Luke 9:35

Verse of the Day Devotion: Luke 9:35

“Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, this is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” – Luke 9:35

This passage is found at the end of what is called the transfiguration.  Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him up onto a mountain to pray.  While Jesus was praying, it says that something changed with Him.  He was transfigured.  “And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.”  Luke 9-29.  Matthew gives us a more detailed description of the change in Jesus.  “And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”  Matthew 17:2. And with Him stood two other men, also appearing in glory, Elijah and Moses.

After a time, the voice of God the Father came from out of the clouds saying, ‘Listen to my Son, the chosen one.’  This is key.  As the disciples were told to listen to Jesus, we are to as well.  Too often we only listen to pastors and teachers when it comes to theological issues, and just accept what they say.  This is where heretical teachings and practices arise.  The question we should ask is, ‘Does what they are saying line up with the Word of God?’  If it does, then accept it and follow it.  If it does not, then reject it.

Paul spoke of the Bereans in Acts 17, and this should be our mindset.  “Now these (Jews from Berea) were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”  Acts 17:11.   They did not take what Paul said without checking it out first.  We also should not accept what someone tells us, even if they are greatly credentialed, without checking it out ourselves.  There are some things that are obvious, however, if you have not heard it before or are questioning the accuracy of the interpretation, look it up.  And while checking it out, pray that God will reveal the truth to you.  Let Christ be the one who validates what men say.

Now this does require discipline.  We must be willing and desirous of knowing the reality of what is being said.  Let Him show you the truth.  He will never lead you astray and will always guide you, through His Spirit, into all truth.  And is not the truth what we are striving for?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Deuteronomy 18:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: Deuteronomy 18:15

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.” – Deuteronomy 18:15

These words that Moses spoke to the people were prophetic words from God referring to a future prophet that would come out of Israel.  Notice the wording, “The Lord will raise up for you a prophet like ME”.  Many at that time believed that Moses must have been referring to Joshua who would be the one to lead the people into the promised land.  However, there are some intriguing words spoken by Jesus and the apostles that show who this prophet like Moses really was.

For instance, when Peter was witnessing to the Jews in Solomon’s Portico, he said, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” Acts 3:23. He is telling the listeners to repent and return to the true faith, so that when the end comes and Jesus returns, they will experience a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.  And if they do not return, they will see destruction rather than refreshing.  Note also that Jesus is referred to as the Christ about whom God spoke of through His prophets, particularly Moses.

Stephen as he was speaking to men from the Synagogue, referring to the same verse in Deuteronomy, shows that Moses was referring to Christ in a later verse, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.” Acts 7:51-53.  The righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers they had become.

There are various verses in the gospels referring to “The Prophet”, using the definite article rather than the indefinite. This no doubt refers to this prophet declared to be like Moses.   In the first chapter of John, we see Jewish priests and Levites from Jerusalem going up to John the Baptist to confer with Him regarding the coming Messiah and to question all that he was doing.  “This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’  And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” John 1:19-20.  He knew what they were suspecting him to say, so he states emphatically that he is not the Messiah.  Continuing, “They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’  He said, ‘I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.’” John 1:21-23.  Note the question “Are you THE prophet?”  John,  referring to the words of Isaiah, answers them saying,  “A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3.  He declared he is that voice declaring the coming of THE Prophet, not the Prophet Himself.

There are many references in the Old Testament, also known as the Jewish Scriptures, that point to the coming Messiah.  For instance, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. And “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. And lastly, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15. And there are countless others as well.   I know we are several months from celebrating Christmas; however, this is the most important event in all of time and space; so important that it is found throughout all of the Old Testament.  Without this coming Messiah, there would be no salvation, no reconciliation with God, and no justification, declaring us righteous.  It was so important that most of the prophets declared His coming, like Moses and Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah.  The Jewish leadership refused to see Jesus as “The Prophet” because their presuppositions clouded their minds and they refused to accept what was so prevalent in their scriptures.

I encourage us all to remove any presuppositions that prevent us from seeing the truth of the scriptures, not just where it comes to our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah, but in other areas as well.  Who knows what we could understand in greater ways if we did.  Things would definitely come into greater focus.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Isaiah 49:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 49:1

“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” – Isaiah 49:1 

This is to be interpreted as the voice of the Messiah calling the distant parts of the earth to listen to His qualifications and His message.  He gives this message to the Gentiles inviting them to hear His counsel and doctrines which the Jews would reject. This prophecy is spoken as a current event, even though it would not happen for hundreds of years. This declares the truth that the Messiah was alive with no beginning but will come in the flesh at a future time. “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother” Isaiah 49:1b. Note the phrase ‘called me from the womb’. And lastly, we see the phrase ‘and he named my name’. This denotes that His name was not given by anyone here, but by the one who sent Him, that being the heavenly Father. “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31.

Then in the next verse, “And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me, And He has also made Me a select arrow; He has hidden Me in His quiver.” Isaiah 49:2. The preparation of the Servant for ministry to the nations involved God making the Servant’s mouth a powerful instrument to declare God’s messages. His mouth would be like a sharp sword. Sword imagery suggests the use of piercing-sharp speech, so it is possible for the Hebrew imagination to compare the sharp words that come from the lips or from the tongue or from the teeth to a cutting sword. This indicates that the Servant will not accomplish the tasks described in this passage through military conquests but by speaking some strong words from God. And when He does this, up until His arrest, He will be protected until that time. The words, ‘in the shadow of His hand He has concealed me’ and ‘He has hidden Me in His quiver’. This same allusion is used in Psalm 17 by David where he wrote, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings, From the wicked who despoil me, My deadly enemies, who surround me.” Psalm 17:8-9. This protection was to stay in place until the time of His arrest and crucifixion.

Next we read, “You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory.” Isaiah 49:3. The idea here is that He was to come and bring Israel back to where they should have been. God’s desire for Israel was that they would go and teach others about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation who pointed others towards God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior. For the most part, Israel failed in this task. However, God’s ultimate purpose for Israel, that of bringing the Messiah into the world, was fulfilled perfectly in the Person of Jesus Christ. And it was Jesus who made known what Israel was intended to tell the world. And for this reason, I believe, He was referred to as Israel.

Then next Isaiah clarifies this purpose. “And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nation’s so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:5-6. Note the purpose of His coming. To bring Jacob back to Him in order that they may be a ‘light to the nations’. Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. This was a message to a crowd that was predominantly Jewish, of the message given in Isaiah 49:1-8. And this should be our focus; to be a light in this dark world, and to bring His glorious message to all who need to hear it, mainly the lost Jews and Gentiles. And the best way to be a light in this world is by living as God desires us to live, and to exhibit the truth of the gospel in our actions as well as through our words. This is our calling, and we must live it out so that all will hear the truth and have the opportunity to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.  

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Isaiah 30:9

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Isaiah 30:9

“For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who refuse to listen to the instruction of the LORD.” – Isaiah 30:9

This particular verse is a prophecy that Isaiah receives from God regarding what Assyria will do and ultimately how Israel will respond.  The northern kingdom of Israel would soon be conquered by Assyria, and the people of Israel would be taken into exile. The Assyrians would then come against the land of Judah, and because of this threat the leaders of Judah looked to Egypt for protection against the Assyrian invasion.  “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin, Who proceed down to Egypt Without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!” Isaiah 30:1-2.  God tells them that the plan they have devised was not His and the alliance they were making for their protection was not with Him. 

However, this alliance will be a shame to them, causing humiliation because they thought they would be safer with Egypt than with God.  “Everyone will be ashamed because of a people who cannot profit them, Who are not for help or profit, but for shame and also for reproach.” Isaiah 30:5.  Egypt was not going to save them.  They were not going to protect them from the most powerful kingdom on the earth at that time.  They did not want to get involved, for they knew they could not defeat them, therefore they simply wanted to stay clear of the whole issue.  “For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who refuse to listen To the instruction of the LORD.” Isaiah 30:9.  However, though they are rebellious, God is still gracious with them.  “Therefore, the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” Isaiah 30:9. However, they must call out to Him and no other, in this example, the kingdom of Egypt. 

Paul, in the book of 2 Timothy, writes to educate Christians by preaching His word to them.  “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”  2 Timothy 4:1-2.  And it is imperative that we do this today.  For we see the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken in the next two verses.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  This speaks of acting as the tribe of Judah did in not listening to God but doing as they desired. Does this sound similar to what Isaiah tells Judah they are doing?  “Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions.” Isaiah 30:10.

It is important that we listen to teachers who teach the truth of the scriptures, no matter what it says, and not what we desire to hear.  We see that today where people do not want to hear where they are wrong or where they need to stop engaging in activities that are pleasurable yet sinful.  They turn away from what is true to follow myths that make them feel good.  We need to learn what is good and follow it while turning away from what is not good and leads us away from Christ.  The people of Judah chose to ignore God, telling prophets and seers to tell them only what they wanted to hear and not what they needed to hear.  Let us not fall into this same error.

And because they did not listen to God and chose another

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.