Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Depending On God
To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.
“LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.” (Psalm 85:1-3)
Thirteen times in the book of Judges alone, Israel had turned away from God’s commandments, worshipping other gods and ignoring his commandments. Each time he forgave them, restoring their land, and blessing them when they turned back to him. Even when they rejected him as their king and chose a human king he forgave them. It had been repeated time after time.
Finally, David himself got proud of what he had and how strong his army was, and numbered the people, as described in II Samuel 24 and I Chronicles 21. God judged David and Israel for trusting their power rather than God’s. As a result, seventy thousand men died, and David recognized how much he had sinned in placing his faith in the army rather than in God.
“Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.” (Psalm 85:4-7)
Though he had sinned and his sin resulted in so many people’s deaths, David asked God to forgive him, trusting him to be willing to forgive again. He was counting on God not to hold a grudge against him or the nation. Much as they deserved it the punishment, he asked that God show mercy and not punish them as they deserved, but that he would show them salvation as he had promised. David illustrates the faith of the Christian, depending on God promise of eternal salvation in spite of his sin.
“I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.” (Psalm 85:8-9)
Though he had disobeyed, he was repentant, determined to obey God, because he was sure of his forgiveness, and that God would again bless them and that he would prevent them from again turning away from him. He recognized that without God’s help they would never be able to keep themselves from sin. Paul describes the situation in Romans 7:14-25.
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:14-25)
The old sinful nature we inherited from Adam and practiced for years is still present, and takes over when it gets a chance. The only way of being sure it will not again gain control is by learning to walk in the Spirit, as Galatians 5:16 tells us. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” The only victory is through the power of God. If it depended on us to stay saved, none of us would make it.
“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.” (Psalm 85:10-13)
When we learn to walk in the spirit, empowered by God it affects our life. Galatians 5:22-25 describes the effects of walking in the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” This prepares us to receive the blessings God wants to give us. Galatians 6:7-8 describes the benefits. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”