#81

Our precious and  glorious Heavenly Father, the Unbegotten LORD, is a God of balance.  He lovingly gives to all His children in perfect measure what they have need of to remain balanced spiritually and naturally.  He is in control of all lives and  gives as He sees fit, either pain or pleasure, to bring each one of us to the point of perfect balance.  Too much pleasure or too much pain causes us to see the world in a skewed fashion.  Surely, as the sun rises in the morning to introduce a glorious new day, the sun will sink below the horizon to usher us into a dark, cold night.  He is the Rose of Sharon (on the mountain) and the Lily of the Valley (in the valley).  

In the Old Testament book of Amos, the LORD has demonstrated to us that, indeed, He is a God of balance.  Please read Amos 7:1-9.  In this chapter we see that Israel has a natural problem with idolatry, which is a spiritual picture of today's believers having the same problem.  The LORD allowed Israel to reap the first mowing.  After it was stored for future food, the LORD sent the grasshopper to destroy the second growth.  He gave them provision and food to help them survive the devastaion of the grasshopper.  The LORD will lovingly give us pleasure so when He comes knocking on our door about our idolatry, we will have the strength to go to Him in prayer and seek Him about our sin of idolatry (pain).  In verse 2, Amos asks the the LORD to remove the pain because Israel is small and alone; nobody will come to his aid.  Amos should have been interceding for idolatrous Israel and asking God not to remove His pain until they saw their sinful ways.  Israel was involved in the wrong pleasure.  The nation sought out its own satisfaction and gratification through the pleasure of bowing down to idols.  Therefore, the LORD balanced them through a painful onslaught of  hungry grasshoppers.  In verse 4, the LORD then contended by fire.  He scorched the plants with the sun and burned up the root so that they could not produce any more fruit.  He was mercifully and patiently trying to get Israel's attention so He could deliver them from their idolatry and set them free as a nation.  

In verse 7, God has a plumbline and He is measuring the walls of the Temple. In the beginning the walls were straight and properly built and they protected the Temple sanctuary from defilement and enemy intrusion.  The beauty of their relationship with God was protected by the walls.  The wall had the power to exclude sin and protect the relationship with God inside.  Israel did not maintain the integrity of the wall by engaging in idolatrous pleasure outside the will or wall of God.  The wall and Temple were left to decay and crack, leaving their relationship with Him to deteriorate as well.  

Verse 9 says that God will send an enemy to tear down the wall.  If we allow idolatry to weaken our relationship with Him, and expose the treasures of the Word and the Spirit in our hearts, being unprotected, He will send an enemy to tear down the wall.  Let's repent and ask the LORD to help us to stop  finding pleasure in idolatry (bossing the pleasure side of the scales) and stop wondering why the "grasshoppers have come" (the LORD coming to us with pain to  balance our idolatrous pleasure).  As soon as the grasshoppers come (pain), seek God in prayer and ask Him what He is trying to deliver you from!

                                                                                                                  #80

In the parable of the goodman and his hired servants, (Matthew 20: 1-16)  we see that the goodman encountered some disappointment expressed by the first hour workers.  Of all things, they were upset because the goodman had made subsequent hired servants equal to them by also giving them a penny.  They did not mention that this is what they agreed upon at the beginning of the day.  In verse 12, they justified themselves as being better because they had "borne the burden and heat of the day".  This confession by the first hour workers clearly shows that, yes, they had worked, but under their own authority and headship.  Psalm 91:1 says, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty".  If the first hour workers had worked under God's Headship, they would have been overshadowed by the Almighty.  We see from Jesus' own words, that "there is none good but one, that is, God:" in Matthew 19:17.  Their conplaint was against the Father of the vineyard.  His response was, "take that thine is and go THY WAY:" (Matthew 20:14).  Meaning, leave me and go do what you are most familiar with, you love your own headship and authority above me, I have done you no wrong.  

In 1 Corinthians 9:7-9, the Apostle Paul reaffirms an Old Testament principle:  that if you labor in a vineyard, then you are blessed to partake of the increase  of that vineyard.  Also, in 1 Corinthians 3:5-10, The Apostle Paul again explains that "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour".  Our personal relationship with Christ is a vineyard and the fruit of the vineyard, which includes seeds, is be planted into the hearts of those around us.  Planting seeds in hearts of others will evertually produce new fruit, new life, that will redound unto the sower of the seed.  Reaping new life will be the reward for sowing into someone's heart.  

In another parable about a vineyard, (Matthew 21:33-41) Jesus, in verse 35, states that the husbandmen took the owners' servants and "beat one and killed another".  The word "killed" means:  to deprive of spiritual life. The husbandmen of the vineyard selfishly controlled the seed of the vineyard by not sharing, and killed the owners' servants.  We do the same thing.  By not allowing the LORD to be the Head and Authority over the seed in our own vineyard, (our relationship with Him) we deprive spiritual life to those around us by controlling how, when, where, and to whom we share this seed.  The stature of the Son of God in us needs to be shared.  Jesus, while on earth, in blessing or opposition, continually plucked the fruit from the vineyard of His relationship with His Father, and gave seed wherever and whenever the Father spoke.  If we want more life, then we need to share from our vineyard.  Manifest the truth, under God's Authority, and kill it not!  Deprive not those around us of spiritual life, which we will reap as a consequence of sharing!