CLIMATE CHANGE

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idf-infantry 

DECLARATION OF WAR

David has been persecuted by enemies, and he is about to go on the offensive.  The works of darkness have offended him and he is going to war now.  Face it, man is damaging the world with sin, and threatening our own extinction.  God gave us a time and a season to get it right.  If God made us stewards, why are we so insanely self destructive?

Psalm 144 (A Psalm of David.)

Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:  My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.  LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!  Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.  Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.  Psalm 144:1-5

Bless God for teaching me how to engage in warfare.  Is this the God of love?  David and Israel have been the targets of invading armies and violence for many millennia.  Modern Israel has survived wars in the face of overwhelming enemy numbers and Russian technology.  They have done so without the full support of their allies in many cases, and it may be so today as well.  Many feel that American leadership is abandoning Israel.  But their God is a shield and remains trustworthy today.  Why should God favor Israel when they are still mortal flesh, born in sin like everyone else?  David knew that we are mortal, and undeserving, as Israel is today.  But he was confident to ask God to shake the earth and the powers in it.  But does David expect to see the victory by the military might of Israel?  Israel would soon be defeated by Babylon because of their sins.  What did he expect?  The scriptures he read pointed to a variable range of experience ahead.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;  A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:3-8

Life offers seasons of joy, sorrow, prosperity, sickness, war, and death.  How could David expect to war against all the threats of life?  Notice what David is expecting of God now.  The next verses point to the real source of his hope for victory.

Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.  Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;  Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.  I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.  It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.  Psalm 144:6-10

David asks God to do his warfare, to deliver the miraculous deliverance from the works of evil men.  David has learned to engage in spiritual warfare, keeping his life honest and letting God be the judge of men who do evil.  He gives credit to God for saving him, not to his own strategic skills or the power of his army.

Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:  That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:  That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:  That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.  Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.  Psalm 144:11-15

How can children threaten David, the king of Israel?  I once lived in an affluent suburb where some of the church youth were experimenting with heroin.  Such was the nature of Sodom, the city of choice for Lot.  God did rid Abraham of the sinners who threatened his nephew.  He led me out of that kind of a city too, and life is much better in the less affluent areas of rural America.  David asked God to cleanse the land, and he still brings prosperity to those who honor his word.  Spiritual warfare is holy living and prayer, and overcomes much more than the weapons of carnal warfare.

Psalm 145

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.  Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.  I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.  Psalm 145:1-5

David finds so many ways to repeat this message; instructing us to praise God.  This message is to go outside the church and our secret prayer chamber though.  This is a message meant for a few lost sheep, who already desire God.  He knows who they are, and sends us to share his word with those few.  The enemies of God will abuse and bully us, but those few lost sheep will be listening and watching from the same crowd.  His sheep know their master’s voice, so the scriptures are your trumpet to call them in.  Jesus is the word, and the word is his voice.  You are empowered to deliver the word and his sheep.

And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.  They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.  The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.  The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.  All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.  Psalm 145:6-10

When God moves the world sees the power of his works, and they know that you praise God for those acts of deliverance.  Egypt was aware of the loss of their Army in the day of Moses.  They have never been able to get vengeance on Israel to this day.  There are Christians in Egypt today who are actually grafted in to the family of Abraham by faith.  They too are persecuted today but they will be one with their Lord and Israel.  God was firm with ancient Egypt, but merciful to those who have learned to fear God.

They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;  To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.  Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.  The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.  The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season..  Psalm 145:11-15

Men are accepting Jesus in the midst of Islamic persecution and they speak of the kingdom of God fearlessly.  The zeal of Moslems who come to Christ declares the glory of Yeshua Yahweh and their faith in his promise of eternity.  Christians have been persecuted before, and still God is the dominion, forever and his church only grows.  God will lift the fallen, and the dead, and exalt those who bow to him.  We all wait on God and he feeds us the bread of life in his season.  http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/26/world/garissa-color/index.html

Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.  The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.  The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.  He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.  The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.  My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever..  Psalm 145:16-21

God has made a food chain that services everything that lives.  While some things in nature seem harsh, it was less so before the sin of man changed it.  The debate about man’s role in the environment still rages, but the extinction of many species testifies to it.

As God made us stewards we will also be judged for that performance.  God first slew animals to cover the sin of Adam and Eve, so he has a righteous plan even in this destruction.

Life is difficult since being changed by sin, and we should learn from this as being part of God’s righteous correction.  God will save those who love him per this declaration of David.  God offered himself as a sacrifice in place of animals to all who would recognize Jesus, Yeshua, as being the human form of himself.  His gift alone was clean enough to be a righteous offering for sin.  Like David we should accept and honor the name of our God; Yeshua, Jesus.

SOME BONES DON’T RISE

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Sodom-and-Gomorrah

CONFIDENCE FROM EXPERIENCE Now this again is a psalm of David, and it follows his pattern of praise.  Like the psalm before, David has seen despair but David knows that God will answer, even as he did for the children of Israel in that later captivity.  This is a psalm of one who has seen the victory, and this may have encouraged Israel even when they were oppressed in Babylon. Psalm 140  (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.)

Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;  Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.  They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.  Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.  The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.  Psalm 140:1-5

Are there evil men in the news today?  This is the nature of their hearts that make strategies to destroy others.  Their words are given to perfect violent death against others.  David knew that his enemies were bringing the hate and violence to him.  These who were full of lies were also proud of themselves, unrepentant in planning traps and ambushes for David.

I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.  O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.  Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves.   Selah.  As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.  Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.  Psalm 140:6-10

David remembers God as his refuge and protection.  Do we remember God, or do we go to the gun store?  David knew the weapons of his day, and he knew that even the strong warrior can be overcome.  How many good men in the old west couldn’t draw or shoot fast enough to survive?  But David knew that he needed more than his best efforts or works to survive.  Before David’s time, Abraham had interceded in prayer for Lot in Sodom.  In that case the burning coals actually did fall on the violent men.  Prayer can give us the edge.

Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.  I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.  Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence. Psalm 140:11-13

David prays against the evil speaker.  Such a man was Hitler, and the evil he started finally hunted him down too.  God defends the underdog and the weak.  The outcome is sure and good men will ultimately live in the place of God. Psalm 141 (A Psalm of David.)

LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.  Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.  Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.  Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.  Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.Psalm 141: 1-5

God help me, and do it now.  David wanted his requests to be as pleasant fragrance that could only win God’s favor.  He asked God to protect him from any evil in his heart or mouth.  He asked for help to be different from evil men.  He wanted to resist the temptations that can begin to seem like sweet treats.  David would welcome rebuke from anyone who would help him to correct his mistakes.  David would pray for his friends when they suffered disaster or fell into temptation, so he wanted their prayer and open correction too.  Enemies show kindness only to set a trap, but friends may intervene to save you.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.  Proverbs 27:6

When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.  Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.  But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.  Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.  Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape..Psalm 141: 6-10

In our time gross sin has been eased into our society in music and television over many years.  There is humor or humanism to make evil seem more humane.  Hitler used lies that promised prosperity and glory to gradually lead a nation into gross sin.  Righteous men tried to warn against this but they were too late to resist the darkness.  Judges and governments today can be dominated by drug cartels, sexual deviants, and violence after a long slow process of erosion by lies.  David could see violence closing in on him too, but he had assurance of seeing those judges and rulers fall.  He was in the world, but not of it.  He asked God to protect him while his enemies met their own evil devices.  Those evil devices reappear throughout history.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  Rom 1:22-26

The Romans had to learn what is wrong as they came to Christ.  Their former idolatry celebrated nudity and the creature more than the creator.  Greek influences helped to transform Romans into a perversely corrupted society.  But that began in misplaced worship, which provoked GOD to turn them to perversion.  They truly are damaged in a way that only God can fix.

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Rom 1:27-31

What began as lust drove God away from them and paved a decline into being a nation of violent evil.  The secret sins degenerated into denial and cruel rebellion.  Rome left a mark of corruption and cruelty including the crucifixion itself.  Today we see that simple rebellion is not enough, the offensive must reach new depths to produce the desired offense in the world; their dark lord demands it.  That “harmless” deviation of lust will manifest in violence.  Don’t think that haters of God will be lovers of peace. Psalm 142 (Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave.)

 I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.  I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.  When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.  I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.  I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.  Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.  Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.  Psalm 142:1-7

ISIS could teach us how to relate to David’s situation.  He had been pursued first by armies of Saul and later of his own son.  When men listen to demons they degenerate beyond simple perversion.  There are bloody men in the world now, and we may see more in the future.  David knew where to look for help, even when he was hunted and hiding in a cave.  In our cities violence is often ignored by those who don’t want to get involved.  David’s danger is real to many people in our time.  The Star of David was a brand for all of Israel in the last century, and that kind of persecution is raging today in the Middle East.  Are the western nations unprepared to get involved while Israel is being surrounded by ISIS today?  Will we condemn Israel when they respond to the assault of rocket barrages?  David knew his refuge and his salvation.  Will we remember the name of our hope when darkness comes looking for us? Psalm 143  (A Psalm of David.)

Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.  And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.  For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.  Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.  I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.  I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.  Psalm 143:1-6

David looks up to the Lord for help, but not in pride.  No one can claim to be pure and we all need to repent daily.  David has experienced defeat, and is overwhelmed by the assault of his enemies.  I experienced sieges on our firebase in Vietnam, but we held even when the enemy penetrated our defenses.  After I returned to the United States that same firebase was overrun and taken by the enemy.  The threat is real for all of us today, as violence is still about.  David knew the stress, and the source of his hope in God.  http://www.bravecannons.org/index.html

Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.  Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.  Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.  Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.  Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.  And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.  Psalm 143:7-12

David is in despair and afraid to go without God’s help, which can only lead to the grave.  David has the hope to hear the love of God, to feel the reassurance of his care.  He expects the morning to bring God’s direction and a guide to safety.  David expects deliverance from his enemies, so he runs to God.  I just read that my lieutenant turned to prayer when he was wounded in Vietnam.  It took me another ten years to realize that I too was wounded and needed to turn to God for help.  Like David we were both quickened to overcome the battles of our day.  Once David has engaged the reinforcements of heaven he too sees the coming destruction of his enemies. David said earlier, “Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.  But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD”.  So Israel’s bones have been scattered by enemies for millennia.  Christians can relate to Israel as we see persecution spreading throughout the world today.  Whatever sin does it continues to degenerate into violence.  In Sodom the demand for lust turned into violence.  We all die so our bones too will one day be found.  Will we be placed in the grave by a loving family, or found in evidence of sin?  The loving (male) couple in the photo above was found in the ruins of Sodom.  God has rendered them non-violent.

HERITAGE OF VICTORY

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 IA AM IS GREATER

CONFIDENCE FROM EXPERIENCE

Psalm 138, A Psalm of David.

Now this again is a psalm of David, and it follows his pattern of praise.  Like the psalm before, David has seen despair but David knows that God will answer, even as he did for the children of Israel in that later captivity.  This is a psalm of one who has seen the victory, and this may have encouraged Israel even when they were oppressed in Babylon.

I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.  In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.  All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.  Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.  Psalm 138:1-5

This is the bible.  The bible includes the statements of John as inspired by god.  He tells us that Jesus is the word of God, he is the bible, and he is God.  So David can praise God and his word which lives in his heart.  David also has fellowship with God the father through prayer.  God has magnified his word, his son above his own name so David’s reading of scripture is blessed to show him these truths.  David’s prayer to the father is rewarded with strength.  He knows that kings of the earth will praise God which verifies the Holy Spirit in men in leadership like himself.  David and the godly leaders of the earth will sing praises as a fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  The trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are alive in the world to David and the godly men of the earth.

Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.  The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.  Psalm 138:6-8

David has been the young shepherd who became king by God’s blessing.  He knew better than to walk in pride, having seen others fall in that.  David has powerful enemies but he can trust a greater power for his safety.  David has understood the right hand of God to be messiah from his earlier psalms.  Only one name is given to save men; Yeshua, Jesus.  God will repair the flaws that remain in David and his mercy is unlimited.  David trusts God to complete the work he has begun and holds the hope to see his salvation completed.

Psalm 139 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

David seems to be a mature adult, and possibly a senior in this psalm.  He has lived long enough to know that his hope is ever near and dependable.  David depends on God and he is not living in the pride that a king might be tempted by.  He knows how close his king is to his very soul.

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.  Psalm 139:1-5

When you allow God to take your life, he gains entrance into your heart and mind.  Now David’s conversation is with the God who is his roommate within his very soul.  Today I too have no closets that are closed to the God who has all of my keys.  If we drive to work he is within us with knowledge of our route and our traffic experiences.  God has more intimate knowledge of our words and thoughts than our marriage partner.  In all of this he has given us comfort, encouragement, and guidance.  His hand guides us to the best path.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;  Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.  Psalm 139:6-10

To know that God is a spirit who is so close and loving is hard to comprehend.  How could we run away from God?  Can I hide my sin or run from God?  Many who want to hid guilt have run to the remote places like our own wild west.  Even now men dream of a place in space where they can live by their own rules.  Star Trek fantasies imagine social experiments that defy biblical direction.  But even these escapes often try to find answers in the spiritual realm.  Be sure that the spiritual realm has answers where ever you go.  You can fly or run to the sea but God will find you even as he found Jonah.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Psalm 139:11-15

David knows that the dark of night will not leave him vulnerable.  David has discovered spiritual sight that is aware of his surroundings.  To God there is no darkness, there are no secrets.  God holds his reins and guides him now even as he did in his mother’s womb.  He was formed by the knowledge of the Lord even before his birth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.  Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.  For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.  Psalm 139:16-20

God knew the form of David when he was a fetus, without the form of a man.  He was already recorded as a whole being in God’s book.  So we are received by God as being whole as soon as we are willing to receive him.  Our salvation is conceived and born by faith while we are in the womb of our confession and surrender to Jesus.  It is finished even as it begins, we are saved by faith.  The mind and thoughts of God are more vast than the universe of his creation.  We are just beginning to fathom some of the physical universe and this spiritual mind of God is far beyond our minds now.  He who planned to save the humble is surely set against those who remain stubbornly angry against their father and creator.  We should reject sin and come apart from those who have chosen the bloody way of rebellion.

Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?  I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:31-34

David knew about the way of violent and evil men.  Israel was to discover that kind of evil in the captivity of Babylon.  Even today we see violent evil manifest in the land of Babylon under the flag of the Islamic State.  David was offended by evil even as Israel was in the later years of their captivity in Babylon.  But David’s fear was not of the violent men around him, but rather of the dangerous thoughts within himself.

The church today may share David’s danger if we do not ask God to discover the evil within us.  Do we need God to cleanse and protect us, or do we trust in our right to bear arms?  The day will come when men and women become weak in the infirmity of old age.  But we will never be weak if we are borne in the arms of the Lord.

LEGACY BABYLON

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DEEP DESPAIR; The devices of ISIS backfire

Wow…this is not a message from King David unless he was one amazing prophet.  The captivity in Babylon must have been remembered by a psalmist from a much later period.  The brutality of the Babylonian conquest of Israel is well explained by Spurgeon’s bible studies.  http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps137.htm But we might understand it better in modern context as well.  Babylon made many enemies, and the Persians soon extracted the violent vengeance these Jews wished on Babylon.  Today ISIS is a more violent type of Babylon than Saddam Hussein had inflicted on Iraq in his time.  They too are afflicting Israel in the persecution of Christians who are a new branch of Abraham.  You have heard of the horrors of ISIS so you can relate this to what the Jews are describing here.  Expect the same end for ISIS as their ancestors received.

Psalm 137

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.  We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.  For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.  How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?  If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.  Psalm 137:1-5

The Jews imprisoned in the plains of Babylon despair to ever see Jerusalem again.  While they have no mood for musical celebration their captors demanded entertainment.  Any songs of Zion would provoke memories of what they lost and how they lost it.  They would prefer to forget their musical skills than to forget Zion.  Only memories of Zion remain because of their isolation and because of the destruction of Jerusalem.  Their captors have forbidden the praise of God, and all the songs of Israel’s joy center on exactly that.  Now Israel can appreciate what their sins have cost them.

If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.  Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.  O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.  Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.  Psalm 137:6-9

We can’t afford to forget Zion or its God which are the hydration of our soul.  Israel remembers to seek the living water of God for their hope.  The Jews expect God to remember the men who brought this great violence against them.  Babylonians leveled Jerusalem and killed the men, women, and children of it.  Now the Jews remember their faithful God and expect to see the same destruction return upon Babylon.  Indeed the Persians were happy to fulfill the prophesies against Babylon.

Today the people of Iraq (Babylon) are relieved of a neo-Babylonian oppression under Saddam Hussein’s Sunni regime.  But a new Sunni movement is revived under the ISIS banner, and the Shites of Iran (Persia) and Iraq are failing in the siege.  Remember the gas attacks against Iraqi civilians under Hussein?  Now ISIS is proving even more violent against civilians, including women and children.

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Our Kingdom of God is grafted in through Jesus, and they are no less adamant for our Zion today.  When Iraqi Christians are captured they still long for our God and stand for him.  http://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/In-face-of-beheading-Iraqi-children-proclaim-love-for-Jesus-383538

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Can we understand the sentiment against the Babylonians when we read of ancient Israel?  Perhaps the great irony is that Abraham left Babylon (Ur) to follow God.  Now The Persians (Iran) are again turning against these Babylonian remnants of ISIS.  Do you think the Christians of Syria and Iraq grieve for the children of ISIS?  The spirit of Babylon has been kept alive and generates little sympathy.

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Indeed God promised no mercy to ancient Babylon, and this may carry into the present.  Isaiah 13 predicts a Persian victory, and this may be a repeating event today.  Iran is moving troops to Syria to fight ISIS.  http://www.debka.com/article/24646/Exclusive-Tehran-expected-to-invoke-defense-pact-for-large-scale-troop-deployment-to-Syria

ABOUT BABYLON AND ISIS:

Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.  Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.  Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.  Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.  And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.  Isiah 13:15-19

God used Persia in the past, and he can do it again.  God hears his people, and he does not forget them.  God can speak for himself.

ROAD TO VICTORY

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FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

Praise can transform us into the glorified realm…have a song in your heart.  Yesterday I proclaimed a new career direction and my competition challenged our basic ideals.  I have done all that I can so now I only stand and wait on the Lord.  Today’s reports are a victorious sort.

Psalm 135

Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD.  Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God,  Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.  For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.  For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.  Psalm 135:1-5

This is the message of the psalms: praise God.  The people who come to church have this assignment; to fill the house of God with praise for him.  This builds our brethren and it is reflected to build our own faith.  Repetition in words, song, and poetry echo the joy that is generated as incense rising to God in heaven.  He amplifies the little we offer because he is good, and because of the covenant he made to Jacob and Israel.  The people of God, his church are his treasure so I gain confidence that he is the God above all.

Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.  He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.  Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.  Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants.  Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings;.  Psalm 135:6-10

It pleased God to create the power and wonder of nature that moves our worlds.  He also released these powers to strike the hardest of our enemies in ancient Egypt.  The signs were given to strengthen the people against their fears, and to give assurance of his love.  There were times of peril and mighty deliverances to demonstrate the authority of our hope.

Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan:  And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people.  Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.  For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants.  The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands..  Psalm 135:11-15

All the nations that offended God were used to provide prosperity for the sons of Abraham.  The same God is still remembered and he still remembers his people.  The sons of Abraham may still try to gain this inheritance today by their own strength even as Jacob did.  God will judge Israel and still repent of any anger he has.  Zechariah has prophesied that Israel will receive their messiah and be redeemed by the one they pierced.  God will join Jew and gentile in one house of the true and living God.  The enemies of God will continue to rely on their images and their own good works.

They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;  They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.  They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.  Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron:  Bless the LORD, O house of Levi: ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD.  Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD..  Psalm 135:16-21

These idols and their believers cannot speak, see, or hear spiritual things.  Those who make and trust a lifeless idol are themselves walking dead; destined to a life short of eternity.  The house of those who serve the living God are called to bless their Lord.  Israel is of the adoption and of the children of Abraham who will be saved by Yeshua Ha Meshia.  All of these should bless God with praise and holy living.  We are the light that can draw the lost to salvation.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.   O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.  To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.  To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 136:1-5

God appreciates appreciation, so thank him.  You would give your wife flowers or candy, so God loves our recognition of his mercy.  We are born broken and beyond repair without the direct service of God so thank him.  We are changed in ways the world says are impossible, miracles that we should thank God for.  This voice we have known has the knowledge of the universe that defies measurement by our science and knowledge.  He knows the evil in us too, and is forever forgiving in his mercy.

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.  To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:  The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:  The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.  To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:  Psalm 136:6-10

Give thanks to the one who designed the heavens and the earth because has given us personal attention in his mercy.  Today scientists understand only part of the physical works of the universe and nothing of the spiritual works.  Give thanks to God who gave Israel the testimony of the miracles in Egypt to save them.

And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:  With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.  To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:  And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:  But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 136:11-15

The mercy that delivered Israel is eternal and continues to this day.  As he did in saving Israel then, his power continues to unfold today.  Perhaps we forget the Lord’s hand but Israel still sees deliverance from many enemies to this day.  The mercy of God endures forever.

To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.  To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:  And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:  Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:  And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:  Psalm 136:16-20

To God who led his people through the wilderness.  He showed mercy because this was more than a natural wilderness.  A spiritual wilderness was populated by people and rulers of great evil and violence.  This spiritual wilderness is returning today even as the Philistines are reviving their warfare and the world is sliding into chaos.  These evils have infiltrated the world even as Israel is returning to their lands.  God slew the evil kings of the past as a lasting warning to the evil kings of today.  We are Israel, and our enemies live in denial of this testimony of their fate to come.

And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:  Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:  And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 136: 21-26

The land is of Israel forever now, and they are returning so to fulfill prophesy.  Part of those prophesies reveal the future restoration of Israel to their messiah.  While Israel may be under stress now, they will be grafted back into the tree of Abraham as many Christians will fall away.  Enemies of God will not live under false claims of Christianity when he redeems Israel.  God who gives food to all flesh will give the flesh of evil men to the birds of prey.  For the people of God his mercy is eternal, so sing his praises with joy!

FINAL APPROACH

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WORSHIP

SONGS OF DEGREES PART 2

Does a song of degrees suggest a prophetic message of messiah coming?  It might be the history and end of our journey on earth.  For some it has already ended, but others may see the resurrection.  We were all lifted up with Yeshua at the cross, if not to the death that he took for us.  We too can be transformed into the glorified realm so the journey is not to be feared.  Have a song in your heart.

Psalm 126

(A Song of degrees.) When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.  Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.  The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.  Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.  They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.  Psalm 126:1-6

Oh the joy of Israel returning from the Persian captivity!  King Cyrus fulfilled a prophesy by letting Israel return to Jerusalem.  They endured imprisonment under the leadership of Daniel, and even the heathen saw the work of God for them.  The evidence of God came in prophetic words spoken hundreds of years earlier and now manifested in joy.  These people had the substance of their faith confirmed and they could again celebrate in Jerusalem.

Psalm 127

(A Song of degrees for Solomon.) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.  It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127:1-5

Long after Solomon has written this we can see that his effort to build the house had also failed.  That temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, and again by the Romans.  But the Word of God has not failed because a son of David has indeed build the house of faith.  There is no advantage in doing good works, rising early and working late.  God will let his workers have rest if they are working his will.  So much for the morning people and workaholics!

Now the psalm seems to change course in identifying children as being the heritage we receive from God.  I see large families in our churches where these children follow the faith of their parents.  Children can be like weapons in spiritual warfare if they are able to answer the enemies at the gate.  Before the destruction of peer pressure can invade the church it must pass the defense of these young people who know the foundation of truth.

David was unable to build the temple because of the blood of carnal warfare.  Solomon too was limited to a temporary physical building, and still struggled with idolatry.  The Son of David who came much later was divine and free of blood guilt.  Only he could build a temple with living stones

The psalm reflects a high point in the wisdom of Saul because it divides the carnal works of the Old Testament from the lessons planted by the life of Yeshua that instructs us as God’s children.  As the teachers of Timothy, the church has trained its new believers and they are not novices in spiritual warfare.  We can now combat the spirit of evil without condemning the lost souls who have been enslaved by them.  We are the quiver of arrows of the patriarchs, the fruit of their training.

Psalm 128

(A Song of degrees.) Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.  Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.  Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.  The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.  Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.  Psalm 128:1-6

Those who are faithful are blessed and prosperous.  You are assured a faithful wife and children as your blessing.  Today we see families away from this faith suffering strife and violence, as various sins manifest as pain.  God does not punish us yet, but we are warned not to touch the stove.  The stove is good to destroy bacteria in food but bad for fingers.  So our blessing is reduced pain by spiritual education.  Even if evil men destroy us we have those treasures in heaven.  We have a hope that will survive beyond the veil of death.

Psalm 129

(A Song of degrees.) Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:  Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.  The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.  The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.  Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.  Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:    Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.  Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD be upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD.  Psalm 129:1-8

Israel was often oppressed by the enemies around them.  Today Israel and the church are both persecuted, and they have long been scarred by the whips of their enemies.  The journey of faith is hard but the enemies are being defeated by our God.  The works of those who oppose God’s people are like the grass grown on their house tops.  This lacks the depth to become good as crops or feed for livestock.  These enemies will not see their efforts bearing fruit, nor will they bless us.

Psalm 130

(A Song of degrees.) Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.  Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.  If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.  I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.  Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.  And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.  Psalm 130:1-8

Our lives begin in a cry from the first breath, as we feel pain, from hunger first, then all manner of suffering.  A few hours or days of joy alternate with the fear of storms, illness, and oppression.  If parents and doctors cannot help only the Lord offers hope.  When darkness surrounds us the wait for God becomes more important than the dawn.  For Israel the Lord is the only hope we should have.  He alone will feed us with the milk of kindness and the bread of life.  So it is also for the history of man as we await the revelation of God’s mercy in our time.

Psalm 131

(A Song of degrees of David.) LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.  Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.  Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.  Psalm 131:1-3

I have no honors among men and I cannot be prideful in my behavior or claim a better seat at the table.  I have become patient and quiet in my actions even as I surrendered the right to cry for my meals as a child.  We who hope in God are Israel who have only the Lord as our source for ever.  We have left the cry of youth for the patience of maturity.

Psalm 132

A Song of degrees. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions:  How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;  Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.  We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.  Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.  Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.  For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.  The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.  If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.  For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.  This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.  I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.  I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.  There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.  His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.  Psalm 132:1-18my house, nor go up into my bed;  I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,  Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.  Lo, we heard of it at 

David had sworn to provide a place to build a house for God.  He lived in many afflictions to deliver his oaths and see that place provided.  He worked to see the provisions of the priests and the tabernacle so all could worship God.  He sought God to keep him is grace to fulfill his mission in life.  It was not for him to build a temple of stone, but rather to build a temple on the stone that the builders had rejected.  A descendant of David would be the temple of heaven and share life with all who believed on him.  Zion was the place David provided for a temple and for a savior to dwell in.  David and all of spiritual Israel would dwell in Zion forever.  There is no poverty or hunger for the saints who live there, and their enemies would be shamed before the glory of Yeshua.  David found a place for God to dwell, in his heart.  And God was the word, and lived with us and became the light of eternity.  The cross became the beacon of salvation and the end of our journey.

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.  Revelation 21:22-25

Psalm 133

(A Song of degrees of David.) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.  Psalm 133:1-3

For those who believe there is peace in the midst of chaos and warfare.  The church is a union of brethren that has endured the ages.  The spiritual anointing of God is like the physical oil that anointed Aaron the high priest in the Old Testament.  The spiritual anointing is eternal and as sweet as the fresh dew of Mount Zion.  These physical emblems of oil and the dew symbolize the greater blessing of the spiritual anointing.  For  all who received and believed the gospel at the cross have received the greater blessing in Yeshua.  From the crucifixion to this day He has given us peace.

Psalm 134

(A Song of degrees.) Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.  Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.  The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.  Psalm 134:1-3

Bless the Lord all his servants in this night!  If this is the ascension of man to the hope of heaven we now witness the night before the light of heaven.  Bless the Lord, praise his name, and let this be your invitation to God’s lost sheep.  Raise your hands in praise and worship as this is the light that draws the weary to safety in this last great storm.  All the testimony of man has been pointing to these last days, not for despair, but for this great hope.  In the darkness of human vanity we can now clearly see the light of spiritual truth.  The prophesies are unfolding on schedule, and you know you have a friend who is closer than a brother.  Praise the only name that gives salvation: Yeshua Ha Meschia, Jesus, Alpha and Omega.

ASCENDING

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SONGS OF DEGREES

What is a song of degrees?  Some have suggested these relate to pilgrims approaching the temple site in Jerusalem.  Others suggest a prophetic message of messiah coming.  I wonder if these may have been a bit of both.  Could we all be on a pilgrimage as we approach eternity?  Do our lives pass milestones that mark our growth of faith?  Perhaps this is the pilgrimage of all of mankind as we draw near the end of days and the beginning of eternity.

Psalm 120

(A Song of degrees.) In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.  Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.  What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?  Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.  Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!  My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.  I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.  Psalm 120:1-7

Have we ever known distress?  If you are reading a bible study you have considered God to be a possible source of help in bad times.  Betrayal by people we should be able to trust is a threat.  We hope for justice against the people who live to be evil.  We hope the police will bring their weapons against the violent men.  Don’t we live in evil times, surrounded by the criminal element?  Meshech is a grandson of Noah who faces an evil end.

Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.  The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.  Genesis 10:1-2

A prophesy reports that God has spoken against these sons of evil.  Many in the modern world have followed the pattern of these and will share this prosecution by God.

Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  Ezekiel 39:1

Similarly the sons of Kedar are descended from Ishmael even as the Moslems claim to be.  Modern Israel is surrounded by the tents of Kedar.

And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,  Genesis 25:13

Can we see people who can only want war even when their enemies are willing to have peace?  The psalmist has reported the condition of our time and unmasked the senseless evil of this world.  We can expect no logic to dissuade the zealots around us.  The spiritual realm is at war and we mortals are assailed by forces that were known from the beginning of time.  God is aware of evil, and he has announced his understanding for our encouragement here.  Our journey to faith may well begin in the dark places, but there is a promise for hope.  It was so for the children of Noah and still works among us today.

Psalm 121

(A Song of degrees.) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.  Psalm 121:1-8

I love the mountains here in America’s west.  I expect the psalmist may be looking to Mount Zion.  The Lord is the help he is expecting and the one who created our world has promised to keep his children.  We who believe are the Israel he has promised to protect.  He never rests from his guardianship, and we rest in his shadow.  When I walk my dog in the Arizona desert, she may lay down to rest, and I will add my shadow to that of the sparse brush over us.  So the Lord shelters us from the heat of life’s trials.  We are preserved from evil by God forever.

In Wyoming the mountains are the source of the water that fill reservoirs for the crops of summer.  What was the bitterness of winter becomes the waters of spring.  The psalmist looks to the mountain of Zion for the living water of salvation.  Messiah will bring us eternal life as we progress through our journey here.

Psalm 122

(A Song of degrees of David.) I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.  Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:  Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.  For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.  Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.  For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.  Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.  Psalm 122:1-8

David is happy to enter the house of worship, the tabernacle of God.  We will stand inside the city Jerusalem which is densely populated.  David’s Jerusalem may have been outside the area of modern Jerusalem but it was already a center for worship.  All the tribes of Israel would gather at this point for worship and government.  We are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for its prosperity.  We know the Prince of Peace, who is the peace of Jerusalem.  For the sake of our Jewish brethren we pray for peace to your city which we favor because of the house of the Lord within it.

Psalm 123

(A Song of degrees.) Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.  Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.  Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.  Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.  Psalm 123:1-4

As Israel is established in Jerusalem they can look to God for hope because they have seen that hope as they wandered out of Egypt.  God has become their master, and as employees seek to please employers, they know that he is their source.  As the world heaps scorn on them God becomes their only source of mercy and kindness.  Kings and masters have held them in contempt until now.

Psalm 124

(A Song of degrees of David.) If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;  If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:  Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:  Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:  Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.  Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.  Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.  Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  Psalm 124:1-8

Even in the promised land, Israel was under siege.  If it had not been God guarding them they would have been overrun by their enemies.  Bless the Lord who did not turn rebellious Israel over to their enemies.  They escaped the snare of the Philistines then even as they do today among the Palestinians.  They returned from the Babylonian and Persian captivity and they will be delivered again from our modern Persians.

Psalm 125

(A Song of degrees.) They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.  As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.  For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.  Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.  As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.  Psalm 125:1-5

Perhaps the Romans heard of this psalm, they are reported to have removed the hill known as Mount Zion.  But that was not the spiritual mountain, which is un-moved.  While the rod of Rome was on Israel for a season it did not stop the work of God.  Zealots were tempted to rebel, but that was not the work of God.  He does do good to the people who recognized the spiritual revolution of Yeshua.  Those believers eventually conquered Rome with their belief.  When some went in crooked paths with political ambitions that put power in Rome they were taken away from hope.  True Israel knows the peace of Yeshua and they are blessed by their Prince of Peace.

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