Live a Victorious Christian Life and Seek the Heart of God
Victorious Christian Living Newsletter – July 2015
THIS ISSUE INCLUDES:
An Article From Me
Everyday Life In Bible Times
—–New Testament Statistics
Geography and People
Links To My Sites
Act Out Of Who You Are, Not What You Feel!
Act out of who you are not what you feel.
In Exodus Chapter 20 God reveals much about His goodness, mercy, character, and His Very Heart.
In Verse 1 some of the Israelite leaders came to Ezekiel asking for guidance from God. No doubt they wanted to see if they could get information as to how long it would be before things got better for Israel again.
But God gave Ezekiel a stirring message to give them. If you read the whole 20th Chapter, you will see that for most of it God was telling them He was disgusted with their actions. We will look specifically at 6 verses out of this chapter.
Ezekiel 20: 8-10 MSG
But they rebelled against me, wouldn’t listen to a word I said. None got rid of the vile things they were addicted to. They held on to the no-gods of Egypt as if for dear life. I seriously considered inflicting my anger on them in force right there in Egypt. Then I thought better of it. I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt. And I acted in a way that would evoke honor, not blasphemy, from the nations around them, nations who had seen me reveal myself by promising to lead my people out of Egypt. And then I did it. I led them out of Egypt into the desert.
Ezekiel 20: 13-14
But Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They didn’t follow my statutes. They despised my laws for living well and obediently in the ways I had set out. And they totally desecrated my holy Sabbaths. I seriously considered unleashing my anger on them right there in the desert. But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations who had seen me bring them out.
Then again at the end of the chapter in verse 44 God speaks the same phrase again.
44 “‘But, dear Israel, you’ll also realize that I am God when I respond to you out of who I am, not by what I feel about the evil lives you’ve lived, the corrupt history you’ve compiled. Decree of God, the Master.’”
If you have been in church for any length of time, you have heard about how the Israelites disobeyed God and didn’t get to enter into the Promised Land for 40 years. If they had listened to and obeyed God, in less than 2 years they would have been getting ready to possess the land of Canaan.
God had specifically chosen this land because of its beauty and fertile soil. There was no land around that could compare to its greatness and abundance. When God blesses something He does it very well. Even today I couldn’t imagine a cluster of grapes being so large and heavy that two men had to attach it to a pole and then carry each end of the pole on their shoulders.
The nations around Israel worshipped many heathen gods. They had a different god for each area of their lives. Many of the people had small statues that symbolized each god in a prominent place in their home. They wanted to appease these gods so they could have a good life.
He called the Israelites to live a completely different life than those around them. God wanted them to be a blazing torch for truth so there would be no doubt who was the One True God.
But the Israelites never seemed to grasp the fact that they MUST abandon their old way of life in order to accept this new and better way. BUT they had become so ingrained in the old way that they didn’t want to open their hearts and minds to change.
As is the case with us today, many times the old way of thinking and doing things has been extinct and outdated for a long time. Even though it doesn’t work anymore, we still continue to cling to it hoping that it will suddenly and miraculously start working again.
The Israelites did the same thing by clinging to their old ways even though they had been miserable in them.
We seem to have selective thinking about the past and choose to only remember the good things. They quickly forgot about their unbearable condition of slavery that had made them cry out for help in the first place.
So for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and the only way to Heaven, we should live in a much different way than those around us. That is certainly what God was trying to teach the Israelites.
- When things happen that you don’t expect,
- when a friend lets you down,
- or when disappointing or even devastating things happen,
- you need to act out of who you are, not what you feel.
When we accept Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately starts to work in our lives to help us grow and mature to a deeper level. Usually the way this happens is for things to come our way that are out of our control. Then we must decide whether we will run to God for help or run away from Him and try to handle it ourselves.
The Holy Spirit wants to mature you to the point that your feelings don’t control how you act. You make the choice to act based on the wisdom you already have, and you immediately pray for specific wisdom to handle this situation in a way that is pleasing to God.
If you do things in this way, you won’t have to look back with regret that you should have handled things differently. The next time something unexpected happens, be sure to act out of WHO YOU ARE not WHAT YOU FEEL!
Everyday Life In Bible Times
The tools and technologies for shooting arrows have evolved over the centuries, but their appearance has changed very little.
The arrows of bible times consisted of a wood or reed shaft that was approximately 30 inches in length. An arrowhead made of bone, bronze, or iron was at one end of the shaft and the fletching composed of feathers was at the opposite end. The feathers helped to stabilize the arrow while in flight.
Ancient bows ranged from a simple convex arc to the composite bow that could shoot accurately to more than 200 yards. These were already in use by hunters and soldiers by the time of Abraham.
The physics behind shooting an arrow is the same today as it was in Bible times. The potential energy housed within the muscles of the archer is transferred to the drawn bowstring and then released as kinetic energy when the bowstring recoils to its neutral position.
Regular practice is required to be able to fire it accurately.
The Bible mentions two settings in which arrows were used – hunting and war. There are many lithographs that depict archers with their bows aimed at the enemy. So to throw an unskilled archer into a battle setting would have meant his certain death.
But a skilled archer could do much damage to the enemy with his accurate and deadly aim. The biblical authors took special pains to mention the fact that Israelite soldiers were equipped to fire arrows. This portrayed a fighting unit that was fully capable of effective combat against the enemy.
In early bible times, there was a definite advantage to becoming a skilled archer. They could fire the arrows from a relatively safe position away from the enemy. They had a much better chance of survival than those who fought with swords and spears.
When defending a city, the archers fired down upon the enemy from the fortified city walls above. When they attacked from the outside, they shot arrows over the walls of the city while being safely out of range of other weapons.
At this time in bible history, arrows were the most dreaded form of warfare. All the archers would shoot at once, and since the arrows didn’t make much noise, the people inside the city would suddenly be attacked and many of them killed by the razor sharp arrows.
This caused much terror and panic among the people inside the city. They never knew when the arrows would be incoming.
When the Assyrian Sennacherib was threatening to attack Jerusalem, king Hezekiah received this assurance from God: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here.” 2 Kings 19:32
It was an awesome blessing to live in a setting where “you will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.” Psalms 91: 5
The bow and arrow was such a powerful weapon that it was also used in a metaphorical way when something bad happened suddenly. People also thought of harsh words or actions as being like an assault of arrows.
Psalms 11: 2
For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
Psalms 64: 4
They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear.
Everyday Life in Bible Times by John A. Beck
The Book Of Bible Lists
New Testament Statistics
- 27 books
- 260 chapters
- 7,959 verses
- 181,253 words
- Longest Book – Acts
- Shortest Book – 3 John
- 1 historical book
- 4 gospels
- 22 epistles
10 New Testament books containing material from the greatest number of Old Testament books
- Revelation, material from 32 Old Testament books
- Luke – 31 OT books
- John – 26 OT books
- Acts – 25 OT books
- Mark – 24 OT books
- Romans – 23 OT books
- Hebrews – 21 OT books
- I Corinthians – 18 OT books
- James – 17 OT books
- I Peter – 15 OT books
Geography and People
mentioned 24 times in OT
An Amorite city ruled by Japhia when Joshua and his troops conquered the Promised Land. Japhia joined with Adoni-zedek and his other allies in attacking Gibeon. Joshua and his forces came to Gibon’s aid because they had an agreement with that city.
Japhia was one of the five kings who fled to the cave at Makkedah and became trapped there. After the battle, all 5 kings were killed by Joshua. The Israelites besieged Lachish, took it in 2 days, and killed all its inhabitants. The city became part of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah following the conquest of the Promised Land.
King Rehoboam fortified Lachish to defend his nation. King Amaziah of Judah fled from a conspiracy in Jerusalem, escaped to Lachish, and was killed there by his enemies. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, laid siege to Lachish as his messengers visited Jerusalem, to threaten that city with attack.
mentioned 6 times in NT
Meaning: just people
A city of the Roman province of Phrygia. Paul had not yet visited the church in Laodicea when he wrote the Colossians. Paul told the nearby church at Colossae that Epaphras, “a servant of Christ” had a great zeal for their congregation and the church at Laodicea. The epistle to the Colossians was written to be read in both churches. In the book of Revelation, John relays Jesus’ message to the church in Laodicea.
mentioned 71 times in OT
Meaning: the white mountain
A Syrian mountain range of northern Palestine that runs along the Mediterranean Sea; it consists of two lines of mountains, the Lebanon Mountains in the west and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains in the east, with a valley between them. This was a richly wooded land in the Old Testament era and is used in scripture as a sign of a land filled with plenty.
God promised Israel that it would own the land to Lebanon. When Israel began to claim the Promised Land, the kings of this area fought Joshua and his troops. When Joshua was old, God promised to drive out the inhabitants of Lebanon, from Baal-gad to the entering into Hamath. But God left the nations of this area “to prove Israel.” Judges 3: 1,3
Lebanon was famed for its cedar trees. When King Solomon began to build the temple in Jerusalem, he arranged with King Hiram of Tyre to have Lebanon cedar, fir, and algum trees cut and floated down by sea to Israel. When the temple was rebuilt after the Babylonian Exile, Israel again secured timber from Lebanon.
The prophets foretold Lebanon’s destruction by the Lord.
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That’s it for this newsletter. May God bless you as you strive to live for Him and walk in obedience to what He desires!