Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities. 2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples. 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” 7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see: A reed shaken by the wind? 8 “But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 “For this is he of whom it is written:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 16 “But to what shall I liken this generation?” It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 “and saying:
‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.’
18 “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a wine-bibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”…. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Recently I’ve embarked on a Bible Study journey* that sheds light on, and explains, the challenges and upheaval that our world is facing today in many places including the United States.
Tucked away in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings 11-14 and 2 Chronicles 10-12 is the history of events that occurred in the life of the Nation of Israel right before that kingdom was divided in two.
Having been selected by God to represent Him and His ways, the descendants of Abraham, the Nation of Israel, missed the mark more times than not, leading to a life of discipline and judgment resulting ultimately in captivity. This decline was in direct proportion to their disregard and ultimate rejection of God’s guidance, His ways, and His commands.
Sounding quite similar to the condition of our world today, I am reminded of the words wise King Solomon penned long ago in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “…there is nothing new under the sun.”
Interestingly, this same King Solomon, often considered the wisest man to have ever lived, even he, made many unwise decisions. By compromising and subsequently disregarding and disobeying God’s commands, the Bible tells us, King Solomon met the demise of his own influential life, in addition to the demise of the entire nation he was entrusted to lead.
Yet, God in His loving mercy, still yearned for the hearts of His people to turn to Him, just as a parent would for a prodigal child. And another part of God’s love is that He also provided a Redeemer, His Son, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit to saves us all from our sins, (and from ourselves), and guide and help us, along the way.
Sadly, if, as Solomon did, we don’t recognize our need for God’s help, and follow God’s ways, consequences like what we are seeing in our world today will result. The choice is ours to make.
On a more trivial level, the practice of not reading an owner’s manual is common to mankind. How many of us choose to read the owner’s manuals of earthly products we purchase or use? Some of us do, and others of us don’t.
However, on a more life-threatening and life-enduring level, the consequences of not following the directions in the manual provided for us by the Creator of mankind, in this case, the Holy Bible, can lead to catastrophic results, such as we are witnessing today.
Ultimately, that decision rests with each of us; and that encouraging news means the choice is up to you and me to make! Which begs the question: Who or what will you choose for direction and guidance?
1 The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:
2 What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? 3 Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; 5 Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.
8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 19 She stretches out her hand to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.