ROCK OF AGES

Are there enemies around us?  Of course there are, but where is their power in the face of our God?  Conspiracies, real and imaginary will all be unraveled in the fire of God’s wrath.  Idolatry and secret rituals are already history in the power of God’s promises; it is finished.  We need not waste our time on these when we can offer real help to people with real needs.  Let God judge and work to be found worthy of his favor.  Those works can only be done by faith in his grace and salvation.  In God we trust.

 IMG_1370

 THOU ART MY ROCK AND MY FORTRESS

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.  Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.  For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.  Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.  Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.  Psalm 31:1-5

The psalmist looks to God for hope and deliverance from shame.  He knows that his faith in God will never shame him.  He asks God to be his righteousness.  He wants the fort of rock because man is weak.  Men wait in ambush to overwhelm his weakness, but he knows that God is greater than all of them.  He is committed to trust God for his strength.

I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.  I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;  And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.  Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.  For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.  Psalm 31:6-10

Deceivers are offensive and untrustworthy; only God is dependable.  God knows our inward strengths and weaknesses and all the threats against us.  In spite of his knowledge of our failures he has not delivered us to our enemies.  The psalmist knows that he has room to escape and asks for God’s help.  He has the grief of the persecuted, but also the grief of the guilty.  He knows that secret sin weakens him and makes him needy.

I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.  I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.  For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.  But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.  My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.  Psalm 31:11-15

If neighbors know his weakness they may gossip and make him repulsive to strangers.  What small sins they see are made into legends that outpace the reality of his weaknesses.  His hope seems gone except for the secret repentance that acknowledges his God.  He makes his hope by owning his King.

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.  Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.  Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.  Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!  Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.  Psalm 31:16-20

David is not ashamed to call on God in spite of his own shortcomings.  He trusts God to remove his shame just because he has called on the name of the Lord.  Those enemies have moved to telling lies now and they will be shut up.  David can speak of himself as righteous now because he has turned to God instead of his own works.  God has made goodness for those who trust God more than man.

Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.  For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.  O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.  Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.  Psalm 31:21-24

David had his enemies and faced real danger.  But he may also have foreseen how evil would persist and he left us testimony of God.  In haste he may have spoken unbelief or doubt but only briefly.  He was not cut off because God heard his call.  Focus on this: the Lord preserves us who have courage and he adds to that courage.  Bring all the faith that you have, and he will give you more.  Years of victory instill confidence against the darkness.

 IMG_1128

 HE HATH SHEWED ME HIS MARVELLOUS KINDNESS IN A STRONG CITY

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.  I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.  Psalm 32:1-5

Rich men do not possess the blessing of any who know God’s forgiveness.  When you know that God has answered your repentance with grace you feel the weight of guilt pass.  Before repentance there are mental and physical consequences of guilt.  God makes his disapproval known to any who resist his call to surrender.  The prosperity of this life does not cover the thirst and hunger for spiritual justification.  I have uncovered the stench of my transgressions to you Lord, and you forgave and removed my sin.

For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.  Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.  Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.  Psalm 32:6-11

For the hope of this peace godly men will seek you in prayer Lord; for deliverance from the floods of life.  You are my place of security, protector, and source of the songs of faith and victory.  I will teach those who want to know the way of the Lord.  I will guide you with spiritual vision and understanding from God.  Take instruction willingly, and do not be as a beast that needs to be led by bit and bridle.  There is grief awaiting the evil man but all who trust God will be surrounded with mercy and grace.  Celebrate and rejoice all of you who are found to be righteous in the Lord.

IMG_0726

BLESSED IS HE WHOSE TRANSGRESSION IS FORGIVEN

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.  Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.  Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.  For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.  He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.  Psalm 33:1-5

Rejoice people of God; it makes you look more attractive to all.  Praise with song and instruments of every kind.  Sing a new song to God and play with skill and plenty of volume.  (Notice this call to be both new songs and skillful.  There is no threat of death if you sing an old song. And indeed the good songs are preferred regardless of vintage.)

You may celebrate because the word of God is true and dependable.  There is a God who loves justice and truth and the earth is full of his good works.

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.  He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.  The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.  Psalm 33:6-10

Our universe is the work of God’s creation; the worlds and creatures of it are his.  Let the earth and its creatures respect and fear the love and power of God.  He spoke the creation into being and he nullifies the works of evil men.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  John 1:1-2

He spoke and it was done.  What God speaks is finished.  We should build our lives on the assurances that are eternal and faithful.  His wisdom is our path to life.

The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.  From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.  He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.  Psalm 33:11-15

God’s wisdom is for eternity, it is not a political whim of passing fashions.  The nation whose God is the Lord may not be a political entity.  The Kingdom of God is a real nation that passes around and through all political boundaries.  The people who he has chosen are those who are redeemed by his Messiah Yeshua.  He has fashioned their hearts and called them to life.  His is the one name by which men are saved.

There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.  An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.  Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;  To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.  Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.  For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.  Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.  Psalm 33:16-22

Israel is still a nation against the huge armies of their enemies after several wars.  The mighty empires of Rome and the Soviet Union have dissolved over time.  But tiny Israel can only stand on the promises of God and on his miraculous help.  He knows our hearts and favors the faithful.  Our heart is made confident by a legacy of personal experiences.

God looks down from heaven and sees the nations of the world.  He also sees the Kingdom of God, those redeemed by his son, their messiah Yeshua.  Israel will be joined with all who are redeemed by the blood of the lamb, and that Kingdom of God will be worldwide.  Nations may oppose Israel, but Israel is found throughout the nations.  There is help hidden among the oppressors and the Lord himself will send help.  Should we then have fear?  God forbid!

 IMG_1566

THE LORD LOOKETH FROM HEAVEN

Advertisements