DO YOU NOT SEE IT?
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)
18 "But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
God interrogates His people. He knows when we are serving Him, are forgiven for our failures, and are able to receive His merciful blessings. He has blessings for us. God blesses each of us daily and abundantly. Yet, many do not notice it.
The nature that we receive with the salvation transformation brings blessings.
If we HAVE A BROKEN SPIRIT, we are blessed by being made part of the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
If we HAVE A PENITENT SPIRIT, we are blessed with comfort from God.
"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
If we HAVE A MILD TEMPERED, GENTLE SPIRIT, we are blessed with the promise of inheriting the earth.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
If we HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS, we are blessed with filling of that hunger and thirst.
"Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
If we HAVE A COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL SPIRIT, we are blessed to receive mercy.
"Blessed are they merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
If we HAVE A PURE SPIRIT, we are blessed to know we shall see God.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
If we HAVE A SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND MEDIATION, we are blessed with being the children of God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
If we HAVE A LONGSUFFERING AND FORGIVING SPIRIT, we are given the kingdom of heaven, and have great reward there in heaven awaiting us.
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you."
Jesus taught that there are only two ways to live, one is the right way, the other is the wrong way. We must choose to build our life and home on the rock, or on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). If we choose the right way, great and manifold blessings are ours. You cannot choose to live ungodly, and be happy, blessed. Christ taught the beatitudes with authority, He was not making suggestions, He was direct and authoritative. He said that we must live this way, no options! Many have neglected to even consider these as mandatory to being blessed. That is why we have so much of Christianity that live no better than those of the world. There are too many hypocrites, too many abusers within church ranks. The God-glorifying life-style of living a blessed life, that God wants --is far too absent in congregations. Godliness, holiness, is a necessary ingredient to a blessed Christian life. Yet, some are missing one or more ingredients necessary to it.
God INTERROGATES Christians today, asking ‘do you not see the blessings? It is amazing that some have so much potential for blessings, and do not even realize it. GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT IS GREAT GAIN
1 Timothy 6:6-12 (KJV)
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
We need to flee the love of money, the root and life giver of all evil, and learn to be content with having food and clothing. The foolish and hurtful lusts that are engenderd by the temptations to seek riches are damaging to the godliness.
THE RICH YOUNG RULER DID NOT SEE THAT GREAT BLESSINGS BEYOND MEASURE COULD REPLACE THE MINUTE, AND DOOMED TO END, BLESSINGS HE ALREADY HAD.
Matthew 19:16-30 (KJV)
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Many are interested in riches. Jesus has this rich man come to Him, and with this event, many were standing there to see what Jesus felt about riches, what He would say to this rich man. The rich young ruler lacked contentment, and could not see being able to be content if he was lacking his possessions, his riches. We need to learn ‘contentment’, and see that it is a blessing we should be thankful for.
Our riches are not for us to increase and increase. The Lord will show us places to invest in His work. We will give to the poor, not just to some preacher that promises a 100 fold return. That is not ‘giving’ that would be trying to buy God’s blessings.
How much more blessed is a life not spent in seeking to receive, but learning to give. The prosperity heresy being preached in many quarters emphasizes receiving, not giving. They say ‘give to them’ to ‘get’. We find the emphasis of the person gets ‘blinded’ by the thought of the 100 fold return, not on giving that return away. They build barns to hold more and more. The carnal mammon is not satisfying. The rich young ruler who would not give away his fortune did not realize, that he would not have gone away ‘sorrowful’ if he had listened to Jesus. If he had stayed with Jesus, gave up his current wealth, his happiness and blessedness would have been unmeasurable. He did not see it.
Not seeing the contentment as a blessing, some live a life of being a malcontent, but that is a blindness of not seeing true blessings.
Ephesians 4:17-32 (KJV)
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
The ‘vanity’ or ‘worthlessness’ of the mind in many today is evident. The ‘blindness of their heart’ is a major problem in our day, as it was in Paul’s.
The words ‘blind’ and ‘blindness’, in the Greek, come from ‘tuphloo’ and ‘poroo’. Tuphloo, is from the root word ‘tuph’ meaning ‘to burn, to smoke’, and speaks of the way smoke could be so heavy it would obscure and make it almost impossible to see. It speaks metaphorically of dulling of the intellect, making it difficult or impossible to discern. It is found in John 12:40, II Corinthians 4:4, I John 2:11, Romans 2:19, II Peter 1:9, and Rev. 3:17. In Acts 13:11, it speaks of physical blindness.
Poroo, is from the root word ‘poros’, meaning ‘a thick skin,’ or ‘a hardening’. It is sometimes translated ‘hardening’. It is like the scales of hard matter that can cover the eye area, and make it impossible to see. (See Romans 11:7, II Corinthians 3:14, Romans 11:25, Ephesians 4:18, Mark 3:5)
There is much blindness in Christianity today, as in all ages. In this age, it is especially prevalent, for the devil knows that his time is very limited, and he seeks to deceive even the elect, if he can. As God interrogates, can they ‘see’ or are they blind to the blessedness of belonging in God’s kingdom.
The ‘smoke’ of sin in this world has blinded many in the church from the things they should be seeing. They are blinded because the truth is obscure, and impossible to see, due to the ‘smoke’ of the sinful world in which we live.
The ‘hardening’ of scales on the eyes of many in the church makes what the Lord wants them to see, impossible to be seen. They are blind. Paul faced that kind of blindness in the church in Ephesus then, we see it far too much in the church of this day.
Turn on Christian television and watch, listen. How long before the ‘on’ was pushed, and some ‘blind’ doctrine is preached? It does not take long on many of those stations, on many of those programs. The greed and false words and dreams, that is proclaimed in the name of the Lord, but errant from the truth of the Word is easy to find. They proclaim personal visions from God that disagree with the Word of God, and are therefore evil. Yet, the crowds cheer, hoping the message of prosperity is for them, they give their offerings, and go home still blind. The are so discontented that they cannot see the truths of God.
JUDAS WAS NOT CONTENT, WITH THE BLESSINGS HE HAD, EVEN THOUGH HE HAD BEEN WITH JESUS FOR THREE YEARS. Jesus saw the potential for Judas to have been a great apostle, and for a while, he was. Judas had preached, had cast out devils, had laid hands upon the sick and seen them healed, and once had devotion to the Lord.
Yet, it was a divided loyalty, part love for Jesus, and part love for money. Judas had a chance, for he had three years watching Jesus heal the sick,
resurrect the dead, teach the ignorant, and love the unloved. Judas had seen marvelous and miraculous deeds, had witnessed miracles uncountable.
His discontent was due to a love for money, the filthy lucre of the world. That lack of contentment lingered in his mind. This seed of wickedness overcame all the teaching of Jesus that he had heard. Judas allowed his tainted relationship with the Lord to make him become a damned soul. He had not destroyed every ounce of sin in his life. He held onto one vice, a manageable vice, he thought. Judas was wrong. That one vice that he hated to give up, damned his soul to hell-fire.
Some in ministry today, are facing the battle of sins unconquered in their own lives. The constant battle between their love for following Jesus, and their desire to yield to that temptation to sin is a seemingly never ending battle. Ministers are human, are normal people, with normal temptations. All have and all will fail in this life, Peter did, James and John did, etc. So will ministers in our day. Yet, what will be the ultimate winner? Jesus or our sinful self? Are we going to be content with what the Lord provides for us, or is our lack of contentment going to blind us to the right paths we are to walk?
Judas did not profit from his hearing of Jesus teaching. He did not profit from seeing the marvelous deeds of the Lord. Like many today who sit through sermon after sermon, attend Bible study after Bible study, and still do not allow the teaching to change their life enough to make them stay committed to the Lord.
Judas had seen the feeding of the thousands with a few loaves and fishes,
the Lord Jesus walk on water, Jesus show the disciples the Old Testament prophecies concerning Himself, Lazarus hop out of the tomb, but he still betrayed the Lord to be crucified. He was unaware, blind to seeing the blessings of his life.
There were repeated warnings. Jesus warned the disciples over and over
against the love of money. Matthew and Judas both heard those messages,
and as men who formerly had a great love for money. Both were admonished similarly. One listened, and the other did not listen.
"he that hath ears to hear, let him hear..."
Judas did not sin in ignorance. Neither do many today sin in ignorance. Judas still allowed small bit of greed, a discontent with the life of giving to the poor, and living frugally himself. This discontent lingered in his mind despite the often-repeated warnings of the Lord.
"When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in the Spirit, and testified and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me."
The ingratitude of Judas Ischariot toward the loving ministry of Jesus was enormous. Jesus had said more than once: "The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men" and still Judas did not repent. Due to his discontent, Judas, a FRIEND of the Lord Jesus, sold Him for the price of a slave!
his chance for eternal life,
his chance to have one of the foundations of the New Jerusalem named after him
his eternal mansion in such city.
all for 30 pieces of silver!
He was not content with all the aforementioned blessings,
but needed, he thought, more silver than he had.
When Jesus said, during the last supper, "ONE OF YOU SHALL BETRAY ME!"
the disciples answered: "IS IT I?" If Jesus had said "YES" to other of the disciples they would have repented. But one was turning a deaf ear to the discussion. When Jesus said it was "the one who dips his bread in the broth at the same time as I," the only disciple who was not listening carefully enough to avoid doing so was JUDAS. He had a spiritual-willing-deafness
at the end. His mind was on the discontent with his current financial status, and he missed the warnings of the Lord.
Many in church congregations today have such a DEAFNESS of spirit. They sit in sermon after sermon, being warned of sin and its damning consequences. They hear, but they do not hear well enough to do anything about it. They do ot see the blessings of a righteous life with God.
Jesus foreknew the fall of Judas. Although Judas had preached, prayed,
and done miracles as the other disciples, Jesus knew that someday Judas would betray Him.
"Jesus knew from the beginning who should betray Him..."
The knowledge of the Lord, about such betrayal, did not make Him love Judas less. Jesus did not mistreat, abuse, or shame this Judas, but patiently loved, counseled, called into private session this soon-to-betray-Him saint.
Judas did not make an open break with Jesus when he decided to betray Him.
THERE MAY BE TROUBLED TIMES AHEAD, WE NEED TO SEE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD.
THE GREATEST BLESSINGS COME TO THOSE WHO SEE THAT TO ‘DENY’ OURSELF, AND TAKE UP OUR CROSS.
‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
Satan will work on the discontent in Christians. As Peter, we will be most likely to fall in areas we are sure we will not fall. Proverbs tell us that the one who ‘thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.’ So, we should not be overconfident in our own strength. Satan will and has been making an offer for your soul. He holds it before you, and encourages you to not see it as selling your own soul for eternity to him, but will make it look like just a momentary resting, a short diversion, a short vacation from our calling. He holds it before us, and tempts.
‘Choose you this day, whom you will serve,’ we are told. To choose Christ, we will have to deny satan, and even deny ourselves. The choice will not come to us as ‘choose Jesus or satan’. We would all choose Jesus at that point. The choice comes ‘this is best for you, and you must make yourself number one sometimes...’ The devil will make it look like that choice is best for you. Do we have a price like that, for which we would sell out?
SOME ARE DISCONTENTED, AND DO NOT SEE THE BLESSINGS THEY ALREADY HAVE.
Esau was bough for a bowl of soup of pottage. He sold his birthright for a temporary cessation of hunger.
Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. The price of buying a slave in that day. The religious leaders bought Jesus for what one could buy a common slave.
Many today will sell out their calling, sell out their Christianity, for physical gain. How much will it take to buy you?
The devil does not make the choice easy to turn down. It is not, ‘choose heaven or hell’. Nor does he put it, ‘choose a million dollars or sin.’ He may put it, as ‘choose a life of cross bearing, or some pleasures that you deserve.’ He may say, ‘do you choose to starve to death, or have T-bone steak?’ For Judas, it was ‘choose watching your hopes of Jesus being the Messiah go down the drain, or at least get 30 pieces of silver to try to compensate you for wasting the last three years of your life following One Who will not listen to your advice.’ Some count money, job, position, reputation, popularity, prestige, pleasures as more valuable than their calling, their salvation, their relationship with Jesus. They may be godly otherwise, but they are discontented in their godly living. It leads to great sins, if we are discontented.
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
"He that seeks things good for himself shall lose them, he that gives up things loved for Me shall find true happiness.’
The rich young ruler wanted a good life. He also wanted to know he would have eternal life. The choice came down to having and maintaining all his gained riches, or having to take up a cross and follow Jesus. The easier way seemed to be the ‘good life’ of earthly riches. The price for having those, was more than he would pay today, knowing what he knows now.
Crosses that we must bear in life may vary. The cross we are given may include sickness, poverty, unpopularity, rebuke, scorn, etc. Many of the army of prophets would find it tempting to eliminate those from one’s life.
Solomon tried all he could try, experienced many things, and was the richest man of the world. He tried all, but found that all was vanity and useless.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, 12:13-14
"I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure... unto wine... folly... great works... houses... vineyards... gardens and orchards... pools of water... servants and maidens... great possessions... great and small cattle... silver and gold... peculiar treasure... men singers... women singers... delights of the sons of men..musical instruments... whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them... my heart rejoiced in all my labor... all was vanity. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, and with every secret thing, whether it be good or bad."
Some do see the blessings in what God gives to us, and is not blinded by the devil’s offerings.
Abraham was offered the joy of life in prosperous Ur, and chose rather to live in a tent in a land unknown to him. Later, he could please God, or keep his son alive. He chose to offer his son.
Job said ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.’ (Job 13:15)
Paul could have been a chief pharisee, and perhaps been the successor to Gamaliel. But he chose rather to suffer shipwreck, hardships, imprisonment, hatred, persecution, and finally was beheaded.
John was put into boiling oil, yet lived. He was exiled on Patmos. Yet, he refused to deny his Lord and Savior.
Daniel could have escaped the lion’s den. Yet, he would not choose to cease praying.
The three Hebrew children chose the fiery furnace over having to bow to a false god.
Stephen could have had friendships and stature in the religious community, but he chose to preach the truth. Therefore, he was stoned.
We will be tempted to be discontented in the blessings we have, when we really need to look again, unblinded, and see God’s real blessings.
I Peter 1:7
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold, that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto the praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.’
God brought Abraham to a great test. God asked for Isaac. Would Abraham trust the Lord? Abraham said to him, ‘My son, God will provide Himself a lamb.’ (Genesis 22:8)
"He staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded, that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
Joseph faced a great test. How could he resist great temptation? Potiphar’s wife could cost him his life, his freedom, if he did not succumb to here seduction. But Joseph said ‘how can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 37:9)
Esther was under similar pressure. A man threatened her and her people. Her answer was ‘if I perish, I perish’. (Esther 4:16) She stood firm and refused to succumb to the selling out.
Job was pressured to succumb and ‘curse God and die’. But He said ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.’ (Job 13:15)
Those situations all were blessings due to their righteousness. Discontent in the blessings of God will try to bring us to failure and ruin. We need to be strong against discontent.
II Corinthians 4:17
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
God is blessing, and our lives are filled with blessings. The world may wonder at what we endure as a Christian, but God is still interrogating and saying ‘do you not see’ that He is working blessings for us, beyond measure.