For “Scripture Sunday”:. Late again as it is Monday.
Deuteronomy 28:1, 15
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. …
“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. …”
Bible prophecy, and the Bible as a whole, teaches us the principle of cause and effect. Obeying God’s good and beneficial laws ultimately leads to wonderful blessings. Disobeying—sinning—ultimately leads to the horrible curses described in Deuteronomy 28.
This is a sure and certain principle—there are predictable consequences to our actions, physically and spiritually.
So why does humanity so easily forget this inevitable truth? Because under the sway of Satan, we have learned to postpone some of the bad consequences, and Satan has used his enormous powers of deception to make the bad look good and the good, bad. He tricks us into thinking there are shortcuts—that we can escape the consequences.
But God wants us to take the long view—to see through the deception to the ultimate reality. He gives us His laws and Bible prophecy so we can see what will cause suffering and what will cause real joy and happiness. Choose life!
For more about the purposes of Bible prophecy, see “Purpose of Prophecy.”
Purpose of Prophecy
“Two of the Minor Prophets provide major lessons about why God gives us predictions of the future. What is the purpose of prophecy?
Part of the mission God gives His people involves getting His message out to this world. That message is a message of warning, a call for repentance and a message of hope and good news. Prophecy has always been a part of that message.
But why? Why does God give prophecies? Consider the following insights from two of the Minor Prophetsthat reveal three reasons for prophecy.
Two tales of one city
Jonah and Nahum were both prophets who were given messages from God about Nineveh—a great city that represented the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians were a brutal and greatly feared enemy of Israel. Both Jonah and Nahum were given prophecies about Nineveh’s destruction. But the books turn out much differently.
Jonah, who prophesied about 100 to 150 years before Nahum, would have been quite happy to see the vivid destruction that Nahum prophesied come to pass. But the story of Jonah adds additional depth to our understanding of what God is doing—and why.
Let’s look at what these two prophecies about Nineveh show us about three of God’s purposes of prophecy.
The events in the book of Jonah happened perhaps 50 years before Assyria took Israel captive. Even then, Assyria was a dreaded and cruel enemy. In Jonah 1:2 God told Jonah: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
God hates wickedness, and He wants us to hate it too. And that leads us to a first purpose:
1. Prophecy shows God’s justice, and this is intended to lead us to repentance.
What wicked things had Assyria done? Jonah doesn’t give details, but Nahum later gives a list of some of the terrible things that Nineveh had long been known for.
God is righteous and holy and just. He never minimizes sin or says it’s not so bad. His justice requires that He decry evil and point out that sin leads to suffering, destruction and death. He doesn’t want the humans He created to sin or die. God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We’ll come back to this aspect of God’s nature a little later.
2. Prophecy shows God’s power—He always wins! This gives us encouragement.
Nahum prophesied 60 to 100 years after Israel had been cruelly taken captive by Assyria. This was 100 to 150 years after Jonah. In Nahum 1:3 it says: “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”
God is patient—slow to anger. But in the end His power always wins. Even though people of that time worshipped the “god of storms”—who was called Baal by the Canaanites—God is the one really in control of the whirlwinds and storms. Not only could Jesus control the storms and walk on water, this seems to portray God as walking on the clouds!
In the end, God wins. The people of Nahum’s time needed this encouragement. The people facing the end-time “beast” power will need that encouragement. Understanding God’s power and that He always wins is important for us to understand more about God.
3. Prophecy shows God’s love.
An Amazing Fact: “Distinguished scientist and chemist James Macie was born in France in 1765, the illegitimate son of a British duke. With Jim’s father out of the picture, the boy’s devoted mother, also a woman of wealth, returned to England with him to fight for her son’s official acceptance. Because of the laws of 18th-century England, she barely managed to have Jim declared a British citizen. Because of his illegitimacy, James Macie’s other basic rights were restricted at every turn. Perhaps what hurt Jim most was that he could never hold the title of his real father, the 1st Duke of Northumberland.
Knowing these restrictions as he grew up, Jim Macie determined to excel in other ways. In 1786, Jim graduated from Pembroke College with honors, and shortly thereafter launched himself upon a glowing scientific career. Many sophisticated experiments and published results later, Jim became a respected scientist. While his scientific colleagues, with less talent, would be knighted for their accomplishments, Jim was denied that honor simply because he was born illegitimate. It is no wonder that James Macie was hurt. He vowed never to marry, realizing that the stigma of a tarnished heritage would be passed to his children.
So, James Macie conceived of a plan that would serve as a final rejection of the country that had rejected him. When Jim passed away in 1829 he died a very wealthy man, with no heirs who could claim his vast fortune. In his will he sought revenge on England by leaving all of his money to a newly formed country that England called illegitimate— the United States of America. Jim had never even visited the United States. Yet by willing his fortune to us he disinherited England as it had disinherited him.
In his will he specified that his money was to be used for the foundation of an institute that would increase and diffuse knowledge among men and that would perpetuate his true family name that was denied him at birth—the name Smithson. And thus, the gift James Smithson gave us, which represents the torment of illegitimacy, is today our country’s most magnificent storehouse of culture and scientific accomplishment. I expect you have heard of the Smithsonian Institution.
Did you know the United States is also mentioned in prophecy? “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11).”
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. Genesis 21:10
Yes, I have been very amiss and not updating. Nothing going on with the repairs to the guest house as my helper had his hernia surgery, then it came undone, so he had to back into the hospital. I have been very busy trying to get caught up sorting stuff out for sale.
Several young men have said that they would pressure wash the algae off the house, but they didn’t show up. I just can’t understand people who say they are going to call, or do something, and then they don’t!
My two foster cats have been staying in the SPCA Cat Habitat at Petco for a month to get some public exposure. Nala who I have fostered for three years was adopted. That made me glad that she will now have a good home when I am gone, but I miss her very much. Her new ‘Mom’ was surprised that I let Nala sleep on my bed, so I don’t think she will let Nala do that. Nala also has to get used to two big dogs and another female cat, so that adoption might not “take”, then Nala would come back here.
My other cat, Midi was also adopted, and they just adore him. I knew they would, and I am so happy that he, an 11 year old black cat, finally has a real “furever’ home. Before he came here he had been at a foster home where there were a lot of cats and he didn’t get very much individual attention, so he loved it here. I miss him too, he used to sleep on the other side of my bed from Nala, and I was in the middle, like person in a cat sandwich.
The third of the four cats in the Habitat was adopted and if the fourth one doesn’t get a new home, I am going to foster her. She is a ‘tortie” (tortoiseshell), black with little mottled orange splotches, named Flower.
Things at the church have been fine, we are now back to starting to read the Bible from Genesis again. As I had to help get things ready in the dining room I couldn’t hear the Teaching very well. We are getting ready for The Feast of Trumpets and then The Feast of Tabernacles the following week. One time I made a beet/carrot dish in my crockpot, and a sweet potato/apple dish the next time, and it was all eaten up.
Even though the weather is cooler than it was, is still warm and muggy as there has been a shower nearly every day.