Luke 5:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon (Peter), “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
What did Jesus tell Simon Peter?
Key words: “Now”, “Go out”, “where”, “deeper”, “nets” and “catch”. Jesus issued a command with a specific time limit and an urgency. He also specified where, with what and for what purpose.
Did it work? Peter and his business partners had been fishing all previous night and didn’t catch a thing. But he decided to do exactly what Jesus said, “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
And what happened when he acted on the word revealed by Jesus?
“And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!”
1. Jesus “says so” to Peter specifically. Peter received the revelation.
2. Peter responded to Jesus, “I’ll let the nets down again”. Peter obeyed Jesus’ words exactly. He took the boat back to the deeper place and let down more than one net because Jesus said “nets”. indeed, all his nets were filled to breaking point!
When we receive a word from the Lord to meet our needs we can expect the Lord to give plenty and not a handful. Peter’s case is not an isolated one. God has demonstrated His superabundant supplies in the case of the widow with one last jar of oil in Elisah’s time. He filled all the empty vessels she borrowed and stopped only when she ran out of vessels. (2 Kings 4:1-6) Jesus would have filled more nets with fish but Peter ran out of nets.
The vessels and the nets we put out often limit the amounts we receive.
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life —to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.”
What Jesus did on earth glorified God. he knew what His assignment was, how and when to finish it. He was totally focused. He knew His original source and was confident of returning there. His journey on earth was not in vain. He accomplished. He also gave us a glimpse of what it’s like:
A place of honor and glory.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Kings go out to battle. Great kings do not stay back in their comfortable palaces (comfort zone) and wait for news. They do not send a second in command instead. They go out to do the battle themselves, not as a figurehead!
This is the lesson we learn from King David and how his decision not to go to the strategic point of victory had cost him beyond anything he had achieved. Those who stay in their own comfort zone never achieve anything of lasting value. Worse, They could even lose all they have valued.
The world today sees through such hypocrisy. We are not persuaded by mere words. We want to see kings who effectively walk their talks.
Praise God for there are some hands-on kings (raised from senior citizens)!
We pray that there are kings who have the right value, can hear the Lord, make the right decision at the right time, for the right motive that aligns with God’s will, regardless of what those ignorant of God’s strategies may scorn and mock. The Bible is full of examples of adversaries from two different perceptions. perception from the wise and perception from the fools. The Bible also tells us very specifically who wins and why, how to be wise and how not to be fools.
History records how wise kings operate strategically and boldly.
King David was a wise king when he listened to the Lord. He failed big time when he chose not to listen. He was wise when he aligned his heart with the heart of God.
2 Samuel 11:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
David, Bathsheba, and Uriah
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 2:12
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Two poor widows, (at the time when the judges ruled), Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi returned across the River Jordan from Moab to Bethlehem.
The Book of Judges recorded that Eglon, king of Moab, invaded Canaan as far as Jericho and subjugated the Israelites for eighteen years before being assassinated by Ehud the Benjamite (1302-1204BC). The time of the judges displayed repeated cycles of peace and oppressions, brought about great apostasy in Israel. The nation underwent political and religious turmoil. The tribes fought among themselves. The people rebelled against God through idolatry and unbelief, and brought judgement upon themselves through foreign oppressions. God then raised up a deliverer/judge, and the people repented and turned back to God and had peace for their nation.
During a famine, Israelite Naomi left Bethlehem with her husband and two sons and migrated to their enemy’s country, Moab (c.1294BC) and stayed there for ten years. Her husband died and her two sons were killed (possibly at war between Moab and Israel). Naomi was widowed with her two Moabite daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem after the famine was over. She dissuaded them from following her. Orpah finally agreed. But Ruth persisted in her decision to follow Naomi.
Here is a quote of the related Bible verses:
Ruth 1:15 And she (Naomi) said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
18 When she (Naomi) saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.
The journey was illustrated in the above map.
Although the war had ceased, there was still great risk for two vulnerable women to walk through difficult and dangerous terrain, during a time threatened by lawlessness, bandits and wild animals. They had to walk on uneven ground and climb slope as steep as 2000 foot. Crossing the Jordan River at the time of the first grain-Barley harvest when the river was full from snow melting at early spring was another tough challenge.
Ruth was obviously an attractive and pleasing young woman because Naomi twice expressed her confidence that Ruth could still marry to a good man and had children. There was no rational reason for Ruth to insist on following her mother-in-law to the enemy’s country and live among aliens with no other social support. Why did Ruth make this seemingly foolish (in the eyes of her countrymen) choice? We can find some answers in the Book of Ruth from her interactions with her mother-in-law and her future husband, Boaz.
Ruth’s character: a caring, loyal, trusting and obedient daughter-in-law, a hard working woman, a humble and unassuming person.
Relationship between the two women: More like mother and daughter.
Conversion and discipleship: Despite the general apostasy of her nation, Naomi had taught Ruth her religious belief and very likely had set a good example in her own faith in God.
Ruth’s faith: Most significantly, we note that Ruth really believed in the God of Israel. Her faith in God made her align with the great destiny God had prepared for her.
“And your God, my God.” Ruth declared. This is the ultimate reason why she was later exalted by God from a poor foreign widow to the highly honored and respected position as the legal wife of one of the richest men in Bethlehem and together they became the ancestors of David, from whose lineage Joseph and Mary derived.
If Ruth had followed her own race, culture and parental religion, she would have missed out her illustrious destiny. If Naomi had not kept her own religion and belief in God regardless of her circumstances, she would not have been able to influence and converted Ruth to the right belief and right way.
Naomi had a strong character. She was able to ask the right questions, analyze, size up the situation and reached the right conclusion. She took charge and made the right decisions. She instructed Ruth with authority and confidence. But if Naomi had not obeyed her husband’s decision and moved to Moab with him, stayed there for ten years until her two sons died, she would not have brought back Ruth and Ruth would not have appeared in the lineage of David, Joseph and Mary too. Naomi too would not have been instrumental in fulfilling a great destiny.
Thus, both women’s belief, faith in God and their willingness to humble and submit themselves to God, had contributed to Ruth choosing rightly and thus fulfilled God’s marvelous plan for their lives!
The word received on the third day of the 18th week. Very relevant and prophetic. Psalm 64 written by the anointed King David at a time when he was oppressed by the wicked but he chose instead to stay in rejoicing in the Lord! In the midst of major and persistent setbacks he always switched his focus on the Lord. He meditated on and proclaimed the goodness and greatness of God and continued to put his trust on God regardless how persistently hurtful and vengeful his enemies were. God called David, “a man after My heart.”
Dvid was a very smart, capable and brave man. He was a powerful warrior, shrewd diplomat, and talented musician and poet. He was also the architect whom God spoke to and gave the whole detailed building plan for the temple. He did well in accumulating wealth too. He handed over a great fortune to his son Solomon to build the temple for God. He could have lived a peaceful and relaxed life in his own familiar country place with beautiful pasture, streams and flocks of sheep, writing poetry and songs, worshiping and praising God. But he was chosen and anointed by God to become king for Israel, for a mission assigned by God. The former king, King Saul failed as a king. David had to become king. He brought the tribes of Israel together as a unified nation. Did he expect an easy life? No. David knew his destiny but he lived and equipped himself faithfully before God for his seemingly impossible assignment. From his many writings we can see that he could hear God and aligned himself rightly with God’s strategy. This is the stuff a great king is made of.
Psalm 64 (NKJV) David was a prophet king. What he saw would happen to his enemies in the future indeed happened. His enemies’ secret schemes were exposed and they fell into their own snares.
1 Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation;
Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
3 Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words,
4 That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.
5 They encourage themselves in an evil matter;
They talk of laying snares secretly;
They say, “Who will see them?”
6 They devise iniquities:
“We have perfected a shrewd scheme.”
Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.
7 But God shall shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenly they shall be wounded.
8 So He will make them stumble over their own tongue;
All who see them shall flee away.
9 All men shall fear,
And shall declare the work of God;
For they shall wisely consider His doing.
10 The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him.
And all the upright in heart shall glory.
GOD SENDS HIS COMMANDER FOR GOD’S OWN WAR
Joshua 5:13-15 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Commander of the Army of the Lord
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
GOD’S COMMANDER WORKS WITH MAN’S COMMANDER
2 Samuel 5:23-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.”
GOD SENDS MAN AS HIS ANOINTED COMMANDER
Isaiah 55:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”
Lately I ponder on what might happen when this older generation passes away, particularly those born during or right after the WWII. The former national, social and family values, personal integrity, moral and work ethics have been eroded, depleted and forsaken beyond any imagination during the past five to six decades. When I look at the past, present and future I can feel the increasing sense of urgency now more than ever.
I can feel the same concern and heart cry from my generation. We know the old guards are not hanging around for another innumerable decades and some seniors who are still bravely selflessly holding the fort are in fact rather worn and tired by now. What will happen to this world when the really wise and powerful older seers and prophets pass on to another world? What will happen when no one in the subsequent generations have any interest or ability to see into the spiritual realm and warn mankind?
What will happen when human continues to be satisfied with the superficial level and trust their technology shortcut and ignore the spiritual wickedness which cannot be fought with human weapons? How may the seers and prophets impart/pass on the overcomer’s spiritual sword/key they have guarded so well for millennium?
Where are the seven thousands* the Lord has preserved somewhere in this world? This is the watchman’s heart cry to the millennials.
*(1 Kings 19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.)
Hear the Holy Spirit’s cry:
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:7-15)
Take heed of the Bible warning against pagan practices:
Deuteronomy 18:9-14Avoid Wicked Customs
9 “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you…