Cleanse The Temple

Cleanse The Temple by Kirk Hunt

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

Matthew 21:12-13 NKJV

Please read also:
Luke 19:45-48
Matthew 21:12-15
Mark 11:15-18
John 2:13-16

Jesus drove out the money changers. And the animal sellers. He cleansed the Temple with violent (intense, turbulent, furious and likely destructive) action.

Scripture does not report that anyone was killed or wounded, so some argue that Jesus was not “truly” violent. Men in mid-transaction left money and merchandise and fled. I doubt that a polite request was the reason they left so suddenly.

Many Bible scholars and historians assert that Jesus’ disruption of the commerce happening on the Temple grounds is the trigger event for His crucifixion. The High Priest and the elite leadership decided that Jesus had to die, because of the money. Real action that accomplishes something will make enemies.

Jesus reacted to injustice (theft) against faithful Jewish pilgrims plus violation of the sanctity of the Temple. People should have been praying in reverent quiet. Instead, the Temple was a common swap meet.

Circumstances will not change until you take action. The action you take will upset someone. Are you pleasing them or pleasing God?

Think: Righting an injustice, like cleansing the Temple, may take forceful action.

Pray: “Lord, give me the courage to uphold Your righteousness and justice.”

Copyright © June 2020, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Fear And Reverence

Fear And Reverence by Kirk Hunt

So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.

Jonah 1:15–16 NKJV

Jonah hit the water and everything changed. The murderous storm instantly dissipated. The howling wind became a whispering breeze. The towering waves that threatened to smash the hull vanished. God’s demonstration of His naked power and command over creation invoked fear and reverence from the sailors.

Fear can be defined as “profound reverence and awe especially toward God.” The sailors watched someone switch off a major tempest like flipping a switch. That is not the action of a mere man or an accident. The God who can do that has my awe, for sure.

Father-God loves us like a father. Like any good father, He is often gentle and tender with us. But God so much more than a mere father.

God’s power over all creation demands our awe. His holiness deserves our reverence. The level of awe and reverence you feel toward our all-powerful God should be overwhelming at times. Call it fear if you must. The sailors would.

They responded, the way I hope you respond, to seeing God’s power at its most unrestrained. Reverent worship and awestruck adoration is the only reasonable response to all that God is and can do. With a little more fear of God in his life, Jonah may not have wound up overboard.

Think: Does God have my reverence? Does God have my awe?

Pray: “Lord, You are worthy of all of my awe and reverence.”

 

Copyright © January 2020, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Calm Your Storm

Calm Your Storm by Kirk Hunt

Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.

Jonah 1:14–15 NKJV
Please also read Jonah 1:1–17

Rank pagans trembled while God’s prophet stood in calm stillness. The deck pitched violently as the storm continued to rage, threatening the lives of all aboard. To restore calm, all the sailors had to do was throw a man overboard.

Jonah, a prophet of God, had attempted to flee from his calling and assignment. God had sent him to Nineveh (see northern Iraq) but Jonah willfully tried to sail to Tarshish (far eastern Mediterranean). The storm that enveloped the ship was only a small reflection of God’s judgment and displeasure with his disobedient man.

What task has God given you? Are you working toward your assignment or trying to run away? Following God’s purpose will lead to calm and peace. Sin and rebellion will generate storms and turmoil in your soul. And the people around you may have to suffer along with you.

God’s purpose is rarely the easy way, but there is always joyous calm on His path. His love for us is great and He wants us to experience the blessings of obedience. And there is love in His correction. He will patiently and lovingly discipline you as long you think it is necessary.

Father-God loved Jonah too much to let him continue in sin and disobedience. The sailors were ready to be obedient and save the ship and their lives. Finally, Jonah decided he was ready to throw his sin and rebellion overboard. Are you ready for calm in your soul?

Think: What do I need to throw overboard to restore God’s calm in my life?

Pray: “Lord, help me throw distraction, sin and error out of my life.”

 

Copyright © January 2020, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

See With His Eyes

See With His Eyes by Kirk Hunt

Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.

Judges 16:21 NKJV

After all of the damage Samson had inflicted on the Philistines, they took poetic revenge. They put out his eyes, which led him once and again, into error and sin. Then, the burner of fields made flour for his enemies (for the rest of his life).

Walking in a circle, in the darkness, Samson had time. Time to think. Time to remember. Time to get serious with God.

Mortal men or women might have left Samson alone and defenseless, in the hands of his tormentors. God instead came close, then embraced and spoke with the man he still loved. Despite his rebellion and disobedience, Samson remained God’s beloved son.

Samson’s eyes were not restored, but his relationship with God was healed. Alone among his enemies, he dwelled securely in the hands of the Most High. A good father loves all of his children, not just the well-behaved ones. A father loves most when he disciplines his children.

Look at yourself through God’s eyes. He sees your sin. He sees your error. Still, He loves you. As you serve your sentence, He looks out for you, even when you cannot (or will not) look out for yourself.

Samson served his prison sentence with Father-God at his side. His eyes never looked away from Samson. His eyes will never look away from you. Are you looking to Him?

Think: Despite my circumstances I can have relationship with God, if I choose Him.

Pray: “Lord, forgive my sin. Help me to draw close to you.”

 

Copyright © January 2020, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

He Did Not Know

He Did Not Know by Kirk Hunt

And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

Judges 16:20 NKJV

Samson woke up and engaged with his enemies, but he did not know. As a man of God, he should have known that God’s Spirit and power had left him. His education and experiences should have told him that he was being set up, again, by a betrayer. He ran headlong into a trap and defeat.

Samson’s humiliation (and mutilation), at a minimum, should have impossible or at least more difficult. Instead he has become a byword for wasted potential and squandered opportunity. A man born a Nazarite ignored his upbringing. Intended for greatness in God, he ended humbled in prison.

Samson used God’s power and strength through God’s mercy and grace. God is full of love and tenderness for us, but He is also a God of justice and judgment. God eventually moves against deliberate sin and error. Psalm 103:9 warns us: He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.

So God withdrew from Samson. He allowed Samson to operate without Him. Deliberate sin and disobedience is a way of telling God you do not need Him or you know better. And Samson learned the truth.

We have all sinned and fallen short. After your error, do you repent and try to do better? Do you deliberately sin again and assume God is still with you? You may not know the truth when you start, but you will know at the end.

Think: Do I know the truth of how close I am to God?

Pray: “Lord, forgive my sin. Help me to be Your obedient child and know Your truth.”

 

Copyright © January 2020, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Gathering The Spoil

Gathering The Spoil by Kirk Hunt

When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much.

2 Chronicles 20:25 NKJV

Jehoshaphat and Judah faced extermination. A massive, three-nation alliance army from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir were marching against Jerusalem. Soon, the victors would be gathering the spoil from the dead bodies of the vanquished.

God’s people often face extreme circumstances. The king and people of Judah faced a malicious and murderous force, larger than they could defeat. Faced with more than he could handle, Jehoshaphat ran to The Temple and pled his case to God.

The battle is not yours, but God’s.” As part of His victory, there will be spoils, goods and valuables taken from the defeated. Your part is to obey God’s Word to you. And pick through the remains of your enemies.

Too often, modern saints face circumstances we cannot defeat: The medical report. A court verdict. The broken relationship.

The battle is not yours, but God’s. You will have cleanup work after He is done. Be grateful, and humble, considering all you will gain.

God’s people are to be active and engaged in their own lives. Still, more often than we like to admit, that means standing patiently and obediently as God fights His battle for us. If you are truly one of God’s people, the threat against your existence makes it God’s battle.

Think: The battle is not mine, but God’s. I just have to clean up afterwards.

Pray: “Lord, help me to faithfully and patiently let You fight Your battles.”

 

Copyright © July 2019, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Wait Patiently For God’s Justice

Wait Patiently For God’s Justice by Kirk Hunt

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

Psalm 37:7 NKJV

King David would understand how you feel. It can seem that folk like Nabal, King Saul and even David’s son Absalom seemed to be getting away with all the sin and wickedness. Wait patiently. God’s justice will arrive for all concerned.

Consider Nabal, the man who accepted David’s protection and support. Given a polite request for provisions Nabal not only selfishly refused but was insulting and rude. Protected from David’s rage, Nabal was not protected from God’s justice. God Himself struck Nabal and he died.

King Saul, David’s king and father-in-law, unjustly hunted David across hills and fields. Still, given more than one opportunity to kill his tormentor, David righteously withheld his hand and that of others. In 1 Samuel 26:10, David prophesied Saul’s ending, orchestrated by God. And it was so.

Even David’s own son, Absalom, tried to murder him and steal the Kingdom. Even as he out maneuvered the mutiny and crushed the opposition, David was desperate to save Absalom’s life. David wept bitterly at his son’s death, despite his own danger.

In each episode, it seemed that wicked folk were winning against David. In each case, David did the right thing and God gave him victory. David’s righteous actions and patience made the difference. God is love, but He is also justice. It is just a matter of time.

Think: God’s justice will come. Am I doing the correct things while I wait?

Pray: “Lord, help me to be patient but steadfast in waiting for Your justice.”

 

Copyright © July 2019, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Yet He Passed Away

Yet He Passed Away by Kirk Hunt

I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

Psalm 37:35-36 NKJV
Please also read Psalm 37:1–40

Too often, I despair that the wicked are winning. I have caught myself fretting that the ruthless and unscrupulous are being established, never to be dislodged. Then, suddenly, they pass away and can not be found, even if you wanted to see them.

I am not the first God-follower to think so. Psalm 37, written by David, speaks to my own concerns. The wicked may indeed prosper for a season, but not they shall not triumph. No matter how it looks now, God’s justice is on the way.

In my own life, I have seen men and women suddenly receive justice. Before, it seemed the wicked ones were immune to the laws of God and man. After, I trembled at the thoroughness of God’s sovereign and merciless justice.

On bended knee, I pray that I live in obedience to His Word and law. I never want to be the one that God’s people cry out against. I want always to be found, doing Kingdom work the way God wants it done.

Play it straight, since God is watching. Follow God’s Word and law, the way you know it should be done. His sword of justice is quick, terrible and not to be denied by mere humans.

Think: The wicked will receive justice, sooner and more thoroughly than you think.

Pray: “Lord, help me to be found at all times as Your obedient servant.”

 

Copyright © April 2019, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Fallout On Sons And Others

Fallout On Sons And Others By Kirk Hunt

So the king commanded this to be done; the decree was issued in Shushan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

Esther 9:14 NKJV

What you do impacts others. What you allow to continue impacts others. Far too often, the fallout of acts of omission or commission falls on our own sons and daughters. Just ask Haman.

Haman’s conspiracy to destroy the Jews ended in the death of his own sons. His plot to loot the wealth of others ended with the plundering of himself and his family. Haman’s cruel, vindictive, destructive strategy was executed on his own family.

God’s people are called to justice and mercy; blessing of friend and foe. Do not limit the implications of Galatians 6:7. What you do, and what you do not do, are seeds you sow. Your harvest is coming.

Mordecai took in an orphan in kindness, mercy and generosity. He reaped a queen who stood for her people when it counted. Haman hatched a murderous conspiracy of genocide. He harvested destruction for himself and his family.

Consider what you are doing or allowing to be done in your name. You are planting a harvest. Scripture promises you will receive what you sow.

Pastor Martin Niemöller would plead with you not to stand by as others do wrong. He would implore you to safeguard others, as your own. Of course, his experiences in the Dachau Concentration Camp probably colored his opinions.

If you are a Christian, then Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan should give you pause in this era of fear and hatred of others. Listen to the testimony of Pastor Niemöller. Read carefully the example of Haman.

Think: Do I extend God’s help and goodness to others?

Pray: “Lord, help me to bless and benefit everyone around me.”

 

Copyright © July 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Do You Persecute?

Do You Persecute? By Kirk Hunt

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city

Matthew 23:34 NKJV
Read also Matthew 23: 31-36

 

Neither foreigners nor pagans persecuted any of the Old Testament prophets. Their own supposedly devout countrymen and kinsmen tortured and murdered them. Why? The greater your sin, the harder it is to hear the truth. Just ask Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner.

 

The prophets, scribes and others called God’s people back from sin and error. Often they were met with violent opposition. Even when Jesus walked the earth, men and women often met God’s truth with unrighteous responses.

 

James, Andrew and Michael left the safety of their homes to help register men and women to vote in their local elections. Instead of being congratulated for their American spirit they were brutalized and murdered under the cover of darkness. The very men (and women) charged with keeping them safe participated in the heinous act or protected the perpetrators.

 

The terrorists were American sons, born and bred on American soil. Their targets? Other Americans born and bred just as they were. Sort of.

 

Jesus was sent to the Cross for healing the sick then preaching grace and truth. Here in America, the land of my fathers, truth has also been met with violence and murder. Still, many brave souls continue to speak out God’s truth.

 

Roman hands may have swung the hammers, but it was Jewish priests and leaders who sought Jesus’ blood. What is your response? Do you persecute truth-tellers or do you respond in God’s grace?

 

Think: Do I encourage those who speak God’s truth, or do I persecute them?

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to hear Your truth and respond with grace and humility.”

 

Copyright © October 2016, Kirk Hunt

 

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.