THE ABCs OF FAITH

Leave a comment

PATTERNS OF HOPE

Aleph…the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  In fact Aleph, Beth inspires our word for alphabet.  These are similar to the Greek and Roman letters as well.  In any language this psalm is the “ABCs” of faith.  This is the longest psalm, so I have broken it in two sections for this study.  Now we can read and take time to reflect on the messages here.

PSALM 119

ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.  Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.  They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.  Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.  O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!  Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.  I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous  judgments.  I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.  Psalm 119:1-8

Those who are without sin in the law are blessed.  That is our best first step, our beginning.  Blessed are those who obey and seek God in truth.  God you commanded us to observe your word faithfully.  Oh if I could always conform to your rules!  I have no reason for shame when I live within your boundaries.  I can tell others of your goodness with a clear conscience when I learn and follow your word.  I will obey you, only do not forsake me.  The psalmist announces his faith and his dependency on God to achieve those goals.

BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.  With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.  With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.  I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.  I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.  I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.  Psalm 119:9-16

How can anyone find a clean life?  By directing that life as the word of God directs us.  I look for you my God with my whole heart, don’t let me wander away from you.  Even as I seek God I need him to keep me in his will.  I take your word to heart Lord, so teach me.  I have told my world about you and I rejoice in what you do for us more than I do in wealth.  I will study and think long on your principles and delight in your rules.  I will not forget the word.  Now we know the word by his name as God has revealed his son to be the word of God.  Our teacher heard our prayers and came in the flesh.

GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.  Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.  I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.  My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.  Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.  Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.  Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.  Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.  Psalm 119:17-24

Lord let me prosper so I can live without sin.  Give me spiritual vision to see prophetic revelation in your scriptures.  I am unfamiliar with the mysteries of this life so let me see your wisdom as a sign.  My heart breaks to find the wisdom that it lacks of your guidelines.  Lord you have brought the proud men low for their sins.  Move me away from the reproach of hypocrisy as I have not failed to obey you.  Men in power spoke false accusations against me but I focused on your instructions and ignored them.  Your word is my pleasure and my guiding light.  Even as I read and paraphrase your word for others, it reveals more to me than I have known before.

DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.  I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.  Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.  My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.  Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.  I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.  I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.  I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.  Psalm 119:25-32

I am low in faith under the cares of life, Lord help my faith and energize my walk.  You heard my proclamation of faith so teach me to live according to your word.  Let me understand wisdom so I can tell my world about your goodness.  My core is melting down in sorrows, please give me strength in faith.  Deliver me from the temptation to lie and let me find peace within your law.  I have decided to follow Yeshua, and your judgment is my choice.  I stay in your path so don’t leave me ashamed as I follow you.  You will give me heart and courage.

This writer finds the worries too, and I hope God will help me enough to walk with spring in my step.  As long as I am on the path of God’s will I should not shuffle like a beaten dog.  It would dishonor God to act as if I have no hope.

HE.Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.  Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.  Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.  Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.  Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.  Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.  Psalm 119:33-40

Lord, teach me the rules of life as I am willing to comply all my life.  I will follow you if you teach me the way.  I enjoy living in your light so turn me away from the desires of the world.  Turn me away from vanity for I fear a bad testimony.  I want your truth as I long for it.  God’s warnings are like the signs along a winding mountain road.  To fear those messages will keep us from the edge of eternal pain.  The more we see God’s good judgments the more we know that his warnings are for our good, not to oppress us.

VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.  So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.  So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.  And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.  I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.  And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.  My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.  Psalm 119:41-48

Give me all of your mercy especially your salvation.  I can answer the trash talk of the world with the assurance of eternal salvation.  Your word is my hope; his name is Yeshua.  Encourage me to speak your word so I have hope.  I will live in your law and speak of hour honor to rulers shamelessly.  I will live in and love your commandments and I will consider those thoughts at length and in peace.

ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.  This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.  The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.  I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.  Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.  Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.  I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.  This I had, because I kept thy precepts.  Psalm 119:49-56

Remember the promises that give me hope as your word takes the pain from my afflictions.  I have no reason to despair in persecution because your advice is a psalm of celebration to me.  You are the name of my joy in the night and I have this because I followed your path in life.

CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.  I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.  I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.  I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.  The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.  At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.  I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.  The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.  Psalm 119:57-64

You are my reward in life over material gain because I value your approval enough to follow your path.  I came ahead without hesitation in spite of the theft of evil humanity.  I praise you in the night and fellowship with the righteous people.  As all of life on earth reveals your goodness teach me your ways.

TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.  Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.  Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.  Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.  The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.  Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.  It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.  The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. Psalm 119:65-72

You have treated me well Lord, even as your word promised.  Now teach me judgment and faith because I believed you.  Before I had trouble and I backslid for lack of faith, but now you proved your promises and I keep your word.  Since you are good, and do good, teach me the principles of life.  Evil men lie about me but I will stay on course by your words.  They have the fat heart of death while we find life in your word.  Our pain is where we witness the deliverance found in your promises.  Better to have the treasure of scripture than the wealth of the few world owners.  They only hold a temporary lease.

JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.  They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.  I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.  Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.  Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.  Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.  Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.  Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.  Psalm 119:73-80

I am your workmanship; complete the work in my understanding by your wisdom and guidance.  The other believers who fear you will welcome me as a brother in your promises.  Lord you are righteous and what trouble reaches me is to teach me and strengthen me.  Return mercy and comfort to me now because I have lived in compliance to your will.  Let our proud enemies be shamed as they are caught in their false accusations.  Let your faithful people see me and come to me as a brother in your testimony.  Build me into a faithful servant so I will not be ashamed when they do see me.

CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.  Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?  For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.  How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?  The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.  All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.  They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.  Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.  Psalm 119:81-88

My works fail to give what I need from your salvation, I am weak but I still hope.  My sight doesn’t reveal faith as well as your word does, so what is the hour when faith will heal my sight?  I am diminished but I remember your word as substance for my faith.

How long will I live before you deliver me from my enemies?  They make traps for me in their rebellion against you, they mutiny against your righteousness.  I am surrounded and near defeat without your guiding words and kindness, so I will remain in the refuge of your wisdom.

So the first half of Psalm 119 opens in varied crisis and leaves us with reassuring testimony of the value of the word of God.  There is more to come, and so it also is with this life.  Go to your destiny with this assurance.

INSTRUCTION FOR HOPE

Leave a comment

 IMG_2347

OPERATORS INSTRUCTIONS

Psalms have been demonstrations of the power of worship.  They often show us a situation full of danger and discomfort initially.  As the Psalmist moves pat fear and into faith by praising God, we have witnessed answers coming from heaven as God speaks through the song writer.  Worship lifts us from the world and opens a way to communication with God.  This psalm is a song of instruction.  It does again demonstrate how to overcome the storms through worship that celebrates and glorifies God.

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.   For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.  I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,  Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.  And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.  Psalm 89:1-5

A maschil is a song of instruction and wisdom, so praising God is the first step in that direction.  As so many psalms have led us to praise God we are again encouraged to tell all generations about his faithfulness.  If you want wisdom, receive it and share it.  Again the Lord injects his own conversation into the worship as he acknowledges David as his servant.  The excitement of this relationship rises to another prophesy of the descendant of David who will possess the eternal throne.  The singer declares that God’s faithfulness will be known in heaven and in the gathering of believers.

For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?  God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.  O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?  Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.  Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.  Psalm 89:6-10

To lift the Lord to the world we should know that he is also the highest in the spiritual realm.  Wherever truly spiritual people assemble God is feared.  He controls the physical worlds he created, and he controls the destinies of men and nations.

The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.  The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.  Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.  Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.  Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. Psalm 89:11-15

Ownership of the worlds that God created is clearly his.  The nations acknowledge his sovereignty.  Justice is his domain and the people who know the joy of the psalm of worship know the spiritual light.  The singer has been giving glory to God, and he will be joined in the song by the Lord himself speaking prophetically through him.

In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.  For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.  For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.  Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.  I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: Psalm 89:16-20

Those who know the joy of the Lord rejoice because they are increased by God’s own righteousness.  Joy breeds confidence, and there is no greater confidence than the Lord.  The joy of celebration song about the Lord induces fellowship with him.  Lord, you spoke to your servant in a vision, revealing a chosen one.  The singer relates the words of God as the worship moves on into prophesy.  This is how the Holy Spirit makes personal communication with us in sermons and worship.  This is how the psalm is a teaching tool, showing us a path to direct communion with God.  The Lord continues to reveal his chosen one.

With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.  The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.   And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.  But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.  I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. Psalm 89:21-25

This chosen one will be strengthened by me, the Lord says.  When a prophetic word is emerging from a song or a sermon we witness the greatest demonstration of the Holy Spirit.  This is the manifestation in the Old Testament, and it continues to this day.  In this psalm the Lord continues his message, promising to exalt his son.

He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.  Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.  My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.  His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.  Psalm 89:26-29

David is pleasing to God but his descendant is the focus of this message now.  This is the seed of David, but he is more than David.  The seed of David will be made eternal, a king of kings forever.  In the joy of this psalm is the communion of revelation from God.

If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;  If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;  Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.  Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.  My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.  Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. Psalm 89:30-35

God promises to discipline the children of David and of Israel, but he will not turn against them.  He has made a covenant with David and with Israel, and he will bring them salvation as he promises.

His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.  It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah. But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.   Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.  Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.  Psalm 89: 36-40

The seed of David is Messiah, and he will be eternal, and faithful to God and man.  But the world has witnessed his life and hated him.  His own people of Israel, and all nations  have despised his royal claim and denied him.  He was accused and mounted on a tree as a public disgrace.

All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours.  Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.  Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.  Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.  The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.  Psalm 89: 41-45

Because he was hanged on a tree he was falsely branded as a sinner and a reproach to all.  He was not here to rebel against the world, and never offered to raise a sword in battle.  Mankind revealed human nature by ending his young life shamefully.  The Lord has spoken to all of us in this psalm.  The singer feels the loss of God’s presence in the conclusion of this worship.

How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?  Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?  What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.  Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?  Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;  Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.  Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen.  Psalm 89: 46-52

How Long will you hide, Lord?  Will the world be left with only the fruit of sin; crime, plagues, and war?  Is man made only to die without hope?  Where is the hope you promised to David now?  Israel and the children of David are hated by the world today, and our enemies have accused the brethren.  When they demean us, they also insult your anointed messiah.  May God be blessed as we learn how your promise will be delivered.

Friends of faith, trust God to deliver Israel, and prepare to welcome the sons of Abraham to the Kingdom of God.  YOU are the ambassadors to share the joy of this lesson with the world.  You too may enter the joy of worship and discover revelation from God in this rapture of joy.  When you encourage others to trust Yeshua your personal experience and the word of God can become anointed in your faith.  Your encouragement of others can become instruction coming directly from God as the Holy Spirit enables you.  Answer the call to worship expecting to be inspired and used to build the kingdom of faith.

HARVEST GIVER

Leave a comment

IMG_1770

IMPOSSIBLE VICTORY

Life is a trial of hope that opposes the hopelessness of overwhelming tribulations.  David lived a full life of victory through his relationship with an invisible savior.  His Psalms are his gift to all generations with the revelation of his unending hope.  You too may possess the joy he shares in these songs of victory.  Life and death are seen in the frozen landscape of winter.  The site of last year’s harvest looks dead even while the frozen water of next year’s crop is waiting to melt into the rivers of life.  Do we have faith to see our hope in every season?

O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.  Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.  Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.  Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.  That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.  God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Psalm 60:1-6

Good news, then bad news; like the weather, life throws new troubles at us.  The Psalmist is again in trouble and calling for help.  But God has given a flag to his people that all can follow and rally around.

Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;  Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.  Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?  Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?  Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.  Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. Psalm 60:7-12

Is David contemplating his allies in Israel?  The land was assigned to tribes of Israel by God, and they are still assigned today, but not everyone understands this.  There are protests and angry international meddling in matters already predestined by God.  So Israel still faces a stronghold of international opposition today.  David knew that he didn’t need the stronger army to see the victory God has promised.

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.  I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. Psalm 61:1-4

Having a stone tower fortification gives an army the advantage of protection and good field of fire coverage.  David knew that God had been his refuge through the years.  He had a relationship with God that was time-tested.  He also seemed to understand the promise of eternal life as he knows he will abide in the tabernacle of God forever.

For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.  Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.  He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.  So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows. Psalm 61:5-8

God heard David’s vows.  He hears ours too, and we share that heritage of hope in our faith.  David knows that life in God is eternal, he knows about life after death.  He knows that he has eternity to praise God.  For an Old Testament prophet this is exciting because David does believe in the afterlife.  But he is also expecting a long life here too.

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.  How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence.  They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.  My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:1-6

David waits on God as salvation and defender.  David had armies and great warriors, but he did not depend on them.  He had leaders in his royal court and political alliances.  Those are all vanity and we still need help from above.  How long will enemies imagine evil plots and traps against a righteous man?  Among David’s friends and allies were secret spies and enemies.  Polite words were hiding secret curses.  Only wait on God, don’t trust Democrats or Republicans.  He is the only source of hope.

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.  Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.  Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.  God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.  Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work. Psalm 62:7-12

David is repeating himself, but he is doing it for our benefit.  Will this time do the trick?  God is safety; trust him.  Men with a little power and titles are vanity but those who claim to be the greatest are a lie.  George Washington wore the title of president and a position in the Masonic order of secret rites.  The rule of cruelty is unreliable and stealing will earn you a steel trap.  If you are prosperous don’t become obsessed with greed.  Mercy is available if we give it away.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;  To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.  Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.  Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:  Psalm 63:1-5

Satisfaction isn’t found on the internet, on television, or in computer games.  The news reminds us of the spiritual drought over our world.  Friends cannot understand a relationship with an invisible God, but this is where we finally find satisfaction.  David has experienced fellowship with God in the sanctuary of the tabernacle.  He knows the power of God’s intervention.  His praise is motivated by the richness of his success.

When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.  Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.  My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.  But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.  They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.  But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.  Psalm 63:6-11

This study I write here is usually my last act before bed time.  Long before I became a Christian I learned that these Psalms bring peace at bed time.  David finds his peace on meditating on the comfort of a real protector.  He can sleep without fear of real enemies.  They will be fox meat while the king will rejoice in God.  Again David refers to another as king who others can swear by and find glory.  David is not claiming that honor for himself but for a higher king.

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.  Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:  Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:  That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.  They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? Psalm 64:1-5

David asks God to protect him from evil men.  I have written about a few of our modern evils, and more appear in the news daily.  Worse, they appear among our friends and allies, lurking in our churches and national leadership.  Rich men fight for that power while using the poor as stepping-stones.  Secret meetings and vile schemes are still the rule of law today.

They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.  But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.  So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.  And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.  The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory. Psalm 64:6-10

The secret meetings aim at power and indulge amoral behavior in the comfort of their secrecy.  Wall Street fraternities and the Bohemian Grove hide these misadventures today.  But now as then God will trap them in their own lies and target them with destruction.  The fear of God will return to the earth in that day.

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.  O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.  Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.  Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.  By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:  Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.  Psalm 65:1-7

God will find worshippers bringing praise to Mount Zion.  To God the promise of service will be delivered, and everyone will come to the God who hears prayers.  Iniquity would defeat our flesh but for God who washes them away.  The mortal chosen by God is blessed to live in his courts.  God will show us righteousness that is so perfect it is terrible to compare our former understanding to it.

They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.  Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.  Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.  Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.  They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.  The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing. Psalm 65:8-13

People of wisdom recognize the work of God in nature; the joy of morning, the life of rain, the fullness of a good harvest.  It is wisdom to see God in these things and the wise celebrate the unity of the physical and spiritual blessings we have.  Science can measure the assets of nature, and faith sees the signature of its author.

When we have no army against violence and no medicine against disease we have assurance against hopelessness.  When crops can find no rain and when children try the foolish paths we have a resource for confidence.  When we can’t bring ourselves to do the right thing we have another chance at the end of each day to be forgiven.  We do not need to scientifically measure the tools of God to recognize his signature in the works that deliver us.  We have a heart relationship with the God that cannot be given away nor taken away.  We have a bridge between impossible physics and harmony of law and mercy in Jesus.  Do you have that small measure of faith to cross an invisible bridge?

Young Hope

Leave a comment

david8

NEW DIRECTIONS

Job endured foolish friends, who then enjoyed his intercession and God’s grace.  Now we look at the endurance of David, who had good friends and really bad enemies.  We may struggle with friends who need to grow a bit more, but what do we do when we have no doubt that a violent threat is looking for us?  God offers peace when men offer only war.  You may enter his sanctuary when you call on his name.

David the young shepherd looks ahead to life with confidence.  His job assignment is the first of many responsibilities he will carry.  David praises God for being his guardian during serious danger.  He made his praise permanent in songs we remember as the Psalms today.  This first Psalm points away from the enemies of God and offers assurance to the faithful.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.  Psalm 1: 1-6

You have your blessing when you don’t try to take it from your enemies.  You can’t appease the unrighteous and please God.  There is an anchorage in God that holds us against the same storm that scatters those who attempt to turn you with fear.  Their heart reveals their darkness to the God who gives us light.  The law is light and it is the word.  The word is Messiah with us, Emanuel.

Nature tells us that worldly wisdom is strong, but we see that the supernatural is superior.  From the beginning David possesses the confidence to tend the sheep and later to tend his nation.  Even this second Psalm considers the ways of kings and nations.  It is possible that like Joseph, young David may have had assurance from God of his destiny in leadership.  It is also true that this Psalm introduces us to a type or shadow of the Messiah.  This is a word of prophesy from God to the shepherd.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,  Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.  Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.  Psalm 2: 1-12

For a young man any invitation which God shares about the future is reassuring.  David has observed the behavior of nations and Kings and considers God to be the assurance of justice for all.  David has been given a small responsibility for his flock, but God will send trials for even this early charge.  David has the faith to see his victory in life.

Long before I became a Christian I discovered that the Psalms deliver a soothing calm that would let me go to sleep in peace.  I didn’t need to be drunk or high to face the night with quiet and rest.  David’s songs (Psalms) soothed a mad king Saul, and they can also soothe men today.  If you are hearing threats or suspect danger, join the shepherd in his cave as he sings of his faithful God.

SELF EXAMINATION

Leave a comment

 

storm3

SEEK THE LEAK

We know that an often repeated lie may cause us to consider it to be possibly true.  Our enemy uses people to drag us down.  Job has heard his friends challenge his righteousness until he too may be looking for the sin in his life.  He seeks something that he might be able to fix, he indulges some self examination.  Who wants to face the perfect storm in a leaky boat?

I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?  For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?  Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?  Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?  If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.   Job 31: 1-6

Job has no plans to leave his wife, even if she suggested that he curse God and die.  He made one commitment and will not admire the other girls.  The covenant is with her and with God, so the judgment is of God.  Job is willing to have his trespass revealed to him.

If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;  Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.  If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door;  Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.  Job 31: 7-10

If he pursued what his eyes desired he is willing to surrender his rewards.  If he has considered adultery then he will allow his wife the same release.  He knows how bad this crime would be.

For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.  For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.  If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;  What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?  Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? Job 31: 11-15

Job knows that if he defrauds his wife or servants his own prosperity will be gone in judgment.  The same God who created Job and his neighbors will hold him accountable.

If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;  Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;  (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother’s womb;)  If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering;  If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate:  Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.  Job 31: 16-22

Job considers the needs of the poor as if they were family.  If he had deprived them of their needs.  He will accept painful judgment for any such sins.

For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.  If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;  Job 31: 23-25

The fear of God has motivated Job and he could not live out of the will of God.  He cannot replace righteousness with the love of gold.  He changes gears from talking about God, and now he talks to God.  He is seeing the light with the eyes of faith again.

If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;  And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:  This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.  If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him.  Job 26-30

Job is not seeing the lights in the heaven as being gods though.  Nor has he fallen in love with his own person or works as one who loves himself above God.  He knows that only God is above, and that only God can judge his enemy.

If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.  The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.  If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:  Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?  Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.  Job 31-35

The people of the community would not say that they were denied meat for their needs by Job, they were not left hungry.  Job welcomed visitors into this house, and kept any bad thoughts to himself.  Peer pressure would not drive him to avoid truth or to hide from his responsibilities.  Job would welcome God’s answer to the book of charges made against him.

Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.  I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.  If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:  Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.  Job 31:36-40

If Job’s enemies had written a book of accusations, Job would wear them as a badge of honor.  The earth will not reveal blood that Job has spilled, or report that he has withheld its fruit from the poor.  He boldly dares fate to ruin the produce of his life if he is found guilty.  He rests his case.

I feel really good after cleaning my house and catching up on my personal grooming.  New clothes and fresh paint on the house lift my spirits.  How much better would I feel if I had Job’s confidence about my righteousness?  The car seems to run better when it is waxed, but I have a good many bugs splattered on the finish of my flesh.  We are fortunate to have the daily washing of repentance available.

GLORIOUS PROMISE

Leave a comment

IMG_3565

A REVELATION FROM DARKNESS

Job had to endure yet another round of being called a sinner by another of his friends.  Don’t we have people like this in our world today?  Who will bother to ask the accused privately of his condition when gossip is readily available?  Who really conducts an impartial investigation when they can easily gather the prejudice of his neighbors?

Then Job answered and said,  How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?  These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.  And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.  Job19:1-4

So Job has been keeping count on the ten accusations against him.  His friends have become strangers while any mistake Job may have made is only between Job and God anyway.

If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.  Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.  He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.  He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.  He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. Job19:5-10

Job is again out God as his assailant, not Satan.  Thinking that God has turned against him leaves Job feeling completely hopeless.  He views God as leading an army against him.

He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.  His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.  He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.  My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.  They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. Job19:11-15

Job has no one left who is accepting him or close to him.  Members of his house see him as a stranger, an alien.  When your money is gone your friends are gone too.  But if you are broke and infected you are really the plague to friends.

I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.  My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children’s sake of mine own body.  Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.  All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.  My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. Job19:16-20

Job’s servant is ignoring him and his wife too is distant.  Children are shocked by his appearance, and consider him a monster.  Indeed his appearances are like a mask of death to all who see him.

Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.  Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?  Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!  That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!  For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  Job19:21-25

Job pleads with everyone to sow compassion for his horrible affliction.  He wishes that his words were published, and that turns out to be prophetic.  Now his words are recorded in the bible, the living word, which is the rock himself.  Job continues in a profound prophesy of Messiah:  His redeemer is alive and will stand on earth, as Jesus did do, and will again in the end times.

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.  But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?  Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.  Job19:26-29

Job proclaims that he will see god while he is still in physical flesh.  We will indeed see God, even in a glorified body when we are resurrected.  If the worms destroy our body in death we will still have a body of life in the next life.  Job warns all that there is punishment for all who are deserving of judgment.  From the depth of his despair he glimpses the glory of life after death and the living God.

REVEALED

Leave a comment

187px-Hangmans_Noose 

HORRORS FOR HAMAN

The banquet of Esther came as the queen prepared to make a brave request.  The king had offered her half of his kingdom, but she waited until now to make her request.  Women in Persia were not treated better than they are today in modern Iran.  The previous queen had been banished for being rebellious.  As with any court of judgment one could not be sure of the outcome.  When men make decisions, they are not always righteous ones. 

So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.  And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.  Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:  For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage.  Esther 7:1-7

Esther doesn’t ask for favor, except that her life be spared.  Until now neither the king nor Haman knew that the queen was one of the condemned Jews.  She would have been quiet if only destined for slavery, but she made a petition only when her people were marked for extermination.  The king is about to learn that Esther was condemned with her people by Haman.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?  And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.  And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.  Esther 7:5-7

The king knows that Haman has used him and he is trapped by his own royal decree.  He is angered by the lie of omission and goes outside to vent a bit.  Haman makes another mistake that is misinterpreted by the king.

Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.  And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.  So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.  Esther 7:8-10

The king mistakenly believes that Haman is about to rape the queen at this point.  While Haman is not guilty, others cover his face as if he should be ashamed to show his face.  And when you are down, everyone steps up to point out all of your other sins.  Harbonah volunteers information about the gallows intended for the king’s friend Mordecai.  He included the detail that the gallows was 150 feet high, seemingly to show off Mordecai’s dead body in a public display.  That provided the convenient sentence for this extremely short trial and guilty verdict. 

Esther began with prayer, and only sought the lives of her people.  She entered a dangerous mission but did not set all of these events in motion herself.  God roused the king from his sleep to remember the good deed of Mordecai earlier.  Prayer moved other events so Mordecai would be honored to Haman’s horror.  And Haman’s own wife was moved to suggest building the gallows.  Mordecai had requested that Esther keep her nationality secret, to provide this last surprise.  God was working behind the scenes like a master chess player…CHECKMATE!

Older Entries