Posts Tagged ‘Prophecy’

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Psalm 2:7-12 – BREAKING AND SMASHING AT EASTER – Part 1

I WILL GIVE YOU THE NATIONS

Psalm 2:7-8 (NLT) says “The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession.” 

All king David has to do is ask and God will give him the nations as his inheritance. Not just a little bit but the whole earth!

This Psalm is used in the New Testament to refer to Christ. It is not surprising then that the verses above are often used in sermons by missionaries who try to say it refers to God giving Christians the nations. After all, Jesus said “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. (Mark 16:15 NLT).

But the context of Psalm 2 best fits JUDGMENT rather than SALVATION.

BREAKING AND SMASHING SIN AND DEATH

Reading this verse in context shows clearly that the King, the anointed One, Messiah, Son of God, will not only inherit the nations if He asks, but that there will be a swift, violent battle and no mercy shown in doing it. The very next verse says “You will BREAK THEM with an iron rod and SMASH THEM like clay pots’” (Psalm 2:9 NLT). It would be more appropriate for missionaries to associate Psalm 2 with the last part of Mark 16:16 – “But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned” (NLT) or with the Second Coming of Christ or the Last Judgment.

It’s the language here that is disturbing and sobering. “You will BREAK THEM with an iron rod and SMASH THEM like clay pots” (Psalm 2:9 NLT). We don’t like to think of Christ breaking and smashing people. These are violent and severe terms that don’t belong to a sweet Jesus, meek and mild who we have devised for our own fairy tale reassurance. But the reassuring thing about Easter is that Christ broke and smashed the power of sin and death.

The Roman empire rose up to conquer a threat to their kingdom and instead Christianity gained the victory as it spread throughout their empire on Roman roads. Religious extremists rose up to put an end to His kingdom, but instead, Christ dealt a blow to their evil as they helped paved the way for the love of Christ which blossomed despite persecution. Christ and His purposes will be accomplished and evil will not have it’s way. The Bible also says Christ is coming again to lay claim to His inheritance of the nations and judge the world.

King David, who wrote this Psalm, is a pretty violent sort of person. He is making it clear that those who have opposed him as the Lord’s anointed king are going to be conquered. And broken. And Smashed.

Even as a humble shepherd boy, David had used his sling to strike anyone or anything that would attack his sheep. He used his sling to defeat Goliath and led his army in many battles. Breaking and smashing.

Christ is described in the Bible as the great Shepherd who will lovingly find the lost sheep but will also protect the flock from thieves and wolves.

He has already destroyed the power of the devil and also brings judgment to all who are in rebellion against God. The sentencing is yet to be announced but judgment day will come. Evil at His crucifixion was categorically defeated. What was meant for evil was used by God in Breaking and smashing the power of Sin and Death.

The invitation, while the earth is out on bail, is to find trust in Christ alone who pardons our sin and represents us when the big court day comes.

Pastor Ross

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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 67

David’s concubines were paraded before Absalom’s men as slaves and humiliated into serving them.

Absalom had called Ahithophel into his conference room with his elders. They were both intoxicated from the celebrations. But Absalom was far from satisfied. He threw his cup against the wall in frustration and said to Ahithophel, “How can I establish my authority as the new king when my coward father is not even willing to fight?” The years of bitterness demanded overt expression. I despise you, father? He looked at Ahithophel with both helplessness and hatred in his eyes, “I need your advice. Tell me what I can do next to decimate the kingdom of David?”

Ahithophel mumbled something as he observed what was happening through drunken eyes. Speaking slowly so as to make his point and with too much animation he said, “What you have done there,” He pointed to the concubines, “will have the advantage of sorting out the loyalty of your followers. If you humiliate David you will ‘make yourself strong’ in their eyes and they will have even greater resolve to establish you as David’s successor. Your reputation as one who despises anything to do with David will be quickly broadcast throughout Israel.”

In the past, the advice that Ahithophel had given had been regarded by David and Absalom to be prophetic. He was a very learned man. He knew the Word of God as given by the prophets, and studied the written documents religiously. Hushai, who stood near the door thought, How can this proud, arrogant fool apply God’s Word to his decision-making when his thinking is distorted with wine?

In his intoxicated state Ahithophel was rambling about the past. He was remembering his granddaughter, Bathsheba when he said, “When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered my son-in-law to cover it up, Nathan the prophet came to David with a prophecy. Do you remember?”

The words of Nathan’s prophecy now rang in Ahithophel’s memory. Both Ahithophel and Absalom had been in the room as Nathan had said to king David, “This is what the Lord says: ‘From one who is very close to you I will bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes, I will take your wives and give them to one who is very close to you, and he will have sexual relations with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but this thing will take place before all Israel.'”

Ahithophel now saw Absalom as the fulfilment of that prophecy. It all made sense. He said to Absalom, “If you really desire to make yourself offensive to your father then you will fulfil the prophecy of Nathan and establish yourself in the way of kings gone by. Make these concubines yours.”

“They are mine!” said Absalom.

“Then sleep with them and let it be known in broad daylight that you are humiliating the name of David!” He waited for his words to have effect upon Absalom. Absalom knew of this practice. His thoughts immediately went back to his childhood.

But each one of these women was old enough to be his mother. He had grown up with their children, Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and the others. I despise you all! he thought, All of you are threats to my kingdom. What better way to express my power over you, father?

A kind of perverted vengeance rose up within him. Sleeping with these women would extinguish the very seed of king David. It would make his own seed dominant and declare all that is of David to be his. He said in a whisper that could have come from Satan himself, “I have captured your kingdom and I will destroy your seed. Any children now born in this kingdom will now come through me!”

Absalom said under his breath, “Like Abner.” Ahithophel thought for a moment and then said, “Yes, like Abner.”

The incident had happened as Absalom was growing up as a young prince in David’s court. Abner had once been king Saul’s leading general in the North. He had been accused of sleeping with Rizpah, a concubine of Saul. This had sent shock waves all over Israel. Rumours were rife. It was well known that if someone wanted to indicate defiance to the king then this was the ultimate statement of rebellion. The words used to describe this were, to make yourself strong. In Absalom’s mind, it was the perfect way to express his utter contempt for his father and make himself strong in the eyes of all Israel.

Proceedings seemed to be winding up so Hushai took the opportunity to take his leave.

But Ahithophel was not finished.

 

P.S. Don’t forget to purchase a copy of Above the Storm, my new e-book on the ancient book of Job, full of short stories to help you understand some deep truths. This is a creative exploration of Job. You will not read another commentary like it. All royalties for the e-book, if any, will go to Hope Street in Sydney, Australia.

Pastor Ross

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 46

David doesn’t have a chance! Shimeah relived it again with Eliab.

Jonadab, Shimeah’s son, was spellbound by the story. “What did Goliath look like?”

“Goliath was a Philistine warrior, a giant of a man with skin the colour of sun-tanned leather and forearms the size of David’s waist. He wore armour over his huge frame and his voice boomed throughout the valley.”

With malevolent intent towards David, Goliaths words had trailed up the valley and echoed in Shimeah’s ears, “‘Come here,’ he said, ‘and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and animals!’” My stomach was in knots. Shimeah had seen some of the broken bodies that remained after hand to hand combat and against this experienced veteran of war.

“David’s voice was so clear and confident. But he seemed so naïve!”

“I remember. Almost arrogant,” said Eliab. “He said,‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’ The Philistines laughed at his audacity.”

Shimeah said “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. I turned to king Saul and said, ‘We have to stop him, sir! Can’t you command him to return?’ but he said, ‘I have no intention of interfering, nor will you.’ I couldn’t save him. I just had to watch.’” One of Saul’s guards had moved menacingly close to Shimeah. Why did I freeze up? I didn’t do anything. Only his eyes had revealed the desperate fear he had felt for David.

Shimeah and Eliab could see it all before them. Shimeah said, “As the Philistine moved closer, David ran quickly forward to meet his attack. He reached into his bag, took out a stone, and placed it in the cradle of his sling. In the same action, it was thrust into a swinging arc, centrifugal force stretching the leather slightly with the weight of the stone.”

After three sweeping turns, it had begun to sing in anticipation of release and David had snapped the sling in a deft movement that shot the stone from the arc of its swing in a deadly tangent towards Goliath. “It caught Goliath in the temple. It was a dull crack, like the sound of a sun-dried clay water pot being broken”. Goliath had swayed indecisively before his legs buckled. “He went down like a fallen tree.”

David is an expert marksman. “The stone sunk deep into Goliath’s forehead.” Goliath’s eyes had glared with unseeing astonishment. “His body convulsed for the last time.” The sling David had used was capable of letting a stone fly with incredible velocity and accuracy, though it had never before been used as a weapon of warfare.

“Did you see how he reached into his pouch again?” said Eliab, “He was even prepared to face Goliath’s armour bearers! But they were so shocked that they simply turned and ran for their lives.”

The whole Philistine army, seeing that David’s God had really done what He said He would do, also began to run, with superstitious fear flowing through their veins.

“David then ran, stood over Goliath’s huge frame, drew the enormous sword from the scabbard of this man and cut off his head. Goliath’s sword was so big that he had some difficulty in wielding it properly.”

The silence in Israel had exploded as every man in Israel came to life and surged forward with a shout to pursue the Philistines. “David was still holding the Philistine’s head as king Saul approached him.

‘Whose son are you, young man?’ he asked him.

David said, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.’”

Shimeah and Eliab remembered these events so clearly. Shimeah looked at Jonadab We brought home much plunder that day. That’s the same day that you were born.” Shimeah had called him Jonadab because his name meant The Lord is bountiful.

David had taken the weapons of Goliath and placed them in his tent. Shimeah said,“That sword was so masterfully made. Did you see it’s hilt? It had that unusual carving of a lion and a wolf in mortal combat with each other.

“Yes, the workmanship was beautiful. The blade was iron of course, but it must have been tempered by an expert smith. I doubt if even Barzillai could have created something to match it.”

Now, years later, as Shimeah thought about Goliath and those weapons, he still felt a little resentful and jealous towards David. It seemed that Shimeah had been passed over while God had destined David for greatness.

Shimeah’s son, Jonadab, was now a young man, “But all that is a long time ago. And now, you mix with David’s sons in court.” Shimeah had taught him to be shrewd but some of his attitudes towards David had also been passed down. Never-the-less Jonadab had become good friends with Amnon, his cousin, one of David’s sons.

Perhaps it had something to do with the unresolved jealousy of Shimeah that Jonadab, his son, influenced the course of events of the kingdom and triggered the fulfilment of another part of Nathan’s prophecy to David.

P.S. New e-book Above the Storm is now available on Amazon.com

Above the Storm

Above the Storm

Matthew 13:34-35 – HEY! THAT’S ME IN THAT STORY! – Part 15

Hey! That's me in that story!

Back in the 60’s my parents allowed me to go to the city cinema and watch movies about Tarzan. The back yard then became my jungle and I would act out the whole movie again. I still have a tendency to be a product of the last movie I have seen, book I have read, conference I have attended? I PUT MYSELF INTO THE STORY and I find myself aspiring to the values of the hero.

Julie writes beautiful children’s stories. In each book she has written for our grandchildren, she seeks to encapsulate who they are through one of the characters and the adventures they have. She puts them into the story with the hope that one day they will be inspired to seek their God given destiny. There’s something about a story.

Why does Jesus speak in parables? Why doesn’t He explain all His stories? Matthew 13:35 says that He spoke in parables because “This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.” Surely there is MORE TO IT than just fulfilling an ancient prophecy about being a storyteller.

I tried to discover which prophet Matthew refers to. It seems it was the person who wrote Psalm 78:2-7. He says “for I will speak to you in a PARABLE. I will teach you HIDDEN lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders. For He issued His laws to Jacob; He gave His instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. SO EACH GENERATION SHOULD SET ITS HOPE ANEW ON GOD, not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying His commands.” (NLT) There it is. Stories DRAW YOU IN. I can imagine children in the time of this Psalm playing out games about Moses and other characters from the Bible, PUTTING THEMSELVES INTO THE STORY, taking on the character and aspiring to the values of the heroes. That’s the point of a parable. It’s a truth that is meant to be lived out.

What I also notice from the prophecy in Psalm 78 is that Jesus is not so much teaching something NEW but He’s explaining through parables truths that have been HIDDEN IN THE PAST. That’s what He says in Matthew 5:17-19 (NLT). “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose…”

Even Jesus has put Himself into the story. In fact as God puts Himself into our story by entering into the world and dying on a Cross for my sins, He gives me the invitation to be a part of His story, to discover His purposes and will for my life. As He lived a perfect life, I now can exchange my sinfulness for the righteousness of Christ. As He died on a Cross so too I choose to take up the Cross and follow Him. I exchange my story for His. He is my life. For me to live is Christ and die is gain. Through Christ I understand God’s Truth. He has written me into the pages of His story (History).

Jesus says “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” (Matthew 13:43 NLT). It’s interesting to me that Jesus is not trying to cater to everyone. He knows that the Pharisees are not really interested in the story except to try to trap Him or misrepresent Him. In Matthew 13:14-15 (NLT) He says “…For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let Me heal them.’” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) says “…Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. ….” 

Some things only God is able to reveal to us. Jesus says in John 14:26 (NLT) “…the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” When it comes to the crunch, the parables will come alive in me through my everyday experiences as I allow the Holy Spirit to apply His Truth in me.

The invitation is to have the SPIRITUAL EARS TO HEAR. Those who God gives the ability to understand will be those who actively and intentionally put themselves into the parables and see and hear how they are enacted in our lives today.

Pastor Ross