New Testament believers: we tend to think that bad experiences must be punishment for some sin, even though both the Old Testament and the New Testament clearly teach that this is not necessarily the case. In Job’s case he had the confidence of a steady walk with God to bolster his spirit: he knew that the calamity was not punishment. It was only the accusations of the men he thought were his friends that moved him to defend against false accusations, and eventually he was bordering on self-justification, so God stepped in and stopped the test.

I can either rest in the character of God (bless God for his goodness, as Job did) or I can tear myself apart, looking for the hidden cause, the secret sin that must be the root of the calamity. I can worship, or I can wail. In a sense, as long as I choose to worship, I can still wail…but to God, not at Him.

One more thing to point out, here: Job evidently understood positional truth and the security of the believer, because he said that he knew (not just believed) that he himself, with his physically resurrected body, and his own eyes, would see his redeemer “at the latter day” when his redeemer was to stand upon the earth. How could he make such a statement if not for knowing the security of the believer? He did not just know that Jesus would make a triumphant return to Earth as the king (he is referring to the second coming, not the first) but he also stated that he himself would be there to see it, in a physically resurrected body. That is confidence…that is faith, the assurance of things hoped for; the sure knowledge of things not seen.

What about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?

This is may not seem exactly the same thing, as what they faced was execution for Godly behavior, under an ungodly King. But consider: any “fiery trial” we may imagine can be seen in parallel to theirs. They had no children, nor would they ever, as they had been made eunuchs by this king’s decree; they were captive servants under a terrible regime. They were in imminent danger of being burned alive for refusing to commit idolatry, but they stood fast. Remember what they said: “We know that our God is able to deliver us…but if not (in other words, if He chooses not to deliver us)…we still will not worship your idol!” They chose to stand fast whether or not God would defend them. They were willing to die before disgracing their God.

We can choose to stand fast against the temptation to abandon faith, to question God’s character, to deny Him His due in our lives. Or we can give in, hoping to gain some peace of mind, as at least we will no longer find ourselves trying to justify God in circumstances that are beyond our understanding. I have known a number of believers to fall prey to this very thing. They felt they could no longer defend God’s actions so they joined his attackers.

God doesn’t need my defense. He is perfectly capable on His own, and has proven it on countless occasions throughout history. The three Hebrew youngsters were right and they knew it, but they also knew that God had made no promise to them, personally, to deliver them from harsh circumstances. So they took their stand with God, choosing to risk being incinerated rather than deny the God of their salvation. It seems that they shared Job’s confidence in the goodness of God, regardless of circumstances, and, that, like Job, they knew that the things that God does are not always explainable in human terms. Many times they are beyond our comprehension. I can either accept that truth, or, childishly, insist on an explanation.

God is not obliged to explain his actions, any more than I am obliged to explain to a saw-blade why I am filing away a portion of each tooth, to make the remaining portion sharp and usable. God can prune his vineyard, shear his sheep, sharpen his tools, and discipline his children. Discipline, again, does not mean punishment—it means training. Even in school, we might ask what discipline a student is pursuing…it means “what specific training are they hoping to attain?” A wrestling or football coach may demand that the members of his team run laps around a practice field as part of the discipline of their sport. It is not punishment at all, though it may feel like it. It is training, and has the goal of excellence in the sport.

In the case of Job and the Hebrew teenagers, we saw that God did reward them with a defense and a response of blessing. But what if He does not? Can we find joy in the person of Christ, even when the circumstances admit no compromise, and will certainly end in ruin?

What about Habakkuk?

Habakkuk was confronted with the evil of his own nation. He cried to God for Justice, but what he got was Judgment…and it was Just. God let him know that He, God, was about to judge the nation of Judah, using the Chaldean nation as the instrument of His judgment. Habakkuk knew that this judgment would result in utter catastrophe for Judah, as the Chaldeans (also called Babylonians) were a ruthless people. He protested that the punishment was too great, and that the “cure” was worse than the “disease”. But he was wrong and God was right (no surprise there….) God corrected his thinking, and declared that the judgment was coming.

Habakkuk accepted the coming judgment and declared that, though all the circumstances in which he usually found happiness and sustenance should fail, he himself would still find joy in the LORD (Jehovah); and that he would rejoice in the God of his salvation. That may seem a “pat answer” but you want to remember that Habakkuk was going to be right there in the judgment…there was no guarantee of a free pass through the judgment for him. He was about to see his whole way of life destroyed, and a high percentage of the people he knew and cared for destroyed, and all the rest enslaved. (By the way, this is the captivity that took Daniel and his friends, resulting in their castration and enslavement…this is not a theoretical test. It was the real thing.) We never heard from Habakkuk again. We don’t know what happened to him, whether he even survived the siege or possibly died before it began. But he had taken his stand with God, and chose to find joy and comfort in the person of his Creator and Savior.

The last phrase in chapter 3 of Habakkuk states that “He maketh my feet as hind’s feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” A “hind” is a type of deer that loves to climb in mountain crags. It is extremely sure-footed, and so “stays above” all the trouble below it. We might liken it to a mountain goat, here in the Americas, or an ibex (steinbok) in the Alps. The point is that while Habakkuk set himself to find Joy in the eternal God instead of the circumstances, he also placed his trust in his savior to keep him confident in Christ, not affected by circumstance.

That is easy to say, of course, but remember that these fellows made these statements while confronted with the loss of all that was dear to them, and probably their own lives, as well. Job had already lost all his children, and all his belongings, and his wife and  friends seemed to conspire against him…she begging him to give it up and die (possibly, from her perspective, for his own good) and his friends urging him to confess nonexistent sins. The Hebrew children were facing the furnace in person. They could feel the heat, and knew that execution was imminent. Habakkuk only knew for sure that the destruction and captivity of his people was inescapable, and that everything he loved in life was about to be taken away. This was not a “maybe”—it was a definite event about to happen. Each of these believers chose to find their peace in Christ.

So…What about Us?

We, too, can choose to trust God. We can choose to find our joy in Christ. We can choose to believe that His Justice is greater than our sense of what is “fair”. We can choose to believe that His Love (demonstrated at the Cross!) is greater than our feeble affections, though we may love with all our hearts. Feelings may be strong, but actions are what get things done, and God acted! He went to the Cross in the person of Christ, and personally paid the price of our sins. Just “feeling sorry for us” would not have accomplished anything. He acted on our behalf.

I don’t know whether I would choose well under the circumstances I listed above: The loss of a shop building or other belongings might discourage me for a while, but the loss of a child or of my wife would surely destroy me, if it were not for the person of Christ. I hope that I would be faithful to trust Him even in hard times. So far, I have been able to do so…but, honestly, my circumstances have been pretty easy compared to what some believers endure.

We can pray for one another, and go to one another in time of need, encouraging those who suffer, helping those in need. We can support one another as we endure hard times. We can share with one another, working together to overcome adversity. But ultimately, our trust has to be in the One who created, saved and sustains us. We have to practice this daily, in the small things, to prepare ourselves for the hard things to come. Can you do it? Will you?

Ultimately we have to be committed to trusting Him even if he chooses to not rescue us from our trial. Job said (Job 13:15), “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” That has to be the “bottom line” for us as well, or we will be enslaved to circumstances. When we only recognize blessing if it is something we like, we are enslaved to circumstances. That is not OK.

The blessing and mercy of God may include our early “graduation” from the “school” of life. The son of Jeroboam, in 1st Kings 14:13 was rewarded for his good by an early death, as the prophet said: “because there is some good found in him toward the LORD God of Israel.” He was the only one of Jeroboam’s household who received a proper burial, and his early death was provided so that he escaped the coming judgment. We do not always know God’s purpose, but we do know His character.

Learn early to trust the Lord in every circumstance, so that when the hard times come you are already fortified against them. Otherwise they will come without warning, and you will be overwhelmed. Choose continually to find your Joy, Comfort and Peace in the Person of Christ.

God give us Grace to trust you in every trial, to seek your Light no matter how great our darkness, and to seek your Love though all others have deserted us, and to find our Joy in You.

Amen!