Friday, October 28, 2016
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.” (Psalm 130:1-2)
Even though we believe in God, our emotions are affected by other factors, including our concerns, our physical health, and the attitudes of those we associate with. When we are in despair, and feel like there is no hope, those who believe in God can turn to him for help, and obtain victory easily. Those who do not believe have to depend on friends, counselors, alcohol, or drugs, none of which can work directly on the mind while at the same time solving the problem causing the emotions.
When we turn to God, he is ready to listen and address the problems that are troubling us. The one thing that prevents his hearing us is an attitude of wickedness. Isaiah 59:1-2 tells us, “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” People who persist in sin should not expect God to come to their rescue. If they are willing to change, I John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” (Psalm 130:3-4)
If God was not willing to forgive, there would be no one able to stand before him, Because as Romans 3:10-18 tells us, “…There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Because God is merciful and willing to forgive, our sin can be eliminated. Hebrews 8:12 promises, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Those who have taken responsibility and repented of their sins will never have God bring them up again, even at the Great White Throne Judgment. Psalm 103:12 tells us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Recognition that he can and will forgive if we honestly confess should produce a sense of respectful fear of God, rather than a hatred or terror.
“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.” (Psalm 130:5-6)
The psalmist has put his faith in God, and is waiting for him to take action. He is more sure God will fulfil his promise than he is that the sun will come up in 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 130:7-8)
God’s people need to put their trust in God, rather than in the world’s power. No president, court action or military move can accomplish what God can do just by speaking, and he is willing to use all his power on behalf of his people. He has already promised to deliver them from all the world and Satanic power , freeing them from all the effects of their sin. Trust In the Lord.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
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.” (Psalm 129:1-4)
Israel could look back through history and see time after time when their enemies had attacked and taken them captive, imposed tribute or even attempted to wipe them out. Some of them had inflicted a lot of suffering, but none of them had been able to destroy them or absorb them. Each time, God had set Israel free cutting the bonds which held them in slavery. Each time Israel went into captivity, it was because they forgot what had happened in the past and how God had blessed them by setting them free.
“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 129:5-8)
The psalmist asks that those who hate Israel and the worship of God be confused and frustrated. In that day, most homes had a dirt roof. When it rained grass seeds would sprout and grow, but because there wasn’t enough soil, it would dry out and die before it reached maturity. As a result, it didn’t produce enough to gather a handful to feed the livestock or to make hay for the winter. The Psalmists asks that Israel’s enemies be the same way, only temporarily appearing successful, but ultimately failing, so that people don’t even think God is really blessing them.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
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.” (Psalm 128:1-3)
When Peter went to Caesarea, in Acts 10:34-35, he had just learned something. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” God doesn’t play favorites. Everyone who follows God’s commands will reap the benefits for having done so, even those who have little or no knowledge of God. Paul emphasized the same thing in Romans 2:14-15. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” They will not be saved as a result of their works, but they will receive the earthly blessings.
Unfortunately, in the United States, we have been blessed for so long we accept the blessings as our due and don’t take time to appreciate them. In many countries, one is not allowed to enjoy the results of his labor. Socialist governments and thieves take what one has earned, leaving the worker to survive on what they leave. Happiness, health and peace are blessings from God that are often overlooked, yet they are a natural result of a good conscience and following God’s plans. Finally, the marriage will be a satisfying and enjoyable relationship, producing children of whom one can be justifiably proud.
“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 128:4-6)
These are not things we are entitled to have, but blessings from God. Most people do not enjoy these things, because they do not follow God’s plan. Everyone who fears God can expect to have these blessings, because they obey him. They can expect to see their country blessed, and their children and grandchildren living productive and happy lives, as II Chronicles 7:14 promises. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” God promises that if his people will serve him he will bless and take care of their land.
Some say this promise only applies to Israel. In Genesis 18-19, we have the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Though Sodom was a huge city in its day, God said he would spare it if even ten people who lived there would do what was right. As it turned out, even Lot had lost his testimony and was no longer serving God. God saved him and his family because he was a righteous man who believed in God, but he would have saved the entire city, even if only Lot and his children had served God, according to the promise to Abraham in Genesis 18:32.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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.” (Psalm 127:1)
God created the heaven and the earth as we are told in Genesis 1. In the process, he established the laws or principles of nature, the Laws of Science, which govern how everything in the universe works. Colossians 1:16-17 focuses on this aspect of creation. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
Everything that exists today exists because of those laws or principles he has established. All human accomplishments have been achieved by combining those principles in different ways, using the things God created, including the invention of the atomic bomb, the landing on the moon, the invention of the computer, genetically modified organisms, or the founding of the United States or any other country. Unfortunately, because they have succeeded at some things, people often begin to ignore God’s principles in an effort to accomplish something. Such efforts will still follow those natural laws, unless God intervenes. As a result of ignoring those principles bridges and buildings have collapsed, spaceships have crashed, and governments throughout history have collapsed.
Because he made those laws, God is able to use them in ways humans have never imagined, to accomplish his purpose. He is also able to suspend or change them if he sees fit. As a result, our success in any endeavor is totally dependent on God enabling us to succeed. Without his help, ee cannot even maintain what we have built. The watchman will not be able to protect the city, for example, even though he was on guard.
“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.” (Psalm 127:2)
It is a waste of time for a person to become a workaholic, burning the candle at both ends to make more money. They sacrifice their health, and family and spiritual relationships to satisfy their pride and greed. I Timothy 6:7-10 advises to focus on the exact opposite. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The price for gaining wealth and power is too high in terms of health and happiness.
“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 127:3-6)
President Obama has been concerned about his legacy as president. Despite his efforts, He has no control over his legacy. Ecclesiastes 2:15-16 makes this clear. “Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool. Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.” What happens to the things we have worked for will depend on the whims of the person who takes our place. Our accomplishments may not survive even a few hours.
The only real legacy are the children we leave behind. In addition to our DNA, they carry the attitudes and philosophies they learned from us, passing them along to the next generation. The things our children learn from us are the arrows we send into the future. If properly trained, they will make it better. If not they will make it worse. We shape those arrows. . Young parents get more time to spend with their children over the years, so they can teach them more and better prepare them to live in the world as they see the struggles their parents go through. Children born later in the parent’s life miss that opportunity. In addition, as we age, we become less able keep up with and enjoy our children.
What could be a greater blessing than having successful, happy and well behaved children? They are the legacy we leave behind. Our focus will determine how that legacy turns out. Why waste our time on things that matter very little?
Monday, October 24, 2016
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.” Psalm 126:1-2)
After the nation of Israel split into Israel and Judah, several times Jerusalem was taken by their enemies, with the first time being during the reign of Solomon’s son. Each time they were freed, they were excited and sang praises to God for delivering them, stressing to those around them that they were protected by god. Each time it was like they were living a dream come true. Each time, they turned away from God after just a few years, convinced that they had had everything figured out. Eventually they wound up under attack again as a result..
“The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.” (Psalm 126:3-4)
When the situation became unbearable, Israel would remember how God had blessed them in the past, setting them free. Jerusalem was at this point again, realizing they needed God’s help to free them from their suffering like he had done so many times in the past. The psalmist asks that God would bless them again. They needed his blessings like the intermittent streams and arroyos of the south, which were dependent on rain and snowfall to provide water.
“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 126:5-6)
God had repeatedly promised Israel that if they would brokenheartedly confess their sin and repent, changing their ways, he would deliver them from their enemies. The psalmist is reminding them again of that promise. If they wanted to be blessed like they hab been in the past, they would need to repent and obey God. Proverbs 11:18 reminds us, “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”
Unfortunately, these two verses are frequently pulled out of context and applied to “soul winning,” rather than to repentance and day to day obedience. “Soul winning” is not as substitute for obedience. It is only part of what God has commanded. Partial obedience is still disobedience.
Friday, October 21, 2016
“A Song of degrees
They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” (Psalm 125:1)
Those who trust in the Lord are as solidly placed and secure as one of the mountains. They need have no fear of being knocked out of their place of destroyed.
“As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” (Psalm 125:2)
Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains, forcing anyone who attacks to use different tactics. Huge frontal attacks are impossible. They are forced to attack along smaller fronts that are easier to defend. God surrounds his people just as completely with his power, protecting them from their enemies.
“For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.” (Psalm 125:3)
Because of God’s protection, Satan and the world’s forces are unable to bring their full power to bear to pressure Christian into sin. I Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
An opposing army might well be so powerful Israel could have no hope of victory, such as when Zerah of Ethiopia threatened with more than a million man army in II Chronicles 14. Thanks to God’s power, they were never able to gain control because God gave Israel a way to win. Many times we experience things beyond our capabilities but God enables us to get the victory.
“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 125:4-5)
Those who endeavor to do what is right can expect God’s blessings. Those who persist in doing wrong will wind up in hell just like everyone else who insists on doing evil. The people of God will live at peace in spite of the wicked who attack. We don’t have to win the victory ourselves. It doesn’t matter that the forces of evil are stronger than we are, they are not stronger than God.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
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.” (Psalm 124:1-5)
In David’s day, Israel was surrounded by countries at least as large and powerful as Israel, most of whom wished to appropriate Israel’s land, and groups such as the Amalekites, the Midianites, and the Edomites were closely related. A coalition of these forces would have been vastly stronger then Israel was, especially if they enlisted the help of various ethnic groups living inside Israel.
Several groups invaded them with the intention of wiping Israel off the map. Time after time, God miraculously stopped them. Had he not done so, Israel would have ceased to exist as a nation long before David became king. They would have been wiped out as a people, or absorbed into other cultures. Their very existence was a testimony of God’s power and blessing, just as it is today.
“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 124:6-8)
David was extremely appreciative that God had not allowed them to take Israel like a coyote catching a rabbit. They felt like a bird that had been caught in snare, panicked, until the snare broke and they escaped. They were experiencing a tremendous relief at their escape, and they understood it was Jehovah, the self-existent one who had given them their freedom, through faith in his name. No human alliance or other god had the power to save them, and they could not do it themselves.
In the same way, it is only God’s power that saves us from eternal damnation. There is nothing we can do save ourselves. Titus 3:5-6 tells us, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” No religious organization or other God can save us either. Acts 4:12 states, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
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. ” (Psalm 123:1-2)
David describes their attention to God as a servant watching his master, or a lady’s maid watching her mistress. Few of us have been in that situation, but imagine a nurse assisting a doctor with surgery. The nurse focuses on wht the doctor is doing, constantly ready to hand him a different clamp or scapula or such away blood so he can see what is needed. We need to be giving God a similar level of attention, especially since we are the ones being operated on. We don’t want to let our attention wander until the operation is complete.
“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 123:3-4)
Our beliefs and practices are attacked almost daily by those around us, encouraging us to forget our standards and go along with their agenda. When we refuse, we are called fools and worse, by those who spend their lives in pleasure and those who consider themselves smarter and better than others. . Sometimes we begin to feel really discouraged and are tempted to quit. In those times we especially need God to show his mercy and love for us. Those are the times when we need focus on him the most. Unfortunately, it is also the time when it is easiest to focus on the problems and overlook what he is doing.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
A Song of degrees of David
“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)
It is wonderful to meet with my brothers and sisters in a place where we spend time with other people from our family, reminiscing and sharing the things we have done together, sharing our dreams and the things we learn day by day and enjoying the times we have had together with our parents. The pleasure is only possible because of the things our parents have done to enable us to have those experiences.
For the Christian, coming to the Lord’s house ought to be the same as going back to a happy home and visiting with one’s parents and siblings. It ought to be a time of sharing and enjoyment, because of the Things God and Christ have done for us. In David’s day that meant going to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it means going to our local church.
“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.” (Psalm 122:3-5)
Jerusalem was built as a place for the people to worship God. It was the site of the temple, but it was also the site of Israel’s earthly government, and all the tribes came together, at least three times a year to worship and praise God. In addition they came to Jerusalem for help in settling disputes and to learn what God commanded. It was an illustration of the role the church should play in a Christian’s life.
“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 122:6-9)
David advised the people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that it would prosper for the sake of His friends and relatives, and because it was where they worshipped God. Paul encourages Christians to pray in similar fashion for our countries and communities in I Timothy 2:1-4. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Unfortunately, some have focused so much on David’s instruction to the Jews to pray for Jerusalem they have neglected to pray for their own churches, communities, and leaders.
Monday, October 17, 2016
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.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
The God who created Heaven and Earth had chosen Mount Zion, the place where the Temple was located as his special place. It is where David went to consult the Lord. He expects God to send the help he needs at the proper time, and he wants to sing for joy as a result.
“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.” (Psalm 121:3-4)
He knows that God will protect him from his enemies, and also that he will give him the power to avoid falling into sin. He will not fall asleep or neglect his job. As Christians, we are not depending on our own faith and power to keep us saved. I Peter 1:3-5 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We are kept by the power of God, and as Jesus said in John 10:27-30, there is no human power capable of breaking his hold. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.” There is no danger of us losing our salvation.
“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.” (Psalm 121:5-6)
The Lord will protect us from even minor physical problems so that we don’t even have to worry about a sun burn or an inability to sleep at night because the moon is too bright. While we still suffer those things in the physical world, they will be completely eliminated in eternity.
“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 121:7-8)
It is the Lord who keeps us saved, and he is able to keep us from sin through the Holy Spirit’s power. He will direct our paths, starting at the present time and throughout eternity. I John 3:8-9 says, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The word translated commit here refers to a pattern or lifestyle of sin. Different words are used for a single or unintentional sinful act.
I Corinthians 6:9-11 points out that a wicked lifestyle is evidence a person will not be saved. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” While that may have been what we were before, when we became a Christian, we became a new creature, and that old lifestyle is taken away. The Holy Spirit keeps us from going back to it.
Friday, October 14, 2016
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.” (Psalm 120:1-2)
We live in a society where lying is considered acceptable, at least on the part of politicians and government officials. Proverbs 26:28 warns, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Hilary Clinton’s statements about Trump supporters being deplorables and her comments to the media that Democratic voters were stupidprompted a poll of government officials in Washington to see what their attitude toward the common people was. Only six percent of them considered the American people smart enough to be bothered with the facts. Their lying just confirms their disdain for the Average American.
Saul had spread lies about David to turn the people against him, and for years David lived under the constant threat of execution because of Saul’s irrational hatred. He asked God to deliver him from the lies and deceit that sought to destroy him.
“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.” (Psalm 120:3-4)
Because he studied God’s word, David knew, “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight,” as Proverbs 12:2 tells us. He asked what those who lied about him expected to gain by their lies, because as we see in Proverbs 21:6 lying to get and advantage ultimately suicidal. “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.” As David describes it, People will turn on them, physically killing them or verbally destroying them.
In the long term things will be even worse. Revelation 21:8 warns, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. They will be hated here on earth, then spend eternity in prison, surrounded by the worst criminals of all time, and suffering the worst conditions imaginable.
“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. Ps 120:7 I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalm 120:5-6)
David felt like he was living among the ancient warlike tribes of ancient Russia and Mongolia, or the Bedouins and other Arabic groups, for whom raiding and warfare was, and in many cases, still is a way of life. Saul and his army had no interest in making peace, wanting only to kill David. They viewed his efforts to make peace as a sign of weakness and pushed even harder, determined to kill him. Treaties were only a tool to gain an advantage and would be broken without hesitation. Saul and his supporters definitely didn’t act like they were God’s people.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
“I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment. They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.” (Psalm 119:145-152)
From the time he was young, David had trusted in the Lord, and was determined to keep his word. He promised to obey as long as God kept him alive to do so. He got up before dawn to pray and think about God’s word, and frequently woke up during the night with it on his mind. He asks that God would hear his prayers in his loving kindness and settle his concerns according to his mercy and righteousness. The wicked were not concerned with God’s laws, but David believed they were eternal and sought to follow them.
“Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Psalm 119:153-160)
David asks that God consider the trials he was experiencing, and deliver him because he was serving God. The wicked had rejected God’s salvation, but God’s mercy was great, and David felt sorry for his persecutors because would not obey God. He asks God to consider how he had struggled to follow the law, believing it was eternally true, and that its principles are eternal.
“Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.” (Psalm 119:161-168)
Saul had tried to execute David, even sending messengers to other countries to try to have him killed, and when he fled to the Philistines, David was forced to act as if he were insane to avoid being killed. In spite of that, David was still in awe of God’s word and rejoiced at his promises.
Everyday he was reminded repeatedly how much God had blessed him for his obedience. As a result, he never gave up hope and turned away, no matter how discouraged he became. Instead, he kept expecting god to keep his wordand kept on doing as God had said. He knew God was aware of everything he had done and believed he would reward him accordingly.
“Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:169-176)
David realized he had not kept God’s law perfectly, but he had not broken it deliberately. He asks that God forgive him for the times he had strayed, and hear his prayer for life and protection so that he could praise the Lord. He also asks again that God help him understand his way so that he did not stray so easily. He loved the law and wanted to learn more.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
“I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors. Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness. Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes. I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:121-128)
David had done his best to serve God, but it seemed like his enemies were getting the victory. Perhaps this was written about the time of I Samuel 23, when David followed God yet even the people he helped turned on him, betraying him to Saul and Saul’s army was so close that there seemed no hope of escape. He desperately needed God to come to his aid, or he might well not survive the day. Israel was completely ignoring God’s Law, trying to have David murdered at Saul’s command. David believed the promises, and loved the study, but he was in place where he needed more than theory of trusting God. He needed to see God work immediately.
“Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.” (Psalm 119:129-136)
The promises in God’s word were so wonderful David wanted to keep them to see if they were true, but the more he understood, the more he understood about life, and how God intended things. He began to hunger to know more. He asked God to bless him as he had done those who served in the past such as Moses or Joshua or Gideon, and that he would be able to understand the things of God like they had, so that he would not fall under the power of any sin. If God would give him the freedom, he would do his best to serve. He was weeping, knowing how far short he had already fallen.
“Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” (Psalm 119:137-144)
God is totally righteous. There is no sin or wrong in him, and every one of his standards and directions for resolving conflicts are fair and good. His instructions for daily life can be depended on to produce the proper results.
David’s efforts to serve God had made him a target for those who ignored and forgot the Law. Despite the fact that they were more powerful and outnumbered him, considering him a minor nuisance, David had not given up on obeying God’s commands. He believed God’s word was still true, and was clinging to them despite the problems that had resulted from his obedience. He asked God to continue to give him better understanding, believing it would take away his discouragement.
A great many people today seem to believe that if we serve God there will be no problems. This is exactly contrary to scripture. John 16:33 tells us, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” while II Timothy 3;12 warns, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” If we are Christians we will have problems in this world because Satan controls it, but as John 16:33 said, Christ has overcome the world. It is like the song says, “If I never had a problem, I’d never know that He could solve them.”
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.“ (Psalm 119:97-104)
God created the world and designed it to follow certain principles or laws. David had spent the time learning and thinking about those principles. As a result, was able to make wiser decisions than his enemies because he constantly acted based on God’s laws. He was able to understand mor than his teachers, or the wise men of the past, because he kept those laws. He had made every effort to avoid going against those precepts because he knew it was God who taught him. The more he learned, the more he enjoyed his understanding. He learned to hate the false ideas.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.” (Psalm 119:105-112)
God’s word is like a light or lamp enabling us to see where to step to avoid danger. David was committed to following what it said. He was constantly struggling with things around him, but he asked that God would accept his freely given praises, as being real and make him feel alive despite the discouragement, teaching him to deal with things properly. He wanted to follow God completely.
Though the wicked had tried to trip him up, David had been able to stay on the path and do what God said. He was committed to make following God’s precepts a tradition or custom because they were such a blessing to him. His intention was to follow Gods laws completely.
“I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.” (Psalm 119:113-120)
David had learned to hate the worthless and meaningless theories and philosophies of the world. It was God and his word that protected him from the worlds attacks. The wicked should get away because he was going to serve God.
He asks that God would uphold him as he had promised so he would not be ashamed of having trusted God. As a result David’s faith and respect would grow. He had seen what happened to those who did not follow God’s commands, and the consequences of their ideas and philosophies. He was afraid when he thought about the consequences of not following God’s will.
Friday, October 7, 2016
“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)
God created each individual human, and like a car manufacturer, he has given us a manual for how we should live our lives to attain the most satisfactory results in his word. Unfortunately, a lot of people never read the manual or make the effort to follow it. David asks help in understanding god’s word so that he can learn to follow it more completely. Others will come to him asking about his satisfaction and how he uses it to obtain satisfaction.
Knowing God created him, he knows his his commandments are right and that any afflictions he has experienced are for his own good. He prays that he would find comfort in God’s mercy and kindness as he had promised, making life worth living. He prays that those who take no thought of God and have turned on him may be shamed by their behavior while those who seek to please God will be drawn to him in love. He asks that his keeping of the word would be as God intended so he wouldn’t be ashamed later.
“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)
Despite his absolute conviction that God’s way was best, David sometimes got discouraged and even depressed, but he never gave up hope that God would keep his word. He did ask how long he would have to live with the problems because sometimes he felt like a bottle in the smoke unable to see past it or escape and constantly dirtied by it, even though he kept God’s commands. The longer it went the more he wanted to jump ahead to the end so that he didn’t fall into the traps and sin surrounding him or respond to the persecution in an ungodly way. There were times when he felt like just giving in, and he is asking that God make him aware of the blessings so he didn’t.
“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” (Psalm 119:89-96)
God is eternally the same and does not change, nor do his commands. He will always keep his promises and the world he created will always follow the natural scientific laws as God designed it to do, because they all follow God’s will.
If David had not followed God’s law in a similar fashion, the problems he had experienced would have destroyed him. He was determined never to forget the principles of His law, be4cause he was God’s and needed God to save him. He had sought to understand the principles because he wanted God’s blessings. Those who attacked him ignored those principles, in an effort to destroy him. but he would follow them because he believed in the future of those who did.
Humans try to make a specific law to fit each individual situation, making them in piecemeal fashion, As a result there soon becomes so many laws no one knows them all, and some contradict others. People are forced to hire lawyers to find out what they can do or can’t do. God’s laws are far broader and more consistent, covering a wide range of situations so it is possible to know what is right in every situation, if one understands the underlying precept..
Thursday, October 6, 2016
“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)
David had lived his life based on God’s promises. At the worst times he had been able to remember those promises to survive his frustration and depression, and keep on living. Proud people, who depended solely on themselves made fun of him for trusting God in his situation, encouraging them to try their way instead, but he had not yielded, even though he was terrified about what they might do to him. By singing about God’s laws and commandments, he was reminded what God commanded and was able to stay on track, knowing that he had done as God said, and would be rewarded accordingly.
It is exactly what Paul instructed the Christians to do in Ephesians 5:17-20. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. I entreated 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)
David had committed himself to keep God’s commands, and whole heartily sought to please him. He understood his service was not perfect and asked God for mercy where he had failed, constantly reviewing what he ahd done and making corrections where needed. Though wicked people had taken what he had earned, he continued to serve God. If he woke up at night, he intended to spend that time thanking God for his blessings, and by day he would seek the companionship of others who served the Lord. He asked that God would continue to expand his understanding of His word and law.
“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)
God had kept his promises, blessing David just as he said. He asks that God would continue to teach him how to apply God’s word. Before he had had trials, he had had only a superficial understanding of What God said, sand had often disobeyed, simply not realizing the importance of doing things the way God said. The experiences had taught him to follow exactly as God said, understanding that his commands were always for man’s good.
People who were convinced they didn’t need God deliberately lied to destroy his reputation. Having destroyed his reputation, they felt like they were better than everyone else, not understanding that their apparent success did not make them better, it just lowered the average to their level, just like what has happened with the constant attacks in the 2016 presidential campaign.
David finally understood how much he had learned about God’s laws and principles as a result of the trials he had gone through. The more he understood, the more he valued God’s word. It was worth more to him than any amount of earthly riches or acclaim.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
“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)
The psalmist found himself constantly on his face before God, asking forgiveness. He asks for comfort and life as God had promised. He had shared God’s commandments and taught people to obey them. Now he is asking for a clearer understanding of the basic principles so that he can more effectively explain what God has done and escape the sense of guilt he feels as he considers what the Law said. He has chosen to obey God, doing the things he had learned, and he would like to feel confident his efforts were worthwhile.
“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)
If God will teach him the details of his commands, he is committed to obeying them, but he needs to understand them if he is to keep them. He asks that God would guide him according to his commands because he takes pleasure in doing what is right. He asks that god would keep him focused on the right so that he is not distracted by covetousness or foolishness. We asks that God would keep him from making a fool of himself because he knew what God wanted is good and it is what he wants.
“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)
He knows he is not perfect, and asks God for his mercy and the salvation he has promised in his word. When he was aware of God’s power in his life, he would have an answer for those who made fun of him for his faith. He asked that God not allow him to forget what the scriptures said, so that he could be consistent in following his commands. Knowing for sure what was right would give him a sense of freedom because he was trying to do what was right. He would be able to speak confidently to even rulers of other countries and enjoy knowing he was doing the right things. He would be able to think seriously about what God wanted.
Monday, October 3, 2016
The one hundred nineteenth Psalm is the longest chapter in the Bible, with a hundred seventy six verses in the modern scriptures. As written, in Hebrew, it was song divided into twenty two verses, identified alphabetically by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, just as we would list them as A, B, C, etc. It was written specifically to drive home the need and benefits of learning God’s Word and calls on the students to commit to following the scriptures. .
“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 have been faithful in keeping God’s commands, devoting themselves to him receive his blessings. There is no deliberate sin in the lives, and they do what is right because they follow his principles of live as he commanded. We will not be ashamed when we follow his commands but can confidently face anyone with nothing to hide, but the first step is to learn what he has commanded, as we see in John 14:21. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
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)
If a young person wants to correct things in his life, he needs to start by paying attention to God’s Word. The Psalmist has wholeheartedly sough what God wants and asks that he be prevented from straying far from them. He has memorized and studied the scriptures in an effort to ensure he would not go against God, and asks that God teach him what the laws actually mean. He has said them aloud to help fix them in his mind, rejoicing in the promises as much as if he had received a gift. He promises to respect the commands, giving them serious thought , and will not forget them.
He is committed to doing what II Timothy 2:15 commands. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“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)
In singing the song, the student then asks that God would bless him with a deep understanding of God’s law, because he is just a human being with limited knowledge. He longs to know what God wants, knowing how he has punished the proud. Leaders have mocked him for his insistence on following god, and he asks that they might realize it was important. John 16:13 promises that the Holy Spirit will teach those who study. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” God will bless anyone who cares enough to obey what he said.