Change

I prefer the hot summer weather, but I really love the changes that comes in the fall. The colors are just amazing that come out of dull, mundane plants and trees that we walk and drive past everyday without noticing.

Last week, I was introduced to a unique bush called a Service Berry. In the spring, there is eye-catching clusters of white blossoms. Purplish-black edible fruit comes in the summer and in the fall it changes colors. It’s leaf slowly fades from green to yellow, to orange to red. It is my new favorite fall plant. I just purchased two bushes and I am thinking about getting a couple more.

Change can be good and sometimes it can be scary. As I look around and see the changes during fall and in the world politically, one thing that I do know is that God never changes.

In Malachi three, God says in verse six, “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” God had a plan for Israel, but Israel was not living how she should have. Since God is unchanging, He showed grace to them which guaranteed the preservation of Israel, though they did not deserve it and should have been destroyed.

This attribute of God is called “immutability”. This means that God is unchangeable and unchanging. This attribute of God gives the believer comfort and assurance that God will keep his promises. In a world where people can let us down and not keep their promises, it is great to know that we have a heavenly Father that does not change.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Door of the Sheep

John 10:1-9 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. “But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

 

A ‘sheepfold’ is a walled enclosure where the sheep are put at night for protection. It was not uncommon for many shepherds to share a sheepfold. By doing this, their sheep would get mixed with other shepherds’ sheep. In the morning, the shepherd would walk through the only door of the sheepfold to call his sheep. Sheep knows their masters voice and they will follow only him. “Jesus gives this figure of speech to teach the people how this sheepfold represents Israel. “He will lead His sheep out of Judaism (the sheepfold) out from under a legalistic system.”1 He will call out to His sheep and they will hear Him and follow Him through the door. Jesus claims to be the door, declaring that ‘the sheep’ has to go through him to be saved. This is a build up to show the people that he is the Good Shepherd who enters through the door and calls His own sheep by name.

Again, we see here that we have to go through Jesus to be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

1. J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Vol 4 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1981), 431.

Dependent

In chapters fourteen through sixteen of second Chronicles shows the life of king Asa of Judah. King Asa reigned for forty-one years. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 15:8). His first ten years of reign there was peace (14:1b-8). God gave him victory over Zerah the Cushite (14:9-15). There was a second reform in chapter fifteen. Here in chapter sixteen there are hostile moves against king Asa by king Baasha of Israel.

Judah was actually experiencing revival. Baasha king of Israel was not thrilled about this because Israel was coming down to Judah. To stop this he took over the city of Ramah in Judah. Starting now is the decline of king Asa. He took silver and gold from the treasuries of God and went to the king Ben-hadad of Aram (king Ben-hadad lived in Damascus, northeast of Israel). King Asa convinced king Ben-hadad to attack the northern cities of Israel. By doing this king Baasha of Israel pulled out of the city of Ramah to go protect his own cities. When king Baasha left the city, king Asa went in to Ramah and took their building supplies and used it to build up two other cities (Geba and Mizpah). This sounds like a great military plan, but king Asa is now no longer dependent upon the Lord and no longer walking by faith.
Hanani the prophet came to king Asa to rebuke him. King Asa was relying on king Ben-hada instead of God. Hanani reminds him about how God gave him victory in the past. In the middle of this chapter is a familiar verse (v. 9) “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His..” God is looking for people who will be dependent upon God instead in one’s own strengths and talents. King Asa no longer was dependent upon God. When Hanani the prophet confronted him, he was unwilling to repent and turn back to God. Instead he was furious and had Hanani thrown in prison and then he started oppressing his own people.
King Asa started great but sadly he did not end well. He refused to repent and become dependent upon God again. Because of this, God gave him a disease in his feet. Even after this disease, he was still unwilling to seek God, so he ended up dying. It is interesting that once king Asa no longer was walking with God, God gave him a disease in his feet.
Do you wait on God?
Is your heart totally dependent upon God?
Do you try to fix everything yourself or do you bring it before God?

The Argument of the book of Romans: Vindication

Though Israel was God’s chosen people, when Israel rejected God, it did not frustrate his sovereign plan (Romans 9:1–29). Paul expresses a lot of grief in this section (9:1–5). He argues that the promise is not for all of Abraham’s descendants. The proof of this is that the child of the promise, Isaac, was the one that was chosen and not Ishmael. Even with Jacob and Esau, who had the same mother and were born at the same time, God chose to show mercy to Jacob (9:6–13). What it comes down to is that God can choose to whom he will grant or withhold his mercy (9:14–18). Israel has been rejected at this time. God is now pursuing others and is providing salvation for them (9:30–10:21). However, God has not cast out Israel, and there is a future for Her (11:11–32). Though this does not make sense to man now, he will in the future see the depths of God’s wisdom and knowledge (11:33–36).