The Strait Life

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King James Bible StudyAnd when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Mark 8:34

Date: Monday, April 05, 2021
Chapters: Judges 16-18
Message: The Strait Life

Hello My Friend,

As I am reading the chapters for today I as thinking about what Jesus said when He was on the cross watching them mock Him and literally gambling for a piece of cloth from His robe, [Luke 23:34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.] When you stop to think about how foolish the world is in how they perceive God, you can understand why we ask God to forgive them. And let me tell you, when you actually get around those who really do not know what they are doing, besides the fact that your heart hurts because they are so lost, you find yourself praying for them constantly in the hopes that God would forgive them and open their hearts to the truth. Jesus reminds us of the sobering fact that the path to Him is strait, and no, I did not misspell the word, [Luke 13:24  Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.]

[Strait; Narrow; close; not broad. Distress; difficulty; distressing necessity.]

Yes, you read the right, distress, difficulty, and distressing necessity. There is not one person on this earth that wants to be in distress, but the truth is, distress is a necessity that defines who we are individually and how we deal with it. Truth be told, we cannot find Christ as long as we are getting everything we need in our own ability. We must understand that while God wants us to be independent in the sense that we think for ourselves and do the necessary things we need to do to sustain our flesh while we are here, He wants us to be dependent upon Him. The last five chapters of the Book of Judges gives us some insight into what was going on that God would get so angry and deliver Israel into the hand of their enemy. Samson judged Israel for twenty years while the Philistines had a great deal of power over them still. Even though he was a Nazarite, he was far from godly, and had quite a lust for the Philistine women, his complete downfall would be a woman that he met, Delilah.

[Judges 16:4-9  And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.  5  And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.  6  And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.  7  And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.  8  Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.  9  Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.]

[So his strength was not known.] The world will never understand that the strength of a Christian is not in our brawn, our abilities, it is in Christ who lives in them. You see, there is only so much we can do in our own physical strength, everything else comes from Christ and His strength. In fact, it is the straits in life that Jesus allows so that we might find our strength through Him alone, [II Corinthians 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.]

Now, the people in our lives play a huge part in those straits of life, they can either strengthen our faith or weaken it to the point that we face more straits. Delilah was determined to get that money, she pressed and pressed Samson until he finally gave in and told her where his strength lied.

[Judges 16:15-20  And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.  16  And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;  17  That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.  18  And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.  19  And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.  20  And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.]

[How canst thou say, I love thee,] When I read this tears flooded my eyes as I can relate to how her pressing him so much brought him to give into her. It does matter if we give in out of their pressuring us, we are still going to suffer. [And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.] Thank God that He does not remove His Spirit as He did whenever they got out of the will of God. However, if we are trusting in our own strength we are going to fail, give in, and lose that hedge that God has about us and fall into dire straits. Nevertheless, God is still faithful and just that when we discover that He is our strength, He will help us endure them, even upon our death. Samson realized something as his eyes were gouged, and he was forced into submission, he strength was not in his hair. The Philistines decided to have a party in the house of their god, they brought in Samson to brag on how their god was able to deliver him into their hands.

[Judges 16:25-30  And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.  26  And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.  27  Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.  28  And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.  29  And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.  30  And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.]

[Lord GOD, remember me,] The most amazing thing about God is that we gives us until the day we take our last breath to ask Jesus to save us. This is more proof that salvation is only by grace through our faith in Him, not of our works, not in asking Him to save us then getting baptized, it is solely upon our faith in Christ alone, [Romans 3:22-24  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:]

And now we come to the sad state of what happens to those who have no idea what they are doing. They believe in God, want His blessings, and yet insist on making up their own ways to worship Him. Remember when the Philistines came to Delilah and told her they would each give her eleven hundred shekels if she got Samson to tell her where his strength lied? Well, one of the Philistines took his portion of money from a man name Micah’s mother and gave it to her. Micah retrieved it, and brought it back to his mother.

[Judges 17:1-4  And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.  2  And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.  3  And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.  4  Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.]

[I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son,] Okay, so, here is the scenario, his mother dedicated the money that was retrieved to God and to give thanks to Him she had a carving and an idol made from a portion of it. It is one thing to make up a god, it is another to use God and make up their own. As much as people like to believe that God picks and chooses who gets saved, the truth is He would save all, but that is not how it works. God give every single soul the opportunity to be saved, it is their unbelief or rebellion that sends them to hell, [Revelation 21:8]. So, not only did Micah have this false god they now worshiped as thou it was from God, they made things worse when a Levite showed up at his doorstep. Remember, these were ministers of God?

[Judges 17:7-13  And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.  8  And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.  9  And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.  10  And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.  11  And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.  12  And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.  13  Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.]

[Now know I that the LORD will do me good,] Micah thought that a Levite priest, one who was supposed to be one of God’s ministers, coming to his door was a sign that he was doing right and God was going to finally bless him. How many people do you think get caught up in a religious cults because they think they are hearing from God? And all it takes is for one fool to start to bring others into their false religion. The Levite ran into a family of the tribe of Dan and told the where he was staying.

[Judges 18:1-6  In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.  2  And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.  3  When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?  4  And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.  5  And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.  6  And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go.]

[before the LORD is your way wherein ye go.] Okay, God gives all a choice, and if you do not want Him, then so be it, He will accept that. If you do choose Him, you better not have any other gods before you, then that will be your own fault for ending up in hell. God will have no other gods before Him, He will not share your soul with other gods, and He will not stand for anyone dedicating an image to Him, and worshiping it. We worship God only, not a statue, not a cross, not a person, not an image, nothing, but Him, [Exodus 20:3-6  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.]

When the promised land was distributed by Joshua, considerable territory was allotted to each tribe, including the children of Dan, but they were not very faithful to God, and as a result they had been run out of theirs. Now, in search of their own and coming upon the Levite they wanted God’s blessings too, so they took not only the objects used to worship this false god they convinced the priest to come with them.

[Judges 18:11-13,18-20  And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.  12  And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim.  13  And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. 18  And these went into Micah’s house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?  19  And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?  20  And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.]

[And the priest’s heart was glad,] Do you see what was happening here? They were all lost, and followed whatever path got them the better deal. They had no clue who God is, and how to worship Him, and they certainly did not have His Word to guide them. Oh, and this was not the end of the story, Micah, all he could do was whine and cry that his gods was taken away from him, [Judges 18:23-24,26,30-31  And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?  24  And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee?  25  And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.  26  And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.  30  And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.  31  And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.]

[and what have I more?] Does any of this sound familiar to you today? The Catholic’s have a graven image, it is actually what is called the crucifix, it is a cross they hang on the wall or make a shrine to, and often wear it around their neck that has Jesus nailed to it. Every year at Easter they take the body of Jesus off of it, the very next day they place Him back on it. They also have an idol and that is the Virgin Mary, and they literally pray the statue. Religion will forever sent souls to hell, and let me tell you as much as God does not want to see any of them on hell, especially when they go through such great lengths to show Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, if they are trusting in the religion over the truth, He will give them up, [Luke 13:25-28  When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:  26  Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.  27  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.  28  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.]

[all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.] The fact that the Tabernacle was right there and yet they still did what they wanted tells you that they wanted the easy path, that wide gate that is only going to lead them to hell. While the gate to Christ is strait while w are here, those who reject Christ and attempt to get to heaven some other way will find out the hard way that they will be in dire straits when do see Him and are cast into hell, [Matthew 7:13-14  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.]

Jesus Christ Magnified: [Judges 16:28  And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.]

Today’s Prayer: God, You have given us an example of how You want us to worship You and that is first by receiving Your Son as our Saviour, a man who was tempted at all points just as we, a man who gave His sinless life so that we can live with You forever. So many people live under the false pretense that their religion is going to save them or even worse, their own faith as they make up their own version of You in an attempt to reap all the blessings that come with our salvation. Lord, Forgive them for they know not what they do. Lead me and guide me past the strait gate that You brought me through, give me Your power, mercies, and grace to walk by faith, and not by sight, lead me by the example of Your Son, guide me in how You want me to show Your truths, keep my heart tender and open to You so that I can bring others to You. I ask these things in Your name, Jesus. Amen.

God Bless You, I am praying for you,

Christina

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