Day of Vengeance to come
January 29, 2016, 5:04 pm
Filed under: Culture, God, Politics | Tags: , , ,

As a young man I joined the Army at 17 years of age, in 1963 I went through Basic training and then advanced training. I was sent to a place called Dreux in the Normandy area of France. I was there when JFK was assassinated, we thought it was WW 3, we spent a week guarding the perimeter of the base, scared to death that the Soviet army would be coming. Of course that did not happen, but we were really scared. I can imagine that the Jews who had come with Ezra to rebuild the temple felt like that too. They had begun to rebuild the walls as well, and the people in the area around them began to make trouble for them.

Their fear made them stop working on the walls, they also began to assimilate into the people groupings around them, inter-marriage became something that they thought would lessen the animosity against them. They forgot that God had expressly forbidden that type of exercise, they were not to marry outside of their own people. They were not to worship anything other than Yahweh, God, and yet idol worship was beginning to infiltrate their society. The Levites who were the priests left the city and began to work their own farms because the people were not paying their tithes to the temple.

Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and in the 2nd chapter we see how forceful he is in getting the people to do just that. In the reading today we see that the people were gathering together and they are ready to hear the word of God read. Ezra read from the book of the Law, but he read in Hebrew, the people no longer spoke Hebrew they had taken up Aramaic in its place. This was the language of the people around them and it was the common language of the day, they could not understand what Ezra was reading. So there were a number of Levites who were explaining in Aramaic what it was that was read, and what it was that Ezra was telling them.
Just an aside here, the reading was from morning until noon and the people stood to hear the words of God. They also worshiped with uplifted hands, then with their heads bowed and looking down at the ground.

As the people heard the word of God, they began to weep, realizing that they were doing wrong in the sight of God. Then they were told that this was to be a feast day to the Lord, that they were to celebrate, but note that their celebration was not only for themselves. They were to make sure that any who had need were to receive a portion from those who had plenty. Our reading ends with the words, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

In Psalm 19 we read about God, that the heavens declare His glory, the heavens is that great expanse that we can see at night. Thousands of stars, thousands of galaxies which we can’t see with just our eyes, but with a telescope we can begin to see it all. Some one once said that if it cost a penny to travel 1000 miles, it would cost $2.38 to travel to the moon, $930 to the sun, and $260 million to travel to the nearest star. The light we see from the Andromeda galaxy shows us where that galaxy was 2 million years ago, that is how long it takes the light from that galaxy to reach us. God created all of that expanse, so yes it does declare His glory.

David ends the psalm with words of praise to God and instruction for God’s people. “Psa 19:7-11 NKJV The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; (8) The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (9) The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (10) More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (11) Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.”

Now we come to Luke 4:14-21. All that has gone before in that which we call The Old Testament, leads up to what we find in the Newer Testament. Jesus has been preaching and teaching in Galilee, and he finally arrives in Nazareth, where he grew to manhood and he goes to the Synagogue on the Sabbath Day, that is Saturday, and he stood up to read. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah “Isa 61:1-2 NKJV “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,”

Let us understand what Jesus is saying here, it is important for us to see that this which he has read is known as the Ministry of the Messiah and when Jesus says “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” He was in the clearest possible manner proclaiming that He was the Messiah of Israel. So what exactly was this mission, this ministry? He came to deal with the great problems of mankind throughout all of history.
Poverty: To preach the gospel to the poor.
Sorrow: To heal the brokenhearted.
Bondage: To proclaim liberty to the captives.
Suffering: Recovery of sight to the Blind.
Oppression: To set at liberty those who are oppressed.

He came to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

The dawning of a new era for this world and its hurting multitudes, he presents himself as the answer to all the ills of the world. No matter what you may think of the ills of the world, Jesus is the answer to them all. It is also significant that he stopped reading with the words “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” the rest of that verse is: “and the day of the vengeance of our God.” The purpose of the first coming of Christ was to proclaim the good news the acceptable year of the Lord. We are living in the present age of grace, we are still able to come before the throne of grace and receive salvation because Jesus came the first time. He came to die and to rise from death into newness of life, so that you and I could see that there was and is a newness of life for us.

The second part of that verse is not yet here, and so we have time to become children of God, it is still the acceptable year of the Lord, but the day is coming when that will end, and then comes the day of the vengeance of our God. None of us knows when that Day of Vengeance will come, but, if we truly believe that Jesus is who he said he is, then it will come! What does this mean for you and I in the time of acceptance? It means we have a job to do, it means that we are to stand in the gap against the forces of darkness, and proclaim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, that sin leads to death, and Christ leads to life.

How can we stand, how can we come against the forces of darkness? We stand in the power of God, we have been promised the Holy Spirit and the gifts of ability to do the work that God has called each of us into. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit. 1Co 12:27-30 NKJV Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (28) And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (29) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? (30) Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

In the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, individuals would receive the Holy Spirit to help them do the tasks they needed to do, so we see these men and many prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, working to bring the the people of God to understand that they were moving in wrong directions and needed to work for God not against God. We see the miraculous building of the walls under Nehemiah, and the preaching of the prophets as they struggled with the sins of the people. In today’s reading in the book of Nehemiah, we see that the people are grief stricken by the reading and teaching of the scriptures by Ezra and the Levites.

In the time of Jesus the Spirit still only came upon men as needed and left after the job was done. Today, and since the first Pentecost after the resurrection, the Spirit inhabits each of us as we become believers, children of God. The Spirit helps us and guides us into all righteousness, and away from that which is sinful. Helping to mold and shape us into all that God has for us to be, and giving us the power to work against the forces of evil in the world.

Many people think that we need to kill the people who are the army of ISIS, and I suppose that some of them will have to die in battle, but Jesus himself teaches that we are to pray for our enemies. Pray that they may come to see their wrong and change their ways, and come to Jesus as Savior and Lord. We are also to pray for those who lead our nation, whatever they may be doing and no matter whether we agree or disagree with them, we are to pray for them and ask the Lord to guide and help them to see the right.

I hear a lot of folks talking about how we have to elect the right people to congress and to the state government, yet we have been doing that for many years. Has anything gotten better? The truth is, if we are not involved in the Father’s business, by being in prayer, by standing against immorality of all kinds, by using the resources that God has provided to help the poor, to bring healing to the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are oppressed. If we are not working to bring people into the kingdom, then we are against God, that is not a good place to be.

We live in a nation that is rushing headlong into hell, can we stand and work to stop that train? If we will not then our nation is doomed to continue on a path that leads to destruction, Jesus said we are to make disciples, have you talked to anyone lately about Jesus? Our purpose is to be the light of the world because we serve the risen Savior of mankind and our lives are to be a reflection of that light. Just as Luke, Paul, Nehemiah, Ezra, Isaiah, Jeremiah and a host of others through all of time have shown the light of God in their own lives and have had an affect on those around them, we too are to shine.
We too are to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, until the time comes when there is no more acceptance, only the day of vengeance of the Lord comes upon this world. We who have come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who have the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us, need to be standing for right, shining the light of Christ into the darkness of this world.

If there is anything in our own lives that goes against the word of God, we need to rid ourselves of that sin, asking God to cleanse us of all unrighteousness, and help us to be warriors for the kingdom. We who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, should want to share the joy of our salvation with others, so that they too might become as we are, sinners saved by the grace of God. As we look at the stealing, rape, murder and just plain hatred toward one another, we need to first pray, and then act in accordance with the will of God, as it is plainly written in the scriptures.

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