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1/06

 

 

 

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Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

This is a Hebraism, and means the same as "to his glorious grace."  The object was to excite thanksgiving for his glorious grace manifested in those chosen in love.  The real tendency in minds that are properly affected, is not to excite opposition to God, or to lead to the charge of partiality, tyranny, or severity; it is to animate thankfulness and praise.

In accordance with this, Paul introduced the statement (Eph 1:3) by saying that God was to be regarded as "blessed" for forming and executing this plan.  The meaning is, that this act of being chosen, lays the foundation of adoring gratitude and praise.

Jesus is the center as well as the channel of all blessedness.  All the chosen in heaven and earth are to be gathered together in one in him.  The measure of His redeeming grace is the measure of God's own eternal goodness.

By the giving of the LAW, God's justice and holiness were rendered most glorious.  By the giving of the GOSPEL, his grace and mercy are made more brightly and prominently glorious.

 

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. Mark 4:29

When the corn is ripe, it is reaped for the benefit of him who sowed it.  It can be of little or no use till it is ripe: so when a soul is saved from all sin, it is capable of being fully employed in the work of the Lord: it is then, and not till then, fully fitted for the Master's use. 

God saves men to the uttermost, that they may here perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his name.  To take them away the moment they are capable of doing this, would be, so far, to deprive the world and the Church of the manifestation of the glory of his grace.  "But the text says, he immediately sendeth out the sickle; and this means that the person dies, and is taken into glory, as soon as he is fit for it." 

1. That a preacher is a person employed by God, and sent out to sow the good seed of his kingdom in the souls of men.

2. That it is a sin against God to stay in the field and not sow.

3. That it is a sin to pretend to sow, when a man is not furnished by the keeper of the granary with any more seed.

4. That it is a high offence against God to change the Master's seed, to mix it, or to sow bad seed in the place of it.

5. That he is not a seeds-man of God who desires to sow by the way side, &, and not on the proper ground, i.e. he who loves to preach only to genteel congregations, to people of sense and fashion, and feels it a pain and a cross to labor among the poor and the ignorant.

6. That he who sows with a simple, upright heart, the seed of his Master, shall (though some may be unfruitful) see the seed take deep root; and, notwithstanding the unfaithfulness and sloth of many of his hearers, he shall doubtless come with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

 

But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?  Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!  2Chronicles 6:18

No person who entertains just and exalted views of the spiritual nature of the Divine Being will suppose that he can raise a temple for the habitation of Deity, as a man builds a house for himself.  Nearly as improper and inadmissible is the idea that a temple can contribute to enhance the glory of God, as a monument may be raised in honor of a great man.

Solomon described the true and proper use of the temple, when he entreated that the Lord would "hearken unto the supplications of His servant and His people Israel, which they should make towards this place."

In short, the grand purpose for which the temple was erected was precisely the same as that contemplated by churches--to afford the opportunity and means of public and social worship, according to God’s Word.  Always we are to entreat the divine mercy and favor--to render thanks for past instances of goodness, and offer petitions for future blessings. 

How faithfully our Lord dwells upon His covenant with us.  It is sweet praying when we can plead the promises.

 

It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things Romans 15:27

We are all debtors to the church no matter what race, and ought to be always doubly ready to give for the furtherance of the Gospel.  To despise or think harshly of giving is very unbecoming for those who assert they adore "The King of the Kings."

If we are blessed by the power of the word through signs and wonders than we have immediate and long term benefit.  As we ourselves labor to meet our own needs so are we given power by God to gain wealth through the word thus preached to us. 

Have those who give themselves in the service of God done so that they and their family would hunger.  Or that their need would weigh ever heavily on their heart.  Or are these rare and chosen vessels to struggle with so little carnal means to continue to preach the gospel.

I tell you truthfully none who answer the call, do so because of the promise of gain, and would minister faithfully in pure obedience and love for God; if that were indeed all that was offered.  But this is not reason to say they should continue to lack to prove their motivation of heart.  The word declares they should in fact be given, a double portion of the mean income of the church.

We would say we want the gospel to reach the ends of the world yet the job requires so much more than words.  God gives us opportunity to give in faithfulness.  Give, prove God not men, and live in obedience to the scriptures.

 

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Colossians 2:9,10

We have all things in Jesus, and want no religious rites.  To all these we are dead and buried, our baptism teaches us that; and by faith we are risen from all dead formalities into a new spiritual life.  This requires none of the ordinances of man to sustain it. 

All that is necessary to secure your salvation, your prosperity, and your healing is to be found in the Lord Jesus.  There is a completion, or a filling up, in him, so as to leave nothing wanting.  

This is true in respect:
(1.) to the wisdom which is needful to guide us;
(2.) the atonement to be made for sin and sickness;
(3.) the merit by which a sinner can be justified; and
(4.) the grace which is needful to sustain us in the trials, and to aid us in the duties of life.

Therefore, there is no necessity, that we should look to the aid of philosophy, or human earthy wisdom, as if there was a defect in the teachings of the Savior.  We are not to look to human strength, as if Jesus were unable to save us heal us or prosper us.  We are not to look to the merits of the saints, as if those merits of our Redeemer were not sufficient to meet all our wants.

 

Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.  Isaiah 38:17

Literally it can be said He has transformed my bitterness into peace.  What sinister curse tries to violently hurtle my heart to the winds, yet at the heart of hearts lies the perfect love of God.  Though sin would demand a price to be paid my gentle Redeemer creates the miracle of life.  He cast off the chains of death that I may forever be transformed.

This miracle of creation can not be quenched by fiery dart or hellish storm for great is the Promise of Peace.  Nothing in this world can prevent my praise for indeed I am free.  Free from darkness eternally lifted upward into the everlasting arms of light.

 

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1Corinthians 2:9

What reason and imagination could not have conceived, the Holy Spirit has revealed.  Spiritual men and women of God have an inner eye and ear to which the Spirit grants discernment.

This is designed clearly to describe the blessedness of those who were admitted to the Divine favor.  These elect have communion with God and God manifests himself as their Friend.  That blessedness is said to be superior to all that men elsewhere enjoy.  This  closeness can be found nowhere else but in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This privileged view of wisdom, and fitness, and beauty, can be found in no other plan.  It is true that this view is attended with a high degree of comfort; but the comfort is not the immediate thing in the eye of the apostle.  He truly envisions a place where we have power from God that propels us forward into the conflict battling darkness with perfect confidence in the love which upholds us. 

 

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Heb 2:15

That he might be able to identify with the curse that holds all of us in the complete bondage of sin, to sickness poverty and eternal death, through his own resurrection and victory over the curse of death and sickness uplifts our downcast souls.  He bears with our infirmities, Jesus himself became a man like ourselves. 

Troubled hearts should think of this, and be of good cheer.  The Holy Spirit speaks of him most sweetly here.

We once preferred life in any state, even with the most grievous evils, to death, because we had no hope beyond the grave.

In full assurance now the born again believer has God's love, and the fear of death sickness and poverty is removed.  By the purification of our hearts through faith, the sting of death is extracted and we can now rest fully assured in the miraculous deliverance for all evil and bondage of the curse. 

The people who know not God are in continual torment through the fear of death, and they fear death because they fear something beyond death.  They are conscious to themselves that they are wicked, and they are afraid of God, and terrified at the thought of eternity. 

By these fears thousands of sinful, miserable souls are prevented from hurrying themselves into the unknown world.  They live their lives subject to whatever good or bad happens hiding their eyes for fear they see themselves as accursed and unwilling to believe this could be true.  Better they say to live for today for in truth they know they have no tomorrow.

Not so with us dear believer for we fear nothing and challenge life to produce blessing!  We fully reject the old bondage of sickness poverty and death.  They have nothing in us who believe.

 

O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. Isaiah 25:1

Christ's eyes are upon faithful persons, or faithful ministers of the word, who preach the Gospel faithfully.  These administer the ordinances truly, and are faithful to the souls of men in watching over them, reproving and exhorting them.  

His eyes are upon them to keep and preserve them, and to honour and reward them with a crown of life that fadeth not away. His eyes are also on faithful members of churches, such who truly believe in him, who hold fast the faithful word, and keep close to his worship

His eyes are upon them, to show favor to them, to bestow blessings upon them, and to protect and defend them, and to preserve them from perishing:  So such as are faithful shall dwell with Christ both here and hereafter.  They dwell in him and with him by faith, and have communion with him.  They dwell in his house below, and shall dwell with him above for evermore

Truth breaks every yoke that would prevent us. 

These two,  faithfulness and truth, are sisters of our success in this life and the life to come.

 

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:6

Among Christians there must be unity, and especially in Christian families, so that all our powers may be undividedly employed in praising God.  If we are jealous one of another, or use angry language, and quarrelsome words, we cannot glorify God as we ought.

Thus the Savior sets his seal upon assemblies of the faithful, even of the smallest kind, not only in their acts of discipline, but in their intercessions.  Note how tenderly Jesus speaks of his followers: "If two of you." Matthew 18:19.  If two of you agree in prayer on earth, "my Father which is in heaven" will hearken to your pleading.

Prayer should be matter for previous consideration, and persons about to join in prayer should "agree as touching anything that they shall ask."  We first search God’s word for the answer to our joint petition.  Then we come together with an intelligent design, seeking a known blessing, and agreeing to combine our desires and our faith in reference to the one chosen object.

Two believers united in holy desire and solemn prayer will have great power with God.  Instead of despising the verdict of so small a gathering, we ought to respect it, since the Father does so.  Note the power of combined prayer and understand there is no excuse for giving up gathering in prayer while there are two praying people in the place.  Two in one accord can prevail with God.  

Of course, more is needed than a cold agreement as God’s word lays our certain things which are desirable.  There must be importunity and faith.  We desire to speak the same as God’s word and as we each gather at the throne faithfully and habitually calling upon God’s promise in the name of our Lord Jesus we do with certainty, receive such a request with great joy.

 

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. John 15:4

Do what we may, we can bring forth no truly good thing except in union with our Lord: our strength, our fruitfulness, yes, and our very life, all lie in Him.

Remain united to the our Lord Jesus by a living faith.  Live a life of dependence on Him, and obey His doctrines, imitate His example, and constantly exercise faith in Him.

That is, if you remain attached to the Lord, He will remain with you, and will teach, guide, and comfort you.  This he proceeds to illustrate by a reference to the vine.  If the branch should be cut off an instant, it would die and be fruitless.  As long as it is in the vine the parent stock imparts its sweet juices, and furnishes a constant circulation of fuel adapted for the growth and fruitfulness of the branch.

So our faithfulness, if we should be separate from Christ, or if we cease to feel our union to him and dependence on him, withers and droops.  While we are united to him by a living faith, from the nature of the case, strength flows from him to us, and we receive help as we need.  Devoutness then, manifested in good works and in love, is as natural, as easy, as unconstrained, and as lovely as the vine covered with fruitful branches is at once useful and enticing.

 

The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 1Corth. 16:19

Every Christian family should in some respects be a Christian church.  In some cases (as, for instance, were they cast away on a deserted shore), they should be a church themselves.  

Families that pray together stay together.

In our personal families we should live under the direction of Christian rules, and daily offer up Christian worship.  Wherever two or three are gathered together, and Christ is among them, there is a church.  We should conduct and encourage daily prayer together and separately.  We should enjoy the study of God’s word.  Strength comes through exercise and when we exercise our family ties they are not easily broken.

We lead our families to the altar as Joshua said “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  As the head of our families we stand accountable to god for how we offer ourselves to the Lord and we must never shirk the responsibility of bringing our family together with the saints to worship our God of mercy and grace.

 

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; Deut. 4:9

Moses' last discourse to the people whom he had so lovingly ruled was simple.  If the Lord has condescended to tenderly teach and train us, let us not be forgetful hearers, neither let us neglect to transmit his teachings to our children.

If a man knows the worth of his own soul, he will sense the importance of the salvation of his own family.  Those who neglect family religion, neglect personal religion.  If more attention were paid to the this simple yet profound service, we would soon have a better state of civil society.  On family religion, God lays much stress and no head of a family can neglect it without endangering his future relationship with their own children.

We plant seeds of faith or seeds of discourse.  When they mature we find comfort or we find a troubled heart.

 

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Revelations 15:3

A song of thanksgiving and praise, such as Moses taught the Hebrew people to sing after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage.  The meaning here is not that they would sing that identical song, but that Moses taught the people to celebrate their deliverance with a magnificent hymn of praise.  

There is an obvious propriety here in referring to the "song of Moses," because the circumstances are very similar.  The occasion of the redemption from that formidable Antichristian power here referred to had a strong resemblance to the rescue from Egyptian bondage.  We too sing in honor of the Lamb, as our great deliverer thus exciting wonder and admiration of our hearts.

Our praise is celebrated in our Lord--the JEHOVAH--the uncreated and eternal One.  He is God--the creator, upholder, and sovereign of all things; and that he is Almighty--having all power in all worlds.

It is the Lord--the Ruler of all worlds; it is God-- the Maker of the race, and the Father of the race, who performs the work of redemption.  It is a work which could be accomplished only by one who is Almighty.  Justice and truth are brought prominently into view also in the redemption of man.  It is proper that these attributes should be celebrated in the songs of praise in heaven.

2/06

 

 

 

 

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When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. Isaiah 41:17

To strengthen our faith in this promise, God bids us to look back upon the Lord's wonders of old and to expect yet greater things, for God has not changed, nor are the fountains of his power and grace exhausted.

Seasons of deep distress have often been to God's people the dawn of a bright and glorious day.  We believers have thus withdrawn from every worldly confidence, and are continually led to seek deliverance from God by deep repentance and earnest supplication.

Water is figuratively refreshment and, prosperity after their affliction.  The language is so constructed to be fully realized in the waters of life and of the Spirit, under the Gospel.  We believe the power, God has entrusted us with, by and in His Spirit so that all needs may find cure.  We with full assurance of faith draw near to our dear Lord that we may drink deeply of the elixir of life health, and wealth, fully realizing complete deliverance in every circumstance of life. 

We do praise our God for His perfect care equally of the smallest to the largest of all trials.

 

But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. Isaiah 61:6

The opening words of this chapter were quoted by our Lord Jesus as his credentials, when he stood up to read in the synagogue of Nazareth.  The description which is here given is applicable to Jesus, and in him every word is verified. 

The whole Trinity unite in the work of grace.  Jehovah the Father--the Lord God, anoints his Son to his glad office; the Spirit rests upon him; and the Son himself performs divine acts.  This glorious gospel of the sacred Trinity is not for the proud and boastful, but for mourners and those who are in heaviness for sin. 

If we belong to that class, Jesus has come to bless us.  Yet we too walk in this most wonderful calling in our Lord Jesus.  We to find such incomprehensible blessing for our labors of love.

 

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.  Mark 12:31

Now, as we are not to love ourselves supremely, this is virtually a command, in the first place, not to love our neighbor with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.  And thus it is a condemnation of the idolatry of the creature.  Our supreme and uttermost affection is to be reserved for God.  

As sincerely as ourselves we are to love all mankind, and with the same readiness to do and suffer for them as we should reasonably desire them to show to us. The golden rule is our best interpreter of the nature and extent of these claims.

"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets"  It is as if He had said, "This is all Scripture in a nutshell.  The whole law of human duty in a portable, pocket form.

" Indeed, it is so simple that a child may understand it, so brief that all may remember it, so comprehensive as to embrace all possible cases.  From its very nature it is unchangeable.  It is inconceivable that God should require from his rational creatures anything less, or in substance anything else, under any dispensation, in any world, at any period throughout eternal duration.

He cannot but claim this--all this--alike in heaven, in earth, and in hell!  And this incomparable summary of the divine law belonged to the Jewish religion!  As it shines in its own self-evidencing splendor, so it reveals its own true source.  The religion from which the world has received it could be none other than a God-given religion!

 

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16

In the midst of judgment, mercy and truth shall not be forgotten; God's chosen shall be led safely, and their afflictions shall be removed.  

Especially precious are the last words, "and not forsake them."  Why are we sorrowful?  for God is our friend still.  Never has he deserted a sincerely believing heart, and he never will, come what may.  Let us, then, rest in his love, and go forward to our life's end with triumphant courage.

 

Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.   Exodus 14:13

These words contain God's command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties.  He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do?

The Master's word to him is, "Stand still."  It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master's word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.  

Despair whispers, "Lie down and die; give it all up."  But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.

Cowardice says, "Retreat; go back to the world's way of action; you cannot play the Christian's part, it is too difficult.  Relinquish your principles."  

But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God.  His divine decree has beseeched us go from strength to strength, and so we shall, and neither death nor hell shall turn us from our Lord’s course.  What, if for a while we are called to stand still, yet this is but to renew our strength for some greater advance in due time.  

Impetuosity cries, "do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness."  We must be doing something at once--we must do it so we think--instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything.

Presumption boasts, "If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle."  

But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, "Stand still," and immovable as a rock it stands.

"Stand still";--keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long before God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, "Go forward."

 

He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.  Luke 24:27

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had a most profitable journey.  Their companion and teacher was the best of tutors; the interpreter one of a thousand, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  The Lord Jesus humbled himself to become a preacher of the gospel, and He was not ashamed to exercise His calling before an audience of two persons, neither does He now refuse to become the teacher of even one.  Let us woo the company of so excellent an Instructor, for till He is made unto us wisdom we shall never be wise unto salvation.

This unrivalled tutor used as His curriculum the best of books.  Although able to reveal fresh truth, He preferred to expound the old.  He knew by His omniscience what was the most instructive way of teaching, and by turning at once to Moses and the prophets, He showed us that the surest road to wisdom is not speculation, reasoning, or reading human books, but meditation upon the Word of God.  The most expeditious way to be spiritually rich in heavenly knowledge is to dig in this mine of diamonds, to gather pearls from this heavenly sea.  When Jesus Himself sought to enrich others, He searched deep in the quarry of the Holy Scripture.

 The favored pair were led to consider the best of subjects, for Jesus spoke of Jesus, and expounded the things concerning Himself.  Here the diamond cut the diamond, and what could be more admirable?  

The Master of the House unlocked His own doors, conducted the guests to His table, and placed His own well planned meal  upon it.  He who hid the treasure in the field Himself guided the searchers to it.  

With an eye to find our Savior we should always search the Word.  The grace to study the Bible with Jesus as both our teacher and our lesson is born of faith!

 

O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. Psalm 108:1

We cannot find it in our heart to dismiss this psalm by merely referring the reader to Ps 57:7-11 and Ps 60:5-12, though these two Scriptures are almost identical with this verses.  It is true that most of the commentators have done so, and we are not so presumptuous as to dispute their wisdom; but we must believe that the words would not have been repeated if there had not been an object for so doing, or can one think that we had that before, and therefore we need not meditate upon it again.

The Holy Spirit is not so short of expressions that he needs to repeat himself, and the repetition cannot be meant merely to fill the book: there must be some intention in the arrangement of two former divine utterances in a new connection.  We at least endeavor to try to discover the intent, and we may expect divine assistance in guiding us.

We have before us The Warrior's Morning Song, with which he adores his God and strengthens his heart before entering upon the conflicts of the day.  David appeals to his God and sets up his banner in Jehovah's name.

First we have an utterance dictated by the spirit of praise, Ps 108:1-5; then a second deliverance evoked by the spirit of believing prayer, Ps 108:6-12; and then a final word of resolve (Ps 108:13), as the warrior hears the war trumpet summoning him to join the conflict immediately, and therefore marches with his friend and family soldiers at once to the battle.

 

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Philippians 1:10

That ye may approve things, "Or, try."  The word used here denotes the kind of trial to which metals are exposed in order to test their nature; and the sense is that the apostle wished them so to try the things that were of real value, as to discern that which was true and genuine.

That are excellent "or, differ."  The idea is, that he wished them to be able to distinguish between things that differed from each other.  To have an intelligent apprehension of what was superior.  He would not have them love and approve all things indiscriminately.  They should be esteemed according to their real value.  How anxious the apostle was, not only that they should be Christians, but that they should be intelligent Christians, and should understand the real worth and value of objects.

Sincere. is rendered pure.  The word properly means, that which is judged of in sunshine, which is clear and manifest.  It is that over which there are no clouds; which is not doubtful and dark; which is pure and bright.  The word sincere means literally without wax that is, honey which is pure and transparent.

Applied to Christian character, it means that which is not deceitful, ambiguous, hypocritical.  It is that which is not mingled with error, worldliness, and sin.  It is also that which does not proceed from selfish and interested motives, and where there is nothing disguised. There is no more desirable character trait than that you are a sincere friend, benefactor, Christian.

(1.) he is truly converted--that he has not assumed Christianity as a mask;

(2.) his motives axe disinterested and pure;

(3.) his conduct is free from double-dealing, trick, and cunning;

(4.) he is true to his word, and faithful to his promises;

(6.) he is always what he professes to be. 

A sincere Christian would bear to have the light let in upon him always; to have the emotions of his heart seen; to be scanned everywhere, and at all times, by men, by angels, and by God and inoffensive to others

 

For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.  Philippians 1:19,20

He hoped that the spread of the gospel would call Nero's attention to his case, and end his imprisonment one way or another, and little did he care whether he was set free by death, or by being allowed to resume his labors.

He had the most confident expectation that God would stand by him, so that he should be enabled, with the utmost liberty of speech, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.  

Christ shall be magnified-his person, nature, doctrine, and shown to be, what He really is, most noble, most excellent, most necessary, and most glorious.

Wherever we stand today abiding in this most noble of causes we continue to believe.  Peace is not measured in the believer by his outward circumstance.  Strength is not measured in physical ability.  For our salvation is wrought in our present weakness.  Our Joy cannot be stolen but is in fact elevated by the challenge as the Spirit of our God reigns big in our heart.

 

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3

At the Passover, before his passion, our Lord sang one of the grand old Psalms of praise; but what is the music of his heart now, in the midst of his redeemed!  What a song is that in which his glad heart forever leads the chorus of the elect!  Neither Miriam’s tambourine nor Moses' triumphant can for a moment rival that ever new and exulting song. 

Justice magnified and grace victorious; hell subdued and heaven glorified; death destroyed and immortality established; sin overthrown and righteousness magnificent.  What a theme for a hymn in that day when our Lord drank the red wine new with us all in our heavenly Father's kingdom! 

Even on earth, and before his great passion, he foresaw the joy which was set before him, and was sustained by the prospect. Our God.  The God of Jesus, the God of Israel, "my God and your God."  How will we praise him! 

Jesus will be the chief player on our stringed instruments; he will lead the solemn hallelujah which shall go up from the host redeemed by blood.  Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.  A multitude that no man can number shall see the griefs and triumphs of Jesus, shall tremble because of their sinful rejection of him, and then through grace shall receive faith and become trusters in Lord Jehovah. 

Here is our Lord's reward.  Here is the assurance which makes preachers bold and workers tenacious.  We are all one among the many?  Note the way of salvation, a sight, a fear, a trust!  Do you know what these mean by possessing and practicing them in your own soul?  Trusting in the Lord is the evidence, no, the essence of salvation.  He who is a true believer is evidently redeemed from the dominion of sin, curse and Satan.

 

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:  Isaiah 26:3,4

Shalom, shalom, "peace, peace," or better yet peace upon peace-all kinds of prosperity-happiness in this world and in the world to come.

Happy are those who are protected and kept in peace by their Omnipotent God.  Is there one in our house who does not trust in the Lord?  Let us pray that all our minds may be stayed on God.

The rock of ages;" or, according to Rab. Maimon,-the eternal Fountain, Source, or Spring.  This refers to the lasting streams from the rock in the desert.  And that rock was Christ.  Our hoped is in the Lord for the everlasting promises.

3/06

 

 

 

 

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Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. Ruth 1:17

Thus Ruth joined the Lord's people, and she never regretted it.  Those who cast in their lot with Jesus may have to rough it for awhile; but a more than fair portion surely lies before them.

Naomi had been absent ten years, but her character in her better days had stood very high with the people.  They were therefore glad to see her return, though they wondered at her poverty.  Her many griefs may have so altered her that even her former acquaintances asked, "Is this Naomi?" 

Such changes may come to us: May faith and patience prepare us for them that we remain honored yet for our faith walk that sets the image of our life far above changing circumstances.

 

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. Judges 7:4

This was a great trial for Gideon's faith.  If weak in some points, it was mighty in others.  The lappers were men in a hurry for action, full of passion for the war.  These were men who could not rest till they had ruined their cruel oppressors.  The Lord will work with such men who are eager for victory.

The swordsmen melted away, and only a few trumpeters remained.  Now the matters were right for conflict, and ripe for victory.  When we are weak, then we are strong.  Stripped of all such strength as can be seen, we cast ourselves upon the power invisible.

God blesses and gives signs and assurances which it might be sinful for others to desire.  How gently the Lord deals with his servant.  He assures him that there is no room for fear, but lest a fear should remain, He removes it.  Because Gideon had so many tokens, we are by no means to expect them, but rather to remember that blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed. 

 

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 2Kings 2:9

What did Elijah’s Lord find him doing when he came?  He was talking with Elisha, instructing and encouraging him, directing him in his work, and quickening him to it, for the good of those whom he left behind.  He was not meditating nor praying, as one wholly taken up with the world he was going to, but engaged in edifying discourse, as one concerned about the kingdom of God among men.  

We make a mistake if we think our preparation for heaven is carried on only by contemplation and the acts of devotion.  Usefulness to others will pass as well in our account as any thing.  Thinking of divine things is good, but talking of them (if it come from the heart) is better, because it edifies.

Christ ascended as he was blessing his disciples.

 

And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. Acts 15:36

An active spirit will not be at rest long.  Love to Jesus sets a man at work for his cause, and leads him to stir up others, as Paul did Barnabas.

Let us not presently begin new work, nor break up new ground; but let us take a view of the fields we have sown.  Come, and let us get up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vine flourish, Song 7:12.  Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord.

What a pleasant task to visit again the fruit nearly mature.  What a pleasure of the heart to renew acquaintance once more.  What quality life could be lost to never touch a friend in Jesus.

 

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished! 2Samuel 1:27

Dr. Krummacher, in his "David, the King of Israel," has the following excellent passage,

"David did not in his lamentation speak too highly in praise of the King.  Was not Saul truly a valiant hero?  Did not also that which was gentle and tender oftentimes find an echo in his soul?  Did not Jonathan and his other sons show themselves towards him true and faithful children even unto death? 

All this at that time hovered before the mind of David.  With such recollections as these there was associated a deep, sorrowful compassion for the sad fate of the king.  And thus it was David's genuine feeling and sentiment to which he gave full outspoken expression in his lamentation for the dead. 

These words of the song--'Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon,' have, since that time, become a proverb in the circles of the faithful.  It is frequently heard when one of their community has failed to take heed to his ways, and, therefore, has given rise to a scandal. 

Would that the call were more faithfully observed than is usually the case!  Would that the honor of the spiritual Zion lay always as near to the heart of the children of the kingdom as did that of the earthly to the heart of David! 

But how often does it happen that they even strive to disclose before the world the weakness of their brethren, and thus, by a repetition of the wickedness of Ham, become traitors to the Church which Christ has purchased with his own blood. 

They make themselves guilty of bringing dishonor upon the gospel, by opening the gates to such reproach through their talebearing, and to their own great prejudice they disown the charity which 'believeth all things and hopeth all things.'"

 

Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. Exodus 32:34

The Lord refused to be personally present with the tribes, but graciously promised to direct them by an angelic deputy.  This was a sad threatening for Moses, who knew the value of the divine presence; and to the people themselves it was grievous news, especially the sentence that the Lord would visit them for their sin.

Verse 32 is reference to Moses' answered prayer in showing mercy to him, while the people suffered under the hand of justice.  But the promise of God did not fail, for although those who sinned were blotted out of the book, yet their posterity enjoyed the inheritance.  Yet Moses and this people he loved so greatly did not enter the promised land

What a heart, the lover of God shows toward God and yet cannot leave out even the most repulsive of sinners.  Such a challenge to us to remain still in circumstances of difficulty or suffering ourselves as to not leave one behind.  What can I gain for self if part of my love’s expression is not present. 

Husbands love your wives.  Wives love your husbands.  Parents love your children.  Children love your parents.  Let love’s heart guide us in our acts of love one to another.

 

For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. Exodus 40:38

This daily and nightly appearance was at once both a merciful gift, and a demonstrative proof of the Divinity of their faith.  These tokens continued with them throughout all their journeys.  Notwithstanding their frequently repeated disobediences and rebellions, God never withdrew these tokens of his presence from them, till they were brought into the promised land at journey’s end.

Every thing that concerned them was under the direction and management of God.  But all these things typified the presence and influence of God in his Church, and in the hearts of his followers.  His Church can possess no sanctifying knowledge, no quickening power but from the presence and influence of his Spirit. 

By this influence all his followers are taught, enlightened, led, quickened, purified, and built up on their most holy faith; and without the indwelling and the empowering of his Spirit, light, life, salvation, and ministry are impossible.  These Divine influences are necessary, not only for a time, but through all our journeys.

Through ever altering scenes of change, and through every step in life we believers are yet led.  The followers of Christ are to possess, not by inference or inductive reasoning, but consciously, a real and active presence.  The influence is to be felt, and the fruits and gifts of it to appear as fully as the cloud of the Lord by day, and the fire by night, appeared in the sight of all the house of Israel.

Have you this Spirit?  Are all your goings and comings ordered by its continual guidance?  Does Christ, in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, dwell in thy heart by faith?  If not, call upon God for that blessing which, for the sake of his Son, he is ever disposed to impart; then you will be live gloriously, and on all your glory there shall be a defense.

 

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also.  Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.  And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.  2Kings 7:3-5

How these lepers reasoned themselves into a resolution to make a visit in the night to the camp of the Syrians, should they go should they sit still.  They determined to go over to the enemy, and throw themselves upon their mercy.  Better die by the sword than by famine, one death than a thousand.

Common sense will often lead us to a method which may better our condition, but need not make it worse. 

According to this resolution, they went, in the beginning of the night, to the camp of the Syrians, and, to their great surprise, found it wholly deserted, not a man to be seen or heard in it. 

God ordered it, that these lepers came as soon as the Syrians had fled, for they fled in the twilight, the evening twilight, and in the twilight the lepers came, and so no time was lost.

They again reasoned themselves into a resolution to bring tidings of this to the city.  They feasted in the first tent they came to and then began to think of enriching themselves with the plunder; but they corrected themselves

"We do not well to conceal these good tidings from the community we are members of, under color of being avenged upon them for excluding us from their society; it was the law that did it, not they, and therefore let us bring them the news.  Though we awake them from sleep, it will be life from the dead to them."

Their own consciences told them mischief would befall them if they sought for themselves only.  Selfish narrow-spirited people cannot expect to prosper; the most comfortable advantage is that which we share with our brethren.

 

For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Nehemiah 6:9

How much debt is required in prayer to find help in time of need.  Here is a good prayer, when we are entering on any particular services or conflicts in our Christian warfare.

God sets himself at a distance from those that set him at defiance.  The wicked say to the Almighty, Depart from us, and He is, accordingly, far from them.  He does not manifest himself to them, has no communion with them, will not hear them, will not help them, no, not in the time of their need.  They shall be for ever banished from his presence and he will behold them afar off.

Our heavenly Father will draw nigh to those in a way of mercy who draw nigh to him in a way of duty.  He hears the prayer of the righteous, accepts it, is well pleased with it, and will grant an answer of peace to it.  It is the prayer of a righteous man that avails much, James 5:16.  He is nigh to them, a present help, in all that they call upon him for.

 

"Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. De 32:11

The mother Eagle flutters over her brood to excite them to fly; or, as some think, disturbs her nest to oblige the young ones to leave it.  So God by His strong hand in Egypt obliged the Israelites, otherwise very reluctant, to leave a place which he appeared by his judgments to have devoted to destruction.

She broods over them, communicating to them a portion of her own vital warmth: so did God, by the influences of his Spirit, enlighten, encourage, and strengthen their minds.

Then, she spreads abroad her wings in order, not only to teach them how to fly, but to bear them when weary.  For to this fact there seems the inference, it being generally believed that the eagle, through extraordinary affection for her young, takes them upon her back when they are weary of flying.

How God by His Spirit continues His care and protection of us today.  Though always is there to uphold us He knows we must learn to fly on our own and develop the strength for protection and guidance of those we love in kind.

 

Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free. Psalm 146:7

The People's Rights!
There are three rights of humanity.  

  1. Justice
    He is swift and impartial administrator of justice. Our King pays no deference to rank or wealth, and is never the respecter of persons. He is the friend of the down trodden, the avenger of the persecuted, the champion of the helpless. Safely may we trust our cause with our faith
  2. Bread
    He dost dispenses bounty! All food comes from God; but when we are reduced to hunger, and providence supplies our necessity, we are peculiarly struck with the fact. Let every hungry man lay hold on this statement, and plead it before the mercy seat, whether he suffer bodily hunger, or heart hunger. Our God finds his special loved ones among the lowest of mankind: the oppressed and the starving find.
  3. Freedom
    Thus he completes the triple blessing: Our Lord does not love to see men pining in dungeons, or fretting in fetters: he brought up Joseph from the round house, and Israel from the house of bondage. Jesus is the Emancipator, spiritually, advantageously, and nationally. As faith in Jehovah shall become common among men freedom will advance in every form, especially will mental, moral, and spiritual bonds be loosed, and the slaves of error, sin, and death shall be set free. Well might the Psalmist praise Our Lord Jesus, who is so kind to men in bonds! Well may the freed ones be loudest in the song!

Jehovah is King, and His kingdom can never come to an end. Neither does he die, nor abdicate, nor lose His crown by force. Glory be to His name, His throne is never in jeopardy. As the Lord ever lives, so he ever reigns.

 

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 1Corinthians 1:4

It is always well to acknowledge and commend all the good which we see in our brethren, even though we may discern there is much to mourn over.  They will all the more readily receive our reproofs, if we are just enough to admit and admire their nobilities. 

Notice their various spiritual gifts which they have received, as specified in the succeeding verses.

A minister, or a parent, may frequently do better to inspire by judicious commendation as by reproof, and much more than by faultfinding and harsh crimination.

Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.
2 Samuel 7:29

 

Then I said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. Jeremiah 1:6, 7

It is interesting to note that other eminent prophets besides Moses have shrunk at first from their commission.  Jeremiah was wholly inexperienced, as a child, utterly incapable of conceiving rightly enough, or even of having the ability to care for himself i.e. his own clothing, food, and shelter. 

Those who are in fact called of God to the sacred ministry are such as have been brought to a deep acquaintance with themselves, feel their own ignorance, and know their own weakness.  They know also the awful responsibility that attaches to the work; and nothing but the authority of God can induce such to undertake it.  They whom God never called run, because of the need for worldly honor and personal comfort.

A few hear the call with fear and trembling, and can go only in the strength of Jehovah.  God would comfort the honest of heart, “It is my words and message, not your own, that you shall deliver. I shall teach you; therefore, your youth and inexperience can be no hindrance.

Do not say the obvious for it is obvious you are but a frail, feeble human.  But say what God would have you say.  Speak in faith knowing full well God will finish what he has commanded you speak.

 

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.  For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1John 3:1

Fellowship with Jesus and joy lie ever so closely together, that the apostle could aim at both at the same time.  Yet we had neither claim nor merit that we should be called, that is made, the sons of God, who were before children of the wicked one; therefore, the love which brought us from such a depth of misery must appear the more extraordinary and impressive. 

What love, in kind and in degree.  In kind the most tender and the most elevating and dignifying, as He adopted us into his family, and permitted us to address him as our Father.  In degree the most exalted, since there is no higher love that can be shown than in adopting a poor and friendless orphan, and giving him a parent and a home.  Even God could bestow upon us no more valuable token of affection than that we should be called His children, and permitted to regard him as our Father.  

Our Father’s love admitted us who believe to the same privileges, power, and honors as all members of His heavenly family; such honor God has bestowed on us!  Such joy that we should enjoy these great pleasures.

4/06

 

 

 

 

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ohn 12:13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Psalm 118:24-26 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.  Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

These words, “Hosanna” and “cometh in the name of the Lord” were sung by the Jews on the feast of tabernacles, when carrying green branches in their hands; and proclaiming Hosanna.  This was sung by the Jewish children when Christ made his public entry into Jerusalem.

When persons applied to the king for help, or to rectify their grievances, they used the word hosanna, or rather from the Hebrew HOSHIAH NA!  Save now!  remedy our grievances, prosper us,  and give us help from oppression!  Thus, both the words and actions of the people prove that they acknowledged Christ as their king, and looked to him for deliverance.  He who comes in the name and authority of the Most High.

Let the utmost degrees of hosanna, of salvation, and deliverance, of prosperity be communicated to your people! 

GREAT HOSANNA!  Assist us who believe in this time of forgiveness and resurrection power with the greatest liberation.  On this day, deliver us with all speed and powerful help against our enemies, and likewise deliver to us a prosperous and fruitful time of blessing without measure, both spiritual and physical. 

 

Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Matthew 26:2

Passover was a feast instituted in Egypt, to commemorate the destroying angel's passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he slew the firstborn of the Egyptians.  This feast began on the fourteenth day of the first moon, in the first month, Nisan, and it lasted only one day; but it was immediately followed by the days of unleavened bread, which were seven, so that the whole lasted eight days, and all the eight days are sometimes called the feast of the Passover, and sometimes the feast or days of unleavened bread. 

God appointed that on the night wherein they were to go out of Egypt they should, in each of their families, kill a lamb.  The lamb was to be readied four days before and that afternoon they were to kill it as a sacrifice; not strictly, for it was not offered upon the altar, but as a religious ceremony, acknowledging God's goodness to them, not only in preserving them from, but in delivering them by, the plagues inflicted on the Egyptians.  Their doorpost were to be painted with the blood of this lamb so that the angel of death would passover this home.  The angel of death took the first born of every home without the blood of the lamb.


Jesus was betrayed, (rather delivered up,) to be crucified this same night.  The first born of God was delivered into the hands of the dispensers of death.  With amazing calmness and precision, our blessed Lord speaks of this awful event!  What a proof he gives of his insight in so correctly predicting it; and of his love in so cheerfully undergoing it! 

Having instructed his disciples and the Jews by his discourses, edified them by his example, convinced them by his miracles, he now prepares to redeem them by his blood! 

 

And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say?  And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? Matthew 21:16

The eighth Psalm, out of which these words are quoted “2. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”

 

It was a common thing among the Jews for the children to be employed in public acclamations; and thus they were accustomed to hail their celebrated rabbis.  This shouting of the children was therefore no strange thing in the land: only they were exasperated, because a person was celebrated against whom they had a rooted hatred.  They did not regard the prophecy that foretold this.

He who delights in the songs of angels is pleased to honor himself in the eyes of his enemies by the praises of little children.  Yet we also remember David in particular, who being but a ruddy youth was used of God as an instrument to still Goliath of Gath.

Jesus said "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."  So, when under the heavenly influences of grace the tide of love rises, and goes swelling over our duties and difficulties, a child can do a man's work, and a man can do a giant's.

How great this power given unto us so we may find no excuse.  How responsible we become to rightly use this power to end the fowl taste of sickness, poverty, sin, and death.  Power to still the enemy and the avenger!

 

explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ." Acts 17:3

The apostle's custom was to reason from the Scriptures, and surely there is no weapon so powerful as that which is taken from the armory of inspiration. 

He collected the scriptures that spoke of the Messiah.  He applied these to Jesus Christ, showing that in him all these scriptures were fulfilled, and that he was the Savior whom they expected.  He showed also that the Christ, or Messiah, must needs suffer-that this was predicted, and was an essential mark of the true Messiah.  

By proving this point, he corrected their false notion of a triumphant Messiah, and thus removed the scandal of the cross.  His miracles proved that he was the Messiah, for he professed to be, and God would not work a miracle to confirm the claims of an impostor.  For the same reason, his resurrection from the dead proved that he was the Messiah

Victorious indeed!  For he conquered death and the grave!

 

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;  and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.  1Corinthians 15:12-14

Christianity stands or falls with the resurrection of its founder.  No man can be a Christian and doubt the resurrection of the Lord.  If that resurrection had not happened, the whole matter would have been proved an false.  If after all there is no resurrection, then the apostles suffered for nothing, they were wretched dupes, and having higher expectations than others their disappointment was proportionately bitter.

By Adam's sin all who are in him die, and by Christ's righteousness, all who are in him shall be made alive.  There are two great covenant headships: the first was Adam's headship under the covenant of works, by which we have fallen, and the second is the headship of the Lord Jesus under the covenant of grace, by which we rise to eternal life.

According to the promise, Psalm 110:1: "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."  Therefore the kingdom cannot be given up till all rule and government be cast down.  So that while the world lasts, Jesus, as the Messiah and Mediator, must reign; and all human beings are properly his subjects, are under his government, and are accountable to him.

Praise God for a government who upholds integrity and truth.  Never wondering from this high calling and forever establishing us who believe.

 

"She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. "Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her." Mark 14:8, 9

She has done what she could.  She has showed the highest affection in her power; and it was, as it is now, a sufficient argument against there being any real waste, that it was done for the honor of Christ.

The objections came from none of the true-hearted Eleven--as we learn from John (John 12:4): "Then saith one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him."  Doubtless the thought stirred first in his breast, and issued from his base lips; and some of the rest, ignorant of his true character and feelings, and carried away by his plausible speech, might for the moment feel some annoyance at the apparent waste.

How much will history remember our acts of love?  Do we waste time, energy, or material possession when we offer ourselves to worship at the feet of Jesus?  Prophecy will be fulfilled whether we are applied or not.  How often are we invited yet how often do we halt fearing the world’s reprisal upon us?

Behold once more here the majesty of Jesus’ royal judicial supremacy in the government of the world, in this, 'Verily I say unto you,” and this finishes the matter.

 

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.  Come, see the place where He was lying.  "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you." Matthew 28:5- 7

Jesus always keeps his word:  “He is risen, as he said.”  He said he would rise from the dead, and he did; he says that his people also shall rise, and they shall.  “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly,” the angel would not let the women stay long looking into the sepulcher, for there was work for them to do.  

In this world, we cannot afford to spend all our time in contemplation, however heavenly it may be.  Notice the angel’s words: first “See,” and then “Go.”  Make sure about the fact for yourselves, and then let others know of it.  What you know, tell; and do it “quickly.”  Swift to your feet; such good news as you have to carry should not be long on the road.  
“The King’s business required haste.”

“Tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him.” Matthew wrote THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, yet in his writings, there is much about that despised region called Galilee of the Gentiles”, that borderland which touches us as well as the chosen seed of Abraham.  There, in Galilee, is the place where Jesus will hold the first general assembly of his church after his resurrection.

 

The Lord our God hath shewed us His glory. Deuteronomy 5:24

God's great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory.  Any aim less than this would be unworthy of Himself.  But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are?  Man's eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord.

It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, so that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why often why we find ourselves in straits and difficulties.  We then through this challenge are made conscious of our own folly and weakness, thus we may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes forth to work our deliverance.  Not that God sent the trial but that He attends our trials with us.

He whose life is an even and smooth path, will see little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, only a little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.  They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know only a little of the life of tempests; but they who "do business in great waters," see His "wonders in the deep."  Among the huge oceanic waves of mourning, poverty, temptation, distress, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.  Thank God, then, if you have found a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience in using God's greatness of power and the clarity of His loving kindness.

Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by.  

Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been empowered for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you as He gives you the victory born of the strength of perseverance.

 

We dwell in Him. 1 John 4:13

Do you want a house for your soul?  Do you ask, "What is the purchase price?"  It is something less than proud human nature will likely give you.  It is without money and without price.  

Ah! But you would like to pay a respectable rent!  You would love to do something to win Christ?

Then you cannot have the house!  for it is "without price."  

Will you take my Master's house on a lease for all eternity, with nothing to pay for it, nothing but the rent of loving and serving Him forever?  Will you take Jesus and "dwell in Him?"  See, that this house is furnished with all you want, it is filled with riches more than you will spend as long as you live.  Here you can have intimate communion with the Lord Jesus Christ and feast on His love;  here are tables well-kept with food for you to live on for ever;  in it, when weary, you can find rest with Jesus;  and from it you can look out and see the glory of heaven itself.

Will you have the house?  But if you are houseless, you may say, "I should like to have the house; but may I have it?"

Yes;  there is the key--the key is, "Come to Jesus."  

"But," you say, "I am too tattered and worn for such a house."  Never mind;  there are garments inside.  If you feel guilty and condemned, come; and though the house is too good for you, Jesus will make you good enough for the house.  He will wash you and cleanse you, and you will yet be able to sing, "We dwell in Him."  

Believer: three times happy are you to have such a dwelling-place!  
You are greatly privileged, for you have a "strong habitation" in which you are ever safe.  
And "dwelling in Him," you have not only a perfect and secure house, but an everlasting one.  
When this world shall have melted like a dream, our house shall live, and stand more imperishable than marble, more solid than granite, self-existent as God, for it is God Himself--"We dwell in Him."

 

The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior.  He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.  Zephaniah 3:17

The self-existent and eternal Being, who is in covenant with you.  The character of God in reference to the believers when standing in the nearest possible relation to them.  

I prefer explaining it of that calm silent joy in the possession of the object of one's love, too great for words to express.  Just as God after the six days of creation rested with silent satisfaction in His work, for "behold it was very good".  So the parallel clause by contrast expresses the joy, not kept silent as this, but uttered in "singing."

 

In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, [constantly] nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 1Timothy 4:6

It is the duty of the ministry to show to the people of their charge what is error and where it may be apprehended, and to caution them to avoid it. 

That is, you will be then "a good minister of Jesus Christ, as becomes one who has been nourished up in the words of faith, or trained up in the doctrines of faith and grace."  The apostle evidently sincerely wants to remind Timothy of the manner in which he had been trained, and to show him how he might act in accordance with that.  From one who had been thus educated, it was reasonable to expect that he would be a faithful and exemplary minister of the gospel.

“Whereunto thou hast attained.”  The word used here means, properly, to accompany side by side; to follow closely; to follow out, trace, or examine.  It is rendered in the Gospels as having had understanding; and hast fully known.  It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.  

The meaning here seems to be, that Timothy had followed out the instructions of faith given to him by his mentor Paul.  He had been trained to their legitimate results; he had accurately seen and understood their bearing, as leading him to embrace the Christian service.

His early training in the Scriptures was now fully carried out, by embracing the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, and by evidencing the proper results of the early training and service to Paul.  If he now followed the directions of the apostle, he would be a minister of the Lord Jesus, worthy of the attainments in religious knowledge which he had made, and of the expectations which had been formed of him.  

No young man should, by neglect, indolence, or folly, disappoint the reasonable expectations of his mentors.  Their cherished hopes are a proper ground of appeal to him, and it may be properly demanded of every one that he shall carry out to their legitimate results all the principles of his early training, and that he shall be in his profession all that his early advantages make it reasonable to expect that he will be.

 

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy James 3:17

The Wisdom of God is a gift to man.  In this gift we se a great difference between the wisdom of man in contrast.  Thus we are enabled in our ability to discern God’s will and direction for our lives.  God’s wisdom cannot be different than His character.

Is first pure.  That is, the first effect of it on our receiving soul is to make it pure.  The influence on the man is to create the inexplicable desire to be decent, sincere, truthful, holy.  The word used here is that which would be applied to one who is innocent, or free from crime or blame.  Not an act of will through good works but the out working of the miracle of God.

Then peaceable.  The effect of true faith --the wisdom which is from above--will be to dispose a man to live in peace with all others and with God.  Peace that we bring to the table no matter what circumstances would try to steal our station.

Gentle.  Mild, inoffensive, pleasant.  The word here used is rendered moderation in Php 4:6; patient in 1Ti 3:3; and gentle in Tit 3:2.  Every one has a clear idea of the virtue of gentleness--gentleness of spirit, of deportment, and of manners; and every one can see that that is the appropriate spirit of fellowship with God and saint alike.

And easy to be entreated.  It means easily persuaded, compliant.  It cannot refer to things which are in themselves wrong. The sense is, that one who is under the influence of the wisdom which is from above, is not a stiff, stern, obstinate, unyielding person.  This is one who can be affected by any appeals which may be made to him on the grounds of patriotism, justice, or benevolence; but is one who is ready to yield when truth requires him to do it, and who is willing to sacrifice his own convenience for the good of others.

There is no disguise or mask assumed.  What the person pretends to be, they are.  This is everywhere the nature of true faith.  It has nothing of its own of which to be ashamed, or which needs to be concealed.  Its office is not to hide or conceal anything that is wrong.  It neither is a mask, nor does it need a mask.  

If such is the nature of the "wisdom which is from above," who is there that should be ashamed of it?  Who is there that should not desire that its blessed influence should spread around the world?

 

"Now on whom dost thou trust?" --Isaiah 36:5

This is an important question.  Listen to the Christian's answer, and see if it is yours.  

"On whom dost thou trust?"  

"I trust," says the Christian, "in a triune God.  I trust the Father, believing that He has chosen me from before the foundations of the world;  I trust Him to provide for me through divine intervention, to teach me, to guide me, to correct me if need be, and to bring me home to His own house where the many mansions are.

I trust the Son.  Completely God of complete God He is --the man Christ Jesus.  I trust in Him to take away all my sins by His own sacrifice, and to adorn me with His perfect righteousness.  I trust Him to be my Intercessor, to present my prayers and desires before His Father's throne, I trust Him to provide prosperity and healing for me, and I trust Him to be my Advocate at the last great day, to plead my cause, and to justify me.

I trust Him for what He is, for what He has done, and for what He has promised yet to do.  And I trust the Holy Spirit--He has begun to save me from my inbred sins; I trust Him to drive them all out; I trust Him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness; I trust Him to dwell in me as my life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul, and body, I trust Him to perform His Word through me with signs and wonders, I trust Him to empower me with the fruits and gifts in this life, and then to take me up to dwell with the saints in light for ever."

Oh, blessed trust!  To trust Him whose power will never be exhausted, whose love will never wane, whose kindness will never change, whose faithfulness will never fail, whose wisdom will never be less than complete, and whose perfect goodness can never know a attenuation!  

Happy are you, if this trust is yours!  So trusting, you shall enjoy sweet peace now, and glory hereafter, and the foundation of thy trust shall never be removed.

5/06

 

 

 

 

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Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward. Isaiah 58:8

Here are precious promises for those to feast freely and cheerfully upon by faith who keep the fast that God has chosen; let them know that God will bless them beyond measure.

1. God will return mercy after great offense of affliction.

2. God will put honor upon them.  Good works shall be recompensed with a good name; He that would be the greatest of all, and best-beloved, let him by humility and diligence make himself a servant of all.

3. They shall always be safe under the divine protection:  Examine what it is that is our defense; it is our righteousness, and the glory of the Lord, that is Christ.

4. God will be always near unto them, to hear their prayers.  This is an expression of God's readiness to hear prayer.  When God calls to us by his word it becomes us to say, “Here we are; what does our Lord speak unto his servants?”  Be not afraid, when danger is near our protector is nearer, a very present help.

5. The Lord shall guide you continually.  While we are here, in the wilderness of this world, we have need of continual direction from heaven.

6. God will give them abundance of satisfaction in their own minds.  "These will satisfy thy soul, will put gladness into thy heart, even in the drought of affliction; these will make fat thy bones, and fill them with marrow, will give thee that pleasure which will be a support to thee as the bones to the body, that joy of the Lord which will be thy strength. He shall give thy bones rest"

7. They and their families shall be public blessings.  It completes the satisfaction of a good man, as to this world, to think that those that come after him shall be doing good when he is gone.
"Thou shalt be the restorer of paths, safe and quiet paths, not only to travel in, but to dwell in, so safe and quiet that people shall make no difficulty of building their houses by the road-side."

 

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  1John 1:5

These little words contain a mint of meaning.  What a wondrous sentence,--"God is light!"

He is the source of wisdom, knowledge, holiness, and happiness; and in him is no darkness at all.  There is no ignorance, no imperfection, no sinfulness, no misery.  And from him wisdom, knowledge, holiness, and happiness are received by every believing soul. 

This is the magnificent message of the Gospel, the great principle on which the happiness of man depends. 

LIGHT implies every essential excellence, especially wisdom, holiness, and happiness. 
DARKNESS implies all imperfection, and principally ignorance, sinfulness, and misery. 

LIGHT is the purest, the most subtle, the most useful, and the most diffusive of all God's creation.  It is, therefore, a very proper emblem of the purity, perfection, and goodness of the Divine nature.  God is to human soul, what the light is to the world; without the latter all would be dismal and uncomfortable, and terror and death would universally prevail: and without an indwelling God what is our faith? 

Without his all-penetrating and diffusive light, what is the soul of man?  Religious conviction would be an empty science, a dead letter, a system unsubstantiated and un-influencing, and the soul a trackless wilderness, a howling waste, full of evil, of terror and dismay, and ever racked with realizing anticipations of future, successive, permanent, substantial, and endless misery. 

No wonder the apostle lays this down as a first and grand principle, stating it to be the essential message which he had received from Christ to deliver to the world.

 

I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.  And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 2Jo 1:4, 5

The venerable old man's heart was more comforted by seeing family religion than by all else below the heavens.  How good and how pleasant it is to see a household loving the Lord.

This Christian matron was apparently the mother of a family, probably a widow.  She was also a deaconess in the church, and one in those house the traveling evangelists preached, and there they were entertained.  The children mentioned here may either be her own children, or those members of the Church which were under her care, or some of both. 

The apostle was glad to find, probably by an epistle sent from herself to him, or from the information of some of the itinerant evangelists, that the work of God was prospering in the place where she lived, and also in her own household. 

He does not say that all were walking in the truth, but some of her children.  There was a growing and spreading work, and there were many adversaries who strove to pervert them who had already believed, and perhaps were successful in drawing several away from their simplicity.

John sings so sweetly this melody.  Being so aged a man none would misunderstand his affectionate words.  Obedience to Christ is love.  "Be ye holy" is the most ancient mission statement of the church; all lovers of God obey it.  Especially, when not all follow in this obedience.

 

The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.
Judges
6:12


It is amazing How God sees us when we have trouble seeing ourselves sometimes.  Gideon was hiding trying to avoid being seen just to have some of his harvest without it too being stolen.  Hardly what you would identify as brave.

God found Gideon retired, employed, and distressed.  These were three suitable conditions to warrant a heavenly intervention.  He had very little wheat, for he had no oxen to thresh it; and he was in great fear of the enemy, and therefore threshed not on the barn floor, but in the winepress.  Yet in his poverty, he received rich grace.  God is no respecter of persons.

God will cause you to rise and face your enemies winning every battle.  At the appearance of the Lord in your circumstance things are about to change.

 

Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, "If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand,  then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering." Judges 11:30 31

Brave man as he was, he needed a divine preparation for his work, and God graciously accommodated him.  When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a man, it makes him far more than he was before.  The Spirit elevates, guides, inspires, and strengthens.  He who has the Spirit will find his arms upheld, and his strength rendered sufficient for accomplishing the most arduous undertakings.  May this same Spirit, in a more gracious manner, rest upon us.

When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter.  When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back."  So she said to him, "My father, you have given your word to the LORD; do to me as you have said, since the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon." Judges 11:34-36

Let us hope that her father, no matter how difficult and complicated his life to this point, did not actually sacrifice her: if he did, it was an act most abhorrent in the sight of God.  Her submission to her doom was touchingly beautiful.  

Let us hope that the vow was capable of a softer construction, and that she lived a celibate life, consecrated to the Lord.  Though he may well have burned the calf as consecration of his vow.  Her virginity remained consecrated to God thus the birth of a noble custom of the Jewish maiden.

Many expressions in the chapter encourage that hope; at the same time it is sufficiently doubtful, to lead us to repeat our warning against every rash vow.  Pause, hot spirit!  Consider!  Reckon all the consequences, and if you open your mouth unto the Lord, make sure that, what you are covenanting to do is really for his glory, and within the legitimate extent of your power.

 

Naphtali is a deer let loose. He gives goodly words.  Genesis 49:21

Exuberance of spirit was linked with readiness of speech, a good combination for a believer of the gospel.  The best rendering we know is this;

"Naphtali is a deer roaming at liberty; he shooteth forth goodly branches,"…Or majestic antlers

The meaning of the prophecy seems to be that the tribe of Naphtali would be located in a territory so fertile and peaceable, that, feeding on the richest pasture, he would spread out, like a deer, branching antlers.

How marvelous to know how words spoken in a goodly fashion may bring such sweet peace and branching growth.  We simply begin adding wise words then the crown of our life begins to show its maturity and potential through these words aptly chosen and rightly applied.

Yet more astonishing still is the freedom we have been given in the power of God’s prophetic word to speak without bondage to anger, bitterness and maliciousness.

 

They went before me in the day of my calamity; but the LORD was my stay.  He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. Ps 18:18, 19

The enemy of our faith will take advantage of the time in which we are least able to make headway against them, and their attack is so sudden and powerful.  We should have been overthrown, but the Lord was my stay.

Though nearly exhausted by the fatigue of the day, the giant will avail himself of this advantage.  Yet we have not lost.  Visions seem to dim, yet we have not lost.  Circumstances seem to find time to increase when we seem frozen, yet we have not lost.

The battle is not yet been recorded as history.  For we have yet to engage.  When we lift our eyes to the one in whom we trust, He will decide the day of battle.  On that day, He will decide on whom His favor shall be luxuriated. 

 I delight in my Lord as He delights in me.  So shall I stay.

 

For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer. Ps 109:4

They hate me because I love them.  One of our poets says of the Lord Jesus -- "Found guilty of excess of love."

Surely, it was his only fault.  Our Lord might have used all the language of this complaint most emphatically -- they hated him without a cause and returned him hatred for love.  What pain this is to the soul, to be hated in proportion to the gratitude which it deserved, hated by those it loved, and hated because of its love.

This was a cruel case, and the sensitive mind of the psalmist winced under it.  Yet his answer was not to come from man. 

He did nothing else but pray.  He became prayer as they became malice.  This was his answer to his enemies, he appealed from men and their injustice to the Judge of all the earth, who must do right.  True bravery alone can teach a man to leave his defamers unanswered, and carry the case unto the Lord.

Not only this courage was found but his vehicle most excellent.  His heart was carried on the song of prayer.  From the Hebrew t@phillah meaning literally “prayer in song.”  We miss much when we do not understand and utilize singing and praying in the Spirit.  What more exceptional prayer than one carried from the heart on the melody of passion?

 

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.  Psalm 51:12

None but God can give back joy; he can do it; we may ask for it; he will do it for his own glory and our benefit.

This joy does not come first, but follows pardon and cleanliness: in this order it is safe, in any other it is vain presumption or unwise delirium.  

Conscious of weakness, mindful of having so lately fallen, he seeks to be kept on his feet by power superior to his own.  That royal Spirit, whose is true dignity, is able to make us walk as kings and priests, in all the uprightness of holiness.  He will do so if we seek his gracious upholding. 

Such influences will not enslave but emancipate us; for holiness is liberty, and the Holy Spirit is a free Spirit.  In the roughest and most treacherous ways we are safe with such a Keeper.  In our best efforts we stumble if left to ourselves. 

The praying for joy and upholding go well together; joy is all over if the foot is not kept steady; and, on the other hand, joy is a very upholding thing, and greatly aids devoutness and faith; meanwhile, the free, noble, royal Spirit is at the bottom of both.

 

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. Ps 1:2, 3

He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it; meditate literally means, to mutter, roar, speak, talk, utter it.   He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he muses upon the Word of God.  In the day of his prosperity he sings and speaks psalms out of the Word of God.

Every plant which my heavenly Father has planted, shall not be rooted up.  The rivers of pardon and the rivers of grace, the rivers of the promise, the rivers of healing, the rivers of provision and the rivers of communion with Christ, are never failing sources of supply.

The man who delights in God's Word, being taught by it, brings forth patience in the time of suffering, faith in the day of trial, and holy joy in the hour of prosperity.  Fruitfulness is an essential quality of a gracious man and it’s season must come.

 

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Psalm 3:3

The word in the original Hebrew signifies more than a shield.  It means a buckler round about, a protection which shall entirely surround a man, a shield above, beneath, around, without and within.  What a shield is God for his people!  He wards off the fiery darts of Satan from beneath, and the storms of trials from above, while, at the same instant, he speaks peace to the tempest within our deepest longing. 

David knew that though he was driven from his capital in contempt and scorn, he should yet return in triumph, and by faith he looks upon God as honoring and glorifying him.  O for grace to see our future glory in the middle of our present humiliation!  Indeed, there is a present glory in our afflictions. 

“And the lifter up of mine head” You oh my God shall yet exalt me.  Though I hang my head in sorrow, I shall very soon lift it up in joy and thanksgiving.  What a divine trio of mercies contained in this verse!  There is defense for the defenseless, glory for the despised, and joy for the comfortless.  Surely, we may fitly say, "there is none like the God of Jeshurun."

 

Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.  Matthew 16:12

The doctrine of these groups had a secret, insinuating, and souring influence; and the disciples must carefully watch lest even a little of its spirit and teaching should get into their minds, and then spread throughout their whole nature.  

Both these leavens may be at work at the same time in the same community; in fact, they are only one leaven.  The two sets of opponents attacked the Lord Jesus at the same time, for they had a common ground of opposition against him.  To this day these two forms of evil are ever working, either secretly or openly, and we have need to beware of them at all times.  It is well to understand this, and both purge out the old leaven of Pharisaism (legalistic religion), and keep out the new leaven of Sadduceeism (humanism).

Self-righteousness and carnal reasoning must both be cast out.  Faith will find them both to be her deadly foes.  Many are amusing themselves with the evil leaven; and before they are aware, the unhallowed thing will defile them.

To be of true faith, and yet to be superstitious or rationalistic at the same time, is impossible.  These false doctrines are contrary to believing  and receiving God’s miraclulous intervention in our lives.  Certain contemporaries may try to bake with this leaven, but their bread will be sour.  BEWARE!

 

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house . Haggai 1:9

“Ye looked for much
”--literally "looked" so as to turn your eyes "to much."  The Hebrew infinitive here expresses continued looking.  You hoped to have your fortune made "much" by neglecting the temple.  The greater was your greediness, the more bitter your disappointment in being poorer than ever.

Even the little crop brought into your barns were dissipated. "I did blow upon," that is, I scattered and caused to perish with My mere breath, as scattered and blighted corn.

“Ye run”--expressing the keenness of everyone of them in pursuing their own selfish interests with apathy about God's house

They gave little, and therefore received little.  When men are bad stewards, our great Lord refuses to trust them with his estate; and will certainly let it out to others. This is but just and right.

 

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:8

Sweet Evening Hymn!  I shall not sit up to watch through fear, but I will lie down; and then I will not lie awake listening to every rustling sound.  I will lie down in peace and sleep, for I have nothing to fear.  He that has the wings of God above him needs no other covering. 

Better than bolts or bars is the protection of the Lord.  Armed men kept the bed of Solomon, but we do not believe that he slept more soundly than his father, whose bed was the hard ground, and who was haunted by blood thirsty foes. 

Note the word   only, which means that God alone was his keeper, and that though alone, without man's help, he was even then in good keeping, for he was "alone with God."  A quiet conscience is a good bedfellow.  How many of our sleepless hours might be traced to our untrusting and disordered minds.  They slumber sweetly whom faith rocks to sleep.  No pillow so soft as a promise; no blanket so warm as an assured interest in Christ.

O Lord, give us this calm restfulness in you, that like David we may lie down in peace, and sleep each night while we live; and joyfully may we lie down to rest in God.

 

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Psalm 5:3

I will not be dumb, I will not be silent, I will not withhold my speech, I will cry to you for the fire that dwells within compels me to pray.  I must speak that which is truth.  I cannot lay still as though all about me has not effect on me.  I must respond the ear that will most certainly bring justice.  None of God's children are possessed with a dumb devil

I will direct my words towards heaven, and then when I have shot up my arrow, I will look up to see where it has gone.  But the Hebrew has a still fuller meaning than this -- "I will direct my prayer."  It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and the pieces of the victim upon the altar, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. 

It means just this: "I will arrange my prayer before thee;" I will lay it out upon the altar in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice.  I will arrange my prayer.   I will put them in order, call up all my powers, and bid them stand in their proper places, that I may pray with all my might, and pray acceptably. 

I will make certain that I speak an appropriate prayer in agreement with God’s word.  I will look up to see myself as He already is.  I will not murmur and complain.  I will pray the answer not the problem.  I will speak faith before an all knowing God.  I need not elaborate on feelings and failings that are already known but I must speak in faith only as we are instructed by God’s word.

6/06

 

 

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But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. Psalm 5:7

With bent knee in prayer; already having set the argument for deliverance, the character and the fate of the wicked; now we contrast this with our condition as the righteous blood washed servant.

But as for me, I will come into your house.  I will not stand at a distance; I will come into your sanctuary, just as a child comes into his father's house.  But I will not come there by my own merits; no, I have a multitude of sins, and therefore I will come in the multitude of your mercy.  I will approach you with confidence because of your immeasurable grace.  God's judgments are all numbered, but his mercies are innumerable; he gives his wrath by weight, but without weight his mercy.

These words and the sense of it, carry a powerful contrast.  For there are two things with which this life is exercised, HOPE and FEAR, which are, as it were, those two springs of Judges 1:15, the one from above, the other from beneath.  When our eyes fall upon only the circumstances of life, without blessing, we founder in the muddy waters of this earth.  Our hearts fail us with only consternation toward God.  What more can a man endure?

Yet we are not without hope.  We are truly blessed with that which is more excellent.  For there are heavenward cascading rapids of pure washing waters that purge and cleanse.  They create hope that we can change what is evil.  We can put under foot the enemies of the cross.  Sickness and death eternal no longer have locks on her weighted chains.  I am free to bath in the ever flowing graces of the Holy Spirit!

 

Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping Psalm 6:8

What a fine Hebraism, and what great poetry it is in English!  "He hath heard the voice of my weeping."  Is there a voice in weeping? 

Does weeping speak?  In what language does it utter its meaning?  Why, in that universal tongue which is known and understood in all the earth, and even in heaven above.  When a man weeps, whether he be a Jew or Gentile, Barbarian, bond or free, it has the same meaning in it.

Weeping is the eloquence of sorrow.  It is an unstammering orator, needing no interpreter, but understood of all.  Is it not sweet to believe that our tears are understood even when words fail?  A penitent tear is an undeniable ambassador, and never returns from the throne of grace unsatisfied.

Learn to think of your tears as liquid prayers, and of weeping as a constant dropping of importunate intercession which will wear its way right surely into the very heart of mercy, despite the stony difficulties which obstruct the way.  My God, I will "weep" when I cannot plead, for you hear the voice of my weeping.

 

… O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. Psalm 6:1,2

This Psalm is commonly known as the first of the PENITENTIAL PSALMS, and certainly, its language well fits the lips of the penitent heart.  It expresses at first sorrow, then the humiliation and finally the hatred of sin.  These are the unfailing marks of the contrite spirit when it turns to God.  O Holy Spirit, birth in us this true repentance. 

The Psalmist speaks progressively, “chasten me not in thy hot displeasure”, lest the rod become a sword, and lest in smiting, my life or purpose in life should end.  So may we pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are "not in anger, but in his dear covenant of love."

All griefs running into this channel, as little brooks, losing themselves in a great river, change their name and nature.  He that at first was only concerned for his sickness, is now wholly concerned with sorrow and recoils in pain under the fear and hazard of his soul's condition. 

How we dear friends can relate to the imaginations and random thoughts produced when we too are touched by pain.  These sorrows seem to grow with a life of their own until God seems to have turned His back on us.

Not so, for our God will never leave us or forsake us.  We are able to bring these random and dangerous thoughts into captivity by one means only.  Mercy needs no further reason to bring together again what was separated.  Mercy needs no reason to heal so will I give its abundant grace at this moment of need.  Shadows of despair are diminished by the light of His merciful attendance.

 

I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high. Psalm 7:17

Oh, how good to have a true and upright heart.  Crooked sinners, with all their craftiness, are undone by honest hearts.  God defends the right.  Filth will not long abide on the pure white garments of the saints, but shall be brushed off by divine help to the vexation of the men by whose base hands it was thrown. 

The believer should not fear anything which they may say against him, for the tree which God plants no winds can uproot.  God judges the righteous, he has not given them up to their persecutors.

To bless God for mercies is the way to increase them; to bless him for miseries is the way to remove them: no good lives so long as that which is thankfully improved; no evil dies so soon as that which is patiently endured. William Dyer.

 

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. Psalm 8:2

There is no disposition more incongruous to the character and circumstances of man among whom pride would appear more unseemly or incompatible than in man, considering the situation in which he is placed.  He is exposed to numerous degradations and calamities, to the rage of storms and tempests, the devastations, the ravages of the sword, famine, pestilence, and diseases; and at length he must sink into the grave, and his body must become the companion of worms! 

The most dignified and haughty of the sons of men are liable to these and similar degradations as well as the meanest of the human family.  Yet, in such circumstances, man -- has the effrontery to strut in all the haughtiness of pride, and to glory in his shame. 

Many men have been made to hold their tongues, while sucklings have borne witness to the glory of the God of heaven.  Did not the children cry "Hosanna!" in the temple, when proud Pharisees were silent and contemptuous?  and did not the Savior quote these very words as a justification of their infantile cries? 

Fox tells us, in the Book of Martyrs, that when Mr. Lawrence was burnt in Colchester, he was carried to the fire in a chair, because through the cruelty of the Papists, he could not stand upright, several young children came about the fire, and cried as well as they could speak, "Lord, strengthen thy servant, and keep thy promise."  God answered their prayer, for Mr. Lawrence died as firmly and calmly as any one could wish to breath his last. 

When another of these persecutors told Mr. Wishart, the great Scotch martyr, that he had a devil in him, a child that stood by cried out, "A devil cannot speak such words as yonder man speaketh."  One more instance is still nearer to our time. 

In a postscript to one of his letters, in which he details his persecution when first preaching in Moorfields, Whitfield says, "I cannot help adding that several little boys and girls, who were fond of sitting round me on the pulpit while I preached, and handed to me people's notes -- though they were often pelted with eggs, dirt, &c., thrown at me -- never once gave way; but on the contrary, every time I was struck, turned up their little weeping eyes, and seemed to wish they could receive the blows for me.

God make them, in their growing years, great and living martyrs for him who, out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, perfects praise!"  He who delights in the songs of angels is pleased to honor himself in the eyes of his enemies by the praises of little children.  What a contrast between the glory above the heavens, and the mouths of babes and sucklings!  yet by both the name of God is made excellent.

Be of good courage this day for God has an army of the innocent to stand with you when all the great turn away.

 

The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; Psalm 9:9

He who gives no quarter to the wicked in the day of judgment, is the defense and refuge of his saints in the day of trouble. 

There are many forms of oppression; both from man and from Satan oppression comes to us; and for all its forms, a refuge is provided in the Lord Jesus.  There were cities of refuge under the law, God is our refuge city under the gospel. 

As the ships when sore pressed with tempest make for harbor, so do the oppressed hasten to the wings of a just and gracious God.  He is a high tower so impregnable, that the hosts of hell cannot carry it by storm, and from its lofty heights faith looks down with scorn upon her enemies.

 

…In the LORD I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain; Psalm 11:1

In temptations of inward trouble and terror, it is not convenient to dispute the matter with Satan. 

David in Psalm 42:11, seems to correct himself for his mistake; his soul was cast down within him, and for the cure of that temptation, he had prepared himself through arguments to dispute that evil thought.   But, perceiving himself in a wrong course, he shakes off the disquieted temptation to an immediate application of God and His promises.

"Trust still in God, for I shall yet praise him;" but here he is pre-preparing his heart for his work, even while his enemies being motivated by Satan attempt to discourage him.  He rejects the temptation at first, before it settled upon his thoughts, and chases it away as a thing that he would not give ear to.

In the Lord, I put my trust: how can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?  There are weighty consequences that should dissuade us from entering in agreement with the reasons provided by Satan to temp us with inward trouble.

 

He crouches, he bows down, And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones. Psalm 10:10 O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear Psalm 10:17

Humility has a counterfeit…
In verse 10; Seeming humility is often armor bearer to malice.  The lion crouches that he may leap with greater force, and bring down his strong limbs upon his prey.  When a wolf was old, and had tasted human blood, the old Saxon cried, "Ware, wolf!" and we may cry, "Ware fox!"  They who crouch to our feet are longing to make us fall.  Be very careful of fawners; for friendship and flattery are deadly enemies.

There is a humbling act of faith put forth in prayer.  This is a faith which sets the soul in the presence of our mighty God.  By the sight of him, which faith gives us, it is that we see our own unpleasantness, sinfulness, and often our unworthiness of those mercies we must seek after. 

In the Psalms how often do we read that God hears the prayers of the humble; which always involves and includes faith in it. Ps 9:12, "He forgetteth not the cry of the humble," and Ps 10:17, Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. To be deeply humbled is to have the heart prepared and fitted for God to hear the prayer; and therefore you find the psalmist pleading, often repeating, "I am poor and needy." 

These deep humblings of ourselves, being joined with vehement implorations upon the mercy of God to obtain, is reckoned into the account of praying by faith, both by God and Christ.  We can believe we receive not because of self but because God has ordained this to the humble of heart.  Humility is not a weakness Pride is.  Humility does not forfeit grace but gains it.  Humility does not go without but is abundantly and mercifully supplied for.

Satan has three titles given in the Scriptures, setting forth his malignity against the church of God: a dragon, to note his malice; a serpent, to note his subtlety; and a lion, to note his strength.  But none of all these can stand before the prayer of faith.  

The greatest malice of Haman sinks under the prayer of Esther; the deepest policy, the counsel of Ahithophel, withers before the prayer of David; the largest army, a host of a thousand Ethiopians, run away like cowards before the prayer of Asa.

 

Psalm 12:3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:

 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

So it was: twelve poor and unlearned men on the one side, all the eloquence of Greece and Rome arrayed on the other.  From the time of Tertullus to that of Julian the apostate, every species of oratory, learning, wit, was lavished against the church of God.  The result, like the well known story of that dispute between the Christian peasant and the heathen philosopher, when the latter, having challenged the assembled fathers of a synod to silence him, was put to shame by the simple faith of the former "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I command thee to be dumb." 
 Michael Ayguan, in J. M.  Neale's Commentary.

With the tongue of the proud there seems to be this claim of power, self-possession, and liberty.  However, contrast this and the believer's confession, "we are not our own."  The believer’s  tongue has been given God’s words not our own.

1. That nothing which we have is our own.
2. Whatsoever is given to us of God is for service to be done to him.
3. That whatsoever we do or say, we have a Lord over us to whom we must be answerable when he calls us to account.

 

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:5, 6

The time of the singing of birds is come.  The mercy seat has so refreshed the poor weeper, that he clears his throat for a song.  If we have mourned with him, let us now dance with him.  It is worthy to be observed that the joy is all the greater because of the previous sorrow, as calm is all the more delightful in recollection of the preceding tempest.

So shall it be with us if we patiently await.  The complaint which in our haste we utter shall be joyfully retracted, and we shall witness that the Lord hath dealt bountifully with us.

 

Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge. Psalm 14:6

Notwithstanding their real cowardice, the wicked put on the lion's skin and lord it over the Lord's poor ones.  Though fools themselves, they mock at the truly wise as if the folly were on their side.  But, this is what might be expected, for how should brutish minds appreciate excellence, and how can those who have owl's eyes admire the sun? 

The special point and butt of their jest seems to be the confidence of the godly in their Lord. 
What can your God do for you now? 
Who is that God who can deliver you out of our hand? 
Where is the reward of all your praying and beseeching? 

Taunting questions of this sort, they thrust into the faces of weak but gracious souls, and tempt them to feel ashamed of their refuge.  Let us not be laughed out of our confidence by them, let us scorn their scorning and defy their jeers.  We shall need to wait but a little, and then the Lord our refuge will avenge his own elect, and ease himself of his adversaries, who once made so light of him and of his people.

Wrestling Jacob shall rejoice before him when he is revealed as their salvation.

7/06

 

 

 

 

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He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:2

The Lord in answer to the question informs us by his Holy Spirit of the character of the man who alone can dwell in his holy hill.  In perfection, this holiness is found only in the Man of Sorrows, but in a measure it is wrought in all his people by the Holy Ghost. 

Faith and the graces of the Spirit are not mentioned, because this is a description of outward character, and where fruits are found the root may not be seen, but it is surely there.  Observe the accepted man's walk, work, and word.

His faith shows itself by good works, and therefore is no dead faith.  God's house is a hive for workers, not a nest for drones. 


Saints not only desire to love and speak truth with their lips, but they seek to be true within; they will not lie even in the closet of their hearts, for God is there to listen.  They scorn double meanings, evasions, equivocations, white lies, flatteries, and deceptions. 

Though truths, like roses, have thorns about them, good men wear them in their bosoms.  Our heart must be the sanctuary and refuge of truth.  At all risk we must entertain the angel of truth, for truth is God's daughter.  We must be careful that the heart is really fixed and settled in principle, for tenderness of conscience toward truthfulness, like the bloom on a peach, needs gentle handling, and once lost it were hard to regain it. 

Jesus was the mirror of sincerity and holiness.

 

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. Psalm 16:5

With what confidence and bounding joy does Jesus turn to Jehovah, whom his soul possessed and delighted in! 

Content beyond measure with his portion in the Lord his God, his cup was full, and his heart was full too.  Even in his sorest sorrows he still laid hold with both his hands upon his Father, crying, "My God, my God;" he had not so much as a thought of falling down to worship the prince of this world, although tempted with an "all these will I give thee."

We, too, can make our boast in the Lord; he is the meat and the drink of our souls.  He is our portion, supplying all our necessities, and our cup yielding royal luxuries.  He is our cup in this life, and our inheritance in the life to come.  As children of the Father who is in heaven, we inherit, by virtue of our joint heirship with Jesus, all the riches of the covenant of grace.

The portion which falls to us sets upon our table the bread of heaven and the new wine of the kingdom.  Who would not be satisfied with such an exquisite diet?  Our shallow cup of sorrow we may well drain with resignation, since the deep cup of love stands side by side with it, and will never be empty.

 Some tenants have a covenant in their leases that they themselves shall maintain and uphold, but in our case Jehovah himself maintains our lot.  Our Lord Jesus delighted in this truth, that the Father was on his side, and would maintain his right against all the wrongs of men.  He knew that his elect would be reserved for him, and that almighty power would preserve them as his lot and reward for ever.  Let us also be glad, because the Judge of all the earth will vindicate our righteous cause.

 

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Psalm 16:8,9

The fear of death at one time cast its dark shadow over the soul of the Redeemer, and we read that, "he was heard in that he feared."  There appeared unto him an angel, strengthening him; perhaps the heavenly messenger reassured him of his glorious resurrection as his people's surety, and of the eternal joy into which he should admit the flock redeemed by blood. 

Then hope radiated full upon our Lord's soul, and, as recorded in these verses, he surveyed the future with holy confidence because he continuously kept his eye upon Jehovah, and enjoyed his perpetual presence.  He felt that, thus sustained, he could never be driven from his life's grand design; nor was he, for he stayed not his hand till he could say, "It is finished."

What an infinite mercy was this for us!  In this immovableness, caused by simple faith in the divine help, Jesus is viewed as our standard.  To recognize the presence of the Lord is the duty of every believer;

Our Lord, our champion, is set the always before and to trust the Lord as our guard is the privilege of every saint.
 
The eye of Jesus' faith could discern beforehand the continuance of divine support to us his suffering family, in such a degree that he should never be moved from the accomplishment of his purpose of redeeming his people.  By the power of God at his right hand he foresaw that he should smite through all who rose up against him, and on that power he placed the firmest reliance.

 

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Psalm 16:8,9

The fear of death at one time cast its dark shadow over the soul of the Redeemer, and we read that, "he was heard in that he feared."  There appeared unto him an angel, strengthening him; perhaps the heavenly messenger reassured him of his glorious resurrection as his people's surety, and of the eternal joy into which he should admit the flock redeemed by blood. 

Then hope radiated full upon our Lord's soul, and, as recorded in these verses, he surveyed the future with holy confidence because he continuously kept his eye upon Jehovah, and enjoyed his perpetual presence.  He felt that, thus sustained, he could never be driven from his life's grand design; nor was he, for he stayed not his hand till he could say, "It is finished."

What an infinite mercy was this for us!  In this immovableness, caused by simple faith in the divine help, Jesus is viewed as our standard.  To recognize the presence of the Lord is the duty of every believer;

Our Lord, our champion, is set the always before and to trust the Lord as our guard is the privilege of every saint.
 
The eye of Jesus' faith could discern beforehand the continuance of divine support to us his suffering family, in such a degree that he should never be moved from the accomplishment of his purpose of redeeming his people.  By the power of God at his right hand he foresaw that he should smite through all who rose up against him, and on that power he placed the firmest reliance.

 

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11

To Jesus the first in all things was shown, for he is the first begotten from the dead, the firstborn of every creature.  He himself opened up the way through his own flesh, and then trod it as the forerunner of his own redeemed.  The thought of being made the path of life to his people, gladdened the soul of Jesus.  Whatever promise must be had in Christ for no other path has been laid.  Freely receive what our Lord himself has first possessed to without restraint give to us.

Christ being raised from the dead ascended into glory, to dwell in constant nearness to God, where joy is at its full for ever: the foresight of this urged him onward in his glorious but grievous toil.  To bring his chosen to eternal happiness was the high ambition which inspired him, and made him wade through a sea of blood.  O God, when all has expired, forever with Jesus we dwell

Meanwhile, we may have an earnest of our eternal habitation by tasting Christ love below.

Trapp's writes, "Here is as much said as can be, but words are too weak to utter it.  For quality there is in heaven joy and pleasures; for quantity, a fullness, a torrent whereat they drink without let or loathing; for constancy, it is at God's right hand, who is stronger than all, neither can any take us out of his hand; it is a constant happiness without intermission: and for perpetuity it is for evermore. Heaven's joys are without measure, mixture, or end."

 

<<A Prayer of David.>> Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.  As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. Psalm 17:1, 15

David would not have been a man after God's own heart, if he had not been a man of prayer.  He was a master in the sacred art of supplication.  So frequent were David's prayers that they could not all be dated and titled; and hence this simply bears the author's name, and nothing more. 

Yet there is wisdom taught here, that one may find it helpful to write down our supplication, our feelings, our faith, our vision, and a positive statement of faith in our complete deliverance.  How often I look back on these writings to see how God has so completely answered my prayers.  What a marvelous encouragement to faith!

The smell of the furnace is upon the present psalm, but there is evidence in the last verse that he who wrote it came unharmed out of the flame. 

To behold God's face and to be changed by that vision into his image, to partake in his righteousness, this is my good ambition.  In the prospect of this, I cheerfully persevere in waiting, believing to receive, certain present gratifications according to God’s word.  Yet even in this fight of faith, I know my complete unfettered promise is to come. 

I shall sleep awhile, but I shall wake at the sound of the trumpet; wake to everlasting joy, because I arise in His likeness, O my God and King!  Glimpses of glory God’s good children have here today to stay our sacred hunger, but the full feast awaits them in the heavenly.  Compared with this deep, inexpressible, eternal fullness of delight, the joys of this life are as a drop of a bucket to the ocean.

 

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, Jude 1:24

This ascription to one who was able to keep believers from failing is made in view of the facts adverted to in the epistle--the dangers of being led away by false teachers, circumstances and trials of life.  By the power of God’s Spirit we are aided in being preserved from failing,.yielding to temptation, and dishonouring our faith in God.  It is God only who, in the midst of the trials of this world, can keep us from falling and, blessed be His name, He can do it, and if we trust in Him He will do it!

We are thus delivered to stand, not fated to have grimaced faces, contorted with pain and suffering but rather a far greater promise in this life and in the greater life to come.  We are guaranteed to receive abounding joy held for the redeemed.  

We who believe are rescued from sorrow, sin, sickness, poverty and death, and that heaven is to be our eternal home.  If the joy I experince in Christ care for me now creates in me joy nspeakable and full of glory, who now can form an adequate idea of the happiness of that greater hour?

 

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. Psalm 18:2 3

Dwelling among the crags and mountain fastnesses of Judea David had escaped the malice of Saul, and here he compares his God to such a place of concealment and security.  Believers have hidden places they may conceal themselves in their God from the strife of tongues and the fury of the storm of trouble.  The clefts of the Rock of Ages are safe abodes.

When almost captured the Lord's people are rescued from the hand of the mighty by him who is mightier still.  This title of "deliverer" has many sermons in it, and is well worthy of the study of all experienced saints. 

My strength; this word is really my rock, in the sense of strength and immobility.  My sure, unchanging, eternal confidence and support.  Thus the word rock occurs twice, but it is no redundancy, for the first time it is a rock for concealment, but here a rock for firmness and immutability.

8/06

 

 

 

 

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Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Psalm 19:5


As a champion girded for running cheerfully applies himself to the race, so does the sun speed onward with matchless regularity and unwearyingly swiftness in his appointed orbit.  It is but mere play to him; there are no signs of effort, dwindling, or exhaustion. 

No other creature yields such joy to the earth as her bridegroom the sun; and none, whether they be horse or eagle, can for an instant compare in swiftness with that heavenly champion.  But all his glory is but the glory of God; even the sun shines in light borrowed from the Great Father of Lights.

"Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul, Acknowledge Him your greater; sound his praise Both when you climb, and when you have gained high noon, And when you fall."

As a bridegroom, for the King of heaven at this holy time made a great wedding for his Son.  Mat 22:1. 

Christ is the bridegroom, man's nature the bride, the conjunction and blessed union of both in one person is his marriage.  The best way to reconcile two disagreeing families is to make some marriage between them: even so, the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us in the world that he might hereby make our peace, reconciling God to man and man to God.

1Corth 15:51 52   Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

So then comes our beloved on the song of heaven.

 

Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfill all thy counsel.  We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfill all thy petitions. Psalm 20:4 5

Christ's desire and counsel were both set upon the salvation of his people; the church desired a quick work of him in his design, and the church in these latter days, with all our heart desires the complete fulfilment of his purpose. 

In Christ Jesus sanctified souls may appropriate this verse as a promise; they shall have their desire, and their plans to glorify their Master shall succeed.  We may success in our own will, when our will is God's will.    What need for submission in our case; if it was necessary to him, how much more for us?

We lift the standard of defiance in the face of the foe, and wave the flag of victory over the fallen adversary.  Some proclaim war in the name of one king, and some of another, but the faithful go to war in Jesus’ name, the name of the incarnate God, Immanuel, God with us.  The times are evil at present, but so long as Jesus lives and reigns in his church we need not furl our banners in fear, but advance them with sacred courage.

 Jesus’ tremendous name puts all our adversaries to flight; Jesus, the meek, the angry Lamb; a lion is in the midst of the battle.

 The church cannot forget that Jesus is her advocate before the throne, and therefore she sums up the desires already expressed in the short sentence, The Lord fulfil all thy petitions.  Let us never forget that among those petitions is that choice one, "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am.

 

You have given him his heart's desire, And You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.
Psalm 21:2


That desire he passionately pursued when he was on earth, both by his prayer, his actions, and his suffering; he manifested that his heart longed to redeem his people, and now in heaven he has his desire granted him, for he sees his beloved coming to be with him where he is.  The desires of the Lord Jesus were believed from his heart, and the Lord heard them; if our hearts are right with God, he will in our case also fulfill our desires."  Our hearts can only be right if we line up with God’s word concerning His promises.

What is in the fountain of the heart is sure to come up in the overflow of the lips, and those are the only true prayers where the heart's desire is first, and the lip's request follows after.  Jesus prayed vocally as well as mentally; speech is a great assistance to thought.  Some of us feel that even when alone we find it easier to collect our thoughts and concentrate our faith when we can pray aloud. 

The requests of the Savior were not withheld.  He was and still is a prevailing Pleader.  Our Advocate on high does not return empty from the throne of grace.  He asked for his elect in the eternal council chamber, he asked for blessings for them here, he asked for glory for them hereafter, and his requests have gone forth rapidly.  He is ready to ask for us at the mercyseat.  Have we not at this hour some desire to send up to his Father by him?  Be not slack to use our willing, loving, all prevailing Intercessor.

Selah. Here a pause is very properly inserted that we may admire the blessed success of the king's prayers, and that we may prepare our own requests which may be presented through him.  If we had a few more quiet rests, a few more Selahs in our public worship, it might be profitable.

 

7.  All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,.  8.  He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.  22.  I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee
Psalm 22: 7, 8, 22


Here the taunt is cruelly aimed at the sufferer's faith in God, which is the most tender point in a good man's heart, the very apple of his eye. 

They must have learned the diabolical art from Satan himself, for they made rare proficiency in it.  According to Mt 27:39-44, there were five forms of taunt hurled at the Lord Jesus; this special piece of mockery is probably mentioned in this psalm because it is the most bitter of the whole.  It has a biting, sarcastic irony in it, which gives it a peculiar venom.  It must have stung the Man of Sorrows to the quick.  When we are tormented in the same manner, let us remember him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, and we shall be comforted. 

“Is this a prophecy or a history?  The description is so accurate.  We must not lose sight of the truth which was unwittingly uttered by the Jewish scoffers.  They themselves are witnesses that Jesus of Nazareth trusted in God: why then was he permitted to perish?  Jehovah had aforetime delivered those who rolled their burdens upon him: why was this man deserted?  Oh that they had understood the answer!”  Trapp

Note further, that their ironical jest,  “seeing he delighted in him,” was true.  The Lord did delight in his dear Son, and when he was found in fashion as a man, and became obedient unto death, he still was well pleased with him.  Strange mixture!  God Almighty delights in him, and yet bruises him; is well pleased, and yet slays him.

The transition is very marked; from a horrible tempest all is changed into calm.  The darkness of Calvary at length passed away from the face of nature, and from the soul of the Redeemer, and beholding the light of his triumph and its future results the Savior smiled. 

We have followed him through the gloom, let us attend him in the returning light.  It will be well still to regard the words as a part of our Lord's faithful whisper upon the cross, uttered in his mind during the last few moments before his death.

 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5

The good man has his enemies.  He would not be like his Lord if he had not.  If we were without enemies, we might fear that we were not the friends of God, for the friendship of the world is enmity to God.  Yet see the calmness of the godly man in spite of, and in the sight of, his enemies.  How refreshing is his calm bravery!

May we live in the daily enjoyment of this blessing, receiving a fresh anointing for every day's duties.  Every Christian is a priest, but he cannot execute the priestly office without unction, and hence we must go day by day to God the Holy Ghost, that we may have our heads anointed with oil.  A priest without oil misses the chief qualification for his office, and the Christian priest lacks his chief suitability for service when he is devoid of new grace from on high.

He had not only enough, a cup full, but more than enough, a cup which overflowed.  A poor man may say this as well as those in higher circumstances.  "What, all this, and Jesus Christ too?"  Whereas a man may be ever so wealthy, but if he be discontented his cup cannot run over; it is cracked and leaks.  Content is the man who finds the gift which turns all he touches into gold; happy is he who has found it.  Content is more than a kingdom, it is another word for happiness.

 

Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Psalm 24:8

The watchers at the gate hearing the song look over the battlements and ask,

Who is this King of glory? 

A question full of meaning and worthy of our meditations. 
Who is he in person, nature, character, office and work? 
What is his pedigree? 
What his rank and what his race?

The answer given in a mighty wave of music is, The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.  We know the might of Jesus by the battles which he has fought, the victories which he has won over sin, and death, and hell, (having conquered all his enemies, and made them his footstool, triumphing over death, and the devil which is the founder of death, and sin which is the sting of death, and the grave which is the prison of death, and hell itself which is the proper dominion of the devil and death)

He who, having once descended to earth, the grave and hell, now returns to his throne.
We clap our hands as we see him leading captivity captive in the majesty of his strength.  Oh for a heart to sing his praises!  Mighty hero, be crowned for ever King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.  O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Ps 25:1, 2

This title is dearer than the name Jehovah.  Already the sweet singer has drawn nearer to his heavenly helper, for he is bold to grasp him with the hand of assured possession, calling him, my God.  Oh the celestial music of that word -- "My God!"

The psalmist does not deny expression to those gracious feelings with which God had favored him.  He does not fall into loathsome fake modesty, but finding in his soul a desire to seek the Lord he avows it.  And again believing that he had a rightful interest in Jehovah he declares it, and knowing that he had confidence in his God he professes it; O my God, I trust in thee. 

Faith is the anchor cable which keeps us secure from drifting, and by pulling at it we draw ourselves to the safety.  Faith unites us to God, and then draws us near to him.  As long as the anchor of faith holds there is no fear in the worst tempest.  If it  should fail us there would be no hope left. 

We must see to it that our faith is sound and strong, for otherwise prayer cannot prevail with God.  Woe to the warrior who throws away his shield; what defense can be found for him who finds no defense in his God? 

Let me not be ashamed.  Let not my disappointed hopes make me feel ashamed of my former testimonies of your faithfulness.  Many were on the watch for this.  The best of men have their enemies, and should pray against them that they may not see their wicked desires accomplished.

Let not mine enemies triumph over me.  Suffer no wicked mouth to make blasphemous fun out of my distresses by asking, "Where is thy God?" 

There is a great jealousy in believers for the honor of God, and they cannot endure that unbelievers should taunt them with the failure of their expectations from the God of their salvation.  All other trusts will end in disappointment and eternal shame, but our confidence shall never be confounded.

 

Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Ps 26:1

A solemn appeal to the just heart of a searching God, warranted by the circumstances of the writer, so far as regarded the particular offences with which he was wrongly charged. 

Worried and worn out by the injustice of men, the innocent spirit flees from its false accusers to the throne of Eternal Right.  The need has a clear case who dares to carry his suit into the King's Seat of Justice of heaven.  Such an appeal as this is not to be rashly made on any occasion; and as to the whole of our walk and conversation, it should never be made at all, except as we are justified in Christ Jesus.  A far more fitting prayer for a sinful mortal is the petition, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant." 

“For I have walked in mine integrity.”  He held integrity as his principle, and walked in it as his practice.  David had not used any traitorous or unrighteous means to gain the crown, or to keep it; he was conscious of having been guided by the noblest principles of honor in all his actions with regard to Saul and his family. 

What a comfort it is to have the approval of one's own conscience!  If there is peace within the soul, the disquieting storms of slander which howl around us are of little consideration.  When the little bird in my bosom sings a merry song, it is no matter to me if a thousand owls hoot at me from without. 

“I have trusted also in the Lord.”  Faith is the root and sap of integrity.  He who leans upon the Lord is sure to walk in righteousness.  David knew that God's covenant had given him the crown, and therefore he took no indirect or unlawful means to secure it.  He would not slay his enemy in the cave, nor suffer his men at arms to smite him when he slept unguarded on the plain.  Faith will work hard for the Lord, and in the Lord's way, but she refuses so much as to lift a finger to fulfill the devices of unrighteous cunning

Faith trusts God to accomplish his own decrees.  Why should I steal when God has promised to supply my need?  Why should I avenge myself when I know that the Lord has joined my cause?  Confidence in God is a most effectual security against sin. 

“Therefore I shall not slide.”  Slippery as the way is, so that I walk like a man upon ice, yet faith keeps my heels from tripping, and will continue to do so.  We cannot trust in God if we walk crookedly; but straight paths and simple faith bring the believer happily to his journey's end.

 

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. Ps 27:5 6

The psalmist's desire after communion with God was thus secured in the hour of hazard.  For in the time of trouble, that needy time, that time when others forsake me, he shall hide me in his house of worship.  The royal pavilion was erected in the centre of the army, and around it all the mighty men kept guard at all hours.  Thus in that divine sovereignty which almighty power is sworn to maintain, the believer peacefully is hidden, hidden not by himself secretly, but by the king, who hospitably entertains him. 

No one of old dared to enter the most holy place on pain of death; and if the Lord has hidden his people there, what foe shall venture to molest them?  How blessed is the standing of the man whom God himself sets on high above his foes, upon an impregnable rock which never can be stormed!

He is quite sure of it.  Godly men of old prayed in faith, nothing wavering, and spoke of their answer to their prayers as a certainty.  David was by faith so sure of a glorious victory over all those who beset him that he arranged in his own heart what he would do when his foes lay prostrate before him.  

The place which he longed for in his conflict should see his thankful delight in his triumphant return.  He does not speak of jubilations to be offered in his palace, and feastings in his banqueting halls, but holy joy he selects as most fitting for so divine a deliverance. 

This is the most natural mode of expressing thankfulness.  Yes, I will sing praises unto the Lord.  Let those who will be silent be as they choose, but as for me a believer when my prayer is heard, it must and I will make my praise to be heard above all others.  The believer reserves his music for the Lord alone.

 

The Lord will give <unyielding and impenetrable> strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. Psalm 28:11  amplified bible

This is a prayer for the church militant, written in short words, but full of weighty meaning.  We must pray for the whole. Save your people.  Deliver them from their enemies, preserve them from their sins, support them under their troubles, rescue them from their temptations, and ward off from them every illness. 

There is a plea hidden in the expression, "thy people:" for it may be safely concluded that God's interest in the church, as his own portion, will lead him to guard it from destruction. 

Grant positive blessings, peace, plenty, prosperity, happiness; make all your dearly purchased and precious heritage to be comforted by your Spirit. 
Revive, refresh, enlarge, and sanctify thy church.  Feed them also. 
Be a shepherd to your flock, let their bodily and spiritual wants be plentifully supplied. 
By your word, and ordinances, direct, rule, sustain, and satisfy those who are the sheep of your hand. And lift them up for ever.  Carry them in your arms on earth, and then lift them into your bosom in heaven. 
Elevate their minds and thoughts, spiritualize their affections, make them heavenly, Christ like, and full of God.  O Lord, answer this our petition, in Jesus' name.

 

Psalm 29:3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters. 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic.

An irresistible power attends the lightning of which the thunder is the report.  As the voice of God in nature is so powerful, so is it in grace.  Draw a parallel, and find much in the gospel which may be illustrated by the thunder of the Lord in the tempest.  His voice, whether in nature or revelation, shakes both earth and heaven.  

Do not refuse him that speaks.  If his voice be thus mighty, what must his hand be!  The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.  The King of kings speaks like a king.  As when a lion roars, all the beasts of the forest are still, so is the earth hushed and mute while Jehovah thunders marvelously. 

As for the written word of God, its majesty is apparent both in its style, its matter, and its power over the human mind; blessed be God, it is the majesty of mercy wielding a silver scepter; of such majesty the word of our salvation and healing is full to overflowing.

9/06

 

 

 

 

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You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Ps 30:11, 12

What a contrast as God takes away the mourning of his people; and what does he give them instead of it?  Quiet and peace?  Yes, and a great deal more than that.  He makes their hearts to dance at the sound of his name.  To twirl and dance about the foot of my Savior’s throne excites my heart with great release of Christian energies.  For we are born of faith and love.

For eager hearts He takes off their sackcloth.  That is good!  What a pleasure to be rid of the garments of unhappiness and sorrowfulness!  But what then?  He clothes us.  And how?  With some common dress?  No, but with that royal vestment which is the array of glorified saints of heaven.

For my Lord has girded me with gladness.  Many a faithful Christian wears this heavenly apparel wrapped around their heart. 

To the end -- namely, with this view and intent -- that my tongue -- may sing praise to you, oh my Lord, and not be silent.  It would be a shameful crime, if, after receiving God's mercies, we should forget to praise him.  God would not have our tongues lie idle when we could use them so wisely.  We children of the Almighty are all to sing in heaven. 

 

Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24

Keep up your spirit; let no cowardly thoughts cause you to pale.  Fear weakens, courage strengthens.  Victory waits upon the banners of the brave… And he shall strengthen your heart. 

Power from on high shall be given in the most effectual manner by administering force to the fountain of vitality.  Never pulling back or leaving us, the Lord will draw very near to us in our adversity, and put his own power into us.  Therefore, hope in the Lord every one of you, lift up your heads and sing for joy of heart. 

God is faithful, and does not fail his little children who do but hope, wherefore why should we be afraid?

 

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:5

David now gives us his own experience: no instructor is so efficient as one who testifies to what he has personally known and felt.  He makes clear who reveals his matter out of his own heart.

After long lingering, the broken heart thinks of what it ought to have done at the first, and laid bare its bosom before the Lord.  Sometimes we must lance the infection so that relief can be found.  The least thing we can do, if we would be pardoned, is to acknowledge our fault.  If we are too proud for this we deserve double punishment

We must confess the shame as well as the fact of sin.  It is useless to conceal it, for it is well known to God.  It is beneficial to us to own it, for a full confession softens and humbles the heart. 

“I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord,” Not to my fellow men or to the high priest, but unto my Lord.  The faithful look to God alone for deliverance from sin's intolerable load.  When the soul determines to lay low and plead guilty, absolution is near at hand; hence we read, And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.  Not only was the sin itself pardoned, but the iniquity of it; the virus of its guilt was put away, and that at once, so soon as the acknowledgment was made. 

God's pardons are deep and thorough: the knife of mercy cuts at the roots of the ill weed of sin.  

Pause, my soul, adore and wonder, ask, why such love to me?  Grace has numbered me in the Savior’s family. Hallelujah!  Eternal thanks, to my Lord Jesus.

 

Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.  Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. Psalm 33:2, 3

All songs of praise should be unto our Lord.  Singing for singing's sake is worth nothing.  We must carry our tribute to the King, and not cast it to the winds. 

Do most worshippers have this in mind?  Our perceptions should be exercised when we are magnifying the Lord, so as not to run in an old groove without thought.  We ought to make every melodic expression of praise a new song.  To keep up the freshness of worship is a great thing, and in private it is indispensable. 

Let us not present old worn out praise, but put life, and soul, and heart, into every song, since we have new mercies every day, and see new beauties in the work and word of our Lord.

Play skillfully.  It is hard to hear God praised in a careless manner.  He deserves the best that we have.  Every Christian should endeavor to sing according to the rules of the art, so that he may keep time and tune with the congregation.  The sweetest tunes and the sweetest voices, with the sweetest words, are all too little for the Lord our God.  Do not offer him limping rhymes put out by unmusical voices. 

With a loud noise.  Heartiness should be conspicuous in divine worship.  Well bred dignities not allowed when in the presence of so great a power.  It is not that the Lord cannot hear us, but that it is natural for great exultation to express itself in the loudest manner.  Men shout at the sight of their kings and sports heroes: shall we not offer loud hosannas to the Son of God?

 

My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. Ps 34:2,3

Boasting is a very natural inclination, and if it were used as in this case, the more it were indulged the better. 

The excitement of this verse is no mere tongue bragging, "the deepness of our soul" is in it, the boasting is meant and felt before it is expressed.  What scope there is for holy boasting in Jesus!  His person, attributes, covenant, promises, works, and a thousand things besides, are all incomparable, unparalleled, and matchless.  

We may acclaim them up as we please, but we shall never be convicted of vain and empty speech in so doing.  Truly he who writes these words of comment has nothing of his own to boast of, but much to lament over, and yet none shall stop him of his boast in God so long as he lives.

The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.  The humble are usually grieved to hear boastings.  They turn aside from vauntings and lofty speeches, but boasting in the Lord is quite another matter.  By this the most lowly are consoled and encouraged.  The confident expressions of tried believers are a rich solace to their brethren of less experience.  We ought to talk of the Lord's goodness on purpose that others may be confirmed in their trust in a faithful God.

 

They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed. Psalm 34:5

The psalmist maintains that his case was not at all peculiar; it was matched in the lives of all the faithful.   Each one of them on looking to their Lord was brightened up, their faces began to shine, and their spirits were uplifted. 

What a means of blessing one look at the Lord may be!  There is life, light, liberty, love, everything in fact, in a look at the crucified One. 

Never did a sore heart look in vain to the good Physician.  Never a dying soul turned darkening eye to the brazen serpent to find its virtue gone.  None of their faces were ashamed.  Their faces were covered with joy but not blushed.  He who trusts in God has no need to be ashamed of his confidence, time and eternity will both justify his reliance.

 

Fear not <there is nothing to fear>, for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My <victorious> right hand of rightness and justice. Isaiah 41: 10 amplified

The scope of this verse is to silence our fears, and encourage our faith, when the servant. of God is in distress.  All that faithfully serve God, through patience and comfort of this scripture, may have hope.  Though a word of caution, counsel, and comfort, which is so often repeated, “Fear not;” again and again.

It is against the mind of God that his people should be a timid people.  For the suppressing of fear he assures them that: 

  • they may depend upon his presence with them as their God, 
  • and He is a God all-sufficient for them in the worst of times.  

What tenderness God speaks, and how willing is he to let the heirs of promise know the immutability of his counsel, and how he desires to make these same promises easy to attain.

Fear not, for I am with you, not only within range of your call, but present with you.  Be not dismayed at the power of those that are against thee, for I am your God, and engaged for you.  

Are you weak?  I will strengthen you.  Are you destitute of friends?  I will help you in the time of need.  Are you ready to sink, ready to fall?  I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness, and that right hand is full of righteousness, in dispensing rewards to the faithful,

 

<<A Psalm of David.>> Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Psalm 35:1

Does the world condemn you for your zeal in the service of God?  

Oh, but if your conscience condemn you not all this while, if that be rectified by the sacred word of God, if you aim at his glory in pursuing your own moral high ground, and side not with the disturbers of the peace, go on, good Christian, in the practice of piety, do not be discouraged in your gracious endeavors, but recount with comfort that the Lord is your judge.  

"I know whom I have believed."  Are you wrongfully judged in the erroneous courts of men? are truth and righteousness gone aside from their proper places?  Is equity neglected, and poverty overlaid?  

Well, have patience awhile, cheer up your fainting spirits, there is a God who beholds the innocence of your cause, unto whom you have liberty to make your appeal:
Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.  Are you injured by the hands of malicious men?  and does an impoverished estate disable you to sue for amends?  Does a Nimrod oppress you?  A Laban defraud you?  A covetous landlord gripe you?  Do not take the matter into your own hands by attempting unlawful courses; presume not to be judge in your own cause, for apparent lack of a present remedy; but often remember what the apostle taught his Thessalonians: "It is a righteous thing with God to protect you from them that trouble you."

 

Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like a great deep. O LORD, You preserve man and beast. Ps 36:5, 6

Far, far above all comprehension is the truth and faithfulness of God.  He never fails, nor forgets, nor falters, nor forfeits his word.  Afflictions are like clouds, but the divine truthfulness is the sky all around them.  While we are under the cloud we are in the region of God's faithfulness.  When we mount above it we shall not need such an assurance.  To every word of threat, or promise, prophecy or covenant, the Lord has exactly adhered, for he is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.

God's dealings with men are not to be fathomed by every boaster who demands to see a why for every wherefore.  Who has gone to the depths of the sea and come again to tell us its secret treasures.  Yet as the deep mirrors the sky, so the mercy of the Lord is to be seen reflected in all the arrangements of his government on earth, and over the profound depth the covenant rainbow casts its arch of comfort, for the Lord is faithful in all that he does.

 

Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.  But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. Ps 37:10, 11

When unbelieving or unfaithful men reach to greatness, the judgments of God frequently sweep them away.  Their riches melt, their power decays, their happiness turns to wretchedness; they themselves cease any longer to be numbered with the living.  The shortness of life makes us see that the glitter of the unfaithful and wicked great is not true gold.  His house shall be empty, his position vacant, his estate without an owner; he shall be utterly left out, perhaps cut off by his own debauchery, or brought to ruin by his own extravagance

But the faithful above all others they shall enjoy life.  Even if they suffer, their consolations shall be much greater than their tribulations.  By inheriting the land is meant obtaining covenant privileges and the salvation of God. 

Such as are truly humble believer shall take their lot with the rest of the faithful heirs of grace, to whom all good things come by a sacred birthright.  The believers shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace and shall prosper.  Peace they love and peace they shall have.  Justice they believe in and justice they shall have.  Faithful perseverance shall break way to vindication.

Some will find joy in strife, and thus arise from their misery in due time, but the constant peace of the believer has a peace that leads on to abundant peace, and the more a man loves it the more it shall come to him. 

 

My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.
Psalm 38:10


Here begins another tale of sadness.  He was so pained by the unkindness of friends that his heart was in a state of perpetual palpitation.  Sharp and quick were the beatings of his heart; he was like a hunted deer, filled with distressing alarms, and ready to fly out of itself with fear. 

The soul seeks sympathy in sorrow, and if it finds none, its sorrowful heart throbs are incessant.

My strength faileth me.  What with disease and distraction, he was weakened and ready to expire.  A sense of sin, and a clear perception that none can help us in our distress, are enough to bring a man to death's door, especially if there be none to speak a gentle word, and point the broken spirit to the beloved Physician.

As for the light of my eyes, it also is gone from me.  Sweet light departed from his bodily eye, and consolation vanished from his soul.  Those who were the very light of his eyes forsook him.  Hope, the last lamp of night, was ready to go out.  What a plight was the poor prisoner of circumstances in! 

Yet here, some of us have been; and here we should have perished had not the infinite mercy Jesus interposed.  Now, as we remember the loving kindness of the Lord, we see how good it was for us to find our own strength fail us, since it drove us to the strong for strength; and how right it was that our light should all be quenched, that the Lord's light should be all in all to us. 

Will you call upon faith to trust in the Strength of Our Lord today.  Will you raise up in faith healed in body and mind, ready to make today matter for the Glory of our Lord.

 

I said, "I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.”  I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, And my sorrow grew worse.  My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue: "LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days;  Let me know how transient I am.  Psalm 39:1-4


To avoid sin one has need be very circumspect, and keep one's actions as with a guard.  Heedless is another word for graceless.  In times of sickness or other trouble we must watch against the sins peculiar to such trials, especially against murmuring and worry.

Tongue sins are great sins; like sparks of fire ill words spread, and do great damage as we have be given power to build or to destroy.  Our tongue always needs watching, for it is as restless as a caged wild beast.  I will keep my mouth with a bridle, or more accurately, with a muzzle.  As a muzzle we must stop it altogether.  When he went so far as to condemn himself to entire silence, "even from good," there must have been at least a little crustiness in his soul.  In trying to avoid one fault, he fell into another. 

Yet, if we blame we must also praise, for the highest wisdom suggests that when good men are bewildered with skeptical thoughts, they should not soon repeat them, but should fight out their inward battle upon its own battlefield of God’s Word. 

The firmest believers are exercised with unbelief, and it would be doing the devil's work with a vengeance if they were to publish abroad all our questionings and suspicions.  If I have the fever myself, there is no reason why I should contaminate my neighbors.

Did he mean as Elias in his agony, "Let me die, I am no better than my father"?  Perhaps so.  At any rate, he rashly and petulantly desired to know the end of his wretched life so he might begin to reckon the days till death should finish his woe. 

Impatience would search for an end as if there were no other comfort to be had.  Unbelief would hide itself in the grave and sleep itself into oblivion.  David was neither the first nor the last who have spoken this unadvised prayer. 

Yet, there is a better meaning: the psalmist would know more of the shortness of life that he might better bear its transient challenge.  In this attitude of heart we may safely kneel with him, uttering the same petition.  They who see death through the Lord's eyes, see a fair sight, which makes them forget the evil of life in foreseeing the end of trial.  Yes truly we must rather see Him the conqueror He is and raise from thoughts of death to thoughts of eternal blessing.  Why wait for the hand of physical death when we may daily put the circumstance to death.

That I may know how frail I am, or when I shall cease to be.  Such pettishness in a saint!  When tried, it marvels us that we hold together well in such storms.  David's case is not recorded for our imitation, but for our learning.

10/06

 

 

 

 

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He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. Ps 40:2 3

When our Lord bore in his own person the terrible curse which was due to sin, he was so cast down as to be like a prisoner in a deep, dark, fearful dungeon, amid whose horrible glooms the captive heard a noise as of rushing torrents, while overhead resounded the tramp of furious foes.  Our Lord in his anguish was like a captive in the dungeon, forgotten of all mankind, immured amid horror, darkness, and desolation. 

Yet the Lord God Almighty made him to ascend; he retraced his steps from that deep hell filled with anguish into which he had been cast as our substitute.  He who thus delivered our surety in our extreme condition, will not fail to liberate us from our far lighter grief’s. 

Once given a good foothold the burden is greatly lightened, but to be loaded and to be placed on slimy, slippery clay is to be tried doubly.  The dear Redeemer, who for our sake, was deprived of all consolation while surrounded with every form of misery found melody; and if you too have experienced the divine help, be sure to join your Lord in this song.

At the passover, before his passion, our Lord sang one of the great Psalms of praise; but what is the music of his heart now, in the midst of his redeemed!  What song is that in which his glad heart forever leads the chorus of the elect!  Not Miriam's, nor Moses' triumphant hymns can for a moment rival that ever new and exulting song.  

Justice magnified and grace victorious; hell subdued and heaven glorified; death destroyed and immortality established; sin overthrown and righteousness in its brilliance; what a theme for a hymn for this day!

 

How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble.  The LORD will protect him and keep him alive, And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.  The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health.  Psalm 41:1-3

To search the word of God comes first, pardoned sin is second, and now the forgiven sinner brings forth fruit unto God available for the good of others.  Like our Lord Jesus, we bless and we shall be blessed, we preserve and shall be preserved, we watch over the lives of others and we ourselves shall be precious in the sight of the Lord. 

Prosperity shall attend us!  Our cruse of oil shall not be dried up because we fed the poor prophet.  We shall cut from our roll of cloth and find it longer at both ends.   
"There was a man, and some did count him mad,
the more he gave away the more he had."

If temporal gain is given, blessings shall be doubled to him.  His little shall be blessed, even the small things satisfy.  Yet this again is not enough for our loving God.  He must yet give more!  The liberal are and must be blessed even here; they have this at present as well as a future portion. 

He certainly helps the distressed, and now we find a champion in our God.  It is better to be in a pit of vipers than to be at the mercy of persecutors.  Even casting our eyes to our Lord Jesus, do we not know that although he was exempted from much of blessing, being made a curse for us, yet even he was not altogether nor for ever left of God, but in due time was exalted above all his enemies.  If He, than we too are forcibly delivered by Almighty Jehovah.

What, of his sick children?  Herein is love indeed.  A bed soon grows hard when the body is weary with tossing to and fro upon it, but grace gives hope of a new possibility.  For we may rise and be healed.  A life given in love to others is a life maintained, strengthened and healed!

 

My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?  When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Ps 42:3-5

When a man comes to tears, constant tears, plenteous tears, tears that fill his cup, he is in earnest indeed.  The salt drops glitter in the eyes of David.  Perhaps it was well for him that the heart could open the safety valves; there is a dry grief far more terrible than showery sorrows.  Yet these tears are in defense of our mocked God.

Where is thy God?  Cruel taunts come naturally from cowardly doubtful minds of those who lack vision. 

God is unchangeable, and therefore his grace is the ground for unshaken hope.  If everything is dark, yet the day will come, and meanwhile hope carries true vision, her lamps are not dependent on oil from without; her light is fed by secret visitations of God, which sustain the heart.

My sighs give place to songs, my mournful cries exchanged for triumphal cheers.  A loss of the present sense of God's love is not a loss of love itself; the jewel is still and always there.  Hope expects the promised windfall though present circumstances stands before her with empty hands.

 

O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalm 43:3

The joy of your presence and the faithfulness of your heart; let both of these be manifest to me.  Reveal my true purpose by your light, and reward me according to your truthful promise. 

As the sun darts forth his beams, so does the Lord send forth his favor and his faithfulness towards all his people; and as all nature rejoices in the sunshine, even so the saints triumph in the manifestation of the love and dependability of their God, which, like the sunbeam, lights up even the darkest surroundings with delightful brilliance.

Be my star to guide me to my rest.  Be my guides to conduct me over mountains and precipices to the safety of grace.  Let them bring me unto your holy hill, and to your tabernacles.  

First in your mercy bring me out of this trial, and end my weary exile.  We do seek not light to sin by, nor truth to be exalted by it, but that they may become our practical guides to the nearest communion with God.  Only such light and truth as have been sent to us from God will do this.  

Common light is not strong enough to show the road to heaven, nor will mere moral or physical truths assist us to the holy hill.  But, the light of the Holy Spirit, and the truth as it is in Jesus, these are elevating, sanctifying, perfecting; and hence their virtue in leading us to the glorious presence of God.

It is beautiful to observe how David's longing to be away from the oppression of man always leads him to sigh more intensely for communion with God.

 

For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them. Psalm 44:3

Behold how the Lord alone was exalted in bringing his people to the land of promise!  He, in his distinguishing grace, had put a difference between Canaan and Israel , and therefore, by his own effectual power, he wrought for his chosen and against their adversaries.  The tribes fought for their allotments, but their success was wholly due to the Lord who wrought with them. 

The warriors of Israel were not inactive, but their valor was secondary to that divine working by which Jericho 's walls fell down, and the hearts of the heathen failed them for fear.  The efforts of all the men at arms were employed, but as these would have been futile without divine help, all the honor is ascribed unto the Lord. 

Men are not saved without prayer, repentance, etc., but none of those save a man, salvation is altogether of the Lord.  Canaan was not conquered without the armies of Israel , but equally true is it that it was not conquered by them.  The Lord was the conqueror, and the people were but instruments in his hands. 

The divine hand actively fight for us, the divine arm powerfully sustained us with more than human energy, and the divine smile inspired us with resolute courage. 

Here is the fountain from where every stream of mercy flows.  The Lord's delight in his people, his peculiar affection, his distinguishing consideration this is the power source which moves every wheel of a God’s intervention.  We as Israel are a chosen nation, hence our victories and the scattering of our foes; believers are an elect people, hence their spiritual blessings and conquests. 

There was nothing in the people themselves to secure them success, the Lord's favor alone does it, and it is ever so in our case, our hope of final glory must not rest on anything in ourselves, but on the free and sovereign favor of the Lord of Hosts.  He will watch over His word to perform it!

 

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. Psalm 45:7

On account of our Lord's perfect life he is now rewarded with superior joy.  At Oriental feasts oil was poured on the heads of distinguished and very welcome guests; God himself anoints the man Christ Jesus, as he sits at the heavenly feasts, anoints him as a reward for his work, with higher and fuller joy than anyone else can know; thus is the Son of man honored and rewarded for all his pains.

The Hebrew word (chaber), is very generous, and is translated, companions, copartners, partakers; or as ours text reads it, fellows.  Thus such as are partakers with him in the anointing of the Spirit, who do in their measure receive the same Spirit, every Christian being appointed with the same grace and dignified with the same titles. 

Christ and the saints are in common one with another.  Does the Spirit of holiness power dwell in him?  So he does in them too.  Is Christ King and Priest?  So are they too, by the grace of union with him. 

This is the saints' dignity, to be Christ's fellows, consorts, or copartners; so that look whatever grace or excellency is in Christ, it is not impropriated to himself, but they do share with him; for indeed he was filled with the fullness of the Spirit for their sakes and use.  As the sun is filled with light not to shine to itself, but to others, so is Christ with grace; and therefore some translate the text above thy fellows, but for thy fellows; (Rivetus),

 

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God , The holy dwelling places of the Most High.  Psalm 46:4

What is the river that makes glad the city of God
God himself is the river, as in the following verse, "God is in the midst of her." 
1.  God the Father is the river: "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jer 2:13. 
2.  God the Son is the river, the fountain of salvation: "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."  Zec 13:1. 
3.  God the Spirit is the river: "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 7:38; 4:14. 

What are the streams of this river?  The perfections of God, the fullness of Christ, the operations fruits and gifts of the Spirit, and these running in the channel of the covenant of promise..

Happy are they who know from their own experience that there is such a river of God . The streams whereof in their various influences, for they are many, shall make glad the city of God, by assuring the citizens that Zion's Lord will unfailingly supply all their needs.  The streams are clear, cool, fresh, abundant, and gladdening. 

In seasons of trial all sufficient grace will be given to enable us to endure unto the end.  The church is like a well ordered city, surrounded with mighty walls of truth and justice, garrisoned by omnipotence, beautifully built and adorned by infinite wisdom.  Its ruling body, the saints, enjoy high privileges; they trade with far off lands, they live in the smile of the King; and as a great river is the very making and mainstay of a town, so is the broad river of everlasting love, and grace their joy and bliss. 

It is dedicated to his praise, and glorified by his presence.  

 

11/06

 

 

 

 

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God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.  Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. Psalm 47:5

Faith hears the people already shouting.  The command is regarded as a fact.  The fight is over, the conqueror ascends to his triumphant throne, and coming through the gates of the city which is frenzied with the joy of his return. 

We do not doubt that angels and glorified spirits welcomed him with acclamations.  He came with song!  The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.  Jesus is Jehovah.  Fresh from the depths of destruction, with his garments still stained in red, he ascended, leading captivity captive.

Let him have all our praise.  Let his power be the fountain of gladness.  It is a inspirational attribute, and full of delight to the faithful.  Let our reverence be paid not in groans but with songs.  He does not inslave us to serve his throne; he is no tyrant; singing is fit homage for a monarch so blessed and gracious. 

Let all hearts that have received of Him sing and sing on for ever, for there is everlasting reason for thanksgiving while we dwell under the shadow of such a throne.

 

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.  Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion , on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. Psalm 48:1, 2

Rising high above the deep valleys on the west and south, and the scarcely less deep one on the east, it could only be assailed from the northwest.  Yet on the sides of the north it was magnificently beautiful, and fortified by walls, towers, and bulwarks, the wonder and terror of the nations: "For the kings were assembled, they passed by together.  They saw it, and so they marveled.  They were troubled, and they ran away." 

At the thought of it the psalmist bursts forth in triumph: "Walk about Zion , and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following." 

Her towers have long since fallen to the ground, her bulwarks have been overthrown, her palaces have crumbled to dust, and we who now walk about Zion can tell no other story than this to the generation following.  There is another Zion whose towers are still more glorious, and shall never be overthrown. 

"God is known in her palaces for a refuge."  And "this God is our God for ever and ever." 

How often is this name synonymous with the church of the living God! and no other spot that has the affection of his people -- no other name but one can awaken such joyful hopes in the Christian's heart.  The temporal Zion is now in the dust, but the true Zion is rising and shaking herself from it, and putting on her beautiful garments to establish her King over the whole earth.

So Lord Jehovah is praised, whether we look at his essence, his power, his wisdom, his justice, or his mercy, for all are infinite, everlasting, and incomprehensible; and thus, so much is God greatly to be praised.  But, of all things revealed, there is no one thing that can give us a greater idea of his greatness, or for which were should praise and thank him more, than the establishment of his church

 

My mouth will speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart will be understanding. Psalm 49:3

Inspired and therefore lifted beyond himself, the prophet is not praising his own attainments, but extolling the divine Spirit which spoke in him.  He knew that the Spirit of truth and wisdom spoke through him and would change his circumstances according to Divine knowledge. 

He who is not sure that his cause is good and is in line with God’s Word has no right to ask a hearing.

The same Spirit who made the ancient prophets eloquent, also made them thoughtful.  The help of the Holy Ghost was never meant to supersede the use of our own mental powers.  The Holy Spirit does not make us speak as Balaam's ass, which merely uttered sounds, but never meditated.  But much more; he first leads us to consider and reflect, and then he gives us the tongue of fire to speak with power.

1. To exercise our minds to understand them.
2. To try our faith by believing them -- "incline" implies a submissive mind.
3. To excite our joy as we grasp them -- "upon the harp."
4. To employ our faculties in explaining them to others

 

"If I were hungry I would not tell you, For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
"Shall I eat the flesh of bulls Or drink the blood of male goats?
"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving And pay your vows to the Most High;
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." Ps 50:12-15

Strange conception, a hungry God!  Yet if such an absurd ideal could be truth, and if the Lord hungered for meat, he would not ask it of men.  He could provide for himself out of his own possessions; he would not turn pleading to his own creatures.  Even under the grossest ideal of God, faith in outward ceremonies is ridiculous. 

Do men fancy that the Lord needs banners, and music, and incense, and fine linen?  If he did, the stars would glorify his standard, the winds and the waves become his orchestra, ten thousand times ten thousand flowers would breathe forth perfume, the snow should be his long, white linen robe, the rainbow his belt, the clouds of light his mantle. 

O fools and slow of heart, you worship you know not what!  For the world is mine, and the fullness thereof.  What can He need who is owner of all things and able to create as he wills?  Thus overwhelmingly does the Lord pour forth his arguments upon superficial worshipers.

Internal emotions of love consequent upon a remembrance of divine goodness are commended as the substance, meaning, and soul of sacrifice.  The reality of your sacrifice of prayer shall be seen in its answer.  Then as answered in His miraculous means does this glorify and honors God.  To truly know and worship is to understand believe and receive of His perfect promises.

 

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12

Salvation he had known, and had known it as the Lord's own.  He had also felt the joy which arises from being saved in the Lord, but he had lost it for a while, and therefore he longed for its restoration. 

None but God can give back this joy; he can do it; we may ask it; he will do it for his own glory and our benefit.  This joy does not come first, but follows pardon and purity.  In this order it is safe, in any other it is vain presumption or idiotic delirium.

Conscious of weakness, mindful of having so lately fallen, he seeks to be kept on his feet by a power superior to his own.  That noble Spirit, whose holiness is true dignity, is able to make us walk as kings and priests, in all the uprightness of holiness; and he will do so if we seek his gracious upholding.

Such influences will not enslave but emancipate us; for holiness is liberty, and the Holy Spirit is a free Spirit.  In the roughest and most treacherous ways we are safe with our loving Keeper.  In the best paths we stumble if left to ourselves. 

 

Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them.  Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings Psalm 17:7 8

No part of the body more precious, more tender, and more carefully guarded than the eye; and of the eye, no portion more peculiarly to be protected than the central apple, the pupil, or as the Hebrew calls it, "the daughter of the eye." 

The all wise Creator has placed the eye in a well protected position; it stands surrounded by projecting bones like Jerusalem encircled by mountains.  Moreover its has surrounded with many inward coverings, besides the hedge of the eyebrows, the curtain of the eyelids, and the fence of the eyelashes.  The persecuted saint, is the apple of God's eye.

In addition to this, he has given to every man so high a value for his eyes, and so quick an apprehension of danger, that no member of the body is more faithfully cared for than the object of sight.  Thus keep me as protected and ready to respond, Lord, for I am one with Jesus, and so a member of His body.

Hide me under the shadow of your wings.  As the parent bird completely shields her brood from evil, and meanwhile cherishes them with the warmth of her own heart, by covering them with her wings, so do this with me.  For I am your offspring, and you have a parent's love in perfection. 

This last clause is in the Hebrew in the future tense, as if to show that what the psalmist had asked for but a moment before, he was now sure, would be granted to him.  Confident expectations should keep pace with earnest supplication

12/06

 

 

 

 

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"The Lord's portion is His people." --Deuteronomy 32:9

How are they His?  He chose them, and set His love upon them.  This He did altogether apart from any goodness in them at the time, or any goodness which He foresaw in them.  He had mercy on whom He would have mercy, and ordained his faithful unto eternal life.

They are not only His by choice, but by purchase.  He has bought and paid for them to the utmost farthing, hence about His title there can be no dispute.  Not with corruptible things, as with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord's portion has been fully redeemed.  There is no mortgage on His estate; no suits can be raised by opposing claimants, the price was paid in open court, and the Church is the Lord's freehold for ever.  

See the blood-mark upon all the believers, invisible to human eye, but known to Christ, for "the Lord knoweth them that are His"; He forgets none of those whom He has redeemed from among men; He counts the sheep for whom He laid down His life, and remembers well the Church for which He gave Himself.

They are also His by conquest.  What a battle He had in us before we would be won!  How long He laid siege to our hearts!  How often He sent us terms of capitulation!  but we barred our gates, and fenced our walls against Him.  

Do we not remember that wonderful hour when He carried our hearts by storm?  When He placed His cross against the wall, and scaled our defenses, planting on our strongholds the blood-red flag of His omnipotent mercy?  Yes, we are, indeed, the conquered captives of His omnipotent love.  Thus chosen, purchased, and subdued, the rights of our divine possessor are inalienable: we rejoice that we never can be our own; and we desire, day by day, to do His will, and to show forth His glory.

 

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Every thing in the whole of nature has its revolutions; summer and winter, heat and cold, rain and drought, seedtime and autumn.  There is the whole system of corruption and generation, alternately succeed each other, so that whatever has been shall be again.  

There is really, physically, and philosophically, nothing absolutely new under the sun, in the course of things of this world.  The same is the case in all the revolutions of the heavens.

The original is beautiful.  "Is there any thing which will say, See this! it is new?"  Men may say this of their discoveries, but universal nature says, It is not new.  It has been, and it will be again.

Knowledge is to be hard acquired.  In order to investigate the operations of nature, the most laborious discussions, and perplexing experiments must be instituted, and conducted to their proper results.  It is God's determination that knowledge shall be acquired in no other way.

We too must labor to enter the rest provided already.  We invent no new rest.  We may not pat ourselves on the back when we think we have accomplished the remarkable.  What was is… and what shall be is with us now.  We do invest ourselves into the study of God’s Word to find the hidden wealth given to those who would dare look beyond the veil.  

Does this remove the pleasure of discovery.  In no way for it is a life style of ever drawing close to God’s heart.  Filling our lives with the precious love of our Redeemer, Friend.

 

Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!  Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.  Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul! Psalm 103:20-22

Finding his work of praise growing upon his hands, he calls upon "the firstborn sons of light" to speak the praises of the Lord, as well they may “for they best can tell.”  Dwelling near to that throne they see in nearer vision the glory which we would adore.

To them is given an exceeding might of intellect, and voice, and force which they delight to use in sacred service for the Lord of Glory. Let them now turn all their strength into that solemn song which we would send up to the third heaven.  

To him who gave angelic strength let all angelic strength be given.  They are his angels, and therefore they are ready to ring out his praises.  These majestic powers do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word.  Let those un-fallen spirits, whose bliss it is never to have transgressed, give to the Lord the glory of their holiness. 

They eagerly await for yet more commands, obeying as much by reverent listening as by energetic action, and in this they teach us how the heavenly will should evermore be fervently done.  Ready hearts to hear the voice of the Lord.

O that we could hear them chant the high praises of God, as did the shepherds on that greatest of all birth nights!


We stand as the voice of the Lord thus we speak His word with all might and power given to do and fulfill the word of God!

 

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.  For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1John 3:1

Fellowship with Jesus and joy lie ever so closely together, that the apostle could aim at both at the same time.  Yet we had neither claim nor merit that we should be called, that is made, the sons of God, who were before children of the wicked one; therefore, the love which brought us from such a depth of misery must appear the more extraordinary and impressive. 

What love, in kind and in degree.  In kind the most tender and the most elevating and dignifying, as He adopted us into his family, and permitted us to address him as our Father.  In degree the most exalted, since there is no higher love that can be shown than in adopting a poor and friendless orphan, and giving him a parent and a home.  Even God could bestow upon us no more valuable token of affection than that we should be called His children, and permitted to regard him as our Father.  

Our Father’s love admitted us who believe to the same privileges, power, and honors as all members of His heavenly family; such honor God has bestowed on us!  Such joy that we should enjoy these great pleasures.

 

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.  For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1John 3:1

Fellowship with Jesus and joy lie ever so closely together, that the apostle could aim at both at the same time.  Yet we had neither claim nor merit that we should be called, that is made, the sons of God, who were before children of the wicked one; therefore, the love which brought us from such a depth of misery must appear the more extraordinary and impressive. 

What love, in kind and in degree.  In kind the most tender and the most elevating and dignifying, as He adopted us into his family, and permitted us to address him as our Father.  In degree the most exalted, since there is no higher love that can be shown than in adopting a poor and friendless orphan, and giving him a parent and a home.  Even God could bestow upon us no more valuable token of affection than that we should be called His children, and permitted to regard him as our Father.  

Our Father’s love admitted us who believe to the same privileges, power, and honors as all members of His heavenly family; such honor God has bestowed on us!  Such joy that we should enjoy these great pleasures.

 

"...and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing." ISAIAH 10:27

This same principle of activating a power source applies in the natural realm.  For instance, plugging a fan into an electrical outlet on a hot summer day activates the power of electricity and causes the fan to cool the air.  However, if no one plugs in the fan, the fan won't work and the room stays hot.  In that same case, the power of electricity is present and available to cool the room, but it isn't being utilized or activated.  In order to tap into the power and cool the room, someone has to plug in the fan!

The electricity is already there; someone just needs to tap into it to activate it.  It is the same with healing.  We just need to tap into the power of God that is already available and activate it by faith in His Word! When faith is mixed with the power of God, the anointing breaks every yoke!
 
Luke 5:17, "And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them."
 
Notice that even though the power of the Lord was present to heal people, it doesn't mention one single person getting healed.  The only person the Bible records being healed in this account was the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof of the house by his four friends (Luke 5:18,19).  And the Bible says Jesus healed that paralyzed man because He saw their faith (Luke 5:20-25).

The faith of the four men, plus the faith of the paralyzed man, activated the power of God to effect a healing and a cure in the man's body and the paralyzed man immediately rose up healed!!

The power of God won't do a thing in the world by itself.  It's inactive, inert, and passive until faith is mixed with it - until someone taps into it by believing and acting upon God's Word!  You see, faith gives action to the anointing or the power of God.  If there is no faith to give action to the anointing, nothing will happen!

 

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the  thoughts and intents of the heart.-HEBREWS 4:12

To be strong in faith, the first thing you must settle on is the integrity of the Word of God.

You must know that the Bible is exactly what it declares itself to be - God's Word - a revelation from God to us!  It is God speaking to us now!  It is not only a book of the past and the future; it is a book for now.  It is a God-breathed, God-indwelt, God-inspired message.

Moffat's translation of Hebrews 4:12 reads, "For the Logos [Word] of God is a living thing... Quick!  Alive!  Living!  But it will come alive to you only as you accept it and act upon it.

Since salvation’s work is complete, let us hold to it and enjoy the consequent blessings.  We should be foolish indeed to leave such riches of grace.

 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:10-14

While the gift of God appeared as a helpless infant, he was the object of worship to the angels of God.

The design of God, in the incarnation, was to manifest the hidden glories of his nature, and to reconcile men to each other and to himself. The angels therefore declare that this incarnation shall manifest and promote the glory of God.

What then is the Glory of God except his presence Emmanuel (God with us.)  In the presence of the Most High sickness poverty and death are driven away.  Thus man is given the gift that brings all eyes toward God.  The testimony of his salvation and healing draw all men to the goodness of God. 

What a great gift to give to those we celebrate Christmas with this year.  To give your testimony wrapped in the love of God!

   

Published by Amazing Grace Ministries Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Distributed by Amazing Grace Ministries Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Unless otherwise indicated all Scripture quotations are from the Authorized / King James Version (KJV)  No part of these articles or  books  may be reproduced without written permission except for brief quotation in books and critical reviews.
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