A God of Recompense

Remember Job? He lost everything in Job 1 and 2. But in the final chapter, (Job 42), he received twice as much as he lost. The three daughters born to him later were the most beautiful in the land.

I can picture Job in heaven. His table is larger because he has all 20 of his children around it. His losses were temporary. God doesn’t just replace what we lost, He doubles it, (see Job 42:10).

Today we read that God recompenses twice. Only He is not compensating for good things lost; He is repaying them for the hurt they have caused.

Jeremiah 51:6, 56, “…He will render her a recompense….For the Lord is a God of recompense; He will completely repay.” Modern English Version

When God recompenses one for evil, He obliterates. He said, “I will break in pieces” nine times, (see Jeremiah 51:20-23).

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Your Oasis

What is found in every oasis in the desert? Water. There is either a spring or a well. I can only imagine how good that water tastes after a day in the desert.

Abraham searched for water everywhere he went. He dug wells, named them, and left them for others to enjoy. Wednesday night we learned about Isaac unstopping the wells Abraham had dug, (see Genesis 26).

“No well, no water; no water, no life. Unstop the wells of life: (1) The Bible, (2) The Holy Spirit, and (3) The house of God.” Monte Knudsen, August 16, 2017

* * * * * * *

Jeremiah 50:6, “…They have gone from mountain to hill and have forgotten their resting place.” Modern English Version

There is no peace in the world. Rest is found in spending time: studying the Bible, praying in the Holy Spirit, in the House of God. Are you tired? Go to church. It’s your oasis.

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“That’s Not How We Do It!”

I’m reading through Jeremiah 34 and piously thought, “I’m so glad I don’t have slaves.”

God laughed!

How do I enslave people? With my expectations.

  1. I expect new believers to act like mature Christians. I expect perfection from mature Christians. All. The. Time.
  2. A year ago, our church hired a music director. It excited me because he can play all the instruments in the band – especially the keyboard! God showed me that I keep enslaving him every time I use the phrase…

“That’s not how we do it.”

Jeremiah 34:16, “But then you turned around and profaned My name when every one of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free, at their pleasure, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves.” Modern English Version

When I enslave someone to my expectations I am profaning God’s Name.

* * * * * * *

I’ve been thinking lately of Peter, James, and John. They were the disciples closest to Jesus. They saw him transfigured and talking with Moses and Elijah, (see Matthew 17:1-9).

I wonder how they felt about Paul, who was formerly Saul the persecutor of Christians. He was present at the death of Stephen, the first martyr. At first, the disciples feared him and didn’t believe he was a disciple, (see Acts 9:26).

Later Paul rebuked Peter, (see Galatians 2:11-14). Peter, who…

  • …preached on the Day of Pentecost and saw 3000 saved?
  • …walked on water?
  • …was one of the inner circle who traveled with Jesus for 3 years?

How did Peter respond? He called Paul “beloved brother who writes with wisdom things that are hard to understand,” (see 2 Peter 3:14-16).

I have to let go of my expectations and live out the verse I pray over my children every day.

Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another with brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

“…Love within the family of God. Honor one another above yourselves. Only a mind renewed by the Holy Spirit (see v. 2) could possibly do this, (see Philippians 2:3).” New International Version Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

Selfish ambition or vain conceit. The mortal enemies of unity and harmony in the church….This is the mindset of those who are not conceited but who have a right attitude toward themselves and others….Not that everyone else is superior or more talented, but that Christian love sees others as worthy of preferential treatment….” New International Version Study Bible Notes

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Every Man’s Word Will Be His Oracle

“Oracle – a person with great wisdom or someone believed to have communication with a deity.” yourdictionary.com

In the Bible, the priests and prophets were the oracles. Today, everyone is. There will be two sides to an issue and both will claim God is on their side.

Jeremiah 23:36, “And the oracle of the Lord you shall mention no more, for every man’s word will be his oracle. For you have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of Hosts our God.” Modern English Version

How do we know whom to trust? The Bible. It doesn’t matter who the speaker is – if their message does not agree with the Word of God, it is best to ignore it.

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Planted, Trapped, or Temporary

Last night Pastor Monte preached on Isaac during a famine, (see Genesis 26). He didn’t go to Egypt like Abraham did, he went to Gerar, which means “lodging place.” While he was there, he didn’t just sit around waiting for rain. He planted seeds and cleaned out the wells Abraham had dug.

His hard work paid off – he reaped 100 fold. That’s not double, but 100 times what he planted!

Today we read the story of two baskets of figs: one good, and one bad. The good figs were the people already in captivity! The bad figs were still in Jerusalem. He told them how to live while in captivity.

Jeremiah 29:28, “For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, This captivity will be long; build houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit.” Modern English Version

He planted them in Babylon and promised to prosper them there.

Jeremiah 24:6, “For I will set My eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land. And I will build them up and not pull them down. And I will plant them and not pluck them up.” Modern English Version

God planted me in Iowa. Are you trapped, living where you do not want to live? Or are you living in temporary quarters? It doesn’t matter, we are all to do the same thing.

  1. Plant seeds.
  2. Work hard.
  3. Keep moving forward.
  4. Never stop growing.
  5. Build your house, or clean and repair your temporary quarters.

The first house we lived in was 100 years old with slanting floors, and gaps in the windows. I folded newspapers and wedged them in the gaps between the window frames. You couldn’t see them unless you were looking straight down. I washed those windows inside and out. The newspapers kept them from rattling and stopped the drafts.

One visitor commented, “It’s so nice to look out of clean windows.” She never noticed the folded newspapers!

When I was housebound, I worked on repairing, and weather proofing the inside of our house. I cleaned closets and cupboards. I sent boxes of stuff to Goodwill. My home is a more pleasant place to live because of my hard work.

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Fish of Your Rivers to Stick to Your Scales

I’ve never gone fishing. I’ve never tried to put a worm on a hook. I’ve never tried to clean a fish. When I read today’s verse, I thought it was something only a fisherman would understand.

Ezekiel 29:4, “But I will put hooks in your jaws, and will cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales…” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

Hooks in your jaws – An allusion to the ancient way of taking and destroying the crocodile….Fish…stick to your scales – As the crocodile, the lord of the Nile, represents the royal power of Egypt, so the fish represents the people…” Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

* * * * * * *

Fish…stick to your scales –I will cause even thy own people to press thee hard, and to be a torment to thee.” Benson Commentary

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Seethe the Bones

It was the only medicine used in the Old West. They used it for gunshot wounds, to rebuild strength after childbirth, and to recover from all diseases.

“Marrow Bone Stock”

They made it by putting chunks of marrow bone in a stock pot, added a potato, a carrot, parsnip, onion, stalk of celery, covered it all with water and boiled it all. After an hour or so, they removed the vegetables and let it boil some more. They added water when needed and let it simmer for a day or two or three.

I saw beef marrow bones at “Ray’s Specialty Meats – Meat Market” in New London, IA and talked David into buying me a package. I threw them in the freezer and forgot them.

A year later, I found them in the back. I put them in the Crockpot with a potato, carrot, minced onion and covered them all with water. I set it on high and later that day removed the vegetables.

After 24 hours on low, the broth was fragrant, but there was still marrow in the bones. I decided to let it simmer for a few more days.

It surprised me when I lifted the lid on the third day. All there was left in the Crockpot were: dried, empty bones, a glob of fat, and foam crusted around the edge. I couldn’t see through the condensation on the lid and didn’t notice the water level dropping. I believe I “seethed the bones.”

Ezekiel 24:4, 5, “…Fill it with choice bones;…make it boil well, also seethe its bones in it.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“Seethe: (Of a liquid) bubble up as a result of being boiled.”

God used marrow bones as an example of what would be left after the siege in Jerusalem. They ran out of food. What was left was worthless.

When I failed miserably at making my beef broth, I did what we all do, I asked God, “Why?” He didn’t answer. But when I read the phrase, “seethe the bones,” I knew exactly what that looked like!

God doesn’t explain “Why?” when we are going through life. But He uses every experience to help us. Even bad things. He doesn’t cause bad things to happen, he just works in the background to bring good out of it.

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Drawing Straws

This weekend I watched a movie called “Deep Impact,” which was about an asteroid hitting the earth. One chunk landed in the Atlantic Ocean causing a Tsunami.

A group of journalists was in a conference room in New York City. There was room for 7 of them in their station’s helicopter. They went around the room drawing straws. The woman who drew the short straw was a mother of a toddler, who was with her.

The heroine of the movie grabbed the toddler and raced to the helicopter pad on the roof. She gave the baby to one already seated and turned to her mother.

“You’re taking my place.”

She pushed the mother into the helicopter and watched it lift off. Today we read how they “drew straws” in ancient Babylon.

Ezekiel 21:21, “For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows, he consults the images, he looks in the liver.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

Ezekiel 21:21, “…He will call his magicians to use divination. They will cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They will inspect the livers of their animal sacrifices.” Life Application Study Bible

* * * * * * *

“…Divination with arrows, for the purpose of seeking good omens for the coming campaign…Apparently arrows were labeled (e.g., “Rabbah,” “Jerusalem”), placed in a quiver and drawn out,…Looking at the color and configurations of sheep livers to foretell the future was common in ancient Babylonia….” New International Version Study Bible Notes

The heroine drove to her estranged father’s house. She found him on the beach where she played as a child. Her last line was, “Daddy.”

Those I thought would die were miraculously saved and those I thought were safe ended up running for their life. Our only safety is in God. No matter what you are facing, rely on Him, and stay close to your family.

Proverbs 18:10, “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.” Modern English Version

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The Eagle in Ezekiel

Mom and I were talking about how close we are to the return of Jesus. She said, “We won’t be there at the end. America is not in the Bible.”

“What about the eagle in Ezekiel?” I asked. Then today, we read about the eagle.

Ezekiel 17:3, “And say, Thus says the Lord God: A great eagle with great wings, long winged, full of feathers which had various colors, came to Lebanon and took away the highest branch of the cedar.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

Ezekiel 17:12, “Say now to the rebellious house: Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them: The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took its king and its officials, and led them to him in Babylon.” Modern English Version

The king of Babylon was the eagle here. No one knows when Jesus will return or what will happen to America. We just need to be ready.

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Comeliness, Not Beauty

“Wake up Your Makeup!”

The article caught my eye because a woman my age wrote it after consulting with an associate of Bobbi Brown. Of course, I didn’t have everything needed on the list, but I used what I had. I thought it looked great! We headed out-of-town to meet Mom and my sisters for dinner.

My sister asked me, “Are you okay? You look tired.”

So much for waking up my makeup. Sigh.

(In her defense, I wasn’t feeling 100% and was sick the next day.)

Ezekiel 16:14, “Then your renown went out among the nations for your beauty. For it was perfect through My comeliness which I had put upon you, says the Lord God.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“Comeliness: 1) Pleasing in appearance, attractive, fair. 2) Proper, seemly, becoming.” dictionary.com

At church on Wednesday night, Terri told me she enjoyed it when I played with the worship team. She said, “I watch to see you smile.”

That’s scary! When I hit a wrong note, I smile! I also smile when I feel God moving. (It’s difficult to explain. You just have to experience it.) 

I want God’s comeliness more than beauty. That means…

Less makeup – more smiles!

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