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He Is Ransom

From the writing of Psalm 55

He ransoms me and keeps me safe

    from the battle waged against me,

    though many still oppose me.

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God, who has ruled forever,

    will hear me and humble them. Interlude

For my enemies refuse to change their ways;

    they do not fear God.

He which is enemies who dwell over me from the battle which is waged against the inner and outer being of who I am in spirit and in physical bodies through men and God still have oppositions against the Father and the good of men which includes in me

God, who has ruled authorities over nations and worldwide forever,

    will hear me in his works he has shown many and performed though his servants and humble them. Interlude

For my enemies refuse to change their ways;

    they do not fear God. The draw pleasure in the wrongs they do in being servants of the world and unruly sin not in a faith walk with God living a godly rule

What Does Psalm 55:6 Mean? ►

I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

Psalm 55:6(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

David is the author of Psalm 55, and he bemoans the shocking fact that his own familiar friend, whom he loved and trusted, betrayed him. A trusted companion, with whom David had enjoyed hours of sweet fellowship turned on him and was unimaginably disloyal. David and his bosom companion had spent much time together, in one another’s company. They had communed together, fellowshiped together, and walked together in the house of God. No wonder David’s heart was in such anguish.

It was not simply a difference of opinion that cause these two friends to go their separate ways. It was not life’s circumstances that had caused them to be detached from the close bond that had anchored them together in spirit. This was not a parting of the ways, due to the ebb and flow of life, that so often happens when circumstances dictate that two kindred spirits are separated from one another. 

This was a deliberate, premeditated betrayal of a trusted friend, that caused David to cry out, “My heart is in anguish within me. The terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling has come upon me. Horror has overwhelmed me.” It is no surprise that David cried out in great dismay and deep distress, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

This man of God longed that he could escape the terrible situation and distressing betrayal of his beloved friend. So shocking was this soul-mate’s disloyalty that David would have fled to the desert to find solace. I wonder if David’s thoughts travelled back to the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel, when God provided the comfort and strength his forefathers needed, as they trudged around the desert for 40 years.

I wonder if his thoughts travelled back to the ark of Noah, after the grueling experience of the flood, when a little dove was released through the window of the ark and was the only bird that brought comfort and hope back to Noah and his family, as they waited for the waters of judgement to subside. Perhaps David’s mind retreated to the sacrificial offering of two turtledoves that Israel was commanded to perform, on certain high days and holy days. 

I wonder if David considered the dove as a symbol of peace, as he reflected on the Spirit of God, Who brooded over the dark waters, in the beginning, and brought order out of chaos… as God spoke the world into being and sustained His creation by the might of His power. I wonder if David had an understanding that the dove would become the most familiar symbol of God’s sustaining power, grace, and comfort in the body of Christ.. or if at that moment he simply saw a little dove, fluttering into his courtyard.

I wonder if David knew that the Psalm that he was writing was Messianic. I wonder if he knew it was a signpost that points us to Jesus, and His familiar friend and beloved disciple – Judas Iscariot, who would betray the Lord of Glory for thirty pieces of silver. I wonder if David knew that the Psalm he was writing in his deep distress would be a peculiar pointer to great David’s greater Son – God’s Anointed Saviour, Who would be despised and rejected of men – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – so that the fallen race of man could be redeemed by faith.

David wanted to run away from the dire circumstances that caused such deep despair. He wanted to flee far from the person who had caused him such anguish of heart. He wanted the horrors of life that surrounded him, at that time, to be removed far away… but David had to learn that you can’t run away from the circumstances of life, you can’t escape from those that would do you harm, you can’t live in this world and be free from trials and tribulations, you can’t fly away to a deserted place and be at rest, for we live in a fallen world, we inhabit a fallen body and we live among a fallen race of fallen creatures.

No! The only place to run is into the arms of Jesus. The only escape is to be positioned in Christ, by faith, and empowered by His Holy Spirit. The only way to be at rest is to abide in Christ and to have Him abiding in us, every moment of the day – as we walk in spirit and truth, as we trust in the Lord with all our heart, as we keep self nailed to the cross, and as we die to self and live for Him.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-55-6

For turning to the deform world to the vision of God is like turning to a pastor and saying do you know God? Knowing that a Pastor needs a specific calling and guide and guidance. To be trained with the knowledge to speak brave in the word of God you can not just claim to be a pastor or healer it needs proof of the assessment and assignment that was given

Then once you have provided your case and showed your proof against you to state your case your claim and your theory without any of that you have no validation of theory, and case or even your own story you’re trying to share with other in point run to the father and claim his gift of love In who he is in all he does and in his walk in faith beside God in honor of God and respect of love he showed by sending us his son to that of the cross

Don’t Hold Too Tight To Life

VERSE OF THE DAY

Matthew 16:25 (New Living Translation)

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If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

If you hold to your life like you’re gonna loose it then you will loose it. But if you turn your life down very to God for his sake, you will grow and prosper in abundance.

What Does Matthew 16:25 Mean? ►

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.

Matthew 16:25(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

When man sinned, he placed self on the throne of his life in place of God, but unless a believer learns the hard lesson of self-denial and sets out to live his life for Christ alone, by denying self; taking up his cross; living for Christ and identifying with Him – his life will be fruitless.

Just as Christ identified with us and became sin for us so we might be made the righteousness of God in Him – we too are to identify with Christ in His rejection, suffering, shame, loss and death, so that in Him we too may rise to newness of life – to a life of faith – a life lived in the power of the Spirit – a life lived in submission to the will of God – a life that says, Thy will not mine be done.

Generally, man desires a life of ease – a life of comfort and a life devoid of troubles – a life of honour and happiness, and men often do all they can to accomplish this in their life, at the expense of the next. But in Christ’s economy this is to ‘save’ one’s life… which means that his life – (his soul; his rewards; his honour) will be lost in the next.

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Oh, the believer who ‘saves’ his life in this world and lives for himself, will not lose his eternal salvation, but he will certainly lose his ‘life’, his soul; his rewards and his honour in the next, for whatever self-gains in this life will result in loss in the next.

We are commanded to lay up treasure in heaven and not seek after the the pleasures and comforts of this world system, for in God’s economy that is to ‘save’ one’s life, and whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Christ will find it.

It was once said that he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep (i.e. this life and all the pleasures it offers) to gain what he cannot lose (i.e. his eternal life but with it any heavenly rewards that come from dying to self and live for Christ.)

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/matthew-16-25

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/matthew-16-25

Matthew 16:25 Meaning of For Whoever Wants to save Their Life Will Lose It

Feb 22, 2020 by Editor in Chief

Matthew 16:25
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 16:25

Christians are blessed with the reality that they don’t have to worry about their life. The world says to worry about your life. The world says that you should look out for yourself and get what is yours. When Jesus spoke of his coming death, his disciple protested, but Jesus said this attitude was from satan, and even that satan was speaking through Peter (Mt 16:23).

But Jesus didn’t intend that he would be the only one to live and die this way. All Christian are called to “pick up their cross” and follow Jesus in his way. It is an unfortunate reality that the Church today preaches an easy believism that says, “Pray this prayer and you never have to worry about going to hell when you die.” What a tragedy! People are already in the hell of their life in a fallen flesh, in a fallen world, ruled by satan. Jesus died for so much more than a magic get-out-of-hell formula.

God’s invitation is an invitation to die to your old ways. If this doesn’t sound good to you, it is because you have no idea how wonderful it will be to let him “wreck your life.” Jesus calls us to “life abundant” (Jn 10:10).

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 16:25

#1 “For…”
After rebuking Peter and satan for being a “stumbling block” and tempting Jesus to disobey the will of God by avoiding his suffering, Jesus turns to our call to follow him in bearing our cross.

#2 “…whoever…”
God must draw us to overcome our flesh and turn to him, but he has absolutely created us as moral agents in his image with the capacity to make choices for which we are held responsible. It is part of the privilege and responsibility of being his image-bearers. Anyone who believes and comes to the Father will be saved. Everyone is held responsible for the choice to do so or not.

#3 “wants to save their life…”
How unfortunate it is when we in our ignorance think we know better than God what is good for us. From whom do we try to “save” our lives? From the only One who knows what’s best for us! Only God could make something from our lives, but it requires total obedience and submission to him. Otherwise, we just think that we are our own god. This is the worst and sneakiest form of idolatry and betrays unbelief.

#4 “…will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
It will end badly for those who never take up their cross and die with Christ. But those who obey Him in this and trade what they see for what they cannot will find eternal and abundant life in Christ. Have the faith of a child and trust in your Father’s purposes and plans. Lay down your life and become what he intends for you.

David Guzik

On December 9, 2015, 5:56 am

Matthew Chapter 16

Matthew 16 – Revealing Who Jesus Is and What He Came to Do

A. Warnings against the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

1. (1-4) The Sadducees and the Pharisees seek a sign from Jesus.

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

a. Then the Pharisees and Sadducees: Their working together showed a deep fear among the religious leaders. The Sadducees and Pharisees were long-standing enemies, and the fact that they came together against Jesus shows they regarded Him as a serious threat.

i. “It is an extraordinary phenomenon to find a combination of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They stood for both beliefs and policies which were diametrically opposed.” (Barclay)

· The Pharisees lived according to the smallest points of the oral and scribal law; the Sadducees received only the written words of the Hebrew Scriptures.

· The Pharisees believed in angels and the resurrection; the Sadducees did not (Paul used this division in Acts 23:6-10).

· The Pharisees were not a political party and were prepared to live under any government that would leave them alone to practice their religion the way they wanted to; the Sadducees were aristocrats and collaborated with the Romans to keep their wealth and power.

· The Pharisees looked for and longed for the Messiah; the Sadducees did not.

ii. Yet for all these differences, Jesus brought them together. Not in a good way – they came together in opposition to Jesus, but they came together nonetheless.

b. And testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven: Jesus had done many signs and they remained unconvinced. They looked for a sign from heaven such as calling down fire from heaven, preferably against a Roman legion. They said they were not convinced by the signs “on earth” Jesus had already done.

i. Jesus had already been asked for a sign in Matthew 12:38, and in response He had already pointed them to the sign of Jonah. Tradition held that a sign done on earth could be a counterfeit from Satan, but signs done from heaven (coming in or from the sky) were assumed to be from God.

ii. “The immediate demand of the Jewish leaders for a sign from heaven contrasts sharply with the Gentile crowd’s response to Jesus’ miracles (Matthew 15:31).” (France)

c. Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times: Jesus condemned their hypocrisy. They felt confident about predicting the weather from the signs they saw around them, but were blind to the signs regarding Jesus’ Messianic credentials right before their eyes.

i. “The proof that they cannot discern the ‘signs’ is that they ask for a sign!” (Carson)

ii. Jesus wasn’t the only one to notice the hypocrisy in His day. The Jews of Jesus’ day had a proverb saying that if all the hypocrites in the world were divided into ten parts, Jerusalem would contain nine of the ten parts.

iii. You cannot discern the signs of the times: Jesus said this of the religious leaders of His own day regarding the signs of His first coming. There were prophecies, circumstances, and evidences that should have made it clear to them as signs of the times that the Messiah had come. Many people today are just as blind to the signs of the times regarding the second coming of Jesus.

d. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign: This statement of Jesus reminds us that signs alone convert no one. It is easy to place far too much confidence in signs and wonders as tools to bring people to faith in Jesus.

i. The problem isn’t that the signs are themselves weak, but that a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after them. The Bible gives repeated examples of those who saw remarkable signs, yet did not believe.

e. No sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah: Jesus promised a sign that would have power to bring people to faith – His resurrection. He had previously mentioned the sign of the prophet Jonah in Matthew 12:39-41, clearly explaining it as His coming resurrection.

i. We remember some of the similarities between Jonah and Jesus:

· Jonah sacrificed himself that others would be saved.

· Jonah disappeared from all human view in doing this.

· Jonah was sustained the days when he could not be seen.

· Jonah came back after three days, as back from the dead.

· Jonah preached repentance.

2. (5-12) Jesus cautions the disciples against false teaching.

Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?; but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

a. Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees: After the preceding conflict with the religious leaders, Jesus gave this warning to His disciples, using the metaphor of leaven.

i. As noted previously in the parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33), leaven is consistently used as a picture of sin and corruption (especially in the Passover narrative of Exodus 12:8, 12:15-20).

ii. “It was the Jewish metaphorical expression for an evil influence. To the Jewish mind leaven was always symbolic of evil…leaven stood for an evil influence liable to spread through life and to corrupt it.” (Barclay) “False doctrine; which is fitly called leaven, because it soureth, swelleth, spreadeth, corrupteth the whole lump, and all this secretly.” (Trapp)

b. It is because we have taken no bread: This was a strange concern after Jesus had, in the recent past, miraculously fed both crowds exceeding 5,000 and 4,000 people. The disciples didn’t understand Jesus at all here and His use of leaven as a metaphor.

i. “Our memories are naturally like hour-glasses, no sooner filled with good instructions and experiments than running out again. It must be our prayer to God that he would put his finger upon the hole, and so make our memories like the pot of manna, preserving holy truths in the ark of the soul.” (Trapp)

c. Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees: Jesus impressed the importance of being on guard against false teaching, especially that in the service of religious hypocrisy.

i. Jesus charged His disciples with three things:

· Ignorance, because they didn’t understand that He was using material things (leaven) to illustrate spiritual things (the dangerous teachings and practices of the Sadducees and Pharisees).

· Unbelief, because they were overly concerned with the supply of bread, when they had seen Jesus miraculously provide bread on several previous occasions.

· Forgetfulness, because they seemed to forget what Jesus had done before in regard to providing bread.

B. Peter proclaims Jesus as Messiah.

1. (13) Jesus asks the disciples to tell Him who others say He is.

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

a. When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi: Jesus again withdrew from the mainly Jewish region of Galilee and came to a place more populated by Gentiles. This was likely a retreat from the pressing crowds.

i. “Caesarea Philippi lies about twenty-five miles [46 kilometers] north-east of the Sea of Galilee…The population was mainly non-Jewish, and there Jesus would have peace to teach the Twelve.” (Barclay)

b. Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? Jesus did not ask this question because He didn’t know who He was, or because He had an unfortunate dependence on the opinion of others. He asked this question as an introduction to a more important follow-up question.

i. Caesarea Philippi was an area associated with idols and rival deities. “The area was scattered with temples of the ancient Syrian Baal worship…Hard by Caesarea Philippi there rose a great hill, in which was a deep cavern; and that cavern was said to be the birthplace of the great god Pan, the god of nature…In Caesarea Philippi there was a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar…It is as if Jesus deliberately set himself against the background of the world’s religions in all their history and splendour, and demanded to be compared to them and to have the verdict given in his favour.” (Barclay)

2. (14-16) A pointed question and a pointed answer.

So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

a. Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets: People who thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, didn’t know much about Him, and they didn’t know that Jesus and John had ministered at the same time. Yet John, Elijah, and Jeremiah (along with other prophets) were national reformers who stood up to the corrupt rulers of their day.

i. Some thought Jesus was a herald of national repentance, like John the Baptist and some thought Jesus was a famous worker of miracles, like Elijah. Some thought Jesus was someone who spoke the words of God, like Jeremiah and the prophets.

ii. Perhaps in seeing Jesus in these roles, people hoped for a political messiah who would overthrow the corrupt powers oppressing Israel.

iii. The general tendency in all these answers was to underestimate Jesus; to give Him a measure of respect and honor, but to fall far short of honoring Him for who He really is.

b. Who do you say that I am? It was fine for the disciples to know what others thought about Jesus. But Jesus had to ask them, as individuals, what they believed about Him.

i. This is the question placed before all who hear of Jesus; and it is we, not He, who are judged by our answer. In fact, we answer this question every day by what we believe and do. If we really believe Jesus is who He says He is, it will affect the way that we live.

ii. “Our Lord presupposes that his disciples would not have the same thoughts as ‘men’ had. They would not follow the spirit of the age, and shape their views by those of the ‘cultured’ persons of the period.” (Spurgeon)

c. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God: Peter knew the opinion of the crowd – while it was complimentary towards Jesus – wasn’t accurate. Jesus was much more than John the Baptist or Elijah or a prophet. He was more than a national reformer, more than a miracle worker, more than a prophet. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

i. We can surmise that this was an understanding that Peter and the other disciples came to over time. In the beginning, they were attracted to Jesus as a remarkable and unusual rabbi. They committed themselves to Him as His disciples or students, as was practiced in that day. Yet over time Peter – and presumably others of the disciples by this point – understood that Jesus was in fact not only the Messiah (the Christ), but also the Son of the living God.

ii. Peter understood that Jesus was not only God’s Messiah, but also God Himself. The Jews properly thought that to receive the title “the Son of the living God,” in a unique sense, was to make a claim to deity itself.

iii. “The adjective living may perhaps have been included to contrast the one true God with the local deities (Caesarea Philippi was a centre of the worship of Pan).” (France)

3. (17-20) Jesus compliments Peter for His bold and correct declaration.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

a. Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven: Jesus reveals to Peter that he spoke by divine inspiration, even if he didn’t even know it at the time. In this, Peter was genuinely blessed – both by the insight itself and how it came to him.

i. We too often expect God to speak in strange and unnatural ways. Here God spoke through Peter so naturally that he didn’t even realize it was the Father who is in heaven that revealed it to him.

ii. This also speaks to us of our need for a supernatural revelation of Jesus. “If you know no more of Jesus than flesh and blood has revealed to you, it has brought you no more blessing than the conjectures of their age brought to the Pharisees and Sadducees, who remained an adulterous and unbelieving generation.” (Spurgeon)

b. I also say to you that you are Peter: This was not only recognition of Peter’s more Roman name; it was also a promise of God’s work in Peter. The name Peter means “Rock.” Though perhaps unlikely, Peter was a rock, and would become a rock. God was and would transform his naturally extreme character into something solid and reliable.

c. On this rock I will build My church: The words this rock have been the source of much controversy. It is best to see them as referring to either Jesus Himself (perhaps Jesus gesturing to Himself as He said this), or as referring to Peter’s confession of who Jesus is.

i. Peter, by His own testimony, did not see himself as the rock on which the church was founded. He wrote that we are living stones, but Jesus is the cornerstone. We could say that Peter was the “first believer”; that he was the “first rock” among “many rocks.”

ii. Peter said as much in 1 Peter 2:4-5: Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

d. I will build My church: This is the first use of the word church in the New Testament (or the Bible for that matter), using the ancient Greek word ekklesia. Significantly, this was well before the beginnings of what we normally think of as the church on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

i. This shows that Jesus was anticipating or prophesying what would come from these disciples/apostles and those who would believe in their message that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

ii. The ancient Greek word ekklesia was not primarily a religious word at all; it just meant, “group” or “called-out group.” In describing the later group of His followers and disciples, Jesus deliberately chose a word without a distinctly religious meaning.

iii. Furthermore, this statement of Jesus was a clear claim of ownership (My church). The church belongs to Jesus. This was also a claim to deity: “What is striking is…the boldness of Jesus’ description of it as my community, rather than God’s.” (France)

iv. Taken together, the promise is wonderful:

· He brings His people together in common: I will build.

· He builds on a firm foundation: On this rock I will build.

· He builds something that belongs to Him: My church.

· He builds it into a stronghold: the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

e. And the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it: Jesus also offered a promise – that the forces of death and darkness can’t prevail against or conquer the church. This is a valuable promise in dark or discouraging times for the church.

i. The Puritan commentator John Trapp explained the gates of Hades this way: “All the power and policy of hell combined.”

ii. “Neither doth hell signify here the place of the damned…but either death, or the graves, or the state of the dead: yet the devil is also understood here, as he that hath the power of death, Hebrews 2:14.” (Poole)

iii. “The gates of hell, i.e., the machinations and powers of the invisible world. In ancient times the gates of fortified cities were used to hold councils in, and were usually places of great strength. Our Lord’s expression means, that neither the plots, stratagems, nor strength of Satan and his angels, should ever so far prevail as to destroy the sacred truths in the above confession.” (Clarke)

iv. A slightly different view: “Is thus to say that it will not die, and be shut in by the ‘gates of death.’” (France)

f. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: This idea of Peter holding the keys of the kingdom of heaven has captured the imagination (and theology) of many Christians throughout the centuries. In artistic representation, Peter is almost always shown with keys.

i. Some people think that this means that Peter has the authority to admit people to heaven, or to keep people out of heaven. This is the basis for the popular image of Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven, allowing people to enter or turning them away.

ii. Some people think that it also means that Peter was the first Pope, and that his supposed successors have the keys that were first given to Peter. Indeed, the Papal insignia of the Roman Catholic Church is made up of two prominent keys crossed together.

iii. There is no doubt that Peter had a special place among all the disciples, and that he had some special privileges:

· He is always listed first in the listings of the disciples.

· He opened doors of the kingdom to the Jews in Acts 2:38-39.

· He opened doors of the kingdom to the Gentiles in Acts 10:34-44.

iv. Yet there is no Biblical argument whatsoever that Peter’s privilege or authority was passed on. To put it one way; one might say that Jesus gave Peter the keys, but didn’t give him the authority to pass them on to further generations, and there is not a whisper in the Scriptures that Peter’s authority was to be passed on.

v. The idea that apostolic authority comes from Jesus, who gave it to Peter, who set his hands on the heads of approved and ordained men, who in turn set their hands on the heads of approved and ordained men, and so on and so on through the generations until today is nonsense. It is exactly what Spurgeon said it was: the laying of empty hands on empty heads.

g. And whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven: The power for binding and loosing is something that the Jewish rabbis of that day used. They bound or loosed an individual in the application of a particular point of the law. Jesus promises that Peter – and the other apostles – would be able to set the boundaries authoritatively for the New Covenant community. This was the authority given to the apostles and prophets to build a foundation (Ephesians 2:20).

i. We should understand this as Jesus giving both the permission and the authority to the first-generation apostles to make the rules for the early church – and indirectly, the inspired writings that would guide all generations of Christians. The authority that Peter carries is “not an authority which he alone carries, as may be seen from the repetition of the latter part of the verse in Matthew 18:18 with reference to the disciple group as a whole.” (France)

ii. “Binding” and “loosing” were administrative terms in daily Jewish life; whenever a Jew came up against the Law of Moses, that Jewish person was either “bound” or “loosed” in regard to that law. To loose was to permit; to bind was to prohibit. To loose was to free from the law, to bind was to put under the law. “Their regular sense, which any Jew would recognize was to allow and to forbid. To bind something was to declare it forbidden; to loose was to declare it allowed. These were the regular phrases for taking decisions in regard to the law.” (Barclay)

iii. In daily Jewish life, this could be rather complicated. Here is one example from ancient rabbinical writings, cited by teacher Mike Russ:

· If your dog dies in your house, is your house clean or unclean? Unclean.

· If your dog dies outside your house, is your house clean or unclean? Clean.

· If your dog dies on the doorstep, is your house clean or unclean? Ancient rabbinical writings took the issue on and decided that if the dog died with his nose pointing into the house, the house was unclean; if the dog died with his nose pointing away from the house, the house was clean.

iv. As their rabbi, Jesus did this binding and loosing for His own disciples. Without using the same words, this is what Jesus did when He allowed them to take the grains of wheat in the field (Matthew 12:1-8).

v. Significantly, when it came time to understand the dietary laws of the Old Covenant in light of the new work of Jesus, God spoke to Peter first. He and the other apostles, guided by the Spirit of God, would bind and loose Christians regarding such parts of the Old Covenant.

vi. In a lesser, secondary sense, this power is with the Church today. “Today the Lord continues to back up the teaching and acts of his sent servants, those Peters who are pieces of the one Rock. The judgments of his Church, when rightly administered, have his sanction so as to make them valid. The words of his sent servants, spoken in his name, shall be confirmed of the Lord, and shall not be, either as to promise or threatening, a mere piece of rhetoric.” (Spurgeon)

h. He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ: Jesus was pleased that His disciples were coming to know who He was in truth, but He still didn’t want His identity popularly known before the proper time.

i. “Before they could preach that Jesus was the Messiah, they had to learn what that meant.” (Barclay)

4. (21) Jesus begins to reveal the full extent of His mission.

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

a. He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things…and be killed: This must have come as quite a shock to His disciples. After fully understanding that Jesus was the Messiah, the last thing they expected was the Messiah would suffer many things and be killed.

i. Yet this was the predicted work of the Messiah (Isaiah 53:3-12). He must die, and He must after His death be raised the third day.

ii. The suffering and death of Jesus was a must because of two great facts: man’s sin and God’s love. While His death was the ultimate example of man’s sin against God, it was also the supreme expression of God’s love to man.

iii. “The ‘must’ of Jesus’ suffering lies, not in unqualified determinism, nor in heroic determination (though some of both is present), but in willing submission to his Father’s will.” (Carson)

iv. “The elders and chief priests and scribes were the three groups who together made up the Sanhedrin, Israel’s highest court; Jesus is to be officially executed. The estrangement between Jesus and the official Jewish leadership is thus already irrevocable.” (France)

b. And be raised the third day: The disciples were probably so shocked that Jesus said He would be killed in Jerusalem that these words didn’t sink in. Later, an angel reminded them of these words (Luke 24:6-8).

5. (22-23) Peter’s unwitting opposition of Jesus.

Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

a. Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You! At this moment Peter had the remarkable boldness to rebuke Jesus. Peter did it privately (took Him aside), yet was confident enough to tell Jesus that He was wrong to consider going to Jerusalem to be killed.

i. It’s not hard to see Peter following these steps:

· Peter confesses Jesus as the Messiah.

· Jesus compliments Peter, telling him that God revealed this to him.

· Jesus tells of His impending suffering, death, and resurrection.

· Peter feels this isn’t right, and he feels that he hears from God and therefore has some authority or right to speak.

· Peter begins to rebuke Jesus. “‘Began’ suggests that Peter gets only so far before Jesus cuts him off.” (Carson)

ii. We can infer that if Peter was bold enough to rebuke Jesus, he was confident that God told him that he was right and that Jesus was wrong at this point. Where it all broke down was that Peter was far too confident in his ability to hear from God.

· What Peter said didn’t line up with the Scriptures.

· What Peter said was in contradiction to the spiritual authority over him.

b. Get behind Me, Satan! This was a strong rebuke from Jesus, yet entirely appropriate. Though a moment before, Peter spoke as a messenger of God, he then spoke as a messenger of Satan. Jesus knew there was a satanic purpose in discouraging Him from His ministry on the cross, and Jesus would not allow that purpose to succeed.

i. We can be sure that Peter was not aware that he spoke for Satan, just as a moment before he was not aware that he spoke for God. It is often much easier to be a tool of God or of the devil than we want to believe.

ii. “Origen suggested that, Jesus was saying to Peter: ‘Peter, your place is behind me, not in front of me. It is your place to follow me in the way I choose, not to try to lead me in the way you would like me to go.’” (Barclay)

c. You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men: Jesus exposed how Peter came into this satanic way of thinking. He didn’t make a deliberate choice to reject God and embrace Satan; he simply let his mind settle on the things of men instead of the things of God, and Satan took advantage of it.

i. Peter is a perfect example of how a sincere heart coupled with man’s thinking can often lead to disaster.

ii. Peter’s rebuke of Jesus is an evidence of the leaven mentioned in Matthew 16:6. With his mind on the things of men, Peter only saw the Messiah as the embodiment of power and strength, instead of as a suffering servant. Because Peter couldn’t handle a suffering Messiah, he rebuked Jesus.

C. Jesus’ call to disciples.

1. (24) Jesus declares His expectation that His followers would follow Him by dying to self.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

a. Said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me”: This was a word spoken to the disciples of Jesus; to those who genuinely wanted to follow (come after) Him.

b. Let him deny himself, and take up his cross: It was bad enough for the disciples to hear that Jesus would suffer, be rejected, and die on a cross. Now Jesus told them that they must do the same thing.

c. Deny himself, and take up his cross: Everybody knew what Jesus meant when He said this. Everyone knew that the cross was an unrelenting instrument of death. The cross had no other purpose.

i. The cross wasn’t about religious ceremonies; it wasn’t about traditions and spiritual feelings. The cross was a way to execute people.

ii. In these twenty centuries after Jesus, we have done a pretty good job in sanitizing and ritualizing the cross. Yet Jesus said something much like this: “Walk down death row daily and follow Me.” Taking up your cross wasn’t a journey; it was a one-way trip. There was no return ticketing; it was never a round trip.

iii. “Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life. Rather, it involves the way of the cross. The picture is of a man, already condemned, required to carry his cross on the way to the place of execution, as Jesus was required to do.” (Wessel, commentary on Mark)

iv. “Every Christian must be a Crucian, said Luther, and do somewhat more than those monks that made themselves wooden crosses, and carried them on their back continually, making all the world laugh at them.” (Trapp, commentary on Mark)

d. Deny himself, and take up his cross: Jesus made deny himself equal with take up his cross. The two express the same idea. The cross wasn’t about self-promotion or self-affirmation. The person carrying a cross knew they couldn’t save themselves.

i. “Denying self is not the same as self-denial. We practice self-denial when, for a good purpose, we occasionally give up things or activities. But we deny self when we surrender ourselves to Christ and determine to obey His will.” (Wiersbe, commentary on Mark)

ii. Denying self means to live as an others-centered person. Jesus was the only person to do this perfectly, but we are to follow in His steps (and follow Me). This is following Jesus at its simplest: He carried a cross, He walked down death row; so must those who follow Him.

iii. Human nature wants to indulge self, not deny self. Death to self is always terrible, and if we expect it to be a pleasant or mild experience, we will often be disillusioned. Death to self is the radical command of the Christian life. To take up your cross meant one thing: you were going to a certain death, and your only hope was in resurrection power.

2. (25-27) The paradox of the cross: finding life by losing it.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

a. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it: We must follow Jesus this way, because it is the only way that we will ever find life. It sounds strange to say, “You will never live until you first walk to your death with Jesus,” but that is the idea. You can’t gain resurrection life without dying first.

i. You don’t lose a seed when you plant it, though it seems dead and buried. Instead, you set the seed free to be what it was always intended to be.

b. What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Avoiding the walk to death with Jesus means that we may gain the whole world, and end up losing everything.

i. Jesus Himself had the opportunity to gain all the world by worshipping Satan (Luke 4:5-8), but He found life and victory in obedience instead.

ii. Amazingly, the people who live this way before Jesus are the ones who are really, genuinely happy. Giving our lives to Jesus all the way, and living as an others-centered person does not take away from our lives, it adds to it.

c. He will reward each according to his works: This ultimate gain is given on this day. If we live life blind to this truth, we really will lose our own soul.

i. “Not only Jesus’ example, but the judgment he will exercise is an incentive to take up one’s cross and follow him.” (Carson)

ii. With His angels: “They are his angels: he stands so far above them that he owns them and uses them.” (Carson)

3. (28) A promise to see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.

“Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

a. Some standing here… shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom: Jesus said this at this moment to emphasize an important truth. Walking with Jesus doesn’t just mean a life of death and crosses. It also means a life of the power and glory of the kingdom of God. Jesus promised some of His disciples would see glimpses of that power and glory.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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What does Matthew 16:25 mean?

The idea that following Jesus shared anything with crucifixion—the tortuous, humiliating, violating death on a cross—would have shocked the disciples. Still, He has said anyone who would follow Him must deny himself and take up his cross (Matthew 16:24). Jesus had not yet revealed that He would die on a cross, though He will include that later in His teaching (John 12:32–34). Instead, He presented this as the most vivid of metaphors. Those who followed Him would have to willingly die to every bit of their own agenda, their own identity, their own approach.

Now Jesus becomes even more clear that He is describing the death of self: whoever would save his or her life will lose it. However, those who willingly lose their lives for His sake will find true life. In saying this, Jesus changed the stakes. Death to self is required to follow Him, yes, but it is also required to find the life that is truly life. In other words, Jesus says that following Him comes at the terrible cost of losing oneself, but the alternative is to permanently lose one’s life.

Jesus will make clear in the following verses that this loss of life for those who do not take the hard path of following Him will come at the judgment by Jesus and His angels (Matthew 16:27).

Context Summary

Matthew 16:21–28 describes the disciples’ reaction when Jesus reveals He must be killed by religious leaders and raised on the third day. Peter, recently praised for His faith (Matthew 16:17), chastises Jesus for saying such things. Jesus responds with a devastating rebuke of His own, saying “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter’s insistence that Messiah could not be killed is based in his own assumptions, not truth. Christ warns that those who follow Him must be willing to give up all else in the world, and to take on hardship and persecution, as needed. He adds that some standing there will not die before seeing Him coming in His kingdom; this prediction is fulfilled in the next passage (Matthew 17:1–2).

Chapter Summary

A group of Pharisees and Sadducees demand a miracle from Jesus, though He has already performed many. Jesus refuses and warns the disciples to beware of the teachings of these religious leaders. Jesus asks the disciples who the people say He is, as well as their own opinion. Peter says Jesus is the Christ, and is commended for that statement. Jesus begins to reveal that He must suffer and be killed before being raised on the third day. Peter’s attempt to scold Jesus results in a devastating rebuke. Jesus then says all who would follow Him must take up crosses of self-denial.

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

VERSE OF THE DAY

Leviticus 19:18 (New Living Translation)

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“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Do not hold hateful feelings or a grudge, do not seek revenge against others. Love your neighbor as you would your self. I am Lord.

18 ¶ Thou shalt not aavenge, nor bear any bgrudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt clove thy dneighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. 19 ¶ Ye shall keep my statutes.

What Does Leviticus 19:18 Mean? ►

‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:18(NASB)

Picture courtesy of Picture  courtesy of  Moody Publishers/FreeBibleimages.org

Verse Thoughts

The Law of Moses not only instructed the Israelites on the Ten Commandments with which we are all so familiar, but also the many other laws concerning the consecration of the priests and their duties, the feast days of the Lord, and the five types of sacrifices. They included cleansing rituals and different food laws, and the various rules and regulations concerning personal conduct in the everyday activities of life.

There were a wide range of laws connected with house and home, life and living, which touched on areas such as marriage and sexual purity, forbidden practices, individual rights, the growing and harvesting of crops, and storage of food, and many moral and ethical issues that simply expanded the familiar Ten Commandments. The entire Mosaic Law was indivisible – and breaking only one of the many lesser laws signified the breaking of the entire Mosaic Covenant.

This law in Leviticus states: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself – I am the LORD,” The focus of attention is on disagreements between neighbours, and the grievances that can be built up between people with opposing interests or those who consider their rights have been violated.

It gives direct and straightforward instruction on taking revenge, when one’s rights have been abused: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people,” is the clear directive from the Lord. “But you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.” When this or any of the 613 laws of the Covenant were broken, the entire Mosaic Law was broken.

The people of Israel had been brought into a unique, covenant relationship with God. Indeed, they are the only nation that have ever been given this privilege – but great privileges come with added responsibility. They were to shun the practices of the surrounding nations on these issues and obey the Word of the Lord. They were to be a witness to the pagan nations of the goodness of God, and a light to the Gentiles.

The people of Israel were to demonstrate to the rest of the world how the people of God were to live and behave. One of the ways that this was to be done, was by NOT taking vengeance on a brother or bearing any grudge against any of the people of Israel. They were to love their neighbour as they loved themselves.

Avenging one’s rights and ‘taking the law into one’s own hands’ is the normal reaction of the ‘natural man’ – the unsaved person. But God made it plain that vengeance belongs to Him. A standard was being introduced to the people of Israel that was not practiced in the surrounding, Gentile nations. But if the Law was given exclusively to Israel, how does this impact on the life of Christians?

Well, although Christians are not under the ‘Mosaic Law’ per se, we are certainly under ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ which James calls “the royal law according to the Scripture,” and there are many instructions that believers in the Church age are given on many of the issues that are addressed in the Law of Moses e.g. vengeance and justice belongs to the Lord.

Both Paul and the writer to the Hebrews reiterate an important principle to the Christian Church: “Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord – I will repay.” Just as Moses instructed the Israelites to leave the matter of reprisal and justice in God’s hands, so Christians in the Church-age are also directed in the New Testament to leave God to avenge us when we are wronged.

We are to trust Him when persecuted for righteousness’ sake or when hated by the world for the sake of Christ, for as we read in Deuteronomy: “In due time the foot of the evil man will slip. A day of calamity is coming on all who are wicked, and their impending punishment is hastening upon them.”

God’s instruction was clear to all His people: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but INSTEAD you shall love your neighbour as yourself; I am the LORD.” Loving one’s neighbour in the same way that we love and care for ourselves was an instruction Christ gave to Israel many times during His earthly ministry, and both Paul and James quoted this instruction in their respective writings to Christians.

Proverbs instructs us: “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil.’ Wait for the LORD, and He will save you,” while Peter voices a similar theme when he writes: “Put aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”

The importance of loving our neighbour as ourselves is a principle that both the born-again believer and the unsaved man recognise as coming from the lips of Jesus, and is diametrically opposite to the reaction of the natural man in this fallen world. However, as members of Christ’s Body, we have been given an even more astonishing (and impossible) commandment – that we love one another AS CHRIST LOVED US.

May we seek to fulfil this worthy directive in the sustaining and almighty power of the Holy Spirit of God, for without Him we can do nothing, but in His sufficient strength we can demonstrate godly love to others in the same way that Christ loved US.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/leviticus-19-18

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/leviticus-19-18

Leviticus 19:18 Meaning of Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Nov 18, 2020 by Editor in Chief

Leviticus 19:18
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Explanation and Commentary of Leviticus 19:18

Contrary to what unbelieving critics of Christianity may say, God’s character is consistent in Scripture from start to finish. His desire here in Leviticus, a book hated by the unbelieving world, is that men and women would love their neighbor as themselves. Jesus did not invent this concept in the first century, but it was always the heart of God for mankind. Here, God is focused on the Jewish person’s attitude toward his fellow Jew, his “own people,” but we know that God means us to treat all people in the same way.

The bearing of a grudge is a disaster on one’s own heart and soul. Men and women are simply not meant to carry that sort of hatred without it killing us from the inside. God, who is perfect and merciful, will be the one to right the wrongs against us. It is not that we as his agents are not called to exact justice as vested authorities from God, such as when the state carries out the rule of law in just and fair ways, but to hold a grudge is to hold onto hatred, and God will not have it in his people.

Rather, we must love our neighbor as our very selves. Some might say, “But I hate myself.” On the contrary, one cannot hate him or herself unless one truly loves oneself enough to care to hate. Everyone loves themselves, but most, especially apart from God, have a dysfunctional relationship with themselves. Nevertheless, we are called to love others. Love, especially for those who have hurt us, sets us free from the agony of hatred and anger and gives them over to the justice of God.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Leviticus 19:18

#1 “You shall not take vengeance…”
When we are hurt, we are not to pay back to our abuser. Justice may need to be done by getting God’s agent, the state, involved, but we are to be free from the job of vengeance.

#2 “…or bear a grudge…”
God’s concern is never simply about our actions, but also our hearts. Jesus would make this crystal clear in his teaching, especially in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). We must let go of our anger and release it to God.

#3 “…against the sons of your own people,”
For us, this means against our brothers and sisters in the Church, but Jesus even expanded the meaning of our “own people” to include all humans.

#4 “but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:”
The absence of grudges and hatred will not be indifference, but love. This is a powerful and Christlike way to live and be.

#5 “I am the Lord.”
To set these words in concrete, God reminds us who is making this command, and why he has the authority to make it and to expect us to obey. We need no other explanation.

Leviticus Chapter 19

Leviticus 19 – Many Various Laws

A. Laws regarding matters already covered.

1. (1-2) The general call to holiness.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

a. You shall be holy: The idea behind the word holy is “separate.” As it is applied to God, it describes God’s apartness. It means that God is different than man and from all others; different in His being and different in the greatness and majesty of His attributes. He has a righteousness unlike any other; a justice unlike any other; a purity unlike any other – and love, grace, and mercy unlike any other.

i. Part of this idea is that God is not merely a super-man; His being and character are divine, not human. The divine is a different order of being than the human.

b. Be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy: God is separate from man and from all creation. Yet because humans are made in the image of God, they can follow in His steps and also be holy. In this context, Israel was to be different; separate from the nations and the peoples around them.

i. To be holy means to be more like God, our separation unto Him and His truth – and naturally, separating ourselves from those things that are not like Him and not according to His truth.

ii. “A people created and governed by God are intended to represent Him and the truth concerning Him to other people.” (Morgan)

iii. Matthew Poole understood this as God’s declaration, I the LORD your God am holy, “both in my essence, and in all my laws, which are holy and just and good, and in all my actions; whereas the gods of the heathens are unholy both in their laws and institutions, whereby they allow and require filthy and abominable actions; and in their practices, some of them having given wicked examples to their worshippers.”

2. (3) The law to respect parents.

‘Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

a. Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father: This line essentially repeats the idea of the fifth commandment, found in Exodus 20:12. Honor for parents is an essential building block for the stability and health of all society. If the younger generations are constantly at war with older generations, the foundations of society will be destroyed.

i. “Respect for one’s parents is a subject that receives a great amount of attention in the Book of Proverbs (1:8; 6:20; 10:1; 17:25; 23:22; 29:3).” (Rooker)

ii. “The mother is put first, partly because the practice of this duty begins there, mothers, by perpetual converse, being more and sooner known to their children than their fathers; and partly because this duty is most commonly neglected to the mother.” (Poole)

b. And keep My Sabbaths: This line essentially repeats the fourth commandment, found in Exodus 20:8-11. Here, reverence for parents is linked to reverence for the LORD. Submitting to parental authority is a step to submitting to Divine authority.

i. “Reverencing parents is an act of piety towards God, since the parents are substitutes for the heavenly Father as far as their children are concerned.” (Harrison)

ii. The command in Exodus 2:8-11 is specifically to remember the Sabbath. Here, the command is to keep My Sabbaths – to hold them as God commanded, as a day of rest.

iii. Like everything in the Bible, we understand this from the perspective of the whole Bible, not this single passage. With this understanding, we see that there is a real sense in which Jesus fulfilled the purpose and plan of the Sabbath for us and in us (Hebrews 4:9-11) – He is our rest, when we remember His finished work we keep God’s Sabbaths, we remember the rest.

iv. Therefore, the whole of Scripture makes it clear that under the New Covenant, no one is under obligation to observe a Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11). Galatians 4:10 tells us that Christians are not bound to observe days and months and seasons and years. The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week – the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but our salvation is accomplished in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9-10).

v. Yet we dare not ignore the importance of a day of rest – God has built us so that we need one. Six days of work and one day of rest is good for us spiritually, mentally, and physically. Like an automobile that needs regular maintenance, we need regular rest – or we will not wear well. Some people are like high mileage automobiles that haven’t been maintained well, and it shows.

3. (4) The law against idolatry.

‘Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.

a. Do not turn to idols: This line essentially repeats the idea of the second commandment, found in Exodus 20:4-6. The word for idols literally means nothings. Idols represent gods that are not real and are really nothings.

i. “This word comes from a root meaning worthless, inadequate, or nothingness. It is frequently used in the Old Testament to refer to the gods of other groups of people. The Israelites did not consider them of any value.” (Peter-Contesse)

b. Nor make for yourselves molded gods: Israel had significant trouble with the worship of idols until the Babylonian captivity (some 800 years from the time of Leviticus). The attraction was not so much to the molded gods themselves, as to what they represented – financial success, pleasure, and self-worship.

i. After the Babylonian captivity, Israel was cured of her gross idolatry of molded gods and began a more dangerous form of idolatry – idolatry of the nation itself, idolatry of the temple and its ceremonies, and an idolatry of tradition.

4. (5-8) Laws regarding offerings.

‘And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, you shall offer it of your own free will. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day. And if any remains until the third day, it shall be burned in the fire. And if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It shall not be accepted. Therefore everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the hallowed offering of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from his people.

a. If you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering: A peace offering (for the enjoyment of peace with God and fellowship with Him) was always to be made of one’s own free will. God did not want forced fellowship from His people.

b. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it: Nor did God want stale fellowship with His people. The meat of a peace offering was not to be eaten after two days.

i. He has profaned the hallowed offering of the LORD: “To profane something is to treat it as if it were not sacred. The whole expression may be rendered ‘has shown his spite for what belongs to the LORD’ or ‘has desecrated something the Lord considers sacred.’” (Peter-Contesse)

B. Other laws.

1. (9-10) Providing for the poor by leaving fields incompletely harvested.

‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

a. You shall not wholly reap the corners of your field: This was one of the public assistance programs in Israel. Farmers were not to completely harvest their fields, so the poor and needy could come and glean the remains for themselves. Grain was left at the corners of the field, and grapes were left on the vine. This shows God cares for the poor and wants them to have opportunities.

i. This is exactly what Ruth was doing when Boaz noticed her (Ruth 2:2-3).

ii. This was not the only care given to the poor in Israel. Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12-15 also command that every three years there be a special tithe collected for the relief of the poor.

b. You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: This was a wonderful way to help the poor and the foreigner. It commanded the farmers to have a generous heart, and the poor to be active and to work for their food. It made a way for the poor to provide for their own needs with both work and dignity.

i. “By gleaning the corners and the leftovers of the field, the poor were spared the embarrassment of asking for charity.” (Rooker)

ii. “This is holiness according to the Divine standard, which ever has this element of compassion.” (Morgan)

2. (11-13) Honest dealing.

‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
‘You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.

a. You shall not steal: In essence, this repeats the eighth commandment (Exodus 20:15). This command is another important foundation for human society, establishing the right to personal property. God has clearly entrusted certain possessions to certain individuals, and other people or governments are not permitted to take that property without proper legal process.

i. Ephesians 4:28 gives the solution to stealing. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

b. Nor deal falsely: In the context of you shall not steal, this probably has reference to false dealing in order to steal from someone or take money from them deceptively.

c. You shall not swear by My name falsely: This is an aspect of what is forbidden under the third commandment (Exodus 20:7), against taking God’s name in vain. Again, in context, it probably has the idea of swearing oaths to deceive others in taking money from them.

d. You shall not cheat your neighbor: To cheat – to take money from others with some form of deception – is the same as to rob him. Cheating is a form of robbery or stealing, and God commands against it.

e. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you: God commands the prompt payment of those who are hired. When people are hired and not paid, it is not only a sin against those hired – it is also a sin against God.

i. “For this plain reason, it is the support of the man’s life and family, and they need to expend it as fast as it is earned.” (Clarke)

3. (14) Basic human compassion commanded.

You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

a. You shall not curse the deaf: God commanded Israel to not mistreat those with physical disabilities. Cursing the deaf is cruel because they can’t hear your curse, though others can. To put a stumbling block before the blind is just mean.

i. “He who is capable of doing this, must have a heart cased with cruelty.” (Clarke)

ii. “Even if the deaf person were unable to hear the curse, people thought that a curse had its own power to cause harm. And the deaf man would be unable to do anything to counteract it.” (Peter-Contesse)

iii. This law sought to command and build basic kindness among the people of Israel. An accurate and revealing measure of our humanity is how we treat the weak and unfortunate.

iv. This law also sought to correct bad theology. It was common then (and still exists today) for people to think that if someone had a physical disability (such as being deaf or blind), then that person was specially cursed by God. They thought it had to do with some special or specific sin from that person or their ancestors. They thought if God had so cursed them, then they could also curse them. With this command, God corrected that bad thinking.

b. Nor put a stumbling block before the blind: It would take a cruel, hard-hearted person to deliberately put a stumbling block before the blind – to deliberately trip a blind person. That this command was necessary shows us the kind of rough people the Israelites were after 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Their cruel environment made cruelty seem normal to them. This had to change.

i. These commands regarding kindness and generosity are in the midst of what is often called the holiness code of Israel. This reminds us of something often forgotten: generosity and kindness to those in need is an important aspect of holiness.

ii. “Under these two particulars are manifestly and especially forbidden all injuries done to such as are unable to right or defend themselves; of whom God here takes the more care.” (Poole)

4. (15-16) Laws regarding justice and truthfulness.

‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

a. You shall do no injustice in judgment: This was a command to judges and magistrates. Exodus 21-23 gives many principles to the judges of ancient Israel for making their legal decisions. Yet all was based on the fundamental responsibility to do no injustice in judgment.

i. Jesus repeated this foundational principle: Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

b. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: To give preference to a person just because they are poor, or just because they are mighty, is to do injustice in judgment. It should not be done.

i. This specific command speaks against a popular philosophy in the modern western world. An aspect of what is sometimes known as “critical theory” basically divides everyone into one of two categories: the oppressors and their victims. Their idea is that all who are mighty are oppressors, and all who are poor are victims – and that preference should always be given to the poor whom they understand to be victims. This goes against what God commands; this is to do injustice in judgment.

ii. Certainly it is more common to honor the person of the mighty than it is to be partial to the poor. But they are both sins; they both are an injustice. Things should be judged according to truth and evidence of the truth, not according to class theories. As God says: In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.

c. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people: A talebearer is essentially a gossip, someone who cannot mind their own business (1 Thessalonians 4:11). They take great pleasure in talking about the lives of other people and spreading stories.

i. Adam Clarke described the talebearer: “The person who travels about dealing in scandal and calumny, getting the secrets of every person and family, and retailing them wherever he goes. A more despicable character exists not: such a person is a pest to society, and should be exiled from the habitations of men.”

ii. A talebearer, “who makes it his business to go up and down from one to another, and divulge evil and false reports concerning others, which, though many times it proceeds only from levity and talkativeness, yet apparently tends to the great injury of our neighbor.” (Poole)

d. Nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: God commands us to promote and protect the lives of those around us. We have no excuse to be indifferent to the loss of life.

i. “Stand forth against the life of your neighbor: literally, ‘stand upon the blood of your neighbor.’ The exact meaning of this expression is uncertain…. most commentators take it to mean that, whenever a person is in danger of losing his life as the result of a legal case, a witness should not fail to speak out.” (Peter-Contesse)

5. (17-18) The command to love one’s neighbor.

‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

a. You shall not hate your brother in your heart: Love for one’s brother is commanded, not only in action but also in heart. Yet if it is not present in the heart, then it should be in one’s actions and the heart will follow. We should not stop at treating others well and having a heart of hatred towards them; God desires to change our hearts to love them.

b. You shall surely rebuke: Love will rebuke another when it is necessary. We all have blind spots where we think everything is fine, but it is evident to others that we need to be corrected.

c. You shall not take vengeance: Vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19) and there is a sense in which we can hold back God’s work of vengeance upon others by seeking it ourselves.

i. Of course, this principle applies to interpersonal relationships, and not to the rightful functions of government in keeping the law. Criminals cannot be let free because vengeance belongs to God. God exercises His vengeance through the rightful use of government authority (Romans 13:1-7). It is appropriate to both personally forgive the criminal and testify against them in court.

d. Nor bear any grudge: This is very difficult for many people. It is easy to cherish a grudge against another, especially when it is deserved, but too much damage is done to the one holding the grudge.

e. You shall love your neighbor as yourself: Some are surprised to see this generous command in what they believe to be the harsh Old Testament, but even the Old Covenant clearly commands us to love others.

i. “The significance of the verse is also highlighted by the fact that Jesus and Paul both cited this verse as a summary of the duties one has to his fellow man (Matthew 22:39-40, Romans 13:9).” (Rooker)

ii. Unfortunately, many ancient Jews had a narrow definition of who their neighbor was and only considered their friends and countrymen their neighbors. Jesus commanded us to love your enemies (Luke 6:27), and showed our neighbor was the one in need, even if they might be regarded as a traditional enemy (Luke 10:25-37).

iii. The command to love your neighbor as yourself is simple yet commonly misunderstood. This doesn’t mean that we must love ourselves before we can love anyone else; it means that in the same way we take care of ourselves and are concerned about our own interests, we should take care and have concern for the interests of others.

iv. We already love ourselves: For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:29). Paul warned that in the last days, men will be lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2) – and not in a positive sense! In fact, our misery when things are going badly shows we love ourselves; we rejoice in the misery of those we hate. Our challenge is to show others the same love we show ourselves.

6. (19) Laws of purity in response to pagan practices.

‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.

a. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed: The mixing of these things – different species of livestock, seeds, and fabrics – was usually seen by ancient pagans to be a source of magical power. God wanted Israel to have no association with these pagan customs.

i. “Partly, to teach the Israelites to avoid mixtures with other nations, either in marriage or in religion; which also may be signified by the following prohibitions.” (Poole)

b. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you: Since those pagan customs are no longer an issue in our day, we shouldn’t worry about mixing wool, linen, or other fabrics. This law is a good example of something that is no longer binding upon Christians today because the pagan custom the law guarded against is no longer practiced.

i. However, in our modern age there are important distinctions that have become blurred and things Christians must not participate in. The present-day blurring of distinctions between genders should be resisted by Christians.

7. (20-22) The penalty for unlawful intercourse with a concubine.

‘Whoever lies carnally with a woman who is betrothed to a man as a concubine, and who has not at all been redeemed nor given her freedom, for this there shall be scourging; but they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, a ram as a trespass offering. The priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed. And the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.

a. Whoever lies carnally with a woman who is betrothed to a man as a concubine: This deals with a woman who was a concubine in the sense she was a slave girl, who was eligible to be married.

i. This is the situation described: A slave girl is engaged to marry a free man, and then a different man has sex with her. Normally, the penalty was death; but because the woman was a slave and was presumed to be not free to resist (or guarded by a father), the penalty was not death. Yet, because of the rape, she was not marriable to her fiancée, so he must be reimbursed (the punishment mentioned). Then the moral guilt would be settled by sacrifice, and presumably the man who had sex with her would be obliged to marry her.

b. And the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him: With the appropriate sacrifice, the sin could be forgiven.

i. “It is worth noting that only the man was considered blameworthy, not the female slave. Being a slave, the woman may have felt she had little recourse in resisting a male who was a free man and thus more powerful both in the social and economic spheres.” (Rooker)

8. (23-25) Regarding the fruit in the land of Canaan.

‘When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the LORD. And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the LORD your God.

a. When you come into the land: God reminded Israel of their ultimate goal – the promised land, the land of Canaan – and told them not to eat of the fruit of the trees they plant there for three years. Then the fruit of the fourth year belonged to the LORD, and the fruit of the fifth year could be eaten.

b. That it may yield to you its increase: God knew that not harvesting the fruit for this period would be beneficial for both the trees and the surrounding ecology, resulting in ultimately more productive fruit trees.

i. “The reason for this law is not stated, but it does reinforce to the Israelites that the land is the Lord’s and that he is giving it to them as a gift.” (Rooker)

9. (26-31) Laws to insure separation from pagan practices.

‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.
‘Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness.
‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.
‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

a. You shall not eat anything with the blood: Eating blood was a practice in many pagan cultic ceremonies, as was divination and soothsaying. Therefore, both were directly forbidden.

i. Harrison on soothsaying: “The prognostication of favourable times for specific forms of action.” This was predicting lucky days or favorable times as an astrologer or others might do.

ii. “Pagans often employed divination and sorcery to try to determine what events would soon transpire. Divination and sorcery were widespread in the ancient Near East, particularly in Mesopotamia and Egypt.” (Rooker)

b. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard: To do this was to imitate pagan customs of that day. Today, Jewish orthodox men are noticeable by their untrimmed beards and the long, curly locks on the sides of their heads.

i. “This the Gentiles did, either for the worship of the devils or idols, to whom young men used to consecrate their hair, being cut off from their heads, as Homer, Plutarch, and many others write; or in funerals or immoderate mournings, as appears from Isaiah 15:2Jeremiah 48:37.” (Poole)

c. Cuttings in the flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: These were also pagan practices God wanted Israel to be separate from. The trimming of the hair, the beard, cutting, and tattoos were all connected with pagan rites of mourning.

i. Cuttings in the flesh for the dead: “The reference here is to the practice of making deep gashes in the skin while mourning the death of a relative. This was done to provide life blood for the spirit of the dead person rather than to express sorrow.” (Peter-Contesse)

ii. “The tattoo indicated that one was a slave to a particular deity.” (Rooker)

iii. “Ancient writers abound with accounts of marks made on the face, arms, etc., in honour of different idols; and to this the inspired penman alludes.” (Clarke)

iv. Part of this message to us today is that what our culture thinks and how they perceive things is important. If some clothing or jewelry or body decoration would associate us with the pagan world, it should not be done. This is a difficult line to draw because the standards of culture are always changing. Some modern examples of changing standards are hair length and earrings for men.

v. In Paul’s day, in the city of Corinth, only prostitutes went around without a head covering – so it was right for the Christian women of Corinth to wear veils, though they were not required to by the letter of the law (1 Corinthians 11:5-6).

d. Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot: To prostitute your daughter in this context probably means to give her as a ritual prostitute at a pagan temple. This was of course forbidden, though in the eyes of the pagan culture, it was a religious thing to do.

i. “In some neighboring religions, people thought they were being pious by making their daughters participate in the cult of fertility. But such religious prostitution was not acceptable for the Israelites.” (Peter-Contesse)

ii. “This was a very frequent custom, and with examples of it writers of antiquity abound. The Cyprian women, according to Justin, gained that portion which their husbands received with them at marriage by previous public prostitution.” (Clarke)

e. Mediums and familiar spirits: These were ways the pagans sought to contact the dead or other spirits; this was a doorway into the occult, and strictly forbidden – those who seek after these things are defiled – “made dirty” by them.

i. The word for familiar spirits comes from a root meaning “to know”; “perhaps referring to the occultic information which the practitioner of necromancy purported to have.” (Harrison)

ii. “To attempt to know what God has not thought proper to reveal, is a sin against his wisdom, providence, and goodness. In mercy, great mercy, God has hidden the knowledge of futurity from man, and given him hope – the expectation of future good, in its place.” (Clarke)

iii. “In some Near Eastern societies such mediums would dig a small hole in the earth to symbolize a grave, and then put offerings in it to attract the attention of the person whom the medium desired to contact.” (Harrison)

iv. “Not only all real dealers with familiar spirits, or necromantic or magical superstitions, are here forbidden, but also all pretenders to the knowledge of futurity, fortune-tellers, astrologers, and so forth.” (Clarke)

10. (32-37) Further laws of kindness and justice.

‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.
‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
‘Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them: I am the LORD.’”

a. You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man…. if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him: These are all expositions on the principle of you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). If we were the old man, or the stranger, or the consumer, we would want fair and kind treatment.

b. You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume: God cares that we do business honestly. The surrounding culture may tell us that it doesn’t matter how we make our money, but God tells us to use honest measurements in all our business. This idea is repeated in passages such as Proverbs 11:1, 16:11, and 20:23.

c. I am the LORD: 15 times in this chapter, God declared that He is the LORD – and the one with the right to tell us what to do. This is something that God expected ancient Israel to respect and expects His modern-day followers to also respect.

(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Leviticus Old Testament

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So Many Are Against Me

Psalm 3

A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.

O Lord, I have so many enemies;
    so many are against me.

So many are saying,
    “God will never rescue him!” Interlude[a]

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
    you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.

I cried out to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude

I lay down and slept,
    yet I woke up in safety,
    for the Lord was watching over me.

I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
    who surround me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!
    Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
    Shatter the teeth of the wicked!

Victory comes from you, O Lord.
    May you bless your people. Interlude

So many enemies rise against me though I have faith I do not flinch or am not afraid for God is my savior and refuge he is on my side and keeps me safe he comes when I raise my voice out to him and call on him

Psalm 3

Psalm 3 – Peace in the Midst of the Storm

This is the first psalm with a title: A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son. James Montgomery Boice points out that since these titles are in the canonical text of the Hebrew Bible, “They are to be taken with absolute seriousness throughout.” The events are recorded in 2 Samuel 15-18, but the heart of David at that difficult time is recorded in this psalm.

A. David’s trouble and God’s help.

1. (1-2) What those who troubled David did.

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

a. How they have increased who trouble me: At the writing of this psalm David was in a great deal of trouble. His own son led what seemed to be a successful rebellion against him. Many of his previous friends and associates forsook him and joined the ranks of those who troubled him (2 Samuel 15:13).

b. There is no help for him in God: David’s situation was so bad that many felt he was beyond God’s help. Those who said this probably didn’t feel that God was unable to help David; they probably felt that God was unwilling to help him. They looked at David’s past sin and figured, “This is all what he deserves from God. There is no help for him in God.”

i. Shimei was an example of someone who said that God was against David, and he was just getting what he deserved (2 Samuel 16:7-8). This thought was most painful of all for David – the thought that God might be against him and that there is no help for him in God.

ii. “If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from the earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be led to fear that there is no help for us in God.” (Spurgeon)

c. Selah: The idea in the Hebrew for this word (occurring 74 times in the Old Testament) is for a pause. Most people think it speaks of a reflective pause, a pause to meditate on the words just spoken. It may also be a musical instruction, for a musical interlude of some kind.

2. (3-4) What God did for David in the midst of trouble.

But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the LORD with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

a. You, O LORD, are a shield for me: Though many said there was no help for him in God, David knew that God was his shield. Others – even many others – couldn’t shake David’s confidence in a God of love and help.

i. Under attack from a cunning and ruthless enemy, David needed a shield. He knew that God was his shield. This wasn’t a prayer asking God to fulfill this; this is a strong declaration of fact: You, O LORD, are a shield for me.

b. My glory and the One who lifts my head: God was more than David’s protection. He also was the One who put David on higher ground, lifting his head and showing him glory. There was nothing glorious or head-lifting in David’s circumstances, but there was in his God.

i. Men find glory in all sorts of things – fame, power, prestige, or possessions. David found his glory in the LORD. “Oh, my soul, hast thou made God thy glory? Others boast in their wealth, beauty, position, achievements: dost thou find in God what they find in these?” (Meyer)

c. I cried to the LORD with my voice: “Surely, silent prayers are heard. Yes, but good men often find that, even in secret, they pray better aloud than they do when they utter no vocal sound.” (Spurgeon)

d. He heard me from His holy hill: Others said that God wanted nothing to do with David, but he could gloriously say, “He heard me.” Though Absalom took over Jerusalem and forced David out of the capitol, David knew that it wasn’t Absalom enthroned on God’s holy hill. The LORD Himself still held that ground and would hear and help David from His holy hill.

B. Blessing from and to God.

1. (5-6) God blesses David.

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

a. I lay down and slept; I awoke: David used both of these as evidence of God’s blessing. Sleep was a blessing, because David was under such intense pressure from the circumstances of Absalom’s rebellion that sleep might be impossible, but he slept. Waking was another blessing, because many wondered if David would live to see a new day.

i. “Truly it must have been a soft pillow indeed that could make him forget his danger, who then had such a disloyal army at his back hunting of him.” (Gurnall, cited in Spurgeon)

ii. God sustains us in our sleep, but we take it for granted. Think of it: you are asleep, unconscious, dead to the world – yet you breathe, your heart pumps, your organs operate. The same God who sustains us in our sleep will sustain us in our difficulties.

b. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people: With God sustaining him, David could stand against any foe. Before it was written, David knew the truth of Romans 8:31: If God is for us, who can be against us?

2. (7-8) David blesses God.

Arise, O LORD;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

a. Arise, O LORD…. For You have struck all my enemies: David’s mind was on both what he trusted God to do (Save me, O my God) and on what God had done (struck all my enemies…broken the teeth of the ungodly). Knowing what God had done gives David confidence in what the LORD would do.

b. Arise, O LORD: This recalled the words of Numbers 10:35, where Moses used this phrase as the children of Israel broke camp in the wilderness. It was a military phrase, calling on God to go forth to both defend Israel and lead them to victory.

c. Broken the teeth of the ungodly: This vivid metaphor is also used in Psalm 58:6. It speaks of the total domination and defeat of the enemy. David looked for protection in this psalm, but more than protection – he looked for victory. It wasn’t enough for David to survive the threat to the kingdom. He had to be victorious over the threat, and he would be with the blessing of God.

d. Salvation belongs to the LORD: David understood that salvation – both in the ultimate and immediate sense – was God’s property. It isn’t the property of any one nation or sect, but of the LORD God. To be saved, one must deal with the LORD Himself.

e. Your blessing is upon Your people: This showed David’s heart in a time of personal calamity. He wasn’t only concerned for God’s hand upon himself, but upon all God’s people. He didn’t pray for preservation and victory in the trial with Absalom just for his own sake, but because it was best for the nation.

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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Psalm 3: When Life Falls Apart

Those of us old enough to remember the Watergate scandal recall the stunning, unprecedented resignation of President Richard Nixon. Whether you agreed or not with the man politically, it was a sad spectacle to watch. It must have been terrifically shocking, depressing, and humiliating for Mr. and Mrs. Nixon to endure.

One day, you are one of the most powerful men in the world. You are always the center of attention. You are always surrounded by a cadre of Secret Service agents whose job is to protect you at risk of their own lives. Your words are plastered on the front pages of newspapers around the world. At press conferences, reporters try to parse the nuance of your every sentence. What you say can make the stock market shoot up or down. When you give orders, a bunch of underlings jump to make it happen. You live in a mansion with servants attending to your every need. You have a private jet, helicopter, and limousine, plus a private retreat, at your disposal as you carry out the nation’s business.

But the next day, you resign in disgrace, your presidency a shambles. You leave the public eye. You move out of the White House. Nobody cares anymore what you say or think, unless you’re ready to confess your guilt in the scandal. Life changed drastically on that fateful day for Mr. and Mrs. Nixon!

But the resignation of President Nixon was not nearly as traumatic and humiliating as the events that hit King David when his son Absalom led a revolt against him. David had reigned for decades as one of the most powerful monarchs in the world. His military prowess was legendary. He had extended Israel’s dominion far beyond its borders. He had become fabulously wealthy, living in a palace of breathtaking splendor with his many wives and servants. He had absolute authority of life or death over everyone with whom he had dealings. No one dared to get on his bad side.

But then David sinned with Bathsheba and ordered the death of her husband, Uriah. Although David subsequently repented when the prophet Nathan confronted him, David’s sins set in motion a series of God-ordained devastating consequences. David’s oldest son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar’s brother, Absalom, took revenge by murdering Amnon. Absalom fled into exile for several years, but later was permitted to return. But after his return, David refused to see his wayward son for two years. The resentment built and Absalom began to court the disgruntled people in the kingdom, offering himself as a more sympathetic leader than his powerful father was.

Finally, Absalom pieced together a strong conspiracy. David realized that to survive, he had to flee the capital immediately with all of his supporters and their families. All of his servants and their little ones hastily grabbed what they could and took off towards the wilderness. David followed them, weeping, and walking barefoot with his head covered in shame. To add insult to injury, a man named Shimei, from the family of David’s predecessor King Saul, came out as David passed by. He cursed at David, threw stones at him, and accused him of being a worthless man who had brought about his own downfall by being a man of bloodshed (these events are described in 2 Samuel 15 & 16).

It was David’s most traumatic, humiliating experience in his entire life. Everything that he had spent his life working for had suddenly unraveled. Many whom he had thought were allies and friends had abandoned him and sided with his rebellious son. And the most painful wound of all was the treachery and betrayal of Absalom. It brought home to David his own failure as a father. One son was murdered, a daughter was raped, and the murderer was now after his own father’s life in addition to his kingdom. Life was falling apart for David.

What do you do when life falls apart? Few of us have gone through anything close to the trauma that David was experiencing. But in lesser ways, you’ve probably had times when you could identify with David. Perhaps you thought that things were fine at work, but you suddenly got called into the boss’ office and were fired under false allegations brought against you by those you had trusted. You were out of work and the firing made the prospect of finding another job look bleak. You didn’t know how you would provide for your family. Life fell apart.

Or, perhaps one of your children turned against you and took up a lifestyle of drugs or sexual promiscuity that is totally opposed to your values. He leveled all sorts of false charges against you. He resisted your every attempt to talk or be reconciled. Your many years of love and sacrifice on his behalf were met with scorn and anger. Life fell apart.

Or, much to your shock, your mate suddenly announced that he was having an affair, he was leaving you immediately and filing for divorce. You had no hint of the situation in advance. You had thought that things were fine. You were happy. You trusted him. You were both involved in your local church and in your children’s activities. But suddenly, you realized that you had been lied to and deceived for a long time. Life as you knew it suddenly changed drastically and fell apart.

What do you do when life falls apart? David wrote Psalm 3. He wrote a psalm! Maybe that’s why he is called a man after God’s heart! Some scholars call Psalm 3 a morning psalm, and Psalm 4 (which may have been written at the same time) an evening psalm. Perhaps David wrote Psalm 3 just after he crossed the Jordan, awaiting the inevitable battle with Absalom’s forces. Verse 5 hints that he wrote it after waking up safely after a good night’s sleep. Psalm 3 shows us that…

When life falls apart, you can experience God’s peace by laying hold of Him in believing prayer.

After the superscription, which gives us the circumstances, the psalm falls into four strophes of two verses each. The first (3:1-2) reveals David’s peril. Strophe two (3:3-4) records his initial prayer. Strophe three (3:5-6) shows the peace that results from his prayer. The final strophe (3:7-8) gives a repeated prayer and an affirmation of faith that God alone can deliver and bless His people.

1. There are times when life falls apart (3:1-2).

David cries out (3:1-2), “O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’” The first, second, and final strophes are followed by “Selah,” which is probably a musical notation meaning, “pause,” or “crescendo.”

David begins by crying out to Yahweh, translated Lord (in small caps). When the NASB uses “Lord” (not small caps), it is translating the Hebrew, Adonai, meaning “Sovereign Lord.” “Lord” in small caps translates Yahweh, the personal, covenant name of God. God revealed Himself to Moses with this name at the burning bush. It is related to the Hebrew verb, “to be,” so that God tells Moses, “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14). For David to address God as Yahweh had the same connotation as New Testament believers addressing Him as, “Abba, Father” (Willem VanGemeren, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. by Frank Gaebelein [Zondervan], 5:74). It is an intimate, personal cry for help.

I’ve already described David’s traumatic situation, but note a few other features brought out by these verses. First, David’s adversaries were increasing in number. He always had enemies, but the ranks were growing daily. Things were snowballing against David. Like a dam that first leaks and then suddenly bursts, the raging torrent of the rebellion was threatening to sweep David and his loyal followers to their deaths.

Second, verse 2 reports the words of David’s enemies, who were impugning his relationship with God. The verse reads literally, “Many are saying to my soul….” That is, their words were hitting David in his heart or soul, saying, “There is no deliverance for him in God.” Probably, they were bringing up his now-public sin with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband. They were saying, “Hypocrite! Scoundrel! How can he claim to follow God? His claim that God has anointed him as king is a joke! God is not on the side of such a phony!” C. H. Spurgeon (A Treasury of David [Baker], 1:25) writes,

Doubtless, David felt this infernal suggestion to be staggering to his faith. If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be lead [sic] to fear that there is no help for us in God.

Of course, Jesus, David’s Son, went through similar trials as He hung upon the cross. His enemies taunted Him (Matt. 27:43), “He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And, even worse, as He bore our sin Jesus felt forsaken by the Father as heard in His awful cry (Matt. 27:46), “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” The difference was, David knew that he was being taunted because of his own sins. But, Jesus was without any sin or guilt.

Although I have never gone through anything close to what David experienced, I have had several times in the past 32 years of pastoral ministry when a disgruntled faction in the church rose up against me. These painful situations follow a pattern similar to Absalom’s rebellion. A leader or several leaders begin to spread seeds of discontent among the church. People who already are unhappy about something gravitate to these men, thinking that they may understand their complaints. These leaders, like Absalom, always seem understanding and ready to listen (see 2 Sam. 15:2-6). The word begins to spread and more people begin to air their grievances to these “sympathetic” leaders. The whole thing begins to snowball. In the process, the leaders of the rebellion impugn not only the pastor’s teaching and his leadership, but also his motives: “He doesn’t really care for hurting people like you.” “He isn’t walking closely with God.” When people that you have cared for and prayed for slander your motives, it really hurts!

Note that even though God knows all these details, David tells Him what’s going on. He’s not informing God, but rather laying his burden on the Lord. David is acknowledging to God that he is not able in himself to handle this overwhelming situation.

2. When life falls apart, you must know who God is and how to lay hold of Him in prayer (3:3-4).

“But You” (3:3) reflects David’s shift of focus from his frightening circumstances (3:1-2) to the Lord in prayer. This strophe shows the Lord to be our shield, our glory, the restorer of our joy, and our prayer-answering God.

A. THE LORD IS OUR SHIELD.

We recently studied this as we looked at the shield of faith as a part of our spiritual armor (Eph. 6:16). It first occurs in the Bible when God told Abram that He is Abram’s shield (Gen. 15:1). It also occurs frequently throughout the Psalms (5:12; 18:2, 30, 35; 28:7; 33:20; et. al.). It means that God is our protector and defender. He shields us from the enemy’s attacks. Note how David personalizes it, that the Lord is a shield “about me.” Your faith in the Lord must be personal.

B. THE LORD IS OUR GLORY.

Although David had great earthly acclaim before this catastrophe, he is acknowledging that his identification with the Lord is his only claim to glory. Whether the Lord restored David to his place of earthly prominence or not, God was his glory. The term points to “the comparative unimportance of earthly esteem, always transient and fickle” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 [IVP], p. 54). As Christians, we will share in Christ’s glory (2 Thess. 1:10).

C. THE LORD IS THE RESTORER OF OUR JOY.

“To lift up the head” is a Hebrew expression for restoring someone who is cast down to his dignity and position. Joseph told the cupbearer (Gen. 40:13), “Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office.” (See, also Gen. 40:20; 2 Kings 25:27 [NASB, margin]; Ps. 27:5-6). By way of application, it refers to God restoring to us the joy that we had before the crisis brought us low. He humbles the proud, but lifts up the humble who cry out to Him, bringing joy to those He restores (1 Sam. 2:1-10; Ps. 107:9, 33-42).

D. THE LORD IS OUR PRAYER-ANSWERING GOD (3:4).

J. J. S. Perowne (The Book of Psalms [Zondervan], p. 123) observes that David’s crying to the Lord with his voice does not express “a single act, but the habit of a life.” Spurgeon said (ibid., p. 26), “We need not fear a frowning world while we rejoice in a prayer-hearing God.”

God’s “holy mountain” (or hill, 3:4) refers to Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where the ark of the covenant remained. Zadok and the Levites were carrying the ark to join David in his escape. But David sent them back into the city, saying (2 Sam. 15:25-26), “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation. But if He should say thus, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” David’s heart was humbled before God. If the Lord restored him, David would worship Him. If the Lord did not restore Him, David still would bow before His just and holy ways. But even though now David was separated geographically from the symbol of God’s dwelling place, the separation was no hindrance to his prayers.

We should learn to humble ourselves before God, realizing that our only plea is His grace. Also, no matter where we’re at or in what kind of difficult circumstances we find ourselves—even if our difficulties are the result of our own sin or failure—we can cry out to the Lord for grace and know that He will hear and answer according to His purpose.

Thus when life was falling apart, David laid hold of the Lord in prayer. Then what happened?

3. When you lay hold of the Lord in prayer, you will experience His peace (3:5-6).

The whole of Psalm 3, but especially verses 5-6, is a real-life drama illustrating Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” David cried out to God in prayer, then he went to bed—not in the palace, but camped in the wilderness—and slept through the night. It reminds me of Peter on the night before his intended execution. He was so sound asleep in the prison between two guards that the angel sent to rescue him had to hit him to wake him up (Acts 12:7)! David awoke safe and sound, because the Lord sustained him. As reports came in of the tens of thousands set against him, he was not afraid (Ps. 3:6).

When the Lord is your shield and the one who sustains you, the odds or numbers against you don’t matter. As someone has said, “One plus God is a majority.” Or, as Paul puts it (Rom. 8:31), “If God is for us, who is against us?” As he goes on to say, even if we are like sheep for the slaughter, “in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). Even if our enemies kill us, we can have God’s peace in our soul.

4. Believing prayer depends completely on God for deliverance (3:7-8).

In a make-believe world, David could have said, “Amen” after verse 6. But in the real world, when not only you, but also hundreds of loyal supporters and their families are depending on you, anxiety has a way of creeping back in. So David cries out to God again (3:7-8), “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon Your people.”

In verse 1, many were rising up against David. Now, he uses the same verb to ask God to rise up against his enemies. In verse 2, David’s skeptics had said that God would not deliver him. Here, David uses the same verb to ask God to save him. He pictures his enemies as ravenous beasts baring their teeth, ready to devour him. So David asks God to break their teeth, which would render them powerless. The verbs may be translated as petitions (VanGemeren, 5:78) or they may reflect David’s sure confidence that God would act. So he wrote as if He already had acted (Alan Ross, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. by John Walvoord & Roy Zuck [Victor Books], 1:793).

David’s final exclamation, “Salvation belongs to the Lord,” shows that David was not depending on his troops, or his counselors that he had planted to mislead Absalom, or on any military strategy. Rather, he acknowledges that any victory would come from God alone. When we cast ourselves on God alone for deliverance, He gets all the praise when He answers our prayers.

David’s final request, “Your blessing be upon Your people,” shows that David was not praying selfishly. He was the anointed king of God’s people. Absalom’s rebellion negatively affected the entire nation. So when David asked God to deliver him, he saw it in terms of God’s blessing His people.

Believing prayer always keeps this kingdom purpose in focus. The Lord’s prayer teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). If your world has fallen apart because you’ve been wiped out financially, or your marriage is in trouble or your child has rebelled, don’t just pray selfishly so that your happy world might be restored. Pray in light of God’s kingdom purposes. Pray that God will act so that He will be glorified and His people will be blessed and strengthened.

Conclusion

David turned this horrible experience of betrayal, emotional pain, and nearly being killed into a song of praise. This teaches us that God can use our worst trials to deepen our trust in Him and to produce praises that will encourage His people. When life falls apart, you can experience God’s peace by laying hold of Him in believing prayer. When He answers, He gets the glory, you get the joy, and God’s people get the blessing.

Although, as I said, I’ve never gone through anything close to David’s experience, I have weathered a few difficult attacks. On one such occasion, as I faced a difficult meeting that evening, I spent the day fasting and seeking the Lord in prayer. I realized that not only was my survival as a pastor at this church at stake, but also the well being of the church. About mid-day, the Lord encouraged me with a phone call from the man who had succeeded me as pastor in California. He had learned about the crisis here because one of my opponents had called him to try to dig up some dirt to use against me. But this pastor told me that the elders at my former church had been up past midnight praying for me. They were standing behind me.

But as I walked up the sidewalk towards the meeting that evening, I was anxious. I asked the Lord why I didn’t have His peace in this situation. I was reciting Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Those two words, “with thanksgiving,” hit me between the eyes. It was as if the Lord said, “I haven’t heard you thanking Me for this opportunity to trust Me.” I stopped, bowed my head, and whispered, “Lord, thank You for this trial.” I immediately sensed His peace. He worked that evening to deliver me.

Whether it’s a minor crisis or whether life is falling apart at the seams, if Jesus is your High Priest you have access through His blood to the same prayer-hearing God who rescued David. Even if the crisis is the result of your own sin, humble yourself before Him in repentant, believing prayer and He will exalt you at the proper time.

Application Questions

1. Why does God not always remove the consequences of our sins, even after we’ve repented? See Hebrews 12:3-11.

2. David not only prayed; he also escaped and then organized his army to fight the enemy. Where is the proper balance between prayer and the use of permissible means?

3. Some say that to pray in faith means to “command God” to act according to His promises. Why is this wrong? See 2 Sam. 15:25-26.

4. Why is it essential not just to pray for your problems, but also to pray for God’s greater purpose and glory for His people?

Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2008, All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation

FROM THE SERIES: PSALMS

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Psalm 3 Commentary

Let’s study Psalm 3!

Psalm 3 Commentary Genre

First, we’ll talk about the genre of Psalm 3. What kind of poem is it?

Well, it’s what we call a lament Psalm. You could also call it a complaint Psalm. And this kind of Psalm accounts for about 1/3 of the entire book of Psalms. So just about one out of every three Psalms that you encounter is similar to the Psalm that we’re studying today.

Now, I said this is a complaint Psalm. But let’s not get the wrong idea. This Psalm doesn’t simply record the Psalmist griping about something. These Psalms actually present the Psalmist’s strategy for mastering a crisis. So, he’s not whining. He’s actually working toward a solution for his crisis. And we get to listen in while he works through his problem. And so the lament Psalms give us an inspired way to deal with problems and situation that are common to all men.

So – what type of poem are we studying today? Lament/complaint.

Psalm 3 Commentary Underlying Situation

Now, most Psalms are a reaction of the poet to some stimulus. In Psalm 3, what is the stimulus? What is driving David to write this lament poem? What’s happening in his life?

Well, look at the first line of the psalm. What does it say? This is “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.”

When you think of David, you might think of him in pastoral settings out in the countryside. Or you picture him in his royal palace kind of taking it easy. But this man’s life was filled with conflict.

Even when he was a relative-nobody he was wrestling bears and lions away from his father’s sheep. He defeated Goliath and won some acclaim among the people and even in King Saul’s sight. But then Saul turns on him and David basically becomes a fugitive for years until Saul dies.

Finally, David becomes king. But he’s still constantly going to war – that’s what kings did in those days. But one time he doesn’t go out to war. He stays behind. And he ends up catching a glimpse of a young woman from his palace. As we all know, he ends up committing adultery with her and then ordering the murder of her husband. God rebukes David for those horrendous crimes. And God promises David that the sword will never depart from his house the rest of his life. He will have war and conflict until he dies.

And that’s where Absalom enters the picture. Absalom has a sister who is violated by one of David’s sons from one of his other wives. Absalom kills that brother and flees. Finally he’s persuaded to come back and live close to David. But David won’t talk to him – for years. So, Absalom eventually gathers a number of people together, wins their hearts, and leads a rebellion against his father David. Absalom and his entourage actually run David out of Jerusalem and are trying to literally kill him. And that’s the situation that called for the writing of this Psalm.

So, this Psalm captures some of the emotion that David felt as he fled for his life from Jerusalem. Can you imagine the embarrassment of being pursued by your own child who’s looking to take your life? Can you imagine the regret and self-hatred that David would have experienced – knowing that his own sin with Bathsheba so many years ago had caused this turn of events? Can you imagine the pain of being betrayed by so many trusted advisers and friends in addition to the people you served as king for so many years? All these emotions and many more I’m sure are in David’s heart as he flees Jerusalem.

So, we’ve discovered and rehearsed the underlying situation that called for the writing of this Psalm. And we’ve looked at what kind of Psalm this is. It’s a lament Psalm.

Psalm 3 Commentary Structure

And these lament Psalms have a discernible structure to them. There are actually 5 components to any lament Psalm. So, let’s discover the structure of Psalm 3.

Invocation

The first component of a lament Psalm is the invocation of God. And we see that in this Psalm 3:1. What’s the first word out of David’s mouth in this Psalm? He says, “Lord”. He immediately invokes the Lord.

So, that’s the first component of the structure of this Psalm.

Lament

The next component of a lament Psalm is the lament or the complaint itself. And we find that in Psalm 3:1-2 verses.

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

This is where the poet defines the crisis that he’s experiencing – and that he’s going to try to master with God’s help.

Confidence

Another component of the structure of a lament Psalm is an expression of confidence in God. We see this in Psalm 3:3-6 where we have these reassuring statements from David regarding his confidence in God.

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. 5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”

David is confident that God will deliver him from his multiplied adversaries.

So, that’s the 3rd component of a lament Psalm – the poet’s expression of confidence in God.

Petition

Then, comes the petition – where the poet actually asks the Lord for something. We see that in Psalm 3:7. And in this Psalm it consists of a petition to God for him to remedy David’s crisis.

“Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.”

By the way, it took 6 verses for David to actually ask God for something.

So that’s the 4th part of the structure of this Psalm.

Praise

Finally, Psalm 3:8 ends the Psalm with the last component – which is the praising of God.

“Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.”

I think the praise here occurs when David proclaims that it is in the Lord’s power alone to provide deliverance. That’s a glory that belongs to the Lord alone. And so he’s to be praised for it.

So, that’s the structure of this Psalm. 5 parts – invocation, lament, confidence, petition, and praise.

Topic/Theme

Now, with the genre, underlying situation, and structure established, we’re going to discover the topic and theme of the Psalm.

The topic is what a Psalm is about. The theme is what the author says about that topic.

So, we’re going to try to summarize the content of Psalm 3 in one word (topic). And then we’ll summarize what David says about that topic (theme).

So, let’s read Psalm 3:1-2 again. Because usually the topic of the Psalm appears near its beginning.

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

So, from Psalm 3:1-2 verses we get the idea that David is facing enemies. And their number isn’t dwindling or remaining steady, even. David is facing multiplied and multiplying enemies.

And what are these enemies claiming? They’re saying that God won’t help David. The word “help” has to do with salvation. Or in this context – deliverance. So, here David’s enemies are saying that God will not deliver David from their plans to kill him. And that happens to be the topic of this Psalm – deliverance. You want to know what Psalm 3 is about in a nutshell? It’s about deliverance. And we’ll see evidence of that throughout the Psalm.

Now, David has something to say regarding God’s delivering him from his multiplied enemies. Psalm 3:7 – he says “Save – or deliver – me, oh my God.” And in Psalm 3:8 he reminds himself that “salvation – the kind that David so desperately needs – belongs to the Lord.” There’s the topic again – salvation or deliverance. And it’s the Lord’s to grant deliverance like what David is looking for. And so, despite multiplied enemies claiming that God will not deliver David from their schemes to kill him – look at what David says in Psalm 3:6. “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” Ten thousands – that sounds like multiplied adversaries. And yet, David is not afraid of them. Why? Because he’s confident that the Lord will deliver him.

So, here’s what David says about the topic of Psalm 3. He’s talking about Confidence in God’s deliverance from multiplied adversaries. He’s confident that God will deliver him.

Psalm 3 Commentary

OK, we’ve looked at the genre, underlying situation, topic, theme, and structure of Psalm 3. But now we’re going to dive into the details of this Psalm.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verses 1-2

We’ll go back to Psalm 3:1-2.

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

You can sense David’s dismay from the very first verse. “Lord! How many…” he exclaims. He expresses amazement at how many enemies he’s acquired. He was their king, their leader, God’s chosen ruler for them. And now so many of them had turned on him. So, David is shocked.

Now, note once more the concept of increasing opposition. They’re – Psalm 3:1 – “increased”. There are – Psalm 3:1 again – “many” that rise up. And he goes ahead and states it one more time in case we missed it – Psalm 3:2 – “Many” speak discouragingly to him. So, let’s really sympathize with David’s utter dismay. His whole country has turned on him.

And these folks aren’t just sitting around. They’re actively opposing David. They’re troubling David. They’re rising up against him.

Let’s think about that image of rising up. And it is an image. Let me ask you – Were the enemies all previously sitting down, but now they’re standing on their feet – and so that’s what David is truly concerned about? No, David’s not concerned about their physical position. So when he tells us that these people are “rising up” he’s putting a picture in our mind. It’s like he’s imagining this large group of angry enemies physically rising up as one to confront and physically destroy him. It’s a terrifying picture. And it accurately portrays how David feels.

But these enemies aren’t just physically imposing in David’s mind. Their very speech is terrifying to David. They’re claiming that God will not deliver David. Can you think of why they might say this? How many people do you think knew about David’s sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah her husband? Nathan did. In addition, God through Nathan told David “by this deed [David’s sin] thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” in 2 Samuel 12:14. So then, many people apparently knew of David’s sin. It was public knowledge. And what David was now experiencing was actually chastisement from the Lord for that sin. So, think about it. The very fact that these enemies were attacking and reproaching David was by God’s allowance. Can you see why these folks might think that God won’t deliver David from their plans to kill him? David’s own sin got him in to this mess. Maybe God was going to let David’s enemies finish him off.

And that’s where Psalm 3:2 ends.

I’ll briefly mention “Selah”. As far as I know and anyone can say, this probably calls for a musical interlude. But the fact is that no one definitively knows what it signifies. So I won’t be paying much attention to it in coming lessons.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verses 3-6

Now, in complete contrast to what these increasing enemies are saying about David, we have Psalm 3:3. God is David’s “shield”, his “glory”, and “the one who lifts up” his head. These sayings are obviously poetic devices. They’re images that put pictures in our minds. God does not physically manifest himself as a shield. His hand didn’t physically and visibly reach down from heaven and lift up David’s head. So let’s talk about what these images mean.

Shield

First, a shield protects from advancing attacks. The KJV has David saying that God is a shield “for me”. The word actually means “round about”. So, picture it – if an enemy attacks David from any direction, he’s not going to get David. Why? Because David’s “shield” is in the way. That’s the Lord – protecting him.

Glory

Next, the word “glory” can also mean “honor”. David is being supremely dishonored by men – his own son in particular. But in contrast, God gives him honor.

Lifter

Lastly, God lifts up David’s head. You surely know what it feels like to have increasing opposition to you – at home, at work, even among God’s people, unfortunately. And does it ever make you just want to hang your head? That’s where David was. But God lifts his head from despair.

And David may or may not know it at this point, but God was going to restore David to his throne in Jerusalem. And by doing that, God would lift David’s head – so to speak – and get rid of his reproach.

Intimate

Now, note one more thing in Psalm 3:3. Notice how intimate David is with the Lord. He personally addresses the Lord. He looks at the increasing enemies and distress in his life. And then he turns to the Lord alone and reminds himself and the Lord of what God really is to him.

Past

Now, Psalm 3:4 brings us back in time a little. David explains how he came to be so confident in the Lord’s protection of him. He cried to the Lord. He didn’t whisper under his breath. This word is actually translated a few times as “scream”. It’s translated many more times as “call” or “cry” as we have it here. David was earnest in communicating with the Lord. He needed to be heard.

And what happened when David directed his prayer to God? God “heard him”. God answered David when he called.

And he did so from his holy hill. That’s probably a reference to Mount Zion or the Temple Mount – even though the Temple hadn’t been built yet.

And do you wonder what God told David? How exactly did God answer David’s cries? Well, we don’t have the response recorded. But whatever it was, it gave David the confidence that we saw in verse 3. It also results in what he testifies about in Psalm 3:5.

Sleep

David says “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.” Now, if you were being chased like a fugitive, could you imagine trying this? Laying down and sleeping? I think sleeping would have been very hard for David. And the reason it would be so hard is because he would be uncertain as to whether he would indeed awake in the morning. Or would his life have been taken overnight? But when God answered David’s pitiful cries, David gained confidence to sleep. And because God was protecting him, David actually woke up. The enemies didn’t hurt him. And they wouldn’t. Ever. Because God was with him. The Lord “sustained” him, it says. That word “sustained” is something like “propped up” or “supported”. How exactly do you sleep in the midst of gut-wrenching anxiety about your very life? David could because he knew that the Lord was the one who was propping him up and supporting him. David was confident in God’s deliverance.

10,000

And so because of all these considerations, David boldly proclaims in Psalm 3:6 – “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” David won’t fear. Even in the face of overwhelming odds – ten thousands of people against just him. He’s confident in God’s deliverance. And that’s how he pictures it. It’s ten thousands of his enemies versus… how many? Just him. Even if those are the odds and that’s what happens, he’s going to remain confident in God’s deliverance.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verse 7

And so now David – Psalm 3:7 – finally makes petition to the Lord. “Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.” So, in contrast to the enemies in Psalm 3:1 who rise up against David – now we have David calling on the Lord to himself rise up – and to save or deliver David from his enemies.

And we have some imagery here again. Did God literally smite David’s enemies on the cheek? Did he break the teeth of the wicked who persecuted David? Do we have that recorded anywhere? We don’t. So, what is David poetically expressing here?

Cheek

First, a slap to the cheek was a sign of contempt. In other words, God thinks little of these enemies. He will not honor them. He honors David as we saw before.

Teeth

And what about the shattering of teeth? Well, in a day and age before dentures – you lose your teeth and you’re rendered fairly incapacitated in certain ways. And that’s just what God was going to do to David’s enemies. They may be many, but their efforts against David would be brought to nothing and they themselves would be despised by the Lord – whom they claimed would not deliver David.

And so David can call upon God to rise up and deliver him – knowing that this is what God does. God has done these kind of things for David before. And he’ll do them in this very distressing situation.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verse 8

Finally, we come to the end of the Psalm. Psalm 3:8. “Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.” Now, I believe this is where the Psalmist praises God for his deliverance from increasing opposition. Literally – “salvation” – deliverance – “unto the Lord!” This is his domain. No man could give David the deliverance he needed. The Lord alone is able to deliver. It’s in his hands. And so he deserves our praise. And those who are truly his – God’s people – we get “the blessing.” What blessing is he talking about? Well, we get many countless blessings as God’s people. But in particular – we have what this Psalm is talking about – deliverance through our God.

Psalm 3 Commentary Conclusion

So, that’s Psalm 3. It’s David expressing his confidence in God’s deliverance from increasing opposition.

Now, if David could be confident that God was going to save him from multiplied and multiplying enemies who were intent on his literal physical death – can you and I be confident in that same God to deliver us from our troubles? We can argue from greater to lesser. If God can deliver his people from death, can he deliver from other lesser types of distresses?

We’ve just entered a new year. This message was delivered on the first Sunday of 2015. Look back over the past year. What has God delivered you from? What enemies has he delivered you from? What perils? What dangers? What temptations? Thank him for the deliverance he’s given you in the last year.

And then I would just encourage us to add this kind of prayer to our prayer arsenal. We’ve just been through an entire lesson breaking apart this man’s prayer. We’ve seen him call to the Lord and tell the Lord his bitter complaint. We heard him express his confidence in the Lord. Then we saw him ask the Lord for help. And finally we saw him praise the Lord.

I can tell you from just a little experience that this kind of approach to God helps. When you’re faced with a situation that just won’t quit and is just completely perplexing and disturbing, mimic what David did in Psalm 3. Let me lay out how you could do this, one last time:

Call out to the Lord. He’s the only one who can do anything anyway.

Then lay out your complaint before him. Give him details. Tell him what is so troubling to you. Approach him like a father who cares… because he is a father who cares! I know in our holier moments we wouldn’t dream of complaining to the Lord. But if it’s good enough for David, it’s good enough for us! God actually wants us to bring our complaints to him. So, do it.

Don’t stop there, though. Next, you can express your unwavering confidence in the Lord.

Then offer your request to him. Isn’t the order of this Psalm interesting? You don’t just blurt out your request if you’re following the pattern of this Psalm. It actually takes you a while to get to asking anything if you’re following the pattern of Psalm 3. But do make your request! God actually wants to hear it and wants to answer it according to his will.

And lastly praise the Lord for who he is and what he does.

I’ll just get real personal now and tell you how I’ve prayed recently after the pattern we see in Psalm 3. If there’s one thing that is most troublesome to me, it’s my wife’s health issues. Un-diagnosed weakness is something she struggles with constantly. And I have a few choices. I can sit and stew and get angry at God for letting this happen. That’s immature and just plain wrong. Or I could pretend like it doesn’t bother me, but it does. So, I prayed to the Lord about Lori’s health after the pattern of Psalm 3. And I’m not going to say that it solved all my problems or anything. But it was strangely calming. And I know the Lord heard it and will respond the best way possible.

What’s your single greatest burden? What is the thing that concerns you the most? The thing that makes you want to cry out? The thing you can’t do anything about? Would you consider taking it to the Lord? Invoke him. Complain to him. Express your confidence in him. Make your request to him. And praise him.

What does Psalm 3:3 mean?

David is fleeing from a massive army, sent by his own son, Absalom. It is only through the influence of an ally that this army did not rush on him in a vulnerable moment (2 Samuel 17:15–16). Prior verses indicated that many were writing David’s situation off as hopeless (Psalm 3:1–2). And yet, as he had in the past, David successfully overcame his enemies’ threats and taunts by trusting in the Lord.

He addresses the Lord as a shield around him, his glory, and the lifter up of his head. Just as a shield protects a warrior from swords, arrows, darts, and spears, so David envisions the Lord protecting him from his enemies. This is the same confidence David expressed as a youth, when he confronted Goliath. At that time, he called out to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand…For the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hand” (1 Samuel 17:45–47).

The Lord was David’s boast, and David fully expected Him to restore him to his position as king of Israel.

Context Summary

Psalm 3:1–6 discloses David’s plight, arising from the violent coup being waged by his son, Absalom. David’s enemies abounded and mocked him. Those around David said God would not deliver him. Psalm 7 complements this passage by expressing David’s concern that his enemies constantly assault him. Despite their opposition, David trusts in the Lord as his shield and deliverer. He anticipates God’s judgment on his enemies. The mockery expressed in Psalm 3:2 is similar to that of those who crucified Jesus (Luke 23:35–37).

Chapter Summary

David cries out to the Lord while being pursued by many enemies. Others are telling him the situation is hopeless, that he cannot be delivered from his trouble. However, David testifies that the Lord is his shield and deliverer. He says the Lord answered him from the site of Mount Zion. This answer to prayer led to a good night’s sleep and confidence that he had nothing to fear from his many foes. He closes the psalm by declaring that the Lord had slain his enemies in the past and would do so again. The Lord would strike down David’s enemies with crushing blows to the head. He knew the Lord delivers those who trust in Him, so he asks the Lord to bless His people

What Does Psalm 3:8 Mean? ►

Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.

Psalm 3:8(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

How frequently we take our eyes off the Lord and focus on our own mounting problems and the multitude of enemies that seem to accumulate outside our door. How often our trust in the Lord falters and we allow our hearts to fail within us, for fear of what is happening in our lives and the lives of those we love.. instead of looking to the Lord for our strength and relying upon Him to provide all that we need,  according to His riches in glory, for His blessing is upon His people for eternity/

David was a man whose emotions fluctuated from ecstatic joy to despondent disquiet, for although he acknowledged the faithfulness of God to finish the good work that He had started in his life, and to fulfil all that He had promised to this man after God’s own heart. David too easily was swayed by the immediate circumstances of his life. He was too often moved by the monumental tasks he was called upon to complete and he was too often overwhelmed by the taunting terrors that stalked his earthly pathway.

David however learned from his youth to quickly get his eyes off his enemies and to keep His focus on Jesus – the God of heaven and earth, Who alone was his shield and buckler and Who alone was his shepherd and the lifter up of his head. David knew that the Lord Jehovah was his Rock, his Fortress and his Salvation, Whose blessings are upon all His people forever and ever – amen.

When David sought to depend on his own ingenuity and might he discovered the inadequacy of his own abilities and energy, for David knew in his heart that salvation belongs to the Lord alone and that God is our refuge and strength – a very present help in time of trouble.

Our God and Saviour is the same yesterday, today and forever, for His promises are altogether sure, His mercies are new every morning and His grace is sufficient for all our mountainous problems and every taunting terror. He has promised to undertake for all our immediate circumstances.. if only we would cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. Great is His faithfulness for the Lord our God is our Salvation and His blessing is upon all His people throughout time and into eternity.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-3-8

Those Who Trust In The Lord Will Gain Strength

VERSE OF THE DAY

Isaiah 40:31 (New Living Translation)

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But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

All those who put themselves in faith of the Lord will become strong and powerful in faith. They will be strong and powerful in grace like eagles soaring high above all. They will go forth and not grow weary or tired they will go forth and walk and not be faint or weak.

As you are waiting on God to strengthen you, remember the words of the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 40, verse 31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV).Oct 31, 2015

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MESSAGE: God strengthens us during our time of waiting

Bennie L. RobinsonFor The Leaf-Chronicle

As you are waiting on God to strengthen you, remember the words of the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 40, verse 31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV).

Life’s waiting room is a place where time seemingly stands still. It is a place where life is put on hold. Sometimes when I visit my doctor, while I sit and wait in his office, it feels like hours have passed, and yet when I look at my watch, it’s been only 20 minutes. When we are in the waiting room of life, it seems as if progress has come to a screeching halt. This is how it feels sometimes while we wait on the Lord.

One of the important exhortations of the Bible is the call to “wait on the Lord.” Even though God promises special blessings for those who wait, waiting is one of the most difficult exhortations of scripture. Why is it so hard? Because, as a part of fallen humanity, we are so prone to take matters into our own hands and to follow our own schemes. Yet, over and over again we are told in scripture to “wait on the Lord.”

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We don’t like to wait, and when we think of waiting we are apt to respond with a pun: “Wait? That’s what made the bridge collapse!” Of course, that’s weight, not wait. But then, these two words, weight and wait, are not always unrelated, because one of our needs in waiting on the Lord is the need to cast the weighty burdens of life on Him.

I once heard an illustration about how God strengthens us during times of waiting through trials. It went like this: Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to a high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm; it simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us, we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us; God will strengthen us during our time of waiting. His power will lift us up above the dark clouds so we can ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment into our lives.

I know because of my recent experience with tragedy. I have had seven deaths in my family this year alone, and through my tragedies, God continues to strengthen me and lift me up above my storms. He will do the same for you, in whatever storm you are dealing with. I just want to encourage everyone who reads this article that God is not asleep and He is not just standing on the sidelines observing. He is in the fight right there with you, lifting you up so you can soar above your storm.

Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them. So wait on the Lord and be of good courage. Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Bennie L. Robinson is pastor of St. Bethlehem Christian Church in Clarksville.

What Does Isaiah 40:31 Mean?

January 25, 2021

by: Drew Hunter

This article is part of the What Does It Mean? series.

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31

God’s Care

Isaiah 40:31 contains a great promise of strength for the weary: “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” This promises a supernaturally renewed strength—a strength that would compare to mounting up as an eagle or running without fatigue. But what does this mean and how do we receive it? The context of this verse helps us.

The Israelites who first received this promise were worn out from their hardship. They had lived in exile in Babylon for several decades. Their perspective was darkened by despairing thoughts: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God” (Isa. 40:27). They thought God either couldn’t help or didn’t care. Isaiah uses a pair of words—faint and weary—three times in the span of a few verses here (Isa. 40:27-31). They were exhausted and burdened from the circumstances of life. They weren’t just weak in body, but weak in spirit. How could they endure the hard circumstances of life any longer?

Isaiah

Drew Hunter

Pastor Drew Hunter helps readers grasp the message of Isaiah, a prophetic book about the God who saves his people from their sins.

Isaiah responded to these questions with his own: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or grow weary” (Isa. 40:28). This is a good word for the weary: You may grow faint, but God doesn’t. God is an endless source of strength, and he gives it generously—“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength” (Isa. 40:29). This is who he is. The ever-strong and never-weary One loves to help weak and weary people.

Here’s what this shows us: If we think that God is too great to be concerned about us, we actually don’t believe he’s great enough. God’s greatness is not just that he is strong, but that he is strong for us. God’s glory is not just that he has power, but that he loves to use it to help those who need it. God is not too great to care, he’s too great not to care.

God’s Strength

In all our weariness, then, how do we get this strength? We may expect Isaiah to share the wisdom of physical rest, exercise, diet, and so forth. But while those are all God-given sources of strength, they cannot give us the deepest strength we need when we come to the end of ourselves. Isaiah acknowledges this—“even youths shall faint and be weary; and young men shall fall exhausted” (Isa. 40:30). In other words, even those in their prime with perfect health have limits. We need a stronger strength to match our deep discouragements.

So, how do we get it? There is only one answer, and here we come to the great promise of this text: “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” Not, those who work for the Lord, but those who wait for him. This isn’t about doing our part and asking God to do the rest.

God’s greatness is not just that he is strong, but that he is strong for us.

This isn’t about showing God how strong we are and asking him to give us a bit more. No, here we admit that we don’t have the strength we need. We acknowledge that we need the strength only he can give. And we wait for him, which is more than just passing time. In Hebrew, this word carries with it a sense of hopeful expectation. In the midst of hardship, we look to him as the one who works all things together for our good.

As Christians, we look to Jesus, who came to us and said: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He carried the burden of our sin and judgment upon himself on the cross. He rose again and sent his Spirit to empower us and strengthen us in all our weakness. And we now look to him and wait for him to work—ultimately looking to the day when Jesus returns to set all things right and make all things new.

Drew Hunter is the author of Isaiah: A 12-Week Study.

Drew Hunter (MA, Wheaton College) is the teaching pastor at Zionsville Fellowship in Zionsville, Indiana. He is the author of Made for Friendship and the Isaiah and Matthew volumes in the Knowing the Bible series. Drew and his wife, Christina, live in Zionsville, Indiana, and have four children.

What Does Isaiah 40:31 Mean? ►

But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31(NLT)

Verse Thoughts

Whether the promises of God are for Israel or given to the Church, God’s Word is true. His judgements are just, and His promises are “yes” and “amen”, for those that believe His Word, wait on Him, abide in Him – and He in us.

At the end of Isaiah Chapter 40, we read some well-loved verses that have encouraged generations of Jews and Gentiles, through many centuries of time, “Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall BUT those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will rise up high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

There are difficulties in life that overwhelm the strongest of people, fears that gnaw at the stoutest of human hearts, and young men who grow faint and weary. They stumble and fall because they rely on their own, inner strength and human resources, which are not a sufficient shield in the storms of life. Only power from above is sufficient to sustain us. Only His protective hand can shelter us from the storms of life and not our own limited, human abilities.

These words of comfort were given to Israel after Isaiah’s repeated warning of approaching punishment if they did not repent of their evil ways, nevertheless… the Lord is a God of comfort and grace. He never goes back on His Word nor does He grow weary – and in His loving-kindness He gives grace to the humble and renews the strength of those that wait upon Him, by faith.

Although these words were addressed to Israel they have an application in the lives of ALL God’s people. They are a call to us all to turn from any wrongdoing in our lives and live by faith and not by sight – to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding.

It is faith in His Word that is needed to soar with wings as eagles. It is trusting God to bring to pass all He has promised, even when our senses and logic seem to suggest the opposite or appear to contradict His promised truth. Those who wait on the Lord are those who have the assurance and inner confidence that the promises He has made to His people, and the things for which we hope, are a matter of fact and a present reality… that cannot be contradicted by senses, emotions, reason or fear.

The Lord our God is faithful and true to His Word and He satisfies our years with good things so that our youth is renewed like that of an eagle. He is good to those who wait for Him and seek Him – trust Him and love Him. And He has promised that His grace is sufficient for us, no matter how weary we may become, for His power is perfected in our weakness.

God’s grace is sufficient for every circumstance of life. It is sufficient for every difficulty we may face or any challenge life throws at us. His grace is enough for all who place their entire trust and confidence in His mighty strength. His grace is enough for every eventuality in life and His provision comes through faith in His beloved Son. It is the strength of the Lord Jesus Who sustains those who do not rely upon their own abilities. He will provide strength to those who can admit to their own disability – for His grace is sufficient in all situations of life.

Those who confidently manage their Christian walk by relying on their own personal talents, skills, capacities, and capabilities, eventually discover that their strength is insufficient for their needs. In time they are brought to the very end of themselves until they can admit that the refreshment they desperately need has been drawn from the broken cistern of the old, Adamic-life and will eventually run dry, for the energy-source that is powered through the fleshly self-life, will in time be drained of all its self-induced efforts.

When a believer truly identifies with his Saviour and trusts in Christ’s capacities alone for his journey through life, it is then that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, it is then that the wind of God will lift us up on eagles’ wings and carry us through life’s stresses and strains, in the power of His Holy Spirit. It is when the man or woman of God is prepared to admit their weakness and incapacitates, that they are enabled by Him to draw from the bottomless well of His everlasting supply, and drink deeply from the living waters of God’s super-abundant provision.

It is then that the spiritual battery is regenerated and renewed by Christ’s limitless power, enabling us to run the straight race – and in His strength, to run in such as way as to win the prize, for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/isaiah-40-31

It is when the man or woman of God is prepared to admit their weakness

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/isaiah-40-31

The Beautiful Context and Verse Meaning Behind “Those Who Wait on The Lord”

Heather Adams

Contributing Writer

• 2020
10 Jul

“..they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

The name Isaiah means “The Lord is salvation,” and this theme resonates through all of the prophet’s book. The writing reflects an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over His people and even pagan nations, as well as a reminder that no one can be holy in their own strength and that we must wait on the Lord for provision.

Along with these difficult passages, the book of Isaiah offers a glimpse of God’s amazing plan to reclaim His people through the arrival of a Deliverer. In the meantime, passages like chapter 40:31 declare God’s promise of provision and victory for those who rely on Him as they wait.

Isaiah has just pronounced in Chapter 39 that the Babylonians would invade Jerusalem, leading to a period of captivity for God’s people. This was a frightening prospect, especially following all the messages of judgement and condemnation Isaiah had already brought to the nations. God’s faithful needed reassurance, and He graciously shifts the tone of Isaiah’s words to encourage them. Starting in Chapter 40, poetic and prophetic words tell of the comfort, forgiveness and incredible blessings God has in store for those who love and obey Him.

The glory of God is a theme that runs throughout the whole book of Isaiah. But rather than keeping the focus on the fearful aspect of oncoming invasion, Chapter 40 jumps ahead to a time after God’s people have been in captivity in a foreign land. Now comes a touch of consolation and anticipation of a new thing that God will be doing. It starts with the voice of a loving Father to his children who have just been released from Babylon to return home.

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:1-2).

Then comes the start of joyful proclamations for those that wait upon the Lord.

Understanding “They That Wait Upon the Lord” Promise 

Isaiah leads up to his promise in verse 31 with many other beautiful verses:

“And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together” (Isaiah 40:5).

“You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Zion lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’” (Isaiah 40:9).

Many verses here claim God as Creator and Ruler.

“He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing” (Isaiah 40:22-23).

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28).

Other passages praise God as the Provider who deeply cares for His own.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11).

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the week” (Isaiah 40:29).

Verse 30 again states that even the most physically fit of men are weak and limited in power, which leads into the beautiful promise in verse 31 of what God’s strength will help them do if they wait on Him.

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Who Is Isaiah Writing to and Why?

The book of Isaiah aims its message mainly at the people of Judah and Israel, but also includes nearby nations like Egypt, Moab and Assyria. His mission is to warn them of upcoming judgement by God for their rebellious behavior. These people have been following religious practices, but their hearts have been turned away.

King Hezekiah had worked hard during his reign to clear out idol worship and restore a sense of purity in Judah. But the nation was being brought down by the evil practices of many of its citizens, and by the threats other nations posed.

Different Translations of Isaiah 40:31

Different Bible translations of verse 31 convey a similar overall meaning. The NIV uses the phrase “those who hope in the Lord” and the Good News has “those who trust in the Lord for help,” while most others say “those who (they that) wait for (upon) the Lord.” The NIV and Good News clarify that waiting is not a passive act, but actively expecting God to work.

The Complete Jewish Bible uses the title “Adonai,” or “God is my Lord”, while the Orthodox Jewish translation reads “Heshem” meaning “the Name.” But they, like the others, both stress that we find our strength only in God, for He is our all-in-all.

Isaiah, the namesake of this book, is widely considered to be one of the greatest of God’s prophets. A large part of his ministry was reminding everyone that God is real and mighty, and that His commands are to be the basis for living holy lives. Leaders and laypeople alike heard his calls to repentance, and most either ignored him or grew angry with the message. But he persevered, serving his Lord faithfully for approximately 40 years during the reigns of four different kings. 

Isaiah was the son of Amoz. It is thought that Isaiah came from an upper-class home, and that he was of royal blood – perhaps even related to King Hezekiah. He spent his adult life in Jerusalem, married to a prophetess. His two sons are mentioned in the pages of his book: Shear-Jashub, or  “a remnant shall return” (Isaiah 7:3) and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, meaning “speed the spoil, hasten the booty” (Isaiah 8:1-4). Tradition holds that Isaiah was put to death during the reign of King Manasseh around the year 680 BC.

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Who Was the Prophet Isaiah?

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Isaiah is the first book by one of God’s prophets in the Bible. It shows a great command of the Hebrew language, using poetic features like personification, dialogue, metaphors and parables, or stories. Many of the visions that are recounted have a dual purpose – to pronounce events that will happen soon, and then also at another time in the future. 

The book can almost be seen as divided into two large sections. Chapters 1-39 list accusations by God and warnings of His oncoming wrath. Chapters 40-66 turn toward promises of restoration and peace to come later. The first 39 chapters take place during Isaiah’s ministry, which was around 700 BC. Chapters 40-66 may have been written later, in about 681 BC.

Because there is such a variety of writing styles and jumps in historical time frames (including before the Babylonians invasion and then after the exile of the Israelites), some scholars have mentioned the possibility of this book being the work of several authors, each writing in different eras. Others think that Isaiah wrote all the content, but that his disciples compiled it at a much later time. Most seem to agree that Isaiah wrote at least the first few chapters.

One of the major themes of Isaiah’s prophecy in the book is the coming of Christ. Isaiah drops many “pearls” of information about how and where the Messiah will arrive, as well as what His ministry will be. This, he declares, is the basis for our hope. He writes, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).

How Do We Renew Our Faith in the Lord Through Waiting?

Every believer needs times of refreshment and renewal. Whether we’ve been through a season of trial or just find ourselves burnt out from doing Kingdom work, the result can be a spirit that’s worn down. We need to find ways to revive before we fall into discouragement or distance ourselves from God.

Fortunately, as Isaiah 40 says, God is our unending source of strength. He generously gives to all who ask, so the key to renewing our faith is staying close to Him. An important way to do this is to cultivate a daily quiet time. This simply means setting aside a certain portion of your day to be devoted to seeking God, using some basic spiritual habits.

One way to spend this time is in reading God’s Word, which enlightens and stirs God’s people on. Talking to God in prayer gives us a chance to pour out our burdens and find rest in His presence as we rejuvenate. Worship, alone as well as with our church family, awakens a sense of gratitude and excitement that motivates us to move forward.

When we try to push through fatigue on our own for too long, nothing may seem to help right away. But our Lord promises that He will never leave us empty or alone if we seek Him. So in time, we will receive not only a boost for the moment, but equipping to “soar” through life’s situations and demands.

What Does This Verse Mean for Believers?

Staying on the narrow path of faith is not the easy road. But as believers, we are called to be part of a holy nation, shining God’s light into a dark world. As we journey through this life, the pressures and challenges we encounter can leave us drained, feeling unable to take that next step forward.

God’s supply of strength never diminishes, and it is always available to us. As we accept our weakness, lean on our Heavenly Father and trust in His perfect Ways, we’ll find a well of holy power that never runs dry. With His grace, our faith will grow, leading us on toward Christ-likeness.

Isaiah had a heart for the people of Jerusalem and beyond. He longed for everyone to come to a place of submission to God, so that they might avoid His wrath and experience His blessings. The book that bears his name speaks truths that still strongly resonate for us today. Verses like 40:31 invited the Israelites, and us, to let God be our Jehovah Jireh, the One who provides everything we need to go onward and upward.

Editor’s Note: Experience life-changing spiritual growth with exclusive in-depth studies and prayer guides.

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Heather Adams is an author, speaker, and singer living in Connecticut. Heather’s passion is to equip and encourage believers to seek more of God’s truth and to experience more of His joy each day. Her book, Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper is a practical, 30-day devotional about worship based on the writings of King David. Heather’s blog, Worship Walk Ministries, offers weekly Scripture passages and insights to ponder. A native New Englander, Heather is settling into her home in the South, trying out local foods and watching for the alligators that live nearby! You can connect with her on her website: heatheradamsworshipwalk.com

Isaiah Chapter 40

Isaiah 40 – Comfort and Strength for God’s People

A. The Word of the LORD prepares the way of the LORD.

1. (1-2) Comfort for the afflicted people of God.

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the LORD’s hand
Double for all her sins.”

a. “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God: The previous 39 chapters of Isaiah certainly had passages of comfort and hope, but there was a strong tone of judgment and warning throughout the section. Now, beginning with Isaiah 40, the tone shifts to being predominantly full of comfort and blessing, full of the glory of God.

i. Remember where Isaiah 39 just ended: announcing the coming Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, and the exile of the nation. “The announcement that the Babylonians would someday capture Jerusalem and take the people into exile was a bitter blow. How could Judah celebrate the downfall of Assyria when everyone knew that a more powerful invader was on the way?” (Wolf)

ii. Isaiah is a book in three sections. Chapters 1-35 are prophetic, with the theme of condemnation. Chapters 36-39 are historic, and the theme is confiscation. Chapters 40-66 are messianic, and the theme is consolation.

b. Comfort, yes, comfort My people: Isaiah knew what it was to warn and instruct God’s people, but the LORD also wanted His people to receive His comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 speaks of our Lord as the God of all comfort; God wants His messengers to speak comfort to His people.

i. In any group waiting to hear God’s word, there are any number of hidden hurting hearts. It is important for those hurting hearts to hear a word of comfort from God’s messenger. As one preacher put it, “Preach to broken hearts and you will never lack an audience.”

c. Speak comfort to Jerusalem: This means that Jerusalem needed a word of comfort. This means that God had comfort to give them. God’s comfort is not a hollow, positive-thinking, “There’s-a-silver-lining-behind-every-cloud” kind of message. God always gives His people reasons for comfort.

i. The comfort comes with tender words, spoken to the heart. Speak comfort is literally, “‘speak to the heart’, like a young man wooing his girl (Genesis 34:3).” (Motyer) It is important for God’s messengers today to speak to the heart.

d. That her warfare is ended: At the moment Isaiah spoke this, the battle may have still loomed. This may very well have been a prophetic word; even though there was still an army against them, as far as God was concerned, her warfare is ended. This was reason for comfort.

i. It is in this same sense that God speaks to us and tells us we can be more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37). The battle still looms, but as far as it concerns the believer in Jesus Christ, her warfare is ended, because You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

e. That her iniquity is pardoned: At the moment Isaiah spoke this, Jerusalem was well aware of her sin – Isaiah had made them aware of it! Yet, the prophet speaks of a day when comfort can be offered because her iniquity is pardoned. This is real comfort; to be recognized as a sinner – as one having iniquity – yet knowing just as much that our iniquity is pardoned. This was a reason for comfort.

f. For she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins: This declares the basis for the pardon of iniquity – the sin has been completely paid for. Isaiah, speaking in Old Covenant terminology, speaks of Jerusalem bearing the curse for disobedience described in passages like Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. But the same principle applies to the believer under the New Covenant; our iniquity is pardoned because our sin has been paid for. This is a reason for comfort.

i. Does it seem unfair that God would have a double payment for sin? “Double means ‘to fold over, fold in half’ (Exodus 26:9)…. When something is folded over, each half corresponds exactly with the other half, and this would yield the thought of exact correspondence between sin and payment.” (Motyer) A payment has been made, and it was exactly the payment that was needed.

ii. Our iniquity is never pardoned because God has simply decided to “let us off the hook.” That would make God an unrighteous, wicked judge, something He could never be. But under the New Covenant, it is not we who have received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins; it is our sin-bearing Savior Jesus Christ, who received the cup of wrath from the LORD’s hand double for all our sins.

2. (3-5) A voice in the wilderness prepares the way of the LORD.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

a. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Here, Isaiah speaks for the LORD’s messenger, who cries out to the barren places.

b. Prepare the way of the LORD: The idea is that the LORD is coming to His people as a triumphant King, who has the road prepared before Him so He can travel in glory and ease. Every obstacle in the way must be removed: every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth.

i. Whatever was wrong in the road must be corrected. The problems were not the same everywhere. Sometimes, the road in the valley needed to be lifted up; other times a road had to be cut through a passage in the mountains.

ii. The idea of preparing the way of the LORD is a word picture because the real preparation must take place in our hearts. Building a road is very much like the preparation God must do in our hearts. They are both expensive, they both must deal with many different problems and environments, and they both take an expert engineer.

c. The glory of the LORD shall be revealed: His glory is revealed to the prepared hearts described in the previous verses. And it is revealed without regard to nationality; all flesh shall see it together. This glory of the LORD is not revealed only to Jerusalem or Judah, but to every prepared heart. The certainty of this word is assured because the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

d. Prepare the way of the LORD: This passage of Isaiah 40:3-5 has a direct fulfillment in the New Testament, in the person and ministry of John the Baptist. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, knew this at the birth of his son (Luke 1:76). And three gospels directly relate this passage to the ministry of John (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, and Luke 3:3-6).

i. Jesus was the coming Messiah and King, and John the Baptist’s ministry was to be one crying in the wilderness, and through his message of repentance, to prepare the way of the LORD. We often fail to appreciate how important the preparing work of the LORD is. Any great work of God begins with great preparation. John wonderfully fulfilled this important ministry.

3. (6-8) The message of the voice in the wilderness.

The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”

a. What shall I cry? The voice in the wilderness knew he had an important work, but wanted to know more exactly what his message should be.

b. All flesh is grass: The message is the frailty of man. Isaiah thinks of the beautiful green grass covering the hills of Judah after the winter rains, and how quickly the grass dies, and the hills are left brown and barren. This is how frail and weak man is. Even the beauty of man is fleeting and passes as quickly as spring wildflowers (all its loveliness is like the flower of the field).

i. Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it: Man is in this frail state at the pleasure of God. It is to God’s glory and according to His plan that man is this frail, and the glory of man is so fleeting.

c. The word of our God stands forever: The message is the permanence of God and His word. In contrast to the frailty and fleeting glory of man (The grass withers, the flower fades), the word of our God endures.

i. The word of our God certainly has endured. It has survived centuries of manual transcription, of persecution, of ever-changing philosophies, of all kinds of critics, of neglect both in the pulpit and in the pew, of doubt and disbelief – and still, the word of our God stands forever.

ii. “Written on material that perishes, having to be copied and recopied for hundreds of years before the invention of the printing press, did not diminish its style, correctness, nor existence. The Bible, compared with other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of classical literature combined.” (Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict)

iii. In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian demanded that every copy of the Scriptures in the Roman Empire be burned. He failed, and 25 years later, the Roman Emperor Constantine commissioned a scholar named Eusebius to prepare 50 copies of the Bible at government expense.

iv. Voltaire, the French skeptic and infidel who died in 1778, said that 100 years from his time, Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history, and that the Bible would be a forgotten book. Many years after Voltaire’s death, the Geneva Bible Society used his press and his house to produce stacks of Bibles.

v. “Infidels for eighteen hundred years have been refuting and overthrowing this book, and yet it stands today solid as a rock. Its circulation increases, and it is more loved and cherished and read today than ever before. Infidels, with all their assaults, make about as much impression on this book as a man with a tack hammer would on the Pyramids of Egypt. When the French monarch proposed a persecution of the Christians in his dominion, an old statesman and warrior said to him, ‘Sire, the Church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.’ So the hammers of the infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures. If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die and the book still lives.” (Hastings, cited in McDowell)

vi. “A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put.” (Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences)

d. The word of our God: This message, cried out by the voice in the wilderness, was meant to prepare hearts for the coming of the LORD by leading them into repentance. The understanding of our frailty and fleeting glory, contrasted with the eternal enduring of God and His word, should humble us in repentance before the LORD. It certainly worked in the ministry of John the Baptist (Luke 3:7-18).

e. The word of our God stands forever: Peter made a wonderful reference and application to this passage in 1 Peter 1:22-25.

i. There, he gives a stirring call for love among believers (Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 1 Peter 1:22).

ii. Then, using the passage from Isaiah 40:8, he says why we should love one another this way: having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.(1 Peter 1:23-25)

iii. Peter makes a beautiful connection, showing that the enduring word Isaiah spoke of is the same word of the gospel that is preached and believed, bringing salvation.

iv. Peter also makes a beautiful application. Since this eternal, always potentially fruit-bearing seed is in us, we have both the obligation and the ability to have a sincere love of the brethren. Perhaps we could say that if we need more love for others, it begins with having more of the incorruptible seed set in our hearts and allowed to grow.

B. “Behold Your God!”

1. (9) An invitation to behold your God.

O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem,
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”

a. You who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain: Isaiah speaks of a message so great – tidings so good – that they must be spread as widely as possible. From on top of the high mountain, the messenger can proclaim this great message to as many people as possible. It is a message that should be shouted out, so the messenger is told, Lift up your voice with strength.

b. Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God”: What is the great message, that should be shouted so loud? It is an invitation to behold your God. There is nothing greater for a believer to do than to study and to know their God.

i. The message isn’t to give God a passing glance. No; we are invited to behold your God. It speaks of a study, of a long-term mission to know the greatness and the character of our God. It also shows how important it is for the message of God’s preacher to focus on God. After every sermon, a preacher should ask, “Did I help the people to behold your God?”

ii. A great philosopher named Alexander Pope once wrote, “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; the proper study of mankind is man.” In one sermon, Spurgeon replied to that famous statement: “It has been said by someone that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.”

2. (10) Behold the returning LORD.

Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.

a. Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand: One aspect of our God we should behold is the fact of His return. Our God will return to this earth, and He will come with power (a strong hand…His arm shall rule).

b. The Lord GOD shall come: When the LORD comes back, He comes to reward His people (His reward is with Him). He comes to inspect His work (and His work before Him). This is something important for us to know about our God.

3. (11) Behold the loving Shepherd.

He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

a. He will feed His flock like a shepherd: Another aspect of our God to behold is His loving care as a shepherd. The first thing a shepherd must do for his sheep is feed them, and the LORD feeds us like a shepherd feeds his flock.

i. Sheep must be directed to the good pasture and must be moved on to new pasture when they have stripped the grass bare. We need as much carefully directed feeding as sheep! “No creature has less power to take care of itself than the sheep; even the tiny ant with its foresight can provide for the evil day, but this poor creature must be tended by man or else perish.” (Spurgeon)

ii. God loves to identify Himself with a shepherd. Many of the greatest men of the Bible were shepherds, and their character as shepherds points to Jesus Christ.

Abel is a picture of Jesus, the sacrificed shepherd.

Jacob is a picture of Jesus, the working shepherd.

Joseph is a picture of Jesus, the persecuted and exalted shepherd.

Moses is a picture of Jesus, the calling-out-from-Egypt shepherd.

David is a picture of Jesus, the shepherd king.

b. He will gather the lambs with His arm: Our LORD shows special care for the lambs. The youngest, the weakest, are not despised – they are given special care by the LORD who first actively gathers them and will carry them in His bosom. He doesn’t cast the weak lambs over His shoulder, as a shepherd might carry a sheep. Instead, He lovingly cradles them in His bosom, close to His heart. That is both a safe place and a tender place.

i. “To carry is kindness, but to carry in the bosom is loving-kindness. The shoulders are for power, and the back for force, but the bosom is the seat of love.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “I see the Lord of angels condescending to personal labor. Jesus Christ himself gathers with his own arm and carries in his own bosom the lambs of his flock. He doth not commit this work to an angel, nor does he even leave it to his ministers; but he himself, by his Spirit, still undertakes it.” (Spurgeon)

c. And gently lead those who are with young: The shepherd carries a rod and a staff and knows how to use them, but He also knows how to gently lead those who are with young. He knows exactly when to be gentle, and when more severe guidance should be used.

d. Like a shepherd: Jesus is given three great titles regarding His work as a shepherd.

i. Jesus the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-15). He is good in His care and sacrifice for the flock.

ii. Jesus the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20). He is great in His glorious triumph over every enemy.

iii. Jesus the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). He is the Chief over all His people in His return. At His return, Jesus also exercises another aspect of His role as Shepherd: He divides the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-33). “Did you ever notice that the same Shepherd who saves the lost, will curse the finally impenitent? He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, ‘Depart ye cursed.’ What lips are those which pronounce those dreadful words? The Shepherd’s lips.” (Spurgeon)

4. (12) Behold the God over all creation.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?

a. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand: Another aspect of our God to behold is His authority over all creation. Our God is so great, and so dominant over all creation, that He has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand and has measured heaven with a span.

i. This is another example of what we call anthropomorphism – speaking of God in human terms so we can partially understand who He is and what He does. God is not a being with the body of a giant, so large that all the waters of the earth could be cupped in His hand, or so large that the universe could be measured by the span of His hand. The Bible tells us that God the Father is spirit, so He does not have a body as we know it (John 4:24). But we understand exactly what the LORD tells us through the prophet Isaiah – God is so great, so dominant over all creation that we should stand in awe of His power and glory.

ii. Once my youngest son and I had a discussion about who in our family was bigger. We observed that his big brother was bigger than he was, and his big sister was bigger than the big brother, and mom was bigger than big sister, and I was bigger than mom was. Then my son looked at me and said, “But you’re not bigger than God.” That’s something for everyone to remember.

b. And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure: It isn’t just about size; it’s also about smarts. God is so great in His wisdom and intelligence that He calculated the dust of the earth in a measure. God knows exactly how many grains of dust there are on the earth. Even if a person knew the number of hairs on their head (as God knows, according to Luke 12:7), they could never calculate the dust in their own house – much less the dust of the earth.

i. To take it further, God knows how heavy the mountains are (He weighed the mountains in scales), and the hills also for that matter! (And the hills in a balance)

5. (13-14) Behold the God of all wisdom.

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
And taught Him in the path of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge,
And showed Him the way of understanding?

a. Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? Another aspect of God to behold is His great wisdom. He has the raw intelligence to know how much dust there is in the earth, and how heavy the mountains and the hills are. But more than that, God has the wisdom to use that knowledge. God is so wise, that no one has directed the Spirit of the LORD; no one as His counselor has taught Him.

i. Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD: In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament used in the days of Jesus and the disciples), this is translated Who has known the mind of the Lord? The apostle Paul quoted this line in Romans 11:34.

b. With whom did He take counsel: God needs no counsel, no instruction, no teacher, and no one to show Him the way of understanding.

C. God’s greatness is measured in comparison to others.

1. (15-17) God’s greatness surpasses all nations.

Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
All nations before Him are as nothing,
And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

a. Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket: The glory of a powerful nation is something to behold. We think of a huge military parade, with all the strength of the nation on display. But compared to God, it is nothing. The greatest glory of the greatest nation is as a drop in a bucket compared to the greatness and glory of the Lord GOD.

b. Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering: If man were to take all the wood in the mighty forests of Lebanon and use it to make a burnt offering of all the animals of the land, it would not be enough to satisfy God. Man’s best efforts cannot satisfy the honor and glory of God.

c. They are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless: In this chapter, God declares His greatness over all creation, but He never says of creation that it is less than nothing and worthless. But the nations have an arrogance, a pride against God that puts them lower than creation itself – He accounts them less than nothing and worthless.

2. (18-20) God’s greatness surpasses all idols.

To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
The workman molds an image,
The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
And the silversmith casts silver chains.
Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
Chooses a tree that will not rot;
He seeks for himself a skillful workman
To prepare a carved image that will not totter.

a. What likeness will you compare to Him? There are many likenesses that represent the gods of the nations. How do they compare to God? They don’t compare at all, because they are only the work of men’s hands (the workman molds an image).

i. “Maybe we are not as crude as the ancient Israelites, though some nations are. However, some people worship a crucifix, others will worship the church, or idolize the preacher. Some people will bow before the gods of materialism, ambition, sex, even home and loved ones, and will substitute anything if only they can escape having to get down to the basic need of facing why it is that God does not guide or deliver.” (Redpath)

b. To prepare a carved image that will not totter: The empty images that are the idols of the nations are so insignificant that they must be made so that they will not totter. They can’t even stand up on their own! God has no rivals.

i. Look at the care you have to give to your idols. First, you have to choose good wood, because who wants to worship a rotting god? Then you must choose a skilled workman because who wants to worship a poorly made god? Then it has to be well designed because who wants to worship a god that keeps falling over? “Whenever Isaiah speaks about idolatry, he cannot keep from using the most cutting mockery.” (Bultema)

3. (21-26) God’s greatness is evident, as He is the Creator of all.

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.
Scarcely shall they be planted,
Scarcely shall they be sown,
Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
When He will also blow on them,
And they will wither,
And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
“To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.

a. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Isaiah can’t believe that anyone could doubt the greatness of God when they see the glory of God’s creation. First, He sits above all creation (It is He who sits above the circle of the earth). Second, He created it all (Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain).

i. Isaiah’s amazement is well placed. How can anyone look at the glory and design evident in creation, and fail to understand that there must be a glorious designer behind such a glorious design?

ii. “This is one of the central Old Testament passages on the doctrine of creation. It teaches that the physical fabric of creation is a direct artifact of the Creator.” (Motyer)

iii. Isaiah uses an interesting phrase when he describes God as the One who sits above the circle of the earth. How could Isaiah possibly know that the earth’s shape was a circle? He probably didn’t know, but the LORD who spoke through Isaiah did know.

iv. Every once in a while, unlearned critics talk as if Bible-believing people are members of the “Flat Earth Society” – people so out of touch with real science that they still insist the earth is flat. In response, we should be reminded that Augustine, perhaps the greatest of the church fathers, who lived about a thousand years before Columbus, professed that the earth was round, not flat. As well, in the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas, the most profound and prolific of medieval theologians, observed that the spherical shape of the earth could be empirically demonstrated. All they did was agree with Isaiah: It is He who sits above the circle of the earth.

b. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless: God’s power and glory are not only exalted above the inanimate creation, but also over men of power on the earth. When people have political power (princes) or legal power (judges) it is easy for them to think of themselves as gods! Through the message of Isaiah, the LORD sets this straight. All God needs to do is to blow on them, and they will wither.

c. Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name: God’s mastery over all creation is shown by the fact that He can bring out all the stars by number, and then He calls them all by name. With the billions and billions of stars in the universe, it is staggering to know that God can number and name them all.

i. “The astronomers are still busily engaged in counting and classifying the stars, but Christ has described, counted and ordered them already.” (Bultema)

D. Applying the knowledge of God’s greatness.

1. (27-28) Having confidence in God’s power and wisdom.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.

a. Why do you say: Having spent all of Isaiah 40 showing us the greatness and the glory of God, now Isaiah shows us how understanding this makes a difference in our lives – beyond the obvious compulsion we should feel to honor and worship this great God.

b. Why do you say, O Jacob…“My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God”? Understanding the greatness and glory of God persuades us that there is nothing in our life hidden from God, and there is nothing neglected by God.

c. Have you not known? Have you not heard? The people asked this question in Isaiah 40:21 doubted there was a God who created all. The ones asked the same question in this verse seem to know there is a creator, but live as practical atheists. They don’t seem to understand that the fact there is a God of all creation makes a difference in everyday life.

i. “How easy it is to believe in the infinite power of God and at the same time to feel that He is unable to meet our personal needs!” (Wolf)

d. Have you not heard? These practical atheists need to hear what they already know: that the Lord GOD is the Creator of the ends of the earth. Then they need to hear about the Creator: that He neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. Those who really believe these truths about God should live as if God is really there.

2. (29-31) Receiving the strength of the LORD.

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

a. He gives power to the weak: After explaining all the greatness and glory of God, now Isaiah explains another benefit we can receive from our God – He gives us His great power.

i. Notice who God gives power to: the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Those who are proud and confident in their own wisdom and strength will receive no strength from God.

b. Even the youths shall faint and be weary: Those who thought themselves strong find themselves weak. God’s strength is reserved for those who know they are weak, and know they have no might.

c. But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength: How do we receive this strength from the LORD? We receive it as we wait on the LORD. The idea behind wait on the LORD is not a passive sitting around until the LORD does something. Yes, God gives us strength; but we don’t expect it to come as if He were pouring it into us as we sit passively. He brings it to us as we seek Him, and rely on Him, instead of our own strength. If we are weak, it is because we do not wait on the LORD.

i. We are also told that we renew our strength. It is strength that was once received when we first came to the LORD in weakness and no might. Then, that strength is renewed as we wait on the LORD. Renew is “from a basic meaning ‘to change’…[it] comes to mean ‘to put on afresh’: here, ‘keep putting on fresh strength.’ (Motyer)

d. They shall mount up with wings like eagles: This is the measure of strength the LORD gives us – strength to soar above everything else.

e. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint: This is the purpose of the strength the LORD gives us – strength to move forward and progress for Him. It isn’t strength to show off, but strength to go forward in.

i. Weak in Isaiah 40:29 and faint in Isaiah 40:30 are the same Hebrew word, which means “failure through loss of inherent strength.” Weary in Isaiah 40:30 is a different word, which means “exhaustion because of the hardness of life” (Motyer). If we are worn out for either reason, God is here to give us strength – if we will wait on Him.

f. Notice the order, because it seems strange. First, we mount up with wings like eagles. Then we run. Finally, we walk. Does it seem out of order? Not at all. First, we recognize that we soar up into heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). Then we set ourselves on the course to run the race (Hebrews 12:1). Then we are in a good place to walk the walk (Colossians 2:6).

(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Isaiah Old Testament

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Chaos Against God

Psalm 2

Why are the nations so angry?
    Why do they waste their time with futile plans?

The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
    the rulers plot together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.

“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
    “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
    The Lord scoffs at them.

Then in anger he rebukes them,
    terrifying them with his fierce fury.

For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
    in Jerusalem,[a] on my holy mountain.”

The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.[b]
    Today I have become your Father.[c]

Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
    the whole earth as your possession.

You will break[d] them with an iron rod
    and smash them like clay pots.’”

10 

Now then, you kings, act wisely!
    Be warned, you rulers of the earth!

11 

Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.

12 

Submit to God’s royal son,[e] or he will become angry,
    and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
    But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

Why the nations cause uprise and scenes and uproar with trouble? Who’d people cause wrongs and chaos? The Government cause uproar and rise against God for he is our father meant to be glorified and respected in honor not in chaos and uproar and rebuked

Psalm 2 is the second psalm of the Book of Psalms, beginning in English in the King James Version: “Why do the heathen rage”. In Latin, it is known as “Quare fremuerunt gentes”. Psalm 2 does not identify its author with a superscription, but Acts 4:24–26 in the New Testament attributes it to David. Wikipedia

Psalm 2

Psalm 2 – The Reign of the LORD’s Anointed

Like many psalms, the theme of Psalm 2 is emphasized in the final verse. We can defy God and perish, or we can surrender to Him and be blessed. The psalm itself does not identify its author, but Acts 4:25-26 clearly attributes it to David.

A. The rage of nations and the laugh of God.

1. (1-3) The nations rebel.

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

a. Why do the nations rage: The psalmist seems genuinely mystified. The nations have no reason to rage against God, and they have no benefit in raging against Him. Their opposition against God is nothing but a vain thing.

b. The rulers take counsel together: Since the time of Babel, men have continued to band themselves together against God. Their mistaken belief is that two or more men united against God have a better chance than one man set against God.

c. Against the LORD and against His Anointed: They oppose both the LORD and His Anointed. Anointed speaks of the Christ, the Anointed One. Since Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father (John 10:30, 14:9), opposing God the Father, is to oppose Jesus. If you are against Jesus, you are against God the Father.

d. Let us break Their bonds in pieces: Those who oppose the LORD and His Anointed think of God as a bondage-bringer. This attitude is evidence of spiritual insanity, because God is a bondage-breaker, not a bondage-bringer.

i. “To a graceless neck the yoke of Christ is intolerable, but to the saved sinner it is easy and light…. We may judge ourselves by this, do we love that yoke, or do we wish to cast it from us?” (Spurgeon)

2. (4-6) The LORD’s laugh from heaven.

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The LORD shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

a. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh: God looks at the way man plots against Him and He laughs. God isn’t afraid or confused or depressed about the opposition of man. God laughs at it.

i. God laughs because He sits in the heavens. He sits as the Great King on a glorious throne. He isn’t pacing back and forth in the throne room of heaven, wondering what He should do next. God sits in perfect peace and assurance.

ii. God laughs because He sits in the heavens. It isn’t an earthly throne He occupies; it is the throne of heaven with authority over all creation. What does heaven have to fear from earth?

iii. “God does not tremble. He does not hide behind a vast celestial rampart, counting the enemy and calculating whether or not he has sufficient force to counter this new challenge to his kingdom. He does not even rise from where he is sitting. He simply ‘laughs’ at these great imbeciles.” (Boice)

iv. “This derisive laughter of God is the comfort of all those who love righteousness. It is the laughter of the might of holiness; it is the laughter of the strength of love. God does not exult over the sufferings of sinning men. He does hold in derision all the proud boastings and violence of such as seek to prevent His accomplishment of His will.” (Morgan)

b. The LORD shall hold them in derision: Through the centuries, many have opposed God and His Kingdom in Jesus Christ. Each one of these opponents shall be frustrated and crushed.

i. A famous example of an opponent of Christianity was the Roman Emperor Diocletian (reigning A.D. 284-305). He was such a determined enemy of Christians that he persecuted the church mercilessly, and fancied that he had defeated Christianity. He ordered the making a medal with this inscription: “The name of Christianity being extinguished.”

ii. Diocletian also set up two monuments on the frontier of his empire with these inscriptions:

Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares Augusti for having extended the Roman Empire in the east and the west and for having extinguished the name of Christians who brought the Republic to ruin

Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares Augusti for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ for having extended the worship of the gods

iii. Diocletian is dead and gone, a footnote on the pages of history. The fame and glory of Jesus Christ is spread over all the earth. The LORD shall hold them in derision.

c. He shall speak to them in His wrath: God laughs in heaven, but He doesn’t remain inactive. He laughs, but He doesn’t only laugh. Before He acts against defiant mankind, He first speaks to rebellious humanity.

i. This shows the great mercy of God. He has every reason and every right to simply act against defiant men. Love and mercy compel God to speak a word of warning before He acts.

d. I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion: God wants defiant mankind to know that He has established a King. The defiant men closest in view in the psalm are kings and rulers, and God especially wants them to know there is a King greater than they are. God’s King is established (set), and established in Jerusalem (Zion).

B. God’s decree to the nations.

1. (7-9) The decree of the Son.

“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

a. I will declare the decree: The following passage indicates that this is the LORD’s Anointed Himself speaking. He will declare the decree that God the Father spoke to Him.

b. You are My Son, today I have begotten You: The LORD’s Anointed recalls what God the Father spoke to Him, identifying Him as the Son of the Father and emphasizing His standing as begotten of the Father.

i. The writer to the Hebrews quotes this passage in Hebrews 1:5 as evidence of the deity of Jesus and superiority to all angels. He mentions the more excellent name Jesus received, greater than all the angels. This is the “name” Son. While angels are sometimes called the sons of God in a generic sense (Job 1:6), the Father never said “My Son” to any angel in a specific sense. That is reserved for God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity.

ii. Begotten is also an important idea, as a contrast to created. Jesus was not created; rather He created everything that was created (Colossians 1:16-17). Begotten describes a relationship between two beings of the same essential nature and being, but we create things of a different essential being and nature than ourselves. A man creates a statue but begets a child.

c. I will give You the nations for Your inheritance: The LORD’s Anointed holds the nations as His inheritance. He will rule over all nations and all judgment is committed to Him (John 5:22).

i. Revelation 11:15 describes an exciting consummation of this inheritance: Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

d. You shall break them with a rod of iron: The LORD’s Anointed has such power over the nations that they are like clay pots that he can shatter with a blow from a rod of iron. This shows why it is so foolish for the nations to defy the LORD and His Anointed. There is no reason and no benefit to their defiant opposition.

2. (10-12) The decree to the nations about the Son.

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

a. Be wise, O kings: After the words of warning from the LORD’s Anointed, the psalmist counsels the kings of the earth to give up their foolish defiance of the LORD.

b. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling: The psalmist calls the kings of the earth to surrender to God, giving Him proper reverence. In this submitted, surrendered place they can rejoice – yet with appropriate trembling.

c. Kiss the Son: This primarily has in mind the kiss of submission, where a dignitary receives the humble kiss of an inferior. It also hints at the affection God wants in relationship to Him. God wants us to recognize our proper place before Him, but to also rejoice in Him and be affectionate in our relationship.

i. “Kissing was the token of subjugation and friendship.” (Clarke)

ii. If the kings and judges of the earth are commanded to humble themselves before the LORD’s Anointed, recognizing His total superiority, then what of the rest of us? Speaking to the kings and judges therefore includes all of humanity.

d. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him: Those who defy God are broken, but those who depend on Him are blessed. The psalmist leaves the choice with everyone: broken or blessed?

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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What Does Psalm 2:1 Mean? ►

Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?

Psalm 2:1(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

There are many times in history when the people of God could have asked this very question: why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? It is certainly a question that many of us have asked over the years as we see an increasing hatred of God, a growing contempt for Jesus Christ.. His anointed Son, a multiplication of sin and evil and an ever greater distain towards those that believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.. for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

But asking.. why the heathen rage in this way, is not simply a question that we are asking, as we live in this lost and dying world, with its increasingly corrupt world system. This is the question that God the Father told us that He Himself would ask in derision.. about those that oppose Him.. especially during the fast-approaching Great Tribulation – as the armies of the world gather together to make war against Christ. In their anger and rage we read that they will try to prevent His glorious return to earth and His everlasting reign of righteousness.. when He comes in power, with the armies of heaven.. to set up His millennial kingdom.

The Bible tells us that a time of great distress and terrible trouble is coming when a great global federation of ungodly rulers and corrupt nations will unite in passionate hatred against God. They will come together with a unified resolution to prevent the prophesised, second coming of Christ. In their satanic hatred of God, these ungodly men will seek to wrench away Christ’s legitimate authority and His God-given sovereign right to rule the nations of the earth, in equity and peace.

As we watch the frenetic desire of the globalist minority seeking to deceive the nations by calling that which is good- ‘evil’ and that which is evil- ‘good’, we see other prophetic scriptures being fulfilled – for we read in Hosea: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because they hast rejected truth.. and Isaiah mourns: My people are gone into captivity for lack of knowledge. And although these Old Testament passages are addressed directly to the nation of Israel – all scripture is profitable for the Church, for through it we can discover truths and principles that can comfort, encourage.. teach, train, rebuke and direct us in our Christian walk through this life.

Before the foundation of the world, God formed His plan of redemption, whereby the first creation in Adam, (which fell).. would be replaced with a new Creation in Christ – (Who is our life). From the beginning. God’s purpose for the human race was for man to have dominion over the earth. But Adam sinned.. and when man fell, when Satan stole man’s authority over the earth. However, God purposed that His only begotten Son – the eternal Son of God and second Member of the Trinity, would be the one and only Man Who would restore what man lost. He would be His anointed King.. Who would govern His people Israel and become the Head of the mystic Body, which is the Church.

The content of Psalm 2, together with many prophetic passages about the second coming of Christ, gives much insight into God’s attitude towards the raging heathens; the kings and rulers of the earth that plot against God and those that imagine a vain thing against the Lord and His anointed King. The satanic plans of these foolish, prideful people is to break free from the sovereign rule of their Creator God. Their goal is to become independent of His plans and purposes. But we read that God holds these people in derision. He laughs at them in scorn – for God has never rescinded his original plan and purposes for man to rule the earth. And the Lord JESUS is the King, Whom God the Father has purposed will rule and reign, for ever and ever.

God is long-suffering towards the fallen race of man and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to faith in Christ Jesus Indeed the gospel of grace has been preached to the nations for almost 2000 years.. and the invitation to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of our soul and life everlasting has been preached freely to whosoever will come by faith.

But knowing that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief.. we are a people who by God’s grace ought to walk in spirit and truth. May we seek to conduct ourselves in holiness of heart, as we look for the coming of the Christ – our blessed hope and great Redeemer.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-2-1

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-2-1

What does Psalm 2:1 mean?

This psalm starts with a rhetorical question. It’s ridiculous to think that one can overpower, undermine, or escape the will of God. The psalmist is amazed that so many people, cultures, and even entire nations are united in evil intent. He indicates that their intention is “in vain.” It is doomed to fail. The following verse explains why these efforts are doomed: they’re plans to overthrow God and His Anointed One (Psalm 2:2). “Anointed” is from the Hebrew term mashiyach, from which English derives the word “Messiah.” Greek translates this as Christos, from which English derives the title of “Christ.”

Rage and anger are sinful mankind’s typical response to God. That includes hatred aimed at those who choose to obey God, instead of following the world (1 Peter 4:3–4; John 15:18–19).

Whether an individual or a nation or several nations plot against God, the plot is bound to fail. God is far too wise and too powerful to fall to puny mankind. Pharaoh and the Egyptians learned this truth the hard way. They planned to enslave God’s people, the Hebrews, indefinitely. Even after God persuaded Pharaoh by ten severe plagues to release the Hebrews from slavery, Pharaoh dispatched his cavalry to pursue the Hebrews. At the Red Sea, God told Moses, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD…The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:13–14). Then the Lord dried up the Red Sea so His people could cross (Exodus 14:21–22). But the waters returned and engulfed the pursuing Egyptian cavalry (Exodus 14:26–28). Pharaoh’s plot failed miserably when he opposed the Lord.

Context Summary

Psalm 2:1–6 portrays nations arrayed in military fashion against the Lord God and His anointed King. They have plotted to throw off the Lord’s control. However, their scheme causes the Lord to laugh and to defeat their evil plan. He addresses them in His wrath and terrifies them in a display of His fury. After being released by the Sanhedrin, the Jews’ ruling body in the first century, Peter and John returned to a gathering of believers and reported what had transpired. Together, the believers quoted Psalm 2:6 and applied it to the risen Son of God (Acts 4:23–30).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed

What does Psalm 2:2 mean?

This clearly identifies the aggressors behind the evil plot mentioned before (Psalm 2:1), as well as the target of their aggression. The kings and rulers of the nations are the aggressors. The word “set” here implies deliberate preparation and arrangement. Translations such as the NASB render this as “take their stand,” suggesting the aggressors’ hostile intent. They gather their armies in military formation and brainstorm how to overthrow the Lord and His Anointed.

The English word “Anointed” here comes from the Hebrew term mashiyach. This is the origin of the word “Messiah.” In Greek, the same concept is expressed with the title Christos, from which comes the English title “Christ.” This points to Jesus, Israel’s Messiah (Acts 2:36). In Old Testament times three significant roles were inaugurated by the anointing with oil. They were the roles of prophet, priest, and king. The prophet delivered the Lord’s messages to the people; the priest represented the people before the Lord; the king ruled the people on behalf of the Lord.

Jesus, the promised Messiah, is all three: prophet, priest, and king. He came to earth as the Word and declared God’s message (John 1:14, 18). He is the believers’ High Priest, interceding for us (Hebrews 4:14–16). And someday He will rule the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16).

Context Summary

Psalm 2:1–6 portrays nations arrayed in military fashion against the Lord God and His anointed King. They have plotted to throw off the Lord’s control. However, their scheme causes the Lord to laugh and to defeat their evil plan. He addresses them in His wrath and terrifies them in a display of His fury. After being released by the Sanhedrin, the Jews’ ruling body in the first century, Peter and John returned to a gathering of believers and reported what had transpired. Together, the believers quoted Psalm 2:6 and applied it to the risen Son of God (Acts 4:23–30).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed.

What does Psalm 2:3 mean?

Prior verses asked, rhetorically, why the world would rebel against an all-powerful God (Psalm 2:1–2). The purpose of their rage and plotting is an attempt to throw off the authority of God and His Anointed One. The ungodly cannot stand being controlled by the supreme Ruler of the universe and His Son (Acts 4:23–28).

Of course, the evil desire to usurp God and take His place is nothing new. Before the dawn of human history, Lucifer—the Devil—attempted to elevate himself to God’s throne. But his futile exercise of self-will led to his expulsion from heaven (Isaiah 14:12–15). Adam and Eve rejected God’s will concerning His command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1–6). Their rebellion resulted in their expulsion from the garden of Eden, death for them and all their descendants, and a curse on nature (Genesis 3:16–19). In the era of the Judges, desire to reject God’s will and replace it with self-will brought the Israelites into bondage to their enemies. Every man did what was right in his own eyes, even if it was wrong in God’s eyes (Judges 17:6).

Ephesians 2:3 indicts the world of unbelievers for choosing to pursue self-will rather than God’s will. Isaiah 53:6 says we have all gone astray like sheep and turned to our own way. Indeed, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Context Summary

Psalm 2:1–6 portrays nations arrayed in military fashion against the Lord God and His anointed King. They have plotted to throw off the Lord’s control. However, their scheme causes the Lord to laugh and to defeat their evil plan. He addresses them in His wrath and terrifies them in a display of His fury. After being released by the Sanhedrin, the Jews’ ruling body in the first century, Peter and John returned to a gathering of believers and reported what had transpired. Together, the believers quoted Psalm 2:6 and applied it to the risen Son of God (Acts 4:23–30).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed

What does Psalm 2:4 mean?

Those who resist God’s rule, His will, and His truth do so in rage, frenzy, plotting, and scheming (Psalm 2:1–3). Scripture reveals the sovereign Lord’s response to the unbelieving world’s desire to overthrow Him. “The nations” (Psalm 2:1) and “the kings…and the rulers” (Psalm 2:2) think of themselves as the ultimate authority. They plan together to rebel against God’s will and His Word.

Even so, God “sits” in the heavens, a reference to His throne (Isaiah 6:1), from which He rules heaven and earth. From that lofty, secure vantage point, He sees the frantic, rebellious nations, and He laughs. The nations’ plot is ridiculous—it is laughable. God is not intimidated by tantrums from human beings. All the power of all the nations is no match for God. Isaiah 40:15 declares: “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.” And Isaiah 40:17 says, “All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.”

When proud mankind wanted to make a name for themselves by building a tower at Babel that reached high into the sky, Scripture says God came down to see it (Genesis 11:5). He then divided their common language into many languages and scattered the builders far from the construction site (Genesis 11:1–9). Similarly, according to the following verse, God will terrify the rebellious nations.

Context Summary

Psalm 2:1–6 portrays nations arrayed in military fashion against the Lord God and His anointed King. They have plotted to throw off the Lord’s control. However, their scheme causes the Lord to laugh and to defeat their evil plan. He addresses them in His wrath and terrifies them in a display of His fury. After being released by the Sanhedrin, the Jews’ ruling body in the first century, Peter and John returned to a gathering of believers and reported what had transpired. Together, the believers quoted Psalm 2:6 and applied it to the risen Son of God (Acts 4:23–30).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed.

What does Psalm 2:5 mean?

“The nations,” meaning the cultures and people groups of a fallen world, plot to usurp God from His throne and establish themselves as the sole rulers of earth (Psalm 2:1–3). God has other plans (Psalm 2:4). In His wrath, He will speak to them and terrify them in His fury.

These words preview Revelation chapter 20, where we read that the Devil gathers the nations for battle. The armies are so numerous that they resemble the sand of the sea (Revelation 20:8). The militant nations march on “the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Revelation 20:9). In His wrath and fury, God rains fire from heaven upon the armies and consumes them.

The wrath of God is not a pleasant subject. Naturally, most would rather hear about God’s love. However, wrath is as much a part of God’s character as is His love. Sin naturally angers God, and His wrath abides on all sinners who refuse to believe on His Son, who paid the penalty for sin and offers forgiveness to all who believe on Him. Scripture states: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).

Context Summary

Psalm 2:1–6 portrays nations arrayed in military fashion against the Lord God and His anointed King. They have plotted to throw off the Lord’s control. However, their scheme causes the Lord to laugh and to defeat their evil plan. He addresses them in His wrath and terrifies them in a display of His fury. After being released by the Sanhedrin, the Jews’ ruling body in the first century, Peter and John returned to a gathering of believers and reported what had transpired. Together, the believers quoted Psalm 2:6 and applied it to the risen Son of God (Acts 4:23–30).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed.

What does Psalm 2:6 mean?

The unbelieving world thinks it can throw off God’s truth and His will (Psalm 2:1–3). That will only earn a laugh, and wrath, from an all-powerful God (Psalm 2:4–5). The sovereign Creator of the universe will set His King—the Lord Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah—on Mount Zion, His holy hill. The book of Psalms mentions Zion thirty-nine times. David, who wrote Psalm 2, conquered Zion when it was a city of the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:7). Later, Zion referred to the temple area in Jerusalem and eventually it became synonymous with Jerusalem. God’s “holy hill” refers to the temple mount.

Someday, Jesus, God’s Anointed (Acts 4:23–28), will return to earth, subdue His enemies, and rule from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1–4; Malachi 3:1). In the angel Gabriel’s address to Mary, he prophesied concerning Jesus: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32–33). As surely as King David ruled from Jerusalem, so King Jesus will rule from Jerusalem!

Context Summary

Psalm 2:1–6 portrays nations arrayed in military fashion against the Lord God and His anointed King. They have plotted to throw off the Lord’s control. However, their scheme causes the Lord to laugh and to defeat their evil plan. He addresses them in His wrath and terrifies them in a display of His fury. After being released by the Sanhedrin, the Jews’ ruling body in the first century, Peter and John returned to a gathering of believers and reported what had transpired. Together, the believers quoted Psalm 2:6 and applied it to the risen Son of God (Acts 4:23–30).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed

What does Psalm 2:7 mean?

The psalmist, David (Acts 4:25), refers to God’s mention of the king’s right to rule. He recalls the covenant God made with him. This is a permanent decree authorizing Davidic rule. Second Samuel 7:13 provides God’s promise at the time of David’s coronation. God promised: “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” This statement connects the idea of the promised Messiah being referred to as a “Son” of God.

Further, God referred to his relationship with David’s promised descendant—the One with a “kingdom forever” as a father-son relationship. He said, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Samuel 7:13–14). The covenant relationship between God and King David finds a greater fulfillment in the relationship of Father-Son that exists between God and His Son, the Messiah. John 3:16 emphasizes this relationship by stating, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…”

Context Summary

Psalm 2:7–9 records the words of God’s Son, Israel’s future King. They appropriately follow God’s promise to establish His Son on the throne of David, and to deal with rebellious nations in His wrath and fury. Faced with King Jesus’ victory over His foes, the psalmist’s counsel to the rebels follows in verses 10–12. Revelation 19:11–15 describes the King’s outpouring of God’s wrath and fury on the rebel nations during the end times.

What does Psalm 2:8 mean?

Traditionally, a father would provide an inheritance for his son, payable upon the father’s death. In the parable of the prodigal son, the prodigal asked his father for the inheritance in advance. In that case, it was a selfish request that sprang from a wrong motive (Luke 15:11–13). God, on the other hand, invites David to ask for his inheritance, including all the nations and all of the earth.

Although David’s kingdom was sizeable, the fulfillment of this promise awaits Messiah’s kingdom that follows His return to earth (Revelation 19:11; 20:4). Isaiah 9:7 points to the vast kingdom God’s eternal Son will possess. This prophecy reads: “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

Zechariah 2:11 anticipates Messiah’s possession of the nations by proclaiming: “And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.”

Context Summary

Psalm 2:7–9 records the words of God’s Son, Israel’s future King. They appropriately follow God’s promise to establish His Son on the throne of David, and to deal with rebellious nations in His wrath and fury. Faced with King Jesus’ victory over His foes, the psalmist’s counsel to the rebels follows in verses 10–12. Revelation 19:11–15 describes the King’s outpouring of God’s wrath and fury on the rebel nations during the end times.

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed.

What does Psalm 2:9 mean?

This verse predicts that the Lord’s Anointed will smash the rebellious nations when He returns to earth to establish His kingdom (Revelation 19:11; 20:4). Not one unrighteous person will be left to enter the kingdom (Titus 3:4–7). He will use a rod of iron to shatter the rebels just as a potter smashes a vessel into pieces.

The Hebrew word for “rod” is sē’bet, often applied to a shepherd’s crook. At other times it refers to a scepter. Reportedly, Pharaoh used his scepter to smash vessels that represented rebellious nations or rebellious cities in his empire. Revelation 19:15 unveils what happens to the rebellious nations when Jesus returns to earth. The verse declares: “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.”

Psalm 89:22–26 predicts the Messiah’s conquest and rule: “The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those that hate him. My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.'”

Context Summary

Psalm 2:7–9 records the words of God’s Son, Israel’s future King. They appropriately follow God’s promise to establish His Son on the throne of David, and to deal with rebellious nations in His wrath and fury. Faced with King Jesus’ victory over His foes, the psalmist’s counsel to the rebels follows in verses 10–12. Revelation 19:11–15 describes the King’s outpouring of God’s wrath and fury on the rebel nations during the end times.

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed.

What does Psalm 2:10 mean?

The psalmist, David (Acts 4:25), advises the kings to be wise, and he issues a warning to the rulers. It is unwise to oppose God considering His ability to execute His wrath on all who refuse to be warned. The idea of opposing God and defying His truth is laughable (Psalm 2:1–6). Those who oppose God and His Anointed One will face utter destruction (Psalm 2:7–9).

Even without the return of Messiah to rule the world (Revelation 19:11; 20:4), there are biblical examples of God humiliating those who arrogantly defy Him. Two Babylonian kings learned firsthand that God is not to be trifled with. In a display of his inflated ego, King Nebuchadnezzar erected a 90-foot-tall golden image on the plain of Dura. He commanded everyone to fall down at the sound of music and worship the image (Daniel 3:1–7). Later, he boasted about Babylon as a great city that he had built (Daniel 4:30). Such egotistical idolatry incurred God’s wrath. God humbled Nebuchadnezzar by driving him from men to eat grass like an ox for seven years (Daniel 4:33–37). Sometime later, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson Belshazzar was King of Babylon, and he, too, was proud and idolatrous (Daniel 5:1–4). God responded to Belshazzar’s wickedness by allowing the Medes and Persians to kill him and seize his kingdom (Daniel 5:30–31).

Acts 12:20–23 records the surprising death of Herod Agrippa I, another proud king who refused to honor God. When King Herod attired himself, sat on his throne, and received the worship of his subjects, immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he died of a worm infestation.

Context Summary

Psalm 2:10–12 closes the song by urging kings and rulers of the earth to make a wise decision. The psalmist counsels them to change their rebellious attitude and come to friendly terms with the Lord’s anointed Son. Doing so will avert the Son’s anger and avoid eternal punishment. Also, coming to friendly terms with God’s Son will provide refuge and blessing. This conveys a message like that of John the Baptist. He urged everyone in Israel to repent in preparation for the arrival of Messiah and His kingdom (Matthew 3:1–3; John 1:8). Jesus invited those who heard Him to repent and believe on Him (Matthew 4:17; 11:28; Luke 5:32; 13:3, 34). He said no one can enter the kingdom without being born again (John 3:3). The apostles Peter and Paul, too, urged those who heard them preach to turn to Jesus for forgiveness (Acts 2:38–39; 17:30–31; Romans 10:1–13).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed

What does Psalm 2:11 mean?

David, the author of this psalm (Acts 4:25), calls upon the rebellious kings and rulers to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling; that is, with respect and strong emotion. Instead of opposing the Lord (Psalm 2:1–6), the kings and rulers had an opportunity to do His bidding reverently and with deep joy.

Service that combines reverence and joy is the hallmark of genuine Christianity. Psalm 100:2 implores God’s people to “serve the LORD with gladness!” Further, God’s people ought to humbly acknowledge His authority and ownership. Scripture states, “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3).

The early believers who trusted in Christ on the Day of Pentecost modeled this kind of relationship to God. Acts 2:42–47 reports that they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, broke bread together, prayed, shared their goods with one another, gave generously to help the needy, ate with glad hearts, and praised God. In Psalm 5:7 the psalmist shared his resolve to respond to God’s abundant, steadfast love to enter God’s house and bow down toward the Lord’s temple in fear of Him. This attitude of trust and devotion to God should be repeated by all believers.

Context Summary

Psalm 2:10–12 closes the song by urging kings and rulers of the earth to make a wise decision. The psalmist counsels them to change their rebellious attitude and come to friendly terms with the Lord’s anointed Son. Doing so will avert the Son’s anger and avoid eternal punishment. Also, coming to friendly terms with God’s Son will provide refuge and blessing. This conveys a message like that of John the Baptist. He urged everyone in Israel to repent in preparation for the arrival of Messiah and His kingdom (Matthew 3:1–3; John 1:8). Jesus invited those who heard Him to repent and believe on Him (Matthew 4:17; 11:28; Luke 5:32; 13:3, 34). He said no one can enter the kingdom without being born again (John 3:3). The apostles Peter and Paul, too, urged those who heard them preach to turn to Jesus for forgiveness (Acts 2:38–39; 17:30–31; Romans 10:1–13).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed.

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed

What does Psalm 2:12 mean?

The psalmist, David (Acts 4:25), continues his counsel to the kings and rulers by telling them to kiss the Son to avert His anger. This contrasts with their plans to defy God (Psalm 2:1–6).

“Kiss” suggests homage. When Elijah was depressed in the desert and feeling that he was the only one who worshiped the Lord, the Lord told him, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18). In biblical times a kiss on the cheek was an expression of friendship. Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, feigned friendship with Jesus by kissing him (Matthew 26:47–49). In 1 Thessalonians 5:26, Paul commanded the Christians to “greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.” Today, at least in Western cultures, a firm handshake and/or a hug is an equivalent sign of friendliness.

This psalm makes it clear that failure to establish a friendly relationship with the Anointed One brings about His anger and wrath that results in damnation (John 3:36). Revelation 20:10–15 reveals that this fate involves being cast into the lake of fire. However, those who “kiss the Son” are blessed and protected by Him (John 3:16–18). This is a summary of the gospel message: that we can be saved only through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:31).

Context Summary

Psalm 2:10–12 closes the song by urging kings and rulers of the earth to make a wise decision. The psalmist counsels them to change their rebellious attitude and come to friendly terms with the Lord’s anointed Son. Doing so will avert the Son’s anger and avoid eternal punishment. Also, coming to friendly terms with God’s Son will provide refuge and blessing. This conveys a message like that of John the Baptist. He urged everyone in Israel to repent in preparation for the arrival of Messiah and His kingdom (Matthew 3:1–3; John 1:8). Jesus invited those who heard Him to repent and believe on Him (Matthew 4:17; 11:28; Luke 5:32; 13:3, 34). He said no one can enter the kingdom without being born again (John 3:3). The apostles Peter and Paul, too, urged those who heard them preach to turn to Jesus for forgiveness (Acts 2:38–39; 17:30–31; Romans 10:1–13).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 2, written by King David (Acts 4:25), begins by questioning the nations’ frenzied attempt to overthrow the Lord and His anointed King, Jesus. Godless cultures plot to rid themselves of divine authority. But trying to escape God’s will is ridiculous. He will direct His wrath toward them and asserts He has established His King upon Mount Zion. God addresses His Son as His only begotten. This passage predicts the anointed King—the Messiah—will smash the rebellious nations to pieces with an iron rod. The psalmist urges the kings and rulers of the earth to submit to the Son’s rule and come to friendly terms with Him. The psalm closes with the declaration that all who take refuge in the Lord’s anointed King are blessed.

Be Fruitful In The Life Of Christ

Book one (Psalms 1–41)

Psalm 1

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.

But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!
    They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.

They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
    Sinners will have no place among the godly.

For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
    but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Blessed is the man who is fruitful and has a seed planted that grows in firm knowledge with Christ and the law of the Lord

Psalm 1 is the first psalm of the Book of Psalms, beginning in the English King James Version: “Blessed is the man”, and forming “an appropriate prologue” to the whole collection. The Book of Psalms is part of the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. Wikipedia

Unanswered Prayers

God tells us to pray continuously about all our concerns, but he grants only those petitions that align with his will.

Since we cannot fully comprehend God’s will from our earthly viewpoint, we often ask him for things that are outside the scope of his intentions.

Unanswered prayers raise doubts about God’s trustworthiness.

So, why does he tell us to pray about everything when he knows that many of our petitions will seemingly go unanswered and thereby diminish our trust in him?

Primary Purpose

God does not encourage us to pray so he can stay informed of our latest wishes. He already knows our desires before we disclose them.

God tells us to pray because prayer is integral to our communion with him. It positions us to experience true contentment.

Prayer turns our attention from ourselves to God. It gives us the opportunity to worship him humbly, align with him morally, convey gratitude for his blessings, and express faith in his goodness.

The model prayer that Jesus introduced—The Lord’s Prayer—indicates that God wants us to incorporate these themes into our prayers whenever we can, but especially amid affliction.

Expressing these thoughts to God, even when we are submitting requests or lodging complaints, conditions our heart to commune with him and experience true contentment.

God tells us to pray about everything because he considers the true contentment we derive through communion with him to be more important than the distrust that may arise in the wake of unanswered prayers.

Volitional Freedom

What should we conclude about God when he seemingly disregards petitions that we know coincide with his will?

For example:

• We know God wants everyone to be reborn spiritually, so we pray that a friend will comply with his salvation plan. Instead, they die as an unbeliever.

• We know God condemns hate, so we ask him to protect the weak from the bigotry of the strong. Instead, their oppression continues.

• We know God detests rank hypocrisy, so we pray that his public advocates will forsake their sinfulness and live righteously. Instead, their duplicity persists.

Unanswered prayers like these do not signify that God is aloof, powerless, malevolent, or non-existent.

Instead, they evidence his utmost respect for the moral autonomy of the will.

God so esteems the volitional freedom of those we lift up in prayer that he willingly subordinates his preferences and our desires to their moral choices.

He gives them opportunities to refrain from unrighteousness. He prompts them to choose virtue over vice. But in the end, he defers to their will.

God likewise respects our will when we make moral choices that conflict with his preferences and deviate from the desires of those who pray for us.

Personal Circumstances

So, does God ever change our personal circumstances in response to prayer? Or does he only use prayer to change us?

God does indeed improve individual situations in response to prayer. Perhaps, not as often as we would like. Or in the way we want. Or as quickly as we prefer.

But if we could see everything he was doing in the lives of reborn believers worldwide, we would realize that he frequently makes life better, providently and miraculously, in answer to prayer.

Amid affliction, we should ask God to change our circumstances and us. He responds to both requests as he deems best.

God’s Best

But here is the caveat.

God’s best encompasses more than the goodness of our current circumstances. It also includes our understanding of his excellence and the effectiveness of our ministry—now and in the future.

God may let our distress linger despite pleas for relief because he is using it to build a unique message into our lives about his excellence that he intends for us to share with others.

God may allow our suffering to endure because our perception of his goodness is still conditioned on the goodness of our circumstances. We have yet to learn experientially that he is thoroughly good—even amid affliction.

God redeems our suffering by producing goodness in us as we walk in harmony with him. He uses our response to suffering to also produce redemptive goodness in the lives of those within our orbit.

God may allow our misery to persist after this goodness blossoms in our lives because it has yet to germinate in theirs. He is still using our example to produce redemptive goodness in others.

Walk By Faith

We will understand the rationale behind God’s responses to all our prayers, including the seemingly unanswered ones, once we settle into heaven. We will agree with his logic.

Until then, we reconcile the disparity between our requests and God’s replies by faith.

We believe God is truly good and benevolent—even though we may not feel this way—because we choose to base our judgment on what he was revealed about himself through nature and in the Bible, rather than on what we might infer about him from his seeming indifference to our desires.

We walk in harmony with God through the aftermath of unanswered prayer because we presume he is executing a plan that is superior to ours.

We trust that God will help us endure the resulting distress and produce goodness from it, until he brings about his intended conclusion.

God Cherishes Faith

God delights in the warm sentiments we express about his excellence during good times, but he cherishes the faith in him we exhibit in the wake of unanswered prayer.

Related Questions

What Can We Expect From God?  If we cannot count on God to always answer our prayers as we wish, what can we rightfully expect from him? Read more here.

Why Does God Let Us Suffer So Much?  If he truly loves us, why does he not use his power and authority to make life easier for reborn believers. Read more here.

How Should We Pray?  Jesus gave us the template for prayers amid affliction. It is commonly called The Lord’s Prayer. It is not reserved for liturgical church services.

PRAYERS THAT GOD ALWAYS ANSWERS AFFIRMATIVELY

God does not grant every request for health, wealth, safety, and satisfaction.

However, he always answers certain prayers affirmatively.

This is because the answers fulfill promises he has made to all reborn believers.

God answers some of these prayer requests immediately.

Other answers materialize over time as we walk in harmony with him.

God’s response to these prayers is conditional. He does his part after we do ours.

Here are some of the prayer requests that God always answers affirmatively, along with what he requires from us.

SALVATION. God grants eternal life to everyone who sincerely repents and asks Jesus to be their Savior.

FORGIVENESS. God forgives reborn believers every time we confess our unrighteousness.

STRENGTH. God gives us spiritual stamina each time we place our hope in him.

GOODNESS. God produces goodness from every situation—good and bad— when we walk in harmony with him.

ESCAPE FROM TEMPTATION. God shows us how to avoid or resist immorality when we truly desire this outcome.

BIBLE ILLUMINATION. God illuminates his Word when we study it with a sincere desire to know him.

HEARTFELT DESIRES. God helps us discover the things that truly satisfy our souls as we delight in him.

TRUE CONTENTMENT. God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, manifests his native contentment in us as we walk in harmony with him.

PERCEPTION OF GOD. He proves himself to be good each time we wait on him.

SPIRITUAL PROTECTION. God guards our hearts and renews our minds as we meditate on his Word.

PEACE. God grants peace to reborn believers who present their petitions to him with thanksgiving.

REST. God exchanges his rest for our stress when we let him carry our burdens.

WISDOM. God teaches us to exercise good judgment as we walk in harmony with him.

MINISTRY. If we tell God that we want to help advance his kingdom, he gives us opportunities to serve, pray for, and witness to others.

Psalm 1

Psalm 1 – The Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Ungodly

Verse six presents a key to understanding Psalm 1: “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” In this psalm, the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly are contrasted.

A. The way of the righteous.

1. (1) What the righteous man does not do.

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

a. Blessed is the man: The Hebrew word esher is here translated blessed, which has the idea of happiness or contentment. Esher is a form of the Hebrew word ashar, which in its root means “to be straight” or “to be right.” Blessed is the man speaks of the happiness, the blessedness, the contentment in the life of the man or woman who is right or “straight” with God. The righteous man will be a blessed man, a happy man.

i. “Blessed means supremely happy or fulfilled. In fact, in Hebrew the word is actually a plural, which denotes either a multiplicity of blessings or an intensification of them.” (Boice)

ii. “It is not ‘Blessed is the king, blessed is the scholar, blessed is the rich,’ but, ‘Blessed is the man.’ This blessedness is as attainable by the poor, the forgotten and the obscure, as by those whose names figure in history, and are trumpeted by fame.” (Spurgeon)

b. Walks not…nor stands…nor sits: The blessed man does not do certain things. There is a way he will not walk, a path he will not stand in, and a seat he will not sit in.

i. We can say these speak of thinking, behaving, and belonging. The righteous man and the ungodly man are different in how they think, how they behave, and to whom they belong.

ii. Others have also seen in this a progression of sin. “The great lesson to be learned from the whole is, sin is progressive; one evil propensity or act leads to another. He who acts by bad counsel may soon do evil deeds; and he who abandons himself to evil doings may end his life in total apostasy from God.” (Clarke)

c. Walks not in the counsel of the ungodly: The ungodly have counsel, and the righteous man will not walk in it. With all the advice that comes to us, from so many different sources, the righteous man knows how to stay away from the counsel of the ungodly.

i. First, it means the righteous man knows how to discern the counsel of the ungodly. Many fail at this point. They do not even consider if counsel is godly or ungodly. They hear advice, or theories about their problems, and they find themselves agreeing or disagreeing without considering, “Is this godly or ungodly counsel?”

ii. The righteous man is also discerning enough to know the counsel of the ungodly can come from one’s own self. Our own conscience, our own mind, our own heart, can give us ungodly counsel.

iii. The righteous man knows where to find completely godly counsel: Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors (Psalm 119:24). God’s word is always the best counselor, and godly counselors will always bring the truth of God’s word to help someone who wants counseling.

d. Nor stands in the path of sinners: Sinners have a path where they stand, and the righteous man knows he does not belong on that path. Path speaks of a way, a road, a direction – and the righteous man is not traveling in the same direction as sinners.

i. The righteous man is not afraid to take a less-traveled road, because he knows it leads to blessing, happiness, and eternal life. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it (Matthew 7:13).

ii. The righteous can have the confidence of Psalm 16:11: You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. God has a path, and it is a good road to take.

e. Nor sits in the seat of the scornful: The scornful love to sit and criticize the people of God and the things of God. The righteous man will not sit in that seat!

i. When others are putting down Christians, it is easy to sit with them and criticize them. It is easy because there are many things to criticize about Christians. But it is wrong, because we are then sitting in the seat of the scornful.

ii. Instead, we should be proud to follow Jesus Christ. “Be out-and-out for him; unfurl your colours, never hide them, but nail them to the mast, and say to all who ridicule the saints, ‘If you have any ill words for the followers of Christ, pour them out upon me…but know this – ye shall hear it whether you like it or not – ‘I love Christ.’” (Spurgeon)

2. (2) What the righteous man does.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

a. His delight is in the law of the LORD: Throughout Psalms, the phrase law of the LORD is used to describe God’s entire word, not only the “law” portion of the first five books of the Bible. The righteous man is delighted with the word of God!

i. What makes you happy? What gets you excited? This is a good way to see what is important to you. If personal pleasure is the only thing that makes you happy, then you are a selfish, self-centered person. If being with your family or friends delights you, that can be better, but it still falls short. The righteous man finds his delight…in the law of the LORD.

ii. Martin Luther said that he could not live in paradise without the word of God, but he could live well enough in hell with it.

iii. “Man must have some delight, some supreme pleasure. His heart was never meant to be a vacuum. If not filled with the best things, it will be filled with the unworthy and disappointing.” (Spurgeon)

iv. If a person delights in something, you don’t have to beg him to do it or to like it. He will do it all by himself. You can measure your delight for the word of God by how much you hunger for it.

b. In His law he meditates day and night: The righteous man ponders the word of God. He does not just hear it and forget it; he thinks about it. Christians should meditate on God’s word!

i. In eastern meditation, the goal is to empty the mind. This is dangerous, because an empty mind may present an open invitation to deception or a demonic spirit. But in Christian meditation, the goal is to fill your mind with the word of God. This can be done by carefully thinking about each word and phrase, applying it to one’s self, and praying it back to the Lord.

ii. “Meditation chews the cud, and gets the sweetness and nutritive virtue of the Word into the heart and life: this is the way the godly bring forth much fruit.” (Ashwood, cited by Spurgeon)

iii. Many lack because they only read and do not meditate. “It is not only reading that does us good; but the soul inwardly feeding on it, and digesting it. A preacher once told me that he had read the Bible through twenty times on his knees and had never found the doctrine of election there. Very likely not. It is a most uncomfortable position in which to read. If he had sat in an easy chair he would have been better able to understand it.” (Spurgeon)

iv. The righteous man only has God’s word on his mind two times a day: day and night. That about covers it all!

3. (3) How the righteous man is blessed.

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

a. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water: A tree by a river has a continual source of water. It will never wither away, because it is always getting what it needs. If we are constantly needy, it may be worth examining if we are planted by the rivers of water or not.

i. This would also be a tree that is strong and stable, sinking down deep roots. The life of the righteous man is marked by strength and stability.

b. That brings forth its fruit in its season: The righteous man bears fruit, such as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit comes naturally from this tree, because it is planted by the rivers of water. It is abiding in a life-source. As Jesus spoke of bearing fruit in John 15:5, as we abide in Him. Fruit also has a season. Some get discouraged when they begin to walk as righteous men, and fruit is not immediately evident. They need to wait until they bring forth fruit in its season.

i. “There are no barren trees in God’s orchard, and yet they may have their fits of barrenness, as an apple tree sometimes hath; but they will reflourish with advantage.” (Trapp)

c. Whose leaf also shall not wither: Brown, dead, withered leaves are signs of death and dryness. The righteous man does not have these signs of death and dryness; his “leaves” are green and alive.

d. And whatever he does shall prosper: It isn’t that the righteous man has a “Midas Touch,” and everything he does makes him rich and comfortable. But in the life of the righteous man, God brings forth something good and wonderful out of everything. Even tough circumstances bring forth something that shall prosper.

B. The way of the ungodly.

1. (4) The dangerous place of the ungodly.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

a. The ungodly are not so: Everything true about the righteous man – stable as a tree, continual life and nourishment, fruitful, alive, and prosperous – is not so regarding the ungodly.

i. It may often seem like the ungodly have these things, and sometimes it seems they have them more than the righteous. But it is not so! Any of these things are fleeting in the life of the ungodly; it can be said that they don’t really have them at all.

b. Are like the chaff which the wind drives away: Chaff is the light “shell” around a kernel of grain, which must be stripped away before the kernel of grain can be ground into flour. Chaff was light enough that it could be separated from the grain by throwing a scoopful into the wind and letting the wind drive away the chaff. This is how unstable, how lacking in substance, the ungodly are.

i. Spurgeon on chaff: “Intrinsically worthless, dead, unserviceable, without substance, and easily carried away.” There is a huge difference between a tree and chaff.

2. (5) The dangerous future of the ungodly.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

a. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment: Because the ungodly have no “weight,” they will be found lacking on the day of judgment. As it was said of King Belshazzar in the book of Daniel, You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting (Daniel 5:27).

b. Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous: This is true in the future, because sinners will not share the same glorious future of the righteous. It is also true in the present, because sinners sense they do not belong in the congregation of the righteous if they insist on remaining sinners.

3. (6) Summary: The way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly.

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

a. The LORD knows the way of the righteous: The righteous can have peace because a loving God in heaven knows their way, and will protect and preserve them.

i. “Or, as the Hebrew has it yet more fully, ‘The Lord is knowing the way of the righteous.’ He is constantly looking on their way, and though it may be often in mist and darkness, yet the Lord knoweth it.” (Spurgeon)

b. The way of the ungodly shall perish: The way of the ungodly leads to destruction. They are on a broad path that may seem comfortable now and the path gives them lots of company, but in the end they shall perish.

c. At least four times in the Book of Acts, Christianity is called the Way. Certainly, it is the way of the righteous, not the way of the ungodly. Which way are you on?

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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1 % Of The Population Experiences “Profound” Love

November 20, 2020medrokLaboratory of Love

     1 % Of The Population Experiences  “Profound” Love

Boom.  What if that statement is true?   A question came up the other day when I was discussing spiritual growth with someone and how we can recognize if we are growing spiritually. The question was,  “what does it mean to have “profound love”? This phrase or idea was used as a descriptor of the highest levels of spiritual growth. The top. The absolute ceiling of what we are capable of as humans when it comes to our relationship with Jesus and with other people. Let’s look at the word “profound” for one second so we can get an idea what we are talking about. When we look at the synonyms for “profound” we find, heartfelt, intense, keen, great, extreme, sincere, deep, overpowering, radical, overwhelming and fervent. 

Love Equals Time

Looking at some of these ideas made me think about how we measure things such as love, devotion, faith or obedience. How would you measure your love for your spouse? How about your child? How can you tell if your love grows and gets stronger and more “profound”? One thing we know is that love is invisible, until we see action. Our actions are a reliable indicator of whether or not our love is “profound”. It can be seen in how we spend our time and what we do with that time.

Someone may say, “I know that I have a profound love for Jesus.”  Well, is this love evident in our actions and in our priorities? These are questions that I am aiming at myself. How about a “profound” love and compassion for other people? Am I exhibiting “overpowering, radical” love in my actions at work or at home? When I ask myself these types of questions, it makes me realize the pain of truth. Truth burns and truth hurts. But it also burns away all the lies that we tell ourselves when we create a self that is false.

All of these ideas came about because I am in the middle of the editing process on my third book. It’s main focus is on overcoming fear and  breaking out of complaceny on the road to fulfilling our purpose.  The writing process is complete,  but just recently I came across some research and statistics that really grabbed my attention and I felt compelled to incorporate some of these ideas into the book. These ideas are supported by cold hard data.  The kind of data and statistics that are rare and hard to find.

The Barna research group acquired this data over a period of six years conducting surveys  on spirituality, Christianity and spiritual growth. All the data and statistics are summarized in the book Maximum Faith. Based on surveys looking at over 15,000 adults, the researchers concluded that there are 10 spiritual “stops” on the spiritual growth journey.

Faith With No Direction Or Meaning

Before we look at the 10 spiritual stops, I want to include an excerpt from “Maximum Faith” that is quite startling to consider as we go through some of these ideas. Here is an excerpt from the introduction of my new book,

As we are looking at the ideas of fear and complacency, we are going to use statistics and data supplied by the Barna research group because this data is unique, powerful and compelling. The Barna group collected and compiled data gleaned from surveys over a six year period that involved over 15,000 people. From the data we have found that:

More than 100 million American adults who describe themselves as Christian contend that despite their commitment to God they are still searching for clarity regarding their purpose in life. Tens of millions of self-described Christians feel unfulfilled in life, admit they lack direction, and are disappointed that their faith has not produced the kind of meaning and identity they need, and question whether their life makes a difference.

George Barna- “Maximum Faith”

From a statistical view of things, we know that if we have 15,000 subjects as part of the analysis, there is real power in that study. From my experience in medicine, if there are 15,000 people in a study, pay attention. It means that the data is powerful.
Looking at these numbers makes me realize that there are large groups of people who are going about their lives in their Christian faith, still searching for clarity and purpose. Millions upon millions of Christians:

1. Feel unfulfilled
2. Lack direction
3. Are seeking meaning
4. Are seeking identity
5. Are looking to make a difference

This was somewhat startling to me. We are not talking about people who have no faith, we are talking about believing Christians who are going to church and are involved in faith based activities. I have used the analogy of the  “walking dead” as far as unbelievers who are going about their lives with no aim or purpose and I have discussed the futility and danger of living our lives in such a way.  The problem is that the data is telling us that believers are going through the same type of behavior with no fulfillment, no direction, no meaning and wondering if their lives make a difference. Why is this happening?

The Ten Spiritual Stops

Hold on to your hat because we haven’t even gotten to the 10 stops of spiritual growth yet. This is when it gets really interesting. Just a warning, I showed these numbers to a couple of people just to get an idea of what they thought and they immediately began to look at themselves to see where they were on the “spiritual spectrum.”   These stops and numbers are not listed to guilt or shame anyone into anything.  They are just to give us an idea of where we are and to give us an idea of where we should be heading. I know from my own experience, I am no where near the highest levels of spiritual growth, but I believe a list like this is helpful because it allows us to aim for something greater than where we are now. In essence, what we are looking for is an authentic, loving, more Christ like version of ourselves. It is a vision of ourselves that God has in mind.

Looking at these stops or steps made me realize, I got a long, long way to go.

1.    Ignorance of the concept of or existence of sin (1 percent of the population)

2.    Aware of and indifferent to sin (16 percent of adults)

3.    Concerned about the implication of sin (39 percent of adults)

4.    Confess sin and ask Jesus to be their savior (9 percent of adults)

5.    Commit to faith activities (24 percent of adults)

6.    Prolonged period of spiritual discontent (6 percent of adults)

7.    Experience personal brokenness (3 percent of adults)

8.    Surrender/Submission to God (1 percent of adults)

9.    Profound love/intimacy with God/Jesus (.5 percent of adults)

10.    Profound Love and compassion for people (.5 percent of adults)

Just for convenience and to help us get our minds around these numbers, let’s put these categories into groups and look at the size of the population.

Group A    Ignorance of the concept of sin and aware of and indifferent to sin  (17 percent of the population)

Group B    Concerned about the implication of sin    (39 percent of the population)

Group C    Confess sin, accept Jesus and commit to faith activities    (33 percent of the population)

Group D    Prolonged period of spiritual discontent and experience personal brokenness   (9 percent of population)

Group E    Surrender/submission to God, profound love for God/Jesus and profound love and compassion for people (2 percent of the population)

Just to reiterate, these numbers are not to guilt or shame anyone, but they are rather stunning if you look at the groups.  If we stop to think about ourselves and our family and friends, it isn’t that hard to be able to categorize people who you know and love. Also, if you believe there is value in spiritual growth and in growing in intimacy with Jesus, you will take special notice of the word “profound”. Not only that, the numbers are screaming to us that it is extremely difficult to get to the highest levels of love, if this were not so, more people would be reaching this level.

Here are the synonyms again, heartfelt, intense, keen, great, extreme, sincere, deep, overpowering, radical, overwhelming and fervent.

Here is some commentary I found about this data that I thought was quite fascinating,

  Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three (awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem). Among those who become “born again Christians,” most never move past stop five (i.e., having invited Christ to be their savior and then engaging in a lot of religious activity). In other words, a majority of the American public never reaches the second half of the stops on the journey to wholeness. Barna also determined that most church programs are designed to help people get to stop five of the journey but not to move farther down the road to Christ-likeness.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/robertricciardelli/faith/god-transforming-lives-a-10-stop-journey-by-george-barna/

If you are one of the 100 million Americans who describe themselves as Christian, but who feel unfulfilled and lack direction or are still trying to find meaning, looking at data like this can help you to move forward in your faith.  The whole point is that everyone is at a different point in their spiritual life and in their spiritual growth. Clearly the majority of the population (56 percent) are concerned about sin or are indifferent to sin, but don’t feel the need to do anything about it or don’t see the value in committing to Jesus. As we grow in our faith and we have a better understanding of the value that Christ brings to our lives, it is incumbent on us to share our testimony.   Either way, wherever we are on the spiritual growth stop list, we all have work to do.

If you have read my books Brave the Wave and Discover Your Passion, Release Your Power, there is a focus on self-examination and self-awareness because they are absolutely critical on the path towards authenticity. In my next book on overcoming fear and breaking out of complacency toward growth, the emphasis is still on self-awareness, but there is also a focus on personal responsibility. It is the attitude of “it’s on me.”  That is a clear prerequisite to overcoming our fear and breaking through complacency. If we don’t closely examine our own behavior and then compare and contrast it with the perfect model of the life of Jesus, there is no growth, no power, no passion, no direction, no meaning and no hope of getting to a place that brings peace and love to ourselves and our families.  If we want all of these, it truly is on us.

Here is a link to the books in the Authentic Self Series,  Challenge Your Fear, Empower Your Spirit ,  (Transform from worrier to warrior in the power of the Authentic Self) should be coming out in mid to late June.    If you thought this post was interesting, please share with your friends and family. God Bless and have a great day !!!

What does Psalm chapter 1 mean?

The book of Psalms contains 150 inspired songs, each referred to as a “psalm,” written mainly by King David. Fifty of the psalms are anonymous. Asaph, a worship leader and prophet, wrote twelve psalms. The sons of Korah wrote ten. King Solomon wrote two (Psalm 72; Psalm 127). It is thought that Heman (Psalm 88) and Ethan (Psalm 89) each wrote a psalm, and Moses also wrote one (Psalm 90). All 150 psalms are poetic works which offer praise to God. These cover a wide range of topics from joy to depression, from peace to persecution, from contemplation to confession, from praise to prophecy, from creation to coronation, and from anxiety to adoration.

This collection was known to the Jews as Sepher Telhillim, “Book of Praises.” Set to stringed instrumental accompaniment, Psalms became the hymnbook for temple worship. The Book of Psalms takes its place among the Old Testament’s poetic Books: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

The Book of Psalms has five divisions. The first of these extends from Psalm 1 to Psalm 41 and relates to Genesis because of its recurring theme of creation. The second division extends from Psalm 42 to Psalm 72 and relates to Exodus because of its theme of redemption. Psalms 73 to 89 comprise the third division and relate to Leviticus because of their emphasis on worship. The fourth division is Psalm 90 to Psalm 106 and relates to Numbers with its many references to Israel’s wanderings in the desert. The fifth division extends from Psalm 107 to Psalm 150 and relates to Deuteronomy because of its emphasis on God’s Word.

Psalm 1 proclaims truths echoed in the book of Proverbs: that following the wisdom of God is the best and wisest way to live. Like Proverbs, this psalm declares that those who obey God’s teachings can avoid consequences arising from sin and disobedience.

Book Summary

The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ”Psalm” in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.

Chapter Context

Psalm 1, typically ascribed to David, stresses the importance of ordering one’s life according to God’s Word. This emphasis sets the tone for the rest of the collection of psalms. Themes in this passage echo the early chapters of Proverbs, with an emphasis on seeking godly wisdom. Psalm 1’s emphasis on meditation on and obedience to God’s Word parallels God’s instructions to Joshua when He commissioned Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land (Joshua 1:6–9). Its teaching about the blessing of obedient believers and the disastrous end of the wicked parallels the blessings and curses we read about in Deuteronomy 28. New Testament passages that emphasize the link between devotion to God’s Word and righteous living include Matthew 7:24–27; Colossians 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; James 1:19–25; and 2 Peter 1:19–21.

The Lord Our Protector

VERSE OF THE DAY.

Psalm 121:7-8 (New Living Translation).

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The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

The Lord protects you from all evil and harm watching over your life he protects you at all cost as you come and go both in the present and time of future ahead to come.

Psalm 121.

Psalm 121 – The God Who Keeps and Helps.

This is the second of the series of psalms which are titled A Song of Ascents. As a song sung by travelers, this is particularly relevant for the trust placed in God through the journey.

“David Livingstone, the famous missionary and explorer of the continent of Africa, read Psalm 121 and Psalm 135, which praises God for his sovereign rule over all things, as he worshiped with his father and sister before setting out for Africa in 1840. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Moffat, wrote him at Linyardi that Psalm 121 was always in her mind as she thought about and prayed for him.” (James Montgomery Boice).

A. Help from the LORD, the Creator of all and helper of Israel.

1. (1-2) Help from Yahweh.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

a. I will lift up my eyes to the hills: The singer of this psalm looked to the hills, likely the distant hills of Jerusalem as he travelled toward the city to fulfill his pilgrimage.

i. “The singer is still far from the appointed place of worship, lifting his eyes toward the distant mountains. He is not far from Jehovah, however. In Jehovah’s keeping, even though far from the center of external worship, the pilgrim realizes his safety.” (Morgan).

ii. The point is wonderful. The singer understood that the group didn’t need to arrive at Jerusalem before they came under God’s protective care. He would watch over them on the journey. God is just as present in the journey as in the destination.

iii. There are two other suggestions of what was intended by this looking up to the hills, though they are less likely.

·  Some suggest this was a consideration of the high places where idolaters set their altars (Numbers 22:41, Deuteronomy 33:29, 1 Kings 12:31).

·  Some suggest this was an anxious look to the hills, looking for danger and threats from often-present robbers and gangs.

b. My help comes from the LORD: The traveller looked to Jerusalem as his goal, yet his trust was not in that city itself. Help would come from the God who made heaven and earth. The Creator would be his helper.

i. “The sole source of ‘help’ comes from Yahweh, who, as Creator, has unlimited power.” (VanGemeren).

ii. “What he is telling us is that his gaze did not stop when he looked upward to the hills but that he looked beyond them to God, who made the mountains.” (Boice).

iii. “The City of God, and the Temple, are to be desired and delighted in; the mountains upon which they rest are to be remembered. But not from them does help come to distressed souls; it comes from Jehovah.” (Morgan).

2. (3-4) The help God brings.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

a. He will not allow your foot to be moved: God would help His people by establishing them in a firm place, allowing them to stand and not allowing their foot to be moved.

i. “The foundation, God’s infinite power and goodness, on which thou standest, cannot be moved; and whilst thou standest on this basis, thy foot cannot be moved.” (Clarke).

ii. “Our feet shall move in progress, but they shall not be moved to their overthrow.” (Spurgeon).

iii. For the Christian, this reminds us of the principles found in Ephesians 6:11 and 13 – that the believer is to find a place to stand, and this can only be done by looking to the Lord and trusting the One who will not allow your foot to be moved.

iv. The standing of the believer in Jesus is impressive.

·  We stand in grace (Romans 5:2).

·  We stand in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1).

·  We stand in courage and strength (1 Corinthians 16:13).

·  We stand in faith (2 Corinthians 1:24).

·  We stand in Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1).

·  We stand in Christian unity (Philippians 1:27).

·  We stand in the Lord (Philippians 4:1).

·  The goal: We will stand perfect and complete in the will of God (Colossians 4:12).

b. He who keeps you: This is the first of six times in this short psalm that the Hebrew word shamar (translated keeps and preserve) is used. The theme is that God will watch over His people as a watchman watches over the city or the party of travelers.

i. “This psalmist is so absorbed in the thought of his Keeper that he barely names his dangers. With happy assurance of protection, he says over and over again the one word which is his amulet against foes and fears. Six times in these few verses does the thought recur that Jehovah is the Keeper of Israel or of the single soul.” (Maclaren).

ii. “The Divine Being represents himself as a watchman, who takes care of the city and its inhabitants during the night-watches; and who is never overtaken with slumbering or sleepiness.” (Clarke).

c. He who keeps you will not slumber: When we look to the LORD, we have confidence in the fact that God does not sleep. The idea is repeated in Psalm 121:4 for emphasis. God’s watchful eye is always open, looking with love and care upon His people.

i. In his confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Elijah mocked the idol prophets when Baal did not respond, saying of Baal perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened (1 Kings 18:27). We have the great comfort in knowing that He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

ii. This promise was especially meaningful for the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. “Their daily march and their nightly encampment will then be placed under the care of Jehovah, who will hold up their feet unwearied on the road and watch unslumbering over their repose.” (Maclaren).

iii. “A poor woman, as the Eastern story has it, came to the Sultan one day, and asked compensation for the loss of some property. ‘How did you lose it?’ said the monarch. ‘I fell asleep,’ was the reply, ‘and a robber entered my dwelling.’ ‘Why did you fall asleep?’…. ‘I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake.’ The Sultan was so much delighted with the answer of the woman, that he ordered her loss to be made up.” (McMichael, cited in Spurgeon).

B. The care of the LORD for His people.

1. (5-6) The LORD brings relief from the sun.

The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

a. The LORD is your shade at your right hand: The brutal rays of the sun in the world of the Middle East could assault the traveler, such as the pilgrim on the way to one of Israel’s feasts in Jerusalem. God promised care for the traveler, with a reference that goes back to the cloud by day that followed Israel in the wilderness from Egypt and shielded them from the sun.

i. Similar promises are made in other verses such as Isaiah 4:6 and 25:4. Psalm 91:1 is especially precious, with shade being the same word as “shadow”: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

ii. Your shade: “…both to refresh thee and keep thee from the burning heat of the sun, as it is expressed in the next verse, and to protect thee by his power from all thine enemies; for which reason God is oft called a shadow in Scripture.” (Poole).

b. Nor the moon by night: Any superstitious fears they may have had from the light of the moon were of no concern to those whom God protected. He would keep and preserve His people day and night.

i. “What the psalmist really means, though in figurative language, is that nothing either of the day or night can harm us if God is keeping guard. God is our covering against every calamity. He is our shade against the visible perils of the day as well as the hidden perils of the night.” (Boice).

ii. “God has not made a new sun or a fresh moon for his chosen, they exist under the same outward circumstances as others, but the power to smite is in their case removed from temporal agencies; saints are enriched, and not injured, by the powers which govern the earth’s condition.” (Spurgeon).

iii. “But let the pope be the sun and the emperor the moon (as the canonists called them), yet the sun shall not smite the Church by day nor the moon by night. Luther was at the same time excommunicated by the pope and proscribed by the emperor; yet died he in his bed.” (Trapp).

2. (7-8) God preserves His people.

The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

a. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil: The singer had great confidence in God’s protecting power. Evil men may come and afflict the child of God, but the LORD shall preserve your soul.

i. “‘All evil’ will be averted from him who has Jehovah for his keeper; therefore, if any so called Evil comes, he may be sure that it is Good with a veil on.” (Maclaren).

ii. “In the light of other scriptures, to be kept from all evil does not imply a cushioned life, but a well-armed one.” (Kidner).

iii. He shall preserve your soul: “Our soul is kept from the dominion of sin, the infection of error, the crush of despondency, the puffing up of pride; kept from the world, the flesh and the devil; kept for holier and greater things; kept in the love of God; kept unto the eternal kingdom and glory.” (Spurgeon).

iv. The LORD shall preserve…He shall preserve…. The LORD shall preserve: “Three times have we the phrase, ‘Jehovah shall keep,’ as if the sacred Trinity thus sealed the word to make it sure: ought not all our fears to be slain by such a threefold flight of arrows? What anxiety can survive this triple promise?” (Spurgeon).

b. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in: The promise is comprehensive. God’s people may trust in His preserving power for all of one’s activity (going out and coming in) and at all times (from this time forth, and even forevermore).

i. “When we go out in youth to begin life, and come in at the end to die, we shall experience the same keeping. Our exits and our entrances are under one protection.” (Spurgeon).

ii. “Your going out and your coming in is not only a way of saying ‘everything’…in closer detail it draws attention to one’s ventures and enterprises (cf. Ps. 126:6), and to the home which remains one’s base; again, to pilgrimage and return.” (Kidner).

iii. “He has not led me so tenderly thus far to forsake me at the very gate of heaven.” (Adoniram Judson, cited in Spurgeon).

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword. com.

Categories: Old Testament Psalms.

Enduring Word.

HOW TO USE PSALM 121 TO PRAY FOR YOUR FAMILY.

september 25, 2020.

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Psalm 121 is a powerful Psalm that you can use to pray for your family each day. We as Proverbs 31 women are called to pray for our families on a regular basis. Whether your children are still small, or you have children who have flown the nest, we as women of God will never cease to pray for our loved ones!

Here are 3 ways you can use Psalm 121 to pray for your family.

How to Pray Psalm 121 Over your Family.

Psalm 121 is one of my favorite psalms, because it focuses on the power and omnipresence of our wonderful God. God is all-powerful, and is in all places at the same time (omnipresent). So even when we are not physically with those we love most, we can trust that God is with them and is watching over them.

Let’s take a closer look at this powerful Psalm:.

Psalm 121.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—.

Praying Psalm 121.

Praying Psalm 121.

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,.

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—.

he who watches over you will not slumber;.

indeed, he who watches over Israel.

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—.

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;.

the sun will not harm you by day,.

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—.

he will watch over your life;.

the Lord will watch over your coming and going.

both now and forevermore.

This is a beautiful psalm on how the Lord lovingly watches over us. It is so comforting to know that no matter what struggles and difficulties we may come across, the Lord will watch over us and be our shade at our right hand.

Praise the Lord!

Here are ways we can apply this psalm as we pray for your families:.

1. Use Psalm 121 to pray for help from the Lord.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—  where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Use Psalm 121 to pray for God’s help as you pray for your family. Oftentimes, we may feel helpless when we watch our beloved family members make decisions that are contrary to God’s Word.  We are not able to control the actions of our family members, but we CAN pray for the Lord to help them. When we seek the Lord for help and strength for our families, he will be attentive to our prayers (Psalm 6:9).

Prayer: Lord I thank you that my help comes from you. You are the Maker of heaven and earth, and you are the designer of my family. Please help my family honor and glorify you in everything we do. Help us to live lives that are pleasing to you each day.

2. Use Psalm 121 to pray for your family in the evening.

He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel  will neither slumber nor sleep.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God never sleeps? How many nights have you been up at night worrying about a child or other family member? We can sleep peacefully knowing that God NEVER sleeps, and is watching over our loved ones while we sleep. We don’t have to be gripped with fear or worry–God can handle it!

Use Psalm 121 to pray for your family before you go to bed, then trust that God will be with them–and you can have a good night’s sleep knowing that our great God cares for us!

Prayer: Lord thank you that you will never let my foot slip. You watch over me and my family, and you will not slumber. Thank you Lord, that you will not slumber or sleep! Help me to remember that you will watch over my family even while I sleep. Amen.

3. Use Psalm 121 to pray for your family as a prayer of protection.

The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going   both now and forevermore.

We can also pray this powerful psalm as a prayer of protection. During these times of great difficulty in our world, we can take great comfort and strength in the fact that God watches over our coming and going. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight (Hebrews 4:13). Nothing takes God by surprise, or slips through his watchful eye. He knows everything, and he certainly knows that the devil prowls around like a lion looking to steal, kill and destroy God’s people (1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10).

God knows our family needs protection from the enemy’s snares, and his Word says that he will watch over lives. Does this mean that our loved ones will never experience a trip to the emergency room? No.

But we DO know that God will NEVER abandon his people, and that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39).

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-19.

This is the promise we can cling to, and stand upon each day as we pray for our families.

Praise be to God!

Prayer: Lord thank you so much that you promise to keep me from harm. I ask that you will surround my family with your shield of favor and protection, and watch over them each day. Thank you that you watch over our going out and our coming in. I trust you to lead and guide my family today. Amen.

Related: You can also read this post on how to pray Psalm 91 as a prayer of protection over your family!

4 Powerful Truths from Praying Psalm 121 for your Family.

Here are four important truths we can take away from this powerful psalm.

1. God will help us.

Never doubt this powerful truth, remember that God will help us!  God is our refuge and strength, and an ever-present help in trouble. He loves us and will come to our aid when we see his face and call on his name for help. This means that we can also pray that God will help our family members.

2. God never sleeps on the job!

What a comfort and blessing it is to know that God never sleeps! He never gets tired, and he never needs someone to take over his night shift! When we feel depleted of strength and need to rest our eyes, we can trust that God will never leave our side. He watches over in our families as we sleep so we can gather the strength we need to conquer the next day.

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Psalm 121 is a powerful reminder that God will never leave our side!

3. God will protect us.

God is our Mighty Fortress, and will protect us from the snares of the evil one. We as parents love our children so much that we will do anything to protect and keep them safe. How much more will God protect us and watch over us, his beloved children!

4. God Deeply cares for us.

Psalm 121 is also a great reminder of how much God cares for us. God promises in this psalm to help us, and to not let our feet slip. Cares so much about us that he never fails to watch over us. He loved us so much that he paid the ultimate sacrifice by sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we can have eternal security with him forever!

Free Psalm 121 Printable.

Feel free to download a FREE printable of Psalm 121 by clicking on the link below!

Download the Psalm 121 Printable HERE.

In Conclusion.

As you pray for your family each day, pray the powerful words of Psalm 121, and trust that the Lord will watch over your loved ones!

The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

— Psalm 121:7-8.

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Our lives are not lived out on our own, alone. The Lord is with us personally. He holds our future and our safety in his hands. Our deliverance is assured, either deliverance from death which means service to him, or deliverance to him through death which means freedom from the constraints of mortality and the battle with sin. The Lord will keep us from all harm!

My Prayer…

Mighty Protector, Rock of my salvation, thank you that I cannot go where you are not. Thank you that my future is secure with you. Make this assurance the convicting power in my life to turn over my future and my life to you. By the power of Jesus I believe this, and in his name I ask it. Amen.

“Trusting in God’s Providential Care” (Psalm 121).

“My help comes from the LORD.” (Psalm 121:2).

INTRODUCTION: Our message series is called “Stepping Stones to God’s Heart,” and between New Years and Easter we are looking at the fifteen psalms (120-134) known as the Psalms of Ascent. We learned last week that these psalms were sung by those traveling to Jerusalem for the three great feasts. And so these are travel songs, songs for the road, songs for the journey of life. They are called Psalms of Ascent not only because the people were going up to Jerusalem, but because the psalms themselves lead us upwards to God in our own personal walk with the Lord. And it is in this sense that they are stepping stones to God’s heart for our journey and for our life. (Read Psalm 121:1-8 and pray.).

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We all need help at times in life. The Beatles used to sing: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” The commercial for the Lifeline product carries the tagline: “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Where do you go when you need help? Do you call on family? Friends? Dial 911?

It’s good to have a support system in place, but we need to look further than that. Because history and experience teach us that no safety plan, no insurance policy, no security system can keep you absolutely safe in this life. You can follow all the safety rules, take every precaution, exercise and eat well, and things can still go wrong.

And that’s why we need to look to God for our help. It was Ben Franklin who said, “God helps those who help themselves,” but the Scriptures teach us that God helps those who seek his help. None of us are safe until we take refuge in God. (Samuel Cox).

Psalm 121 is a psalm about trusting in God’s providential care. It is a travel Psalm. In fact many families read this Psalm out loud together before going on a trip. Devout Jews recite portions of this Psalm when they leave or enter their homes. They attach a small cylinder called a Mezuzah with some Scriptures in it (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21) to their right door frame. And whenever they leave or enter their home they touch the Mezuzah and recite Psalm 121 verses 5 and 8.

Do you need help this morning? Then this psalm is for you. This is a good one to memorize and have handy for the journey of life. Psalm 121 teaches us three big truths about God’s help and care for you. 1) The Creator is your helper. 2) The God of Israel is your protector. And then finally, 3) the LORD will keep you from all harm. Let’s look at all three of these as we learn to put our trust in God’s providence and care for our lives.

I. The Creator is your helper (1-2).

First of all, the Creator is your helper. Look at verses 1-2: “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) These are beautiful verses of Scripture that have brought much comfort to God’s people over the years. I know many of you have quoted these verses in times of need. And they tell us several things about God and the help that he provides.

A. Look beyond the mountains to the God who created them
      – Psalm 46:1, 90:2.

First of all, they encourage us to look beyond the mountains to the God who created them. The hills in verse one are part of the argument here. Mountains are symbols of strength and stability. They are great in size, long-lasting and unchanging. The creation reflects the Creator. And so the God who made the mountains is even greater in power and strength.

The hills are also upward in direction. We tend to look down when we’re in trouble. Right? Our faces are downcast. Our focus is on our troubles and all our problems down here, and they just tend to drag us down further. But don’t look down. That’s the wrong direction! The hills are a reminder that we are to look up. You must lift your eyes to look at a mountain. But don’t stop there. Are you looking high enough? You must look beyond the mountains to the God who created them because God is higher than all.

Remember these psalms were sung by travelers on their way to Jerusalem, and it is possible they may have sung this Psalm as they were nearing the hills that surrounded Jerusalem. In that case they were not only looking up at the mountains, but they would also have been looking up towards Jerusalem and the temple, the dwelling place of God.

Psalm 46:1 tells us: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) We read in Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2) God is bigger than the mountains and God is before the mountains. We don’t look to the mountains for our strength, but the mountains get our eyes off of our problems and lift our eyes up towards God who can help us in our time of need.

So don’t just look to the hills but look to the one who made the hills. Look past the creation to the creator. As Pastor Josh Moody writes: “Nature is not the solution … it points to the solution.” Look beyond the mountains to the God who created them.

B. Your help comes from the Maker of heaven and earth
      – Genesis 1:1; Jeremiah 10:12.

In verse one the psalmist asks “Where does my help come from?” And in verse two we get the answer: “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2) Where does your help come from? Your help comes from the Maker of heaven and earth. God not only made the mountains. He made everything!

This description of God as the Maker of heaven and earth appears three times in the Psalms of Ascent: here near the beginning (Psalm 121:2), once in the middle (Psalm 124:8) and then again at the end (Psalm 134:4). Here in Psalm 121 and in 124 it designates the source of your help, and in Psalm 134 it designates the source of your blessing.

We read in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Jeremiah 10:12 says: “God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” (Jeremiah 10:12) In other words the Maker of heaven and the earth has unlimited power, wisdom and understanding. He has all the resources and more to meet your every need. He’s got the whole world in his hands. And he is your helper.

God is not only the Creator, but he is involved in his creation. The Scriptures teach us that God is involved in every aspect of his creation and that includes you. We call God’s power over all creation his providence. The Westminster Confession of Faith gives us a beautiful description of God’s providence: “God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.” (Westminster Confession, V, 1).

What a difference it makes to know that the Creator of the universe is your helper and your friend! How big is your problem today? Now compare it to the Maker of heaven and earth. I think it’s safe to say, “God’s got this.” Gerald Williamson writes: “Because God controls the universe, chance is ruled out, and because it is God who controls the universe, fate is ruled out also.” We live in a world neither of chance nor fate. This is God’s world, and God’s providence means that nothing can happen to you outside of God’s will and providential care.

A husband was leaving on a trip and prayed with his wife before he left: “Dear Lord, please protect my wife and children while I’m gone.” When he finished praying his wife said, “Who do you think protects us when you’re here?” Good question!

What is the source of your help? Psalm 121 tells us it is the Maker of heaven and earth. That’s the first truth we learn from this psalm. The Creator is your helper.

II. The God of Israel is your protector (3-6).

The second truth is this: the God of Israel is your protector. Look at verses 3-6: “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” (Psalm 121:3-6) These verses teach us that God is not only the creator of the world but the protector of Israel. And he is your protector as well!

It’s important to note the name for God that is used not only in this psalm but in all fifteen of the Psalms of Ascent. He is “the LORD.” And when you see “LORD” spelled out in all capital letters like that, the Hebrew word is “Yahweh,” which is God’s covenant name. It is a name that speaks of God’s covenant relationship with his people and his faithfulness to them.

The name Yahweh in the Old Testament pointed to God’s covenant relationship with Israel. As believers in Christ you are also in relationship with the LORD. You are part of God’s covenant people, and you can trust God’s faithfulness to you in Christ. When you read the Old Testament and see how God watched out for Israel and took care of them, you can rest assured that he will do the same for you.

The key word in these next verses is the word “watches.” It comes from the Hebrew word “shamar” which means “to watch over, to guard or to protect.” This word shows up six times in verses 3-8. (In the NIV it is translated as “watches over” five times and then also translated as “keep” in verse 7.) If you are in Christ, then he who watches over Israel watches over your life as well. The God of Israel is your protector. He is your body guard. And here in verses 3-6 the psalmist tells us some of the various ways that God watches over you.

A. He protects you from accidents
      – Psalm 37:23-24.

First of all he protects you from accidents, or as verse 3 puts it: “He will not let your foot slip.” (Psalm 121:3) When you build your life on God and his word, you are on solid ground. You have a firm foundation for your feet and for your life. We read in Psalm 37: “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24) There are no accidents for those who put their faith in Christ. Everything that happens in your life takes place under God’s providential care.

B. He never slumbers nor sleeps
      – contrast 1 Kings 18:27.

Secondly, God never slumbers nor sleeps. Look at verses 3-4: “He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4).

This is in contrast to the pagan gods we meet in Scripture. For example in 1 Kings 18 we read about the prophets of Baal trying to reach their god. When Baal didn’t respond, Elijah teased them: “Shout louder! Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” (1 Kings 18:27) The implication here is if your god is sleeping when you need him, then you don’t have much of a god, do you?

But our God is always awake. He never falls asleep on the watch. I was a night watchman back in my seminary days, and there were times when I fell asleep on my watch, but not God. He never dozes or nods off. He never even gets distracted. You can pray to him at any time and he always focuses on you and hears you.

And because God never slumbers nor sleeps – that means that you can! Because God is awake, you can sleep. It’s like a child who can’t sleep until their parent promises to stay by their bedside. Then the child trustfully falls asleep knowing their parent is there to watch over them. It’s the same way with God. It doesn’t matter what problem you’re dealing with, you can leave it in God’s hands and go to sleep at night knowing that God never slumbers nor sleeps and he will take care of it. He will take care of you.

C. He is close beside you
      – Genesis 28:15; Psalm 16:8.

God protects you from accidents. God never slumbers nor sleeps. And then thirdly, he is close beside you. Look at verse 5: “The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shade at your right hand.” (Psalm 121:5).

The hills may be far away in the distance, but God is the shade at your right hand. He is close beside you. David wrote in Psalm 16:8: “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8) God told Jacob in Genesis 28:15: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” (Genesis 28:15).

The Lord is your shade at your right hand. That means God accompanies you every step of the way. He is close beside you.

D. He protects you at all times
      – Psalm 91:5-6.

God protects you from accidents. He never slumbers nor sleeps. He is close beside you. And then fourthly, he protects you at all times. Look at verse 6: “The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” (Psalm 121:6).

The travelers to Jerusalem faced many dangers along the way. Sunstroke was a real danger during the day, and there were often extreme changes of temperature between day and night. The moon was associated with lunacy, also called “moonstroke.” And of course there was also the danger of bandits and wild animals at night. There were dangers both day and night on the road, but verse six assured the traveler: “The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” We read something similar in Psalm 91: “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” (Psalm 91:5-6).

The Hebrew language often uses pairs of opposite words to signify totality (called a “merism”). In other words the phrase using the opposites includes both extremes and everything in between. So when we read that the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night, what this is really saying is that God protects you at all times – both day and night and everything in between. God is present to help you with every problem in your life. The God of Israel is your protector.

III. The LORD will keep you from all harm (7-8).

The Creator is your helper. The God of Israel is your protector. And then finally, the LORD will keep you from all harm. Look at verses 7-8: “The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8).

Verses 1-6 were all in the present tense, describing what God does for you. Now in verses 7-8 we are given promises for the future, telling us what God will do for you. And in these verses the psalm moves from giving specific examples to one overriding general principle. The LORD will keep you from all harm. And there are several things we learn from these verses.

A. He watches over every aspect of your life
      – Matthew 6:13; Luke 21:16-19; Romans 8:28,31,37-39.

First of all, God watches over every aspect of your life. That’s what verse 7 says: “The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life.” (Psalm 121:7) The word “harm” here is a word that can mean “harm or evil.” Jesus taught us to pray something similar in the Lord’s Prayer where we ask our heavenly Father: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13).

One of the daily prayers I pray for my family is: “Lord, I pray that you will protect my family today from all evil, danger, sickness and harm.” Now that’s not the only thing I pray for them. I also pray for their spiritual growth, that God would grant them victory in their fight against sin, that they would know and follow God’s will for their lives. But this prayer for protection is one of the big ones I pray for them each day. And why do I pray this way? I am praying according to Christ’s model in the Lord’s Prayer and God’s promise here in Psalm 121.

God watches over every aspect of your life. God doesn’t say you will never have problems, but he promises to be with you in your problems, and to turn all your problems to good. We have a whole string of beautiful promises in Romans 8 that assure us God is directly involved in your life and that he is for you, not against you.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39).

Once again these verses do not teach us that you will never have problems or trouble in your life, but rather that evil will never win out, that nothing can thwart God’s purpose for your life, that nothing can separate you from God’s love for you in Christ.

We find a startling example of this in the gospel of Luke where Jesus tells his disciples: “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:16-19) In other words even in betrayal or death the believer still comes out on top.

God is for you, and therefore no evil, no permanent harm can befall the believer in Christ. You can trust God’s providential care, because God watches over every aspect of your life.

B. He watches over every transition in your life
      – Deuteronomy 28:6; Psalm 139:2-3.

And then secondly in these verses, God watches over every transition in your life. Look at verse 8: “The LORD will watch over your coming and going.” (Psalm 121:8) This is one of the verses that devout Jews recite when they leave or enter their homes. “The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8).

It’s usually the transitions in life that trip us up, isn’t it? Once we are safe in our routines things usually go pretty smoothly, but it’s the in-between times – the commute, the move, the change of jobs, the change of health, the change of relationships – it’s in the in-between times that we usually struggle.

Deuteronomy 28:6 says if you obey the Lord your God: “You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” (Deuteronomy 28:6) David prayed to the Lord in Psalm 139: “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:2-3).

This is another example of the Hebrew language using a pair of opposites to express totality: your comings and goings and everything in between. So it’s not just the transitions in life, God watches over all the in-betweens as well. Whether at home or school or work or away, whatever you do, wherever you go, you are safe because God is with you.

C. He watches over you both now and forevermore 
      – Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:8.

And then we have the wonderful promise at the end of verse 8: “The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8) God is watching over you now, and he will continue to watch over you forever. Both of those promises are encouraging! If you had to choose one or the other, which would you choose? Now? Or forevermore? It’s a tough choice. But praise God you don’t have to choose. They are both true for the believer in Christ!

Jesus said in Matthew 28:20: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Hebrews 13:8 says that: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) And so God’s promise to watch over you in Christ is true today; it is true tomorrow; it is true forevermore.

The Creator is your helper. The God of Israel is your protector. The LORD will keep you from all harm. And so we move from God as Creator of heaven and earth, to God as protector of Israel, to God as your personal Lord and Savior who projects you from all evil and harm.

CONCLUSION: We are on a journey to God, and Psalm 121 is a wonderful song for the journey. The Maker of heaven and earth watches over every aspect of your life. He protects you from all harm. There are no accidents for those who belong to God.

And that means you do not need to worry or to be afraid of anything. Nothing can happen to you without God’s knowledge. Nothing can harm you under his protective care. Even the worst things that happen to you – whether illness, loss or even death – all these things take place under God’s providential care. God is for you, not against you. He is committed to your good, and you can trust him in all things.

So take comfort in this. Learn to trust God in all things and to look for the good in all the details of life. God cares for you. He will provide for you. He is there to help you. “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2).

© Ray Fowler.

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What does Psalm 121:7 mean?

This verse acknowledges the Lord’s marvelous care of His people. This continues the encouraging response (Psalm 121:3–6) to the psalm’s initial questions (Psalm 121:1–2). In this context, the term “evil” is a reference to things like accidents, illness, physical harm, misfortune, or violence. A “keeper” is someone who guards, watches, protects, or guides someone. God’s provision (Psalm 97:10) includes these ideas of a watchful guardian.

Scripture does not shy away from the fact that every person encounters trials (John 16:33; Psalm 22:12–18). But trials cannot destroy the believer. Even death comes as a blessing for those who are saved because it escorts us into the Lord’s presence (1 Corinthians 15:50–58). The apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Also, he did not fear the possibility of execution. He informed the Philippian believers that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). It is the Lord who preserves our earthly lives and Him who one day calls us home.

When Satan asked for permission to afflict Job, the Lord granted it, knowing those difficulties would prove the genuineness of Job’s faith. However, He told Satan: “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand” (Job 1:12). None of us knows what tomorrow may bring (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13–15), but we do know God holds tomorrow. We also know He will take care of us until He calls us home to heaven.

Context Summary.

Psalm 121:3–8 continues the theme of God’s protection of His people. It portrays Him as the guardian of Israel who never rests from His care of His people. He would watch over the travelers to Jerusalem both day and night. He would protect them from the blazing heat of the sun and from the cold nighttime temperatures. He would also watch over His people throughout the course of their daily activities.

Chapter Summary.

Songs of ascent were probably used to pass the time as pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem for one of the required feasts. In this example, someone comments about the hills, possibly worried about the presence of robbers. They express faith in God’s protection. This is echoed, perhaps by others in the traveling party. They point out that God is never caught unaware, and that His loving guidance of His people will never end.

What does Psalm 121:8 mean?

“Going out and coming in” translates a Hebrew expression referring to daily work and daily activities. Going out referred to a man’s leaving home in the morning to labor and coming in referred to his returning home after work. Throughout all the activities of the day, the believer could be confident of the Lord’s presence and protection.

Psalm 104:23 says, “Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening.” Perhaps, an awareness of the Lord’s watchful care throughout each workday would revolutionize the way we perform our duties on the job. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul exhorted servants to work in everything with sincerity of heart, reverencing the Lord. Further, he exhorted them to work heartily, knowing the Lord rewards faithful service (see Colossians 3:22–24). The promise that the Lord watches over His people extends from every day to eternity (Psalm 121:8). The Lord’s promise to be with us forever keeps us from covetousness and fear (Hebrews 13:5–6).

Context Summary.

Psalm 121:3–8 continues the theme of God’s protection of His people. It portrays Him as the guardian of Israel who never rests from His care of His people. He would watch over the travelers to Jerusalem both day and night. He would protect them from the blazing heat of the sun and from the cold nighttime temperatures. He would also watch over His people throughout the course of their daily activities.

Chapter Summary.

Songs of ascent were probably used to pass the time as pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem for one of the required feasts. In this example, someone comments about the hills, possibly worried about the presence of robbers. They express faith in God’s protection. This is echoed, perhaps by others in the traveling party. They point out that God is never caught unaware, and that His loving guidance of His people will never end.

What Does Psalm 121:2 Mean? ►.

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:2(HCSB).

Verse Thoughts.

Three times a year the men of Israel would set out for Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts of the Lord and to worship their God at the Holy Temple – which stood majestically at the top of Mount Zion. As they travelled along they set their faces towards the Jerusalem hills, and as they advanced they sang together the many Songs of Ascent – I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth….

As they ascended the hilly slopes of Jerusalem their faces were steadfastly set towards the place that represented the Presence of  the Lord – the Ark of the Covenant in the most holy place in the Temple of God – and the Mercy Seat whereby their sins could be covered until the promised.

Messiah of Israel came as the prefect Sacrifice – indeed,  He would not only pay the price for the sins of Israel, but for the sin of the whole world.

It was the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth and not the hills to whom they looked for help. They knew their strength and their help; their provision and protection came only from the Lord.

This same God is the One from Whom our help comes. We are not required to ascend the mountainous track to Jerusalem, thrice yearly to plead for forgiveness and mercy – for we have the Spirit of God residing forever in our hearts – and by the sacrifice of Christ’s blood we have access into the holy throne-room of God every moment of the day. Praise God that our strength and help; provision and protection comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, and He will never leave us nor forsake us but will be our ever-present help.

My Prayer.

Thank You Father God that You are my ever-present help in troubled times and that by the blood of Christ I now have access to Your throne of grace, for mercy – to find help in time on need, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://dailyverse. knowing-jesus. com/psalm-121-1.

Source: https://dailyverse. knowing-jesus. com/psalm-121-1.

Psalm 121:1-8 Jesus Is The Hill From Whence Our Help Comes October 3, 2017 Palm 127:1-8 I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come. 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who guards Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not harm you during the day, nor the moon during the night. 7 The Lord shall protect you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from now and for evermore. Help=sunantilambanomai in the greek and is defined as to take hold with at the side, hence to take a share in, generally to help. Supplying help that exactly corresponds to the need. Looking to the hills of Jerusalem, the Psalmist remembered that not only was the temple there but the presence of God rested there in that most holy place called the “Temple” of Jerusalem. My God, My Lord and Savior, My Jesus is the Hill of help and hope. Therefore, I will look unto the the hills from whence cometh my help knowing that my help cometh from the Lord. David reminds us on today of the safety and security that we have in the Lord our God. Where does my help come from? The Psalmist expresses with emphasis and clarity that His help comes from the Lord His God who made heaven and earth. This Psalm is one of hope, comfort, confidence and assurance of God’s help and His ever presence with His people. Indeed, this Psalm is a testament of God’s Sovereign Power and provision. People of God, the Lord our God promises to never let our foot slip for He never sleeps and is always watching over us to guide our every step, leading us along the way by His Holy Spirit. The Lord our God also promises to protect us from hurt, harm, evil and danger. When the ocean rises and thunder rolls in our lives, the Lord our God will be there with us to carry us through. He is our help! God alone is the preserver of our souls now and forever. He is our “kEEPER”! Trust Him on today for whatever you need is. Scripture declares in Hebrews 13:8-Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. The call on today people of God is to look up to the Lord in prayer. Look up and see what He has already done and know that He is the same God from your past who is still able to do the same for us today. Look unto the Lord our God people of God because He did not bring you this far to leave you. He love us and wants to be responsible for us if we would only obey and let Him. People of God, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. NOTHING shall separate us from His love. In need of hope on today? Look unto the hills from whence your help comes from. Jesus is the Hill from whence our help comes. He is our helper, our shelter, our all sufficient God. Run to Him people of God!! Where does my help come from? Our help comes from the Lord our God who made heaven and earth. God bless! Debra

He Who Lives In The Shelter Of The Most High

VERSE OF THE DAY

Psalm 91:1 (New Living Translation)

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Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Those who live under the wings of the eagle that protects them under the wings of God will find rest in the shadow of the most high almighty

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 – The Assurance Given to those Who Trust in God

This psalm has no title, and therefore the author remains unknown. Because it shares some of the themes of Psalm 90, some think Moses was the author. Because it shares some of the themes and phrases of Psalm 27 and Psalm 31, some think the author was David. “Some of its language, of strongholds and shields, reminds us of David, to whom the Septuagint ascribes it; other phrases echo the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, as did Psalm 90; but it is in fact anonymous and timeless, perhaps all the more accessible for that.” (Derek Kidner)

Many have noted the wonderful character of this psalm: “This psalm is one of the greatest possessions of the saints.” (G. Campbell Morgan)

“In the whole collection there is not a more cheering Psalm, its tone is elevated and sustained throughout, faith is at its best, and speaks nobly.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“It is one of the most excellent works of this kind which has ever appeared. It is impossible to imagine anything more solid, more beautiful, more profound, or more ornamented.” (de Muis, cited in Spurgeon)

A. The assurance of God’s protection.

1. (1-2) The protection, comfort, and care of Yahweh.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

a. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High: God has a secret place for His own (Psalm 27:5, 31:20), and it is a place to live in. Those who dwell there abide under the shadow of the Almighty, knowing His protection, comfort, and care.

i. In Psalm 90:1, Moses spoke of God as the dwelling place of His people. The opening lines of Psalm 91 seem to take that idea further. “Moses spoke of God as the dwelling-place, the habitation, the home of man. This singer seems to accept that great idea, and then to speak of the most central chamber of the dwelling-place, referring to it as the Secret Place, and describing its complete security.” (Morgan)

ii. There are many followers of Jesus Christ who seem to know very little of the secret place of the Most High or what it is to abide under His shadow. Many seem to regard this as only a thing for mystics or the super-spiritual. Yet David, if he wrote this, was a warrior and man well acquainted with the realities of life. It is true that the life of the spirit seems to come more easily for some than for others, but there is an aspect of the secret place of the Most High that is for everyone who puts his trust in Him.

iii. “Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy-seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times, and enjoy occasional approaches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence.” (Spurgeon)

iv. The shadow of the Almighty: “This is an expression which implies great nearness. We must walk very close to a companion, if we would have his shadow fall on us.” (Duncan, cited in Spurgeon)

v. Spurgeon (borrowing from Frances Ridley Havergal) suggested four ways the Scripture speaks of the shadow of the Almighty.

· The shadow of the rock (Isaiah 32:2).

· The shadow of the tree (Song of Solomon 2:3).

· The shadow of His wings (Psalm 63:7).

· The shadow of His hand (Isaiah 49:2).

vi. These first two verses of Psalm 91 use four wonderful titles or names for God:

· Most High: Elyon.

· Almighty: Shadday.

· The LORD: Yahweh.

· My God: Elohay.

b. He is my refuge and my fortress: The one who lives intimately with God knows the greatness of His protection. God Himself becomes like a mighty refuge and fortress for the believer.

i. My refuge: “Have you ever said definitely, ‘O Lord, thou art my refuge’? Fleeing from all other, have you sheltered in Him from the windy storm and tempest, from the harrow by day, and pestilence by night, from man and devil? You must avow it. Do not only think it, but say it.” (Meyer)

c. My God, in Him I will trust: This close relationship with God and all the benefits that come from it are for those who know Yahweh as God, and who truly trust in Him. As a believer receives His protection, comfort, and care, he trusts God all the more, and increasingly knows Him as God.

i. “Men are apt enough to proclaim their doubts, and even to boast of them, indeed there is a party nowadays of the most audacious pretenders to culture and thought, who glory in casting suspicion upon everything; hence it becomes the duty of all true believers to speak out and testify with calm courage to their own well-grounded reliance upon their God.” (Spurgeon)

ii. Spurgeon suggested many different Biblical examples of people who had their own expression of the phrase My God.

· My God is the young convert’s confession (Ruth, as in Ruth 1:16).

· My God is the individual Christian’s belief (Thomas, as in John 20:28).

· My God is the declaration of the believer when opposed (Micaiah, as in 1 Kings 22:14).

· My God is the secret vow of the believer in consecration (Jacob, as in Genesis 32:28-30).

· My God is the deepest comfort to God’s children in great woe (Jesus, as in Matthew 27:46).

· My God is the celebration for the victorious believer (Miriam, as in Exodus 15:21).

2. (3-4) How God brings His protection, comfort, and care.

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

a. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler: Following the general statement of the first two verses, now the psalmist describes the specific ways God protects and cares for His people – beginning with rescue from those who would trap God’s people as the fowler snares birds.

i. These are “…metaphors for the plots which would entangle our affairs (Psalm 140:1-5) or compromise our loyalty (Psalm 119:110).” (Kidner)

ii. “We are foolish and weak as poor little birds, and are very apt to be lured to our destruction by cunning foes, but if we dwell near to God, he will see to it that the most skilful deceiver shall not entrap us.” (Spurgeon)

iii. The devil and his agents often work as the fowler works.

· The fowler works in secret.

· The fowler changes his trap and methods.

· The fowler often entices with pleasure or profit.

· The fowler often uses a bad example, a decoy.

iv. “The most striking feature of this section (and the one following) is the use of the singular you throughout, which is a way of saying that these truths are for each person individually. They are for you if you will truly trust or abide in God.” (Boice)

b. And from the perilous pestilence: God also protects His people in times of plague and disease. The psalmist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did not intend this as an absolute promise, that every believer would be delivered from every snare or every pestilence. Instead, the idea is that the psalmist could point to many times when God did just that for His trusting people.

i. “This does not mean that those who trust God never die from infectious diseases or suffer from an enemy’s plot, of course. It means that those who trust God are habitually delivered from such dangers. What Christian cannot testify to many such deliverances?” (Boice)

ii. “Lord Craven, a Christian, was a nobleman who was living in London when plague ravaged the city in the fifteenth century. In order to escape the spreading pestilence Craven determined to leave the city for his country home, as many of his social standing did. He ordered his coach and baggage made ready. But as he was walking down one of the halls of his home about to enter his carriage, he overheard one of his servants say to another, ‘I suppose by my lord’s quitting London to avoid the plague that his God lives in the country and not in town.’ It was a straightforward and apparently innocent remark. But it struck Lord Craven so deeply that he canceled his journey, saying, ‘My God lives everywhere and can preserve me in town as well as in the country. I will stay where I am.’ So he stayed in London. He helped the plague victims, and he did not catch the disease himself.” (Boice)

iii. There is also a spiritual understanding and application of this. “The soul hath likewise her enemies, ready to attack and surprise her at all hours.” (Horne)

iv. “Children of God are not always immune from physical plague and pestilence; but they are ever guarded from destructive spiritual forces as they dwell in the secret place of the Most High.” (Morgan)

c. He shall cover you with His feathers: In a metaphor, God is represented as a bird, sheltering young chicks under His wings – as David previously described in Psalm 61:4.

i. “The mother eagle, spreading her…wing over her eaglets, is a wonderful symbol of the union of power and gentleness.” (Maclaren)

ii. “Saith Luther; it is faith which maketh thee the little chicken, and Christ the hen; that thou mayest hide, and hope, and hover, and cover under his wings; for there is health in his wings.” (Trapp)

iii. Boice connected Matthew 23:37 to Psalm 91:4: “Jesus would have saved and sheltered Jerusalem and its inhabitants, but the people were not willing. They would not come to him. They would not ‘dwell’ in the shelter of the Most High. They cried out for his crucifixion instead.” (Boice)

d. His truth shall be your shield and buckler: The pictures of God’s protection continue with His truth represented as the smaller, often round shield and the larger, often rectangular shield, the buckler.

i. “As for God’s care, it combines the warm protectiveness of a parent bird with the hard, unyielding strength of armour.” (Kidner)

ii. Shield and buckler: “Double armour has he who relies upon the Lord. He bears a shield and wears an all-surrounding coat of mail.” (Spurgeon)

iii. Boice on buckler: “The Hebrew word signifies something that is wrapped around a person for his or her protection; hence, it can mean ‘buckler,’ ‘armor,’ or, as in the New International Version, a ‘rampart’ or fortress.”

3. (5-6) The result of God’s protection and care.

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

a. You shall not be afraid: Having God as a shelter and refuge gives strength and courage to the people of God. When God’s people are stuck deep in fear, it is an indication that they fall short of proper trust in God as protector and comforter.

i. “Not to be afraid is in itself an unspeakable blessing, since for every suffering which we endure from real injury we are tormented by a thousand griefs which arise from fear only.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “In life the Lord may permit many terrible things to happen to his children (cf. Job), as he did to his own Son, our Lord. But his children know that no power is out of God’s control.” (VanGemeren)

b. Of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day: The psalmist represented all kinds of destruction that could come in all kinds of circumstances. It could come by night or by day, in darkness or at noonday. It could come as terror or by arrow, as a pestilence or as destruction. Whenever or however it comes, God is able to defend His people.

i. “The assaults of enemies and the devastations of pestilence are taken in Psalm 91:5-6 as types of all perils.” (Maclaren)

4. (7-8) Assurance for the believer.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

a. A thousand may fall at your side: The psalmist described how God’s protection could conquer any odds or probabilities. God’s protection and care could be so specifically focused that it can preserve one in ten thousand.

i. “It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good.” (Spurgeon)

b. See the reward of the wicked: In contrast to the protection of His chosen, God has also appointed a reward for the wicked. God’s people are encouraged to look at this truth and carefully consider it.

B. The assurance repeated twice over.

1. (9-13) Repeating the promise of deliverance and assurance of victory.

Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

a. Because you have made the LORD…your dwelling place: The principles and promises in Psalm 91:10-16 are directed toward those who trust in the LORD, making Him their dwelling place – their source of life and satisfaction.

b. No evil shall befall you: The previous promises (Psalm 91:5-8) of security and safety even in a time of plague are repeated. Again, this is not regarded as an absolute promise for every believer in every circumstance, because beloved people of God have fallen to evil or died in plague. It is the happy expectation of the psalmist and a general expression of God’s protection, comfort, and care for His people.

i. “Martin Luther wrote that this refers to ‘one who really dwells and does not merely appear to dwell and does not just imagine that he dwells’ in God.” (Boice)

ii. “This and such-like promises are not to be understood absolutely and universally, as if no truly good man could be cut off by the plague or other common calamities, which is confimed both by other plain texts of Scripture, and by unquestionable experience.” (Poole)

iii. “For it may befall a saint to share in a common calamity; as the good corn and weeds are cut down together, but for a different end and purpose.” (Trapp)

iv. “God doth not say no afflictions shall befall us, but no evil.” (Watson, cited in Spurgeon)

c. Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling: Charles Spurgeon gave remarkable testimony to a specific fulfillment of this promise:

i. “In the year 1854, when I had scarcely been in London twelve months, the neighbourhood in which I laboured was visited by Asiatic cholera, and my congregation suffered from its inroads. Family after family summoned me to the bedside of the smitten, and almost every day I was called to visit the grave. I gave myself up with youthful ardour to the visitation of the sick, and was sent for from all corners of the district by persons of all ranks and religions. I became weary in body and sick at heart. My friends seemed falling one by one, and I felt or fancied that I was sickening like those around me. A little more work and weeping would have laid me low among the rest; I felt that my burden was heavier than I could bear, and I was ready to sink under it. As God would have it, I was returning mournfully home from a funeral, when my curiosity led me to read a paper which was wafered up in a shoemaker’s window in the Dover Road. It did not look like a trade announcement, nor was it, for it bore in a good bold handwriting these words:‘Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.’ The effect upon my heart was immediate. Faith appropriated the passage as her own. I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality. I went on with my visitation of the dying in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm. The providence which moved the tradesman to place those verses in his window I gratefully acknowledge, and in the remembrance of its marvellous power I adore the Lord my God.” (Spurgeon)

d. For He shall give His angels charge over you: This describes another way God may send His protection and care unto His people – through His angels, commanding them to keep and bear…up His people.

i. “The angels of God shall have an especial charge to accompany, defend, and preserve thee; and against their power, the influence of evil spirits cannot prevail. These will, when necessary, turn thy steps out of the way of danger; ward it off when it comes in thy ordinary path.” (Clarke)

ii. “Charge; charge is a strict command, more than a bare command; as when you would have a servant do a business certainly and fully, you lay a charge upon him, I charge you that you do not neglect that business; you do not barely tell what he should do, prescribe him his work, but you charge him to do it. So says the Lord unto the angels.” (Bridge, cited in Spurgeon)

iii. “Not one guardian angel, as some fondly dream, but all the angels are here alluded to…. They have received commission from their Lord and ours to watch carefully over all the interests of the faithful.” (Spurgeon)

iv. “How angels thus keep us we cannot tell. Whether they repel demons, counteract spiritual plots, or even ward off the subtler physical forces of disease, we do not know. Perhaps we shall one day stand amazed at the multiplied services which the unseen bands have rendered to us.” (Spurgeon)

v. “Let us remember that it is GOD, whose these angels are; HE gives them charge – from HIM they receive their commission – to HIM they are responsible for their charge. From God thou art to expect them; and for their help he alone is to receive the praise. It is expressly said, He shall give his angels charge; to show that they are not to be prayed to nor praised; but GOD alone, whose servants they are.” (Clarke)

e. For He shall give His angels charge over you: The promise in Psalm 91:11-12 was quoted and twisted by Satan in His temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:5-7, Luke 4:9-12). Satan tempted Jesus to create an artificial crisis by throwing Himself from a high point on the temple mount, and Satan quoted Psalm 91:11-12 as a promise of protection if Jesus were to do this.

i. As Matthew 4 records, Satan’s quotation of Psalm 91:11-12 is a pattern of how he twists the word of God.

· Psalm 91:11-12 were falsely quoted, because the devil left out the words to keep you in all your ways. To test God in this way was not Jesus’ way; it was not the way of the Savior. “God had never promised, nor ever given, any protection of angels in sinful and forbidden ways.” (Poole on Matthew 4)

· This text is wrongly applied, because it was not used to teach or encourage, but intended instead to deceive: “…making this word a promise to be fulfilled upon Christ’s neglect of his duty; extending the promise of special providence as to dangers into which men voluntarily throw themselves.” (Poole on Matthew 4)

ii. In a strange way we are grateful for Satan’s attempt in Matthew 4, because it helps us better understand Psalm 91. We see that it does not give absolute promises for every believer in every circumstance, but beautiful promises of God’s protection, comfort, and care that are specifically received and applied in the believer by the Holy Spirit.

iii. The angels were there to help Jesus in His temptation, just not in the way the devil suggested (Matthew 4:11).

f. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra: The protection of God to His people extends beyond the general deliverance from harm; it also speaks of a general granting of victory to His people, even over opponents as strong as the young lion and the cobra.

i. These words are “…depicting God’s servants not merely as survivors but as victors, who trample deadly enemies under foot.” (Kidner)

ii. There is another interesting connection with the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. “The Lord’s trust in his Father also resulted in Satan’s defeat, another part of the psalm the devil omitted.” (Boice)

2. (14-16) God’s promise to and blessing over the one who loves Him.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

a. Because he has set his love upon Me: These last three verses are set in the first person as God speaks promise and blessing over His people. He speaks specifically over those who set their love upon Him. It has been wonderfully noted that the last words of this psalm are not spoken by God’s people, but to God’s people.

i. He has set his love upon Me: This “…is used elsewhere in contexts of setting one’s heart on somebody or on some enterprise. As man’s commitment to God it comes only here.” (Kidner)

ii. To set one’s love upon God means to do it by choice. He does not wait for the feeling of love to come, but simply chooses to think and act toward God in ways that express and build love. This would include:

· Spending time with God.

· Listening to God.

· Reading what God has written to us.

· Speaking to God.

· Thinking of God in unoccupied moments.

· Adoring God.

· Speaking of God to others.

· Giving to God and making glad sacrifices to Him and for Him.

iii. Our present culture often thinks of love as something that happens to people, not something chosen. The phrase because he has set his love on Me reminds us that a significant aspect of love is indeed a choice, and this describes in part the love we should give unto God.

b. Therefore I will deliver Him: The promises and principles stated previously in this psalm are repeated again, but this time from the perspective of God Himself. God will protect His beloved and set him on high – and do it because he has known My name, having a real relationship with God.

i. I will set him on high: “I will place him out of the reach of all his enemies. I will honour and ennoble him, because he hath known my name – because he has loved, honoured, and served me, and rendered me that worship which is my due. He has known me to be the God of infinite mercy and love.” (Clarke)

ii. “There are blessings that some believers miss out on, simply because they are always fretting and do not trust God as they should. Here the psalmist quotes God as saying that the blessings are for those who love God and acknowledge his name (verse 14), call upon him (verse 15), and seek satisfaction in what he alone can provide.” (Boice)

c. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: God promises to answer the prayer of the one who loves Him, and the one who genuinely knows Him.

d. I will be with him: In the last lines of the psalm, God spoke personal and wonderful blessings over the one who loves and knows Him:

· The blessing of His presence: I will be with him in trouble.

· The blessing of His protection: I will deliver him.

· The blessing of His promotion: I will…honor him.

· The blessing of His prosperity: With long life I will satisfy him.

· The blessing of His preservation: And show him My salvation.

i. I will be with him: “So, no man need add solitude to sadness, but may have God sitting with him, like Job’s friends, waiting to comfort him with true comfort.” (Maclaren)

ii. I will be with him in trouble: “Again God speaks and acts like a tender-hearted mother towards a sickly child. When the child is in perfect health she can leave it in the hands of the nurse; but when it is sick she will attend it herself; she will say to the nurse, ‘You may attend a while to some other business, I will watch over the child myself.’” (Dawson, cited in Spurgeon)

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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What does Psalm 91:1 mean?

A “shelter” provides safety from a storm or enemy. The term “Most High” comes for the Hebrew el’yon’ and specifically implies something “upper,” “above,” or “highest.” The implication is that God is superior to all other powers and supreme above any other deity. There is no safer shelter than what the Most High provides!

The reference to God as “Most High” is seen elsewhere in Scripture. Genesis 14:21–24 famously records Abram’s response to the king of Sodom when he offered Abram a reward for rescuing hostages. Abram said he had sworn to the Lord, God Most High, promising not to accept anything from the ruler of that infamously depraved kingdom.

The psalmist refers to the “shadow” of God. In literal terms, a shadow provides little protection, itself. The imagery, however, is of someone who is close enough, and protected enough, that the shadow of their protector is on them. Further, the psalmist will “abide” there, implying a committed, consistent closeness with the Lord.

Context Summary

Psalm 91:1–4 declares the writer’s trust in the Lord as the Most High and the Almighty. He sees God as his defender and faithful protector. This passage uses a wide variety of terms suggesting security, such as “shelter,” “refuge, “fortress,” “shield,” and “buckler.” Attempts to use these words as an absolute guarantee of personal safety were refuted by Jesus. He countered that interpretation when Satan tried to use later verses in this psalm as part of a temptation (Matthew 4:5–7).

Chapter Summary

The psalmist expresses his trust that God is a source of safety. He uses various dangers as symbols of the terrors which God’s people do not need to fear. When God has resolved to protect someone, nothing can overcome that safety. Jesus refuted inappropriate use of this promise when being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:5–7). Those who love God, and honor Him, can count on His provision and protection, and know that nothing happens without His approval.

Who Is He? Who Is Jesus?

VERSE OF THE DAY

Mark 8:36 (New Living Translation)

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And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

What then do you earn and benefit if you love all the world more than life but to lose your own soul and turn from God you gain nothing and loose everything God gave you including free of death for you live in and for the world and forget what God promised you in eternal life with him

David Guzik

On December 9, 2015, 10:22 pm

Mark Chapter 8

Mark 8 – Who Is Jesus?

A. Feeding the four thousand.

1. (1-4) Jesus gives the disciples an opportunity for faith.

In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”

a. I have compassion on the multitude: The situation was similar to the recent feeding of the five thousand. We see both a hungry multitude and a compassionate Jesus, so Jesus presented the dilemma to the disciples: what do we do?

b. How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness? We can imagine Jesus hoping one of the disciples might say, “Jesus, You did this before. You can do the same kind of work again.” Jesus hoped they would regard His past faithfulness as a promise to meet their present need.

2. (5-10) Jesus and the disciples feed the multitude.

He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away, immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

a. How many loaves do you have? Jesus asked them to give up their own food this time. Before they used the food of the little boy, but this time Jesus made the disciples give.

b. So He commanded the multitude to sit down: “He intended them not only a running banquet, a slight come-off, but a full feast, a good meal, and therefore bade them sit down and feed their fill.” (Trapp)

c. Broke them and gave them to the His disciples to set before them: Jesus did what He only could do – the creative miracle. But Jesus left to the disciples to do what they could do – the distribution of the bread.

d. They also had a few small fish: It seems that the disciples kept the fish from Jesus until they saw He could multiply the bread. They needed to see that we are safe giving everything to Jesus.

i. “Why were these not mentioned before? Could it be that they had been withheld by the doubting disciples until they saw how the bread was multiplied? Apparently, the fishes were blessed separately and then distributed as the bread had been.” (Ironside)

e. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments: At the end of the meal, they gathered more bread than they had to begin with. This was miraculous provision. The seven large baskets showed that God provided out of His abundance.

i. Some scholars argue this specific miracle never happened. They claim that this was merely a retelling of the feeding of the 5,000. Their main argument is, “how could the disciples forget Jesus’ previous work so quickly?” Yet even mature Christians, having experienced God’s power and provision, sometimes go on to act in unbelief. This wasn’t so surprising after all.

B. The leaven of the Pharisees.

1. (11-12) The Pharisees ask for a sign from heaven.

Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”

a. Seeking from Him a sign from heaven: In the mind of the Pharisees, this was not a request for another miracle of the type Jesus had already done. They asked for a dramatic sign from the sky, something similar to Elijah’s fire from heaven (1 Kings 18:38).

i. Testing Him: This was not a friendly encounter. The word tested could be translated tempted. The Pharisees tempted Jesus to perform a miraculous sign just as Satan tempted Him to do so in the wilderness.

b. He sighed deeply in His spirit: This attack and the unbelief it showed distressed Jesus. He was amazed at the unbelief and audacity of these religious leaders. “The sigh physical, its cause spiritual – a sense of irreconcilable enmity, invincible unbelief, and coming doom.” (Bruce)

i. This demand for a “special” sign was an extreme example of the arrogance and pride of the Pharisees towards Jesus. Essentially, they said, “You have done a lot of small-time miracles. Come on up to the big leagues and really show us something.”

c. No sign shall be given to this generation: Jesus refused because His miracles are not done with the intention of convincing hardened unbelievers. Instead, Jesus did miracles to show the power of God in the context of mercy. Those who believe that if people see enough signs they will come to faith presume to know more than Jesus did. He condemned the generation who sought a sign.

2. (13-15) Jesus warns of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod.

And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

a. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees: This leaven wasn’t merely yeast, but a pinch of dough left over from the previous batch, as in the making of sourdough bread. This was how bread was commonly leavened in the ancient world, and a little pinch of dough from the old lump could make a whole new lump of dough rise and “puff up.” So, the work of leaven was considered an illustration of the work of sin and pride. The presence of a little can corrupt a large amount.

i. “Sometimes the Jew used the word leaven much as we would use the term original sin, or the natural evil of human nature.” (Barclay)

b. Take heed, beware: Jesus essentially said, “Beware of the evil way the Pharisees and Herod think of the Kingdom of the Messiah, for in a short time I will reveal the truth of it to you.” Both Herod and the Pharisees idealized the Kingdom as domineering power and authority. Herod saw it more as political power and authority, and the Pharisees saw it as more spiritual power and authority, but they still saw the kingdom in this high-minded way.

3. (16-21) Jesus questions the twelve about their lack of understanding.

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

a. It is because we have no bread: When Jesus spoke of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod, the disciples didn’t relate it to a spiritual idea at all. All they could think of was the bread that goes in the stomach, not the bread that goes in the soul.

b. Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Jesus confronted His disciples over their lack of understanding. From this we know that they could have done better than this. They could have understood more if they applied themselves more.

c. Do you not remember? Their understanding should have been based on seeing what Jesus already did. We can always take the past faithfulness of God as a promise for His continued love and care.

i. This is one of the situations where we wish we had a recording of Jesus’ words to hear what tone of voice He used. Was it a tone communicating anger, concern, or frustration? We know that even when Jesus confronted His disciples, He did it in love.

4. (22-26) Blind eyes are opened.

Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”

a. He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him: Adam Clarke had an interesting perspective on this: “It is likely that this was done merely to separate the eyelids; as, in certain cases of blindness, they are found always gummed together. It required a miracle to restore the sight, and this was done in consequence of Christ having laid his hands upon the blind man: it required no miracle to separate the eyelids, and, therefore, natural means only were employed – this was done by rubbing them with spittle.”

b. He put His hands on his eyes again: This is the only “gradual” or “progressive” healing described in the ministry of Jesus. It is another example of the variety of healing methods Jesus used.

i. Jesus probably choose this method at this time as an illustration to His disciples, showing them then that their spiritual blindness – shown in the previous passage – will be healed, but only gradually.

C. Jesus reveals His mission.

1. (27-30) Peter confesses Jesus as the Messiah.

Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.” Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.

a. Who do men say that I am? Jesus did not ask this question because He didn’t know who He was or because He had a twisted dependence on the opinion of others. He asked this question as an introduction to a more important follow-up question.

b. John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets: People who thought that Jesus was John the Baptist didn’t know much about Him, and they didn’t know that Jesus and John had ministered at the same time. But both John and Elijah were national reformers who stood up to the corrupt rulers of their day.

i. Perhaps in seeing Jesus as John the Baptist or Elijah, people hoped for a political messiah who would overthrow the corrupt powers oppressing Israel.

c. But who do you say that I am? It was fine for the disciples to know what others thought about Jesus. But Jesus had to ask them, as individuals, what they believed about Jesus.

d. You are the Christ: Peter knew the opinion of the crowd – though complimentary towards Jesus – wasn’t accurate. Jesus was much more than John the Baptist, or Elijah, or a prophet. He was more than a national reformer, more than a miracle worker, more than a prophet. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

i. Calling Jesus the Messiah was right on the mark but easily misunderstood. In the thinking of most people in Jesus’ day, the Messiah was a political and national superman. “Toward the close of the OT period, the word ‘anointed’ assumed a special meaning. It denoted the ideal king anointed and empowered by God to deliver his people and establish his righteous kingdom.” (Wessel)

2. (31-32a) Jesus reveals His mission plainly: to come and die, and then rise again.

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly.

a. That the Son of Man must suffer many things: This was the necessary work of the Messiah and it was predicted in passages like Isaiah 53:3-12. He must die, and He must after His death rise again.

i. The suffering and death of Jesus was a must because of two great facts: man’s sin and God’s love. While His death was the ultimate example of man’s sin against God, it was also the supreme expression of God’s love to man.

b. He spoke this word openly: This was an unbelievable shock to anyone expecting or hoping that Jesus was the national and political messiah. It is as if an American presidential candidate announced toward the end of his campaign that he would go to Washington to be rejected and executed.

i. “A suffering Messiah! Unthinkable! The Messiah was a symbol of strength, not weakness.” (Wessel)

ii. “Sometimes the Messiah was thought of as a king of David’s line, but more often he was thought of as a great, super-human figure crashing into history to remake the world and in the end to vindicate God’s people… The Messiah will be the most destructive conqueror in history, smashing his enemies into utter extinction.” (Barclay)

3. (32b-33) Peter rebukes Jesus; Jesus rebukes Peter.

And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

a. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him: Peter’s intent was love for Jesus, but he was unwittingly used of Satan. You don’t have to be demon possessed for Satan to use you, and we need to be on guard lest we are unwittingly used.

i. Matthew 16:17-19 gives us a little more insight into this passage. We read there that after Peter made the confession of faith recorded in Mark 8:29 (You are the Christ), Jesus then answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus went on to further build up Peter after that complimentary word. It’s not hard to see Peter following these steps:

· Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah.

· Jesus complimented Peter, telling him that God revealed this to him.

· Jesus told of His impending suffering, death, and resurrection.

· Peter felt that wasn’t right, and he believed that he heard from God.

· Peter rebuked Jesus.

ii. We can infer that if Peter was bold enough to rebuke Jesus, he was confident that God told him what was right and that Jesus was wrong. Where it all broke down was that Peter was far too confident in his ability to hear from God.

· What Peter said didn’t line up with the Scriptures.

· What Peter said was in contradiction to the spiritual authority over him.

b. Get behind Me, Satan! This was a strong rebuke from Jesus, yet entirely appropriate. Though a moment before Peter spoke as a messenger of God, he then spoke as a messenger of Satan. Jesus knew there was a satanic purpose in discouraging Him from His ministry on the cross, and Jesus would not allow that purpose to succeed.

i. We can be sure that Peter was not aware that he spoke for Satan, just as a moment before he was not aware that he spoke for God. It is often much easier to be a tool of God or of the devil than we want to believe.

c. You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men: Jesus exposed how Peter came into this satanic way of thinking. He didn’t make a deliberate choice to reject God and embrace Satan; he simply let his mind settle on the things of men instead of the things of God, and Satan took advantage of it.

i. Peter is a perfect example of how a sincere heart coupled with man’s thinking can often lead to disaster.

ii. Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was evidence of the leaven mentioned in Mark 8:15. With his mind on the things of men, Peter saw the Messiah only as the embodiment of power and strength, instead of as a suffering servant. Because Peter couldn’t handle a suffering Messiah, he rebuked Jesus.

4. (34) In light of His mission, Jesus warns those who want to follow Him.

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

a. Let him deny himself, and take up his cross: It was bad enough for the disciples to hear that Jesus would suffer, be rejected, and die on a cross. Now Jesus told them that they had to do the same thing

b. Deny himself, and take up his cross: Everybody knew what Jesus meant when He said this. Everyone knew that the cross was an unrelenting instrument of death. The cross had no other purpose.

i. The cross wasn’t about religious ceremonies; it wasn’t about traditions and spiritual feelings. The cross was a way to execute people. In these 20 centuries after Jesus, we sanitized and ritualized the cross. How would we receive it if Jesus said, “Walk down death row daily and follow Me”? Taking up your cross wasn’t a journey; it was a one-way trip.

ii. “Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life. Rather, it involves the way of the cross. The picture is of a man, already condemned, required to carry his cross on the way to the place of execution, as Jesus was required to do.” (Wessel)

iii. “Every Christian must be a Crucian, said Luther, and do somewhat more than those monks that made themselves wooden crosses, and carried them on their back continually, making all the world laugh at them.” (Trapp)

c. Jesus makes deny himself equal with take up his cross. The two express the same idea. The cross wasn’t about self-promotion or self-affirmation. The person carrying a cross knew they couldn’t save themselves.

i. “Denying self is not the same as self-denial. We practice self-denial when, for a good purpose, we occasionally give up things or activities. But we deny self when we surrender ourselves to Christ and determine to obey His will.” (Wiersbe)

ii. Denying self means to live as an others-centered person. Jesus was the only person to do this perfectly, but we are to follow in His steps (and follow Me). This is following Jesus at its simplest: He carried a cross, and walked down death row; so must those who follow Him.

5. (35-9:1) Why we must take up our cross and follow Jesus.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

a. Whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it: We must follow Jesus this way because it is the only way that we will ever find life. It sounds strange to say, “You will never live until you walk down death row with Jesus,” but that is the idea. You can’t gain resurrection life without dying first.

i. You don’t lose a seed when you plant it, though it seems dead and buried. Instead, you set the seed free to be what it was always intended to be.

b. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Avoiding the walk down death row with Jesus means that we may gain the whole world, and end up losing everything.

i. Jesus Himself had the opportunity to gain the world by worshipping Satan (Luke 4:5-8), but He found life and victory in obedience instead.

ii. Amazingly, the people who live this way before Jesus are the ones who are really, genuinely happy. Giving our life to Jesus all the way and living as an others-centered person does not take away from our life, it adds to it.

c. For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed: It isn’t easy to walk death row with Jesus. It means that we have to associate ourselves with someone who was despised and executed. Yet if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us.

i. “If Jesus Christ had come into the world as a mighty and opulent man, clothed with earthly glories and honours, he would have had a multitude of partisans, and most of them hypocrites.” (Clarke)

ii. Jesus is coming again in glory, and if we will rebel against the world, the flesh, and the devil, we will share in the glory.

iii. Most people think of following Jesus as conforming to the establishment. Actually, Jesus called us to rebel against the established order of this world. We are called to rebel against the tyranny of the flesh, against the fear and conformity of the world, against the traditions of man. Jesus encourages a slave rebellion, where the slaves of sin, Satan, and the world rebel against their masters.

d. Some standing here… will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God present with power: Walking with Jesus doesn’t just mean a life of death and crosses. It also means a life of the power and glory of the kingdom of God. Jesus promised some of His disciples glimpses of that power and glory.

i. “The unveiling of Jesus’ glory in the presence of the three disciples corresponds to the assurance that some will see.” (Lane)

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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What Does Mark 8:34 Mean? ►

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Mark 8:34(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

When Jesus summoned the crowd to come and listen to Him and made His astonishing demand… that anyone who wanted to follow Him was to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him… we find that this requirement was recorded immediately after Peter had pronounced his divine revelation from God.

Peter had just confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” following which, he was immediately and severely reprimanded for attempting to prevent the Messiah of Israel from carrying out His God-appointed work, on the Cross of Calvary.

It is in this context that we read: “And Jesus summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.'” If anyone wants to be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus, he must die to his own desires and personal wishes, and live for Christ alone – even though this may be very difficult. In a parallel passage, we read that “whoever does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” True discipleships places Christ at the centre of a life and above everyone else.

Peter’s protest, which attempted to save Jesus from being handed over to the Gentile nations and crucified to pay the price for the sin of the world, may have been born out of deep love for his Master, but ignorant of God’s perfect plan of redemption. However, it was to trigger a sharp rebuke from Jesus, which laid the foundation for Christ to tell all His followers the enormous price of true discipleship in this passage: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

The price for our salvation was paid at Calvary through the shed blood of Christ, such that whosoever BELIEVES on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved by God’s grace, because of their faith. However, once a person is truly born-again and saved by the blood of the Lamb, they have a choice… to follow Christ afar off, remain in spiritual infancy, and live in carnality OR deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him… as a true, sacrificial disciple. 

The conditions for true discipleship are hard, and Jesus made clear what was involved. FIRST, we are to surrender ourselves to Him completely. SECOND, we are to identify with His suffering and death. THIRD, we are to obediently follow Him and trust His Word… no matter what the cost or how difficult it may become.

To deny self has nothing to do with ‘self-denial’ where we give up this or that, now and again. It is a total surrender of our own wishes and personal desires. It is offering our entire life as a living sacrifice which is set apart for God and remains holy to the Lord. It is disassociating ourselves from our own wishes and personal desires, and living life with a divine perspective, where we are willing to say, “Not my will but Thine be done.”

All believers are promised an inheritance that is kept for us in heaven. However, to take up our cross is to identify with the suffering of Christ – NOT His sacrificial work on the Cross which He alone accomplished. It is to participate with Him in the abuse and hatred that He received during His lifetime and which has continued to be poured out on members of His mystical Body, which is the Church, for centuries of time.

To follow Christ as a disciple, may necessitate the forsaking of creature comforts, earthy ambitions, material riches, relational ties, and even life itself. Let us seek to become sacrificial disciples of Christ and not merely saved followers. Let us die to our own desires and live our life for Christ alone.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/mark-8-34

What Does John 8:36 Mean? ►

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Freedom is the cry of every man and woman, every boy and every girl. And Jesus proclaimed, “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Only a few verses earlier we heard Jesus explain to His followers, and those that were challenging His Messianic claims, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Those who know the Son know the TRUTH – for Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’.

But how important to recognise that there is a huge chasm between knowing facts about the truth as a historical fact, or as some detailed information, and actually knowing the truth about the unique Person and saving Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a vast difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing the Person of Jesus – having a personal relationship with Him, as outlined in the God-breathed Scriptures.

Many people in Christ’s day knew about Him. They knew his mother and siblings. They knew He was a carpenter in the little town of Nazareth. Some even knew the Messianic claims that He made and may have witnessed the many mighty miracles that He undertook, but they did not know Him as their Lord and Saviour. They did not know Him as the Word of Truth or trust that His shed blood would pay the price for their sin.

The Scribes and Pharisees knew Christ’s movements, heard His teachings, questioned His authority, and were fully conversant with the good news that He presented to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They even knew that He claimed to be the eternal Son of God from heaven Who could forgive sin. They knew He claimed to be the promised Messiah and King of Israel Who had come to set up His kingdom on earth.. but they did not mix the truth that they heard with faith in their heart. They knew about the truth but they were not set free by the truth because they did not believe the incarnate truth.

It was the Philippian jailer who asked the question, “what shall I do to be saved…?” and the simple answer was, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” He was to believe on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, the salvation of the soul, and life everlasting. Believing the truth would set this jailer free from slavery to sin and bondage to Satan. Believing the truth would set this man free from the curse of the Law and eternal condemnation. Believing the truth would transfer this man from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Light and Life.

The jailer was not set free by simply knowing about the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, but by knowing Him as Saviour. He was set free by BELIEVING on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was knowing Christ as Saviour that would set this jailer free. He was saved and set free from eternal condemnation by grace through faith in the Son of God and His sacrificial offering at Calvary, “for if the Son sets a man free, that man is free indeed.”

Jesus Himself explained to Nicodemus that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes on Him would not perish but have everlasting life. He was to be lifted up on the Cross and His lifeblood was to be shed for the sin of the world. It is not simply knowing about the historical facts of Christ’s crucifixion that sets people free… but believing on the redeeming truth that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture, that He was buried, and rose again, according to the Scripture. It is knowing the truth that frees a man from bondage to sin – and when one is set free from the curse of the Law and enslavement to sin, by grace through faith in Christ, one is truly liberated.

Every man is born dead in sin. Everyone lives in bondage to sin. Everyone is a slave of sin and is entrapped by sin. Every man is estranged from God and shackled by the heavy weight of sin. But there is one way, and only one way to be set free from slavery to sin, Satan, death, and the curse of the law – and that is to KNOW Christ personally – not simply to know historical facts about Him, but to know Him as one’s own personal Saviour… Who willingly died in our place to pay the price for our sin. And when we are set free from slavery to sin, Satan, death, and the curse of the law… by the redeeming blood of God’s only begotten Son… we know the Son as Saviour and the SON, WHo loves us and gave Himself for us, sets us free forever.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/john-8-36

What does Mark 8:36 mean?

In the prior verse, the English word “save” was translated from the Greek root word sozo. It means to be kept safe from harm or evil. In a parallel statement, Jesus now refers to those who would try to “gain” the world using the Greek root word kerdainō. This term refers to “winning or gaining,” but it also carries the idea of being spared or rescued.

“Soul” is the same as “life” in Mark 8:35. It can mean literal breathing life or the core soul of a person. “World” is from the Greek root word kosmos. It can mean the earth, all the people of the earth, or the ungodly elements of creation, but it can also mean order or government.

Jesus condemns people’s desire for “the world.” Despite the expectations of almost everybody, He did not come to bring political order to Israel. He criticizes hypocrites such as the Pharisees for twisting the God-worshiping activities of giving (Matthew 6:1) and praying (Matthew 6:5) into attempts to earn the world’s approval. And He says that earthly riches create a strong barrier between would-be Christ followers and the kingdom of God (Mark 10:17–25).

We often see this world as having everything we need for a happy and fulfilled life—and in the beginning, that was so (Genesis 1:29–31). But even then, there was nothing in the world more precious than our life—our immortal soul’s potential to live for eternity in paradise with God. Jesus knew this when Satan offered Him the world (Matthew 4:8–10). Not only would Jesus not sacrifice His own integrity for the world, He would not sacrifice our souls for our comfort.

The Gospel of Mark was written shortly after “John Mark,” whom most scholars believe is the author of this Gospel, abandoned Paul and Barnabas in the middle of a missions trip (Acts 13:5,13). Mark has just recorded that Jesus equated Peter’s influence with that of Satan (Mark 8:33). In a few short chapters, Peter will deny that he ever knew Jesus (Mark 14:66–72). This must have been a convicting passage for Peter and Mark to write.

Context Summary

Mark 8:34—9:1 deals with sacrifice and rewards. To follow Jesus the disciples have sacrificed their livelihoods (Mark 1:16–20; 2:14), reputations (Mark 2:18, 23–24; 7:5), regular meals (Mark 6:30–31), and sleep (Mark 1:32–37; 6:45–48). In return, they expect glory (Mark 9:33–37) and power (Mark 10:35–45). Jesus explains that God’s timing is more strategic and their roles are more important and difficult than they could imagine. To follow Christ, we must follow Him: His teaching (Mark 8:38), His life (Mark 10:42–45), and His sacrifice (John 15:20). In return, we should not expect earthly rewards, but we will get eternal life. Matthew 16:24–28 and Luke 9:23–27 also record these events.

Chapter Context

This chapter describes another miraculous feeding of thousands by Jesus. He also counters the hard-hearted and selfish hypocrisy of the Pharisees in seeking even more miraculous signs. Speaking to the disciples, Jesus rebukes their short memories and reminds them about God’s intent to provide for His followers. After healing a blind man, Jesus accepts Peter’s proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah. Almost immediately, though, Jesus rebukes Peter for resisting the idea that the Messiah must suffer and die

Who Bought Our Forgiveness

Colossians 1:14

who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Whom was the one who bought our secure freedom and taught us to forgiveness for our wrongs and sins

jesus paid the price to make us free in him we have forgiveness of out sins by his blood

Moses Intercedes for Israel

The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.”

Psalm 51:14

Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your

Psalm 130:4

But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.

Jeremiah 36:7

Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the Lord has threatened them with his terrible anger.”

To live in peace and honor for God have you freedom and life free of your sins by shedding of his blood and his death on the cross to teach forgiveness and love

Luke 1:77

You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.

Acts 13:38

“Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.

What Does Acts 13:38 Mean? ►

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,

Acts 13:38(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Generally, in the New Testament, the word ‘brethren’ is used to refer to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in certain passages believers are also addressed as ‘holy brethren’.

However, there are other times when ‘brothers’ or ‘brethren’ refers only to the physical decedents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – circumcised in the flesh but unsaved members of the Jewish race. How important to identify the context in which certain words or phrases are used.

Early in Acts, the apostles often addressed Jews as ‘brothers’, when seeking to share the gospel of grace with their unsaved, fellow countrymen. On the day of Pentecost, many Jewish men were pierced to the heart when they heard that they had crucified their Messiah, and they cried out to the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter’s response was: “Brothers, I know that you did it in ignorance, just as your leaders also did.”

Peter also reminded these men of Israel that Moses had prophesied that a Prophet “from among their brothers,” would be raised up and they must listen to Him. And here in this passage it is Paul’s Jewish ‘brethren’ that are hearing: “Through Christ, the forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to them.”

In this passage, the apostle Paul was ministering to ‘brothers’ in a synagogue in Antioch on a Sabbath day. He read from the Law and the Prophets, quoted from Psalms, and began to teach them the Scriptures. Starting from their slavery in Egypt, he progressed through Jewish history until he reached the ministry of John the Baptist who preached a baptism of repentance to Israel and identified Jesus as: “The Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.”

Finally, Paul dropped the climatic bombshell: “Let it be known to you, brethren, that through Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” Paul was explaining to his unsaved Jewish ‘brethren’ that Jesus was great David’s greater Son, after the flesh. He was the one about Whom David prophesied, for He died, and rose again for the forgiveness of their sins, and for ALL who would believe on His name. Christ offered these Jewish ‘brethren’ something that the Law could never provide – the remission of sins and life everlasting. The indestructible life of Christ Jesus, was greater than king David, for He was raised from the dead by the almighty power of God and was the perfect Sacrifice for their sin – and by faith in Him, redemption would be theirs.

This is the gospel that must be preached to unsaved Jew and Gentile alike, that through faith in the Man, Christ Jesus is received the forgiveness of sin. For by grace we are saved, through faith. We are not saved by works of the Law, but by faith in the sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection of Jesus, the eternal Son of God and sinless Son of Man. 

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/acts-13-38

Continuing in the synagogue, Paul said,] “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is made right in God’s sight — something the law of Moses could never do. Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,

‘Look, you mockers,

be amazed and die!

For I am doing something in your own day,

something you wouldn’t believe

even if someone told you about it.'”

As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.

Acts 13:38-43 NLT

Key Thought

Paul proclaimed Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises, as the one who brought true salvation. This salvation was, and is, and forever will be, rooted in faith that it is Jesus — through his death, burial, and resurrection — saves us. As we share in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection through faith, we are saved, forgiven, and sanctified and become children who walk in God’s light (Acts 26:15-18, 2:38-41). The law of Moses could never accomplish what Jesus did for us. And, as Paul says, “Everyone who believes in him is made right in God’s sight.”

Today’s Prayer

O Father, thank you. Thank you for saving me! Thank you for Jesus! Thank you for salvation by grace through faith. Thank you that I participated in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection through faith as I was baptized in his name. Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit to confirm that I am your child and that your presence is always with me and to transform me to become more and more like Jesus. I offer my thanksgiving to you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

Acts 13:38-39

Related Topics: Forgiveness, Jesus, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Law couldn’t do it. Sacrifices couldn’t do it. Piety couldn’t do it. Religious practices couldn’t do it. Only Jesus can bring full forgiveness of sins. Only Jesus can make us fully righteous and holy. Forgiveness and righteousness come through him.

My Prayer…

Holy and Righteous Father, God Almighty, I confess that your Son is my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. I thank you Jesus for being my Lord and paying the price for my sins. I ask, blessed Holy Spirit, that you help me fashion more of Jesus’ character and compassion in my life. In Jesus’ name I ask for this blessing. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

Forgiveness for Free

ACTS 13:38-39

Through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed . … [and] everyone who believes is justified. Acts 13:38-39

— 

PLAY

Trying to achieve justification through obedience to the law is impossible for us. We have all sinned and broken the law, and when we try to keep the law, we keep breaking it because we have a sinful human nature. Our human efforts to keep the law in order to gain God’s favor are futile. Forgiveness and the power to overcome sin are not within human capacity. Only God can forgive and can give us the power to live in obedience to his will. We can be saved only by trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ as Savior. The good news is that forgiveness and salvation are free!

Often our worldly view of reality tricks us into thinking, however, that something free is cheap and of poor quality. We are wary of free things. We like the feeling of ownership and control that we get when we buy things. But salvation is one thing we can never buy. The message of the gospel goes against our thirst for control. The Savior who saves for free also claims free reign over our lives.

Are you suffering under the yoke of legalism? Have you been trying to please God by your own efforts? Quit trying to help God. Receive by faith the forgiveness of your sins through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Confess your sins, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness by faith.

Loving God, forgive me for trying to be my own savior. Help me to accept freely the grace and salvation that you offer me through Jesus Christ. In his name, Amen.

Acts 13 – Paul’s First Missionary Journey Begins

A. Barnabas and Saul are called and sent by the Holy Spirit.

1. (1) The people at the church in Antioch.

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

a. Now in the church that was at Antioch: In Acts 12:25, we learn Barnabas, Saul, and John Mark were all at the church in Antioch, having returned from delivering a gift of support to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30). Saul and Barnabas were among the teachers and prophets there, as were Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen.

b. Simeon who was called Niger: Since Niger means black, he was presumably a black African among the congregation at Antioch, and possibly the same Simeon who carried Jesus’ cross (Luke 23:26).

c. Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch: This Manaen mentioned here grew up with Herod the tetrarch. This was the same Herod who beheaded John the Baptist and presided over one of Jesus’ trials (Luke 23:7-12).

i. Herod and Manaen grew up together, but went very different ways. One killed John the Baptist and presided over one of the trials of Jesus before His crucifixion. The other became a Christian, and a leader in the dynamic congregation at Antioch.

2. (2) The Holy Spirit calls Barnabas and Saul.

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

a. As they ministered to the Lord: This was part of what happened at the congregation in Antioch. Barnabas and others certainly ministered to the congregation, and the congregation also ministered one to another. Yet they also ministered to the Lord.

i. This is the first job of any servant of God, to minister unto the Lord. In doing this, they did the service of priests under the new covenant, offering their bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). Ministering to the Lord means doing what pleases Him and honors Him – worship, praise, prayer, listening to, honoring God.

ii. “The word translated worshipping [ministered, NKJV] is that usually employed in the LXX for the service of priests and Levites in the temple.” (Williams)

b. They ministered to the Lord and fasted: As part of their service to the Lord, they also fasted. Presumably, they fasted because they sensed a need to seek God in a special way.

i. Judging from the calling described in the text, it is possible that they sought God about the need to spread the gospel to all the earth.

ii. If we assume they fasted and prayed about the need of the world for Jesus, we can see how God answered their prayer – by using them. This is often how God moves, by sending the people who have it on their hearts to pray.

iii. Many want to be “back seat drivers” in God’s work. They hope to say, “I’ll have the burden and you do the work.” But God’s typical way of working is to send the people who have the burden to do the work.

c. The Holy Spirit said: As they ministered unto the Lord, God spoke to them. This was a word of calling that would guide Barnabas and Saul into a specific work.

d. The Holy Spirit said: Presumably, the call came through the ministry of prophets in the church at Antioch, though it could have come simply through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.

i. “I do not for a moment imagine that the assembly heard a voice. That is the mistake we too often make. We try to force ourselves into ecstasies in order to hear the voice, then we imagine we hear it!” (Morgan)

e. Separate to Me: Before Barnabas and Saul could do anything significant for God, they first had to be separated to Him. If you will separate to God, it means you must separate from some other things.

i. You can’t really say “yes” to God’s call on your life until you can say “no” to things that will keep you from that call.

f. Separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work: It is significant that the two men called to missionary service were – as far as we know – the two most gifted and able men in the congregation.

g. For the work to which I have called them: God had a specific work He had appointed to Barnabas and Saul to do. Paul would later write in Ephesians 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Here, God called Barnabas and Saul to those kind of good works.

i. The calling God had for the life of Paul had already been stated in Acts 9:15-16: He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake. This was not a touchy-feely “feel good” call – it was a serious call to a serious ministry.

h. Now separate to Me: God gave a timetable – now. Before, God had told Paul through Ananias what his calling was, but not that it was now. Now meant there was to be no delay.

3. (3) The sending of Barnabas and Saul.

Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

a. Having fasted and prayed: They were sent with fasting and prayer. This whole work required a substantial dependence on God, and fasting and prayer demonstrated that dependence.

b. And laid hands on them: The laying on of hands was a formal commissioning to this work. Certainly Barnabas and Saul were “ordained” before this, but now they entered a different sphere of ministry.

c. They sent them away: Notice that the church in Antioch sent Barnabas and Saul out. They were supported and sent by a specific congregation. As far as we know, this had never happened before in the history of the church. Many went out as “accidental missionaries” (as in Acts 8:4 and 11:19) but there was never a concerted and organized effort to win people to Jesus like this.

i. Being intentionally sent by the church in Antioch, many regard this as the first real known missionary effort of the church. “The word ‘missionary’ has to do with sending. The Latin word mitto, mittere, means ‘to send’; ‘mission’ and ‘missionary’ come from the forms missi and missum.” (Boice)

ii. They seem to have done this without a committee report, without a demographic analysis, without a marketing survey, without what is sometimes called “spiritual mapping.” Barnabas and Saul went out without any of these things, only with the call and power of the Holy Spirit.

B. Ministry in the cities of Seleucia, Salamis and Paphos.

1. (4) First stop: Seleucia.

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

a. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit: The Christians of the church at Antioch sent Barnabas and Saul; but more importantly, the Holy Spirit sent them. Any group of Christians can send someone, but if the Spirit doesn’t send them, it won’t amount to eternally effective ministry.

b. Went down to Seleucia: We aren’t told of any specific work that took place in Seleucia, a city near Antioch. Saul and Barnabas may have gone there merely because it was the port city near Antioch, but it is hard to imagine them not doing any ministry there.

i. Since Seleucia wasn’t far from Antioch, where there was a thriving church, it isn’t difficult to assume there was already a group of Christians there in that city.

2. (5) On the island of Cyprus: The city of Salamis, on the east coast.

And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.

a. When they arrived in Salamis: We are not told why they went to Cyprus first, but we do know Barnabas grew up on that island (Acts 4:36).

b. They preached the word of God in the synagogues: This custom of the open synagogue gave Barnabas and Saul many opportunities to preach. This tradition invited any learned man to speak to the people of the synagogue at the Sabbath meeting.

c. They also had John as their assistant: This man, also known as John Mark, was mentioned previously in Acts 12:25. He traveled with Barnabas and Saul on this trip and was the same Mark who later wrote the Gospel that bears his name.

i. Mark was a valuable companion for Barnabas and Saul. He grew up in Jerusalem, and was an eyewitness of many of the events in the life of Jesus and could relate them with special power to Barnabas and Saul, and to others whom they preached to.

3. (6-7) Meeting the Roman proconsul in Paphos.

Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.

a. Paphos: This city on the west coast of Cyprus was known for its immorality. Here Barnabas and Saul faced a combination of immorality and spiritual darkness that was common across the pagan world of the Roman Empire.

i. “Paphos was infamous for its worship of Venus, the goddess of [sexual] love” (Barclay). “Athanasius styled its religion ‘the deification of lust.’ Neither men nor women could resort to the shrine of Venus without being defiled in mind and depraved in character.” (Spurgeon)

b. The proconsul, Sergius Paulus: This was an important man. A Roman proconsul was responsible for an entire province and answered to the Roman Senate.

i. “All Roman provinces were divided into two classes, those that required troops and those that did not. The latter were administered by the Senate and ruled by proconsuls; the former were under the administration of the emperor.” (Williams)

ii. “Sir William Ramsay reports that inscriptions bearing Sergius Paulus’ name have been found on Cyprus confirming that he was a Christian and that his entire family became Christians.” (Hughes)

c. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God: While ministering in Paphos (presumably after the same fashion – going into the synagogues and presenting Jesus), an unexpected door opened – the proconsul wanted to hear the word of God.

4. (8-12) The resistance of Elymas the sorcerer.

But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? “And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

a. Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated): Paul was opposed by a man named Elymas. His real name was Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6) which means “son of Jesus,” and Luke couldn’t bear to call him that. This Elymas (who was some kind of advisor to the proconsul) attempted to frustrate the missionary efforts of Barnabas and Saul.

i. We should not be surprised or shaken by opposition. “Wherever there is likely to be great success, the open door and the opposing adversaries will both be found. If there are no adversaries, you may fear that there will be no success. A boy cannot get his kite up without wind, nor without a wind which drives against his kite.” (Spurgeon)

b. Saul, who also is called Paul: It was common for people in that day to have names that were similar yet different according to the language or culture they were in. Certainly, Saul’s given name was Saul, a Jewish name after the first king of Israel. But his Roman name was Paul – which meant “Little” and sounded similar to “Saul.”

i. “Saul’s father gave the child a Roman and a Latin name because he was a Roman citizen with all the rights in the Roman Empire this implied. The child had both names from infancy. When his father called him he shouted, ‘Saul, Saul!’ but when the Greek boys with whom he played called him they shouted, ‘Paul, Paul!’” (Lenski)

c. Filled with the Holy Spirit… Said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud”: Paul, using spiritual discernment and operating in the gift of faith, rebuked and pronounced the judgment of God upon Elymas (you shall be blind).

i. As Elymas was struck with blindness, we can’t help but think Paul would remember his own experience with God. Paul was struck blind at his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9). Certainly, those who resist God are blind spiritually, so God just gave Elymas a physical blindness that matched his spiritual blindness. Sadly, we never hear of Elymas repenting, as Paul did.

d. Then the proconsul believed: Paul was harsh in his confrontation against Elymas because the eternal destiny of the proconsul was at stake.

i. If one wants to commit spiritual suicide, that’s one thing. But it is never right to bring others down also. If you want to give up on the things of God and grow bitter in your heart against Him, that’s your choice. But it is a heavy sin to draw anyone else away with you, either with your words or your example.

ii. “The severest words of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, are reserved for those who stand between men and truth, for those who stand between men and God…It must be the heart that loves Sergius Paulus that speaks in anger to Elymas the sorcerer.” (Morgan)

e. When he saw what had been done: Among other things, we can say that the proconsul saw something in Paul and something in Elymas.

i. He saw the courage of Paul. Here was a man of conviction, bold in his belief, and willing to make a stand for what he believed.

ii. He saw the just result of Elymas’ sin, physical blindness corresponding to his spiritual blindness. When we see the trouble sin brings people into, it helps us pursue God more earnestly.

f. Being astonished at the teaching of the Lord: As amazing as the miracle of Elymas’ sudden blindness was, the good news the proconsul heard from Paul was even more amazing. His astonishment is said to be at the teaching of the Lord (presumably, the doctrines of God’s gracious gift to man in Jesus, through the cross) not the miraculous work before his eyes.

4. (13) From Paphos to Perga.

Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.

a. Now when Paul and his party set sail: The missionary group is now described as “Paul and his party.” Previously – as recently as Acts 13:7 – the group was described as Barnabas and Saul. From this point on, Paul’s leadership and prominence will be evident.

b. They came to Perga: They left the island of Cyprus, coming to Perga on the mainland of what is today Turkey.

c. John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem: We don’t know exactly why John Mark went home to Jerusalem. Perhaps he was homesick. Perhaps he was afraid of the tough and dangerous travel through the mountains ahead of them. Perhaps he resented that the team of his cousin Barnabas and Saul (Acts 12:25) had now become Paul and his party. Perhaps he lost confidence because Paul suffered poor health (according to Galatians 4:13).

i. As will be clear from Acts 15:36-41, Paul didn’t appreciate the departure of John Mark here, and to some degree he seems to have lost confidence in him as a missionary companion, a member of the team. This reminds us that as great and godly as these men were, and as great as the work was that they did, they still had problems.

C. The sermon at Pisidian Antioch.

1. (14-15) The customary invitation in the synagogue gives Paul an opportunity to preach Jesus.

But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”

a. They departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia: Perga was a costal, harbor city, where the ship from Paphos came to the mainland. Antioch in Pisidia was about 135 miles (220 kilometers) inland, to the north. This general region was known as Galatia, and later Paul wrote a letter to these churches that is included in our New Testament library.

i. “Pisidian Antioch was in the mountains at an altitude of about 3,600 feet. Since Paul mentions in the letter to the Galatians that he had a bodily affliction at this time, some scholars have supposed that Paul caught a disease, perhaps malaria, while living in Pamphylia’s lower coastal plains and that he had his party pressed on into the healthier mountain climate because of it.” (Boice)

b. Went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets. A first-century synagogue service followed a general order. Opening prayers were offered, and then there was a reading from the Law (the first five books of the Old Testament). Then, a reading from the Prophets. Then, if there was an educated person present, they were invited to speak on subjects related to the readings.

c. Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on: The rulers of the synagogue gave Paul the customary invitation, and he was more than happy to use the opportunity.

2. (16-23) Paul begins his sermon in the synagogue, explaining how God’s work in history leads up to Jesus.

Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it. Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness. And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment. After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior; Jesus.”

a. Men of Israel and you who fear God: Pauladdressed both groups at the synagogue on a typical Sabbath; both Jews and “near Jews,” those Gentiles who admired the Jewish religion but did not make a full commitment to Judaism.

b. According to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior; Jesus: In this survey of Israel’s history, Paul noted important events – the choosing of the patriarchs, the deliverance from Egypt, the time in the wilderness, the conquest of Canaan, the time of the Judges, the creation of a monarchy – but it all led up to Jesus.

i. This survey of Israel’s history demonstrates that God has a plan for history, and we need to sense a connection to that plan. Jesus is the goal of history, and as we are in Jesus, we are in the flow of God’s great plan of redemption.

3. (24-29) Using the examples of John the Baptist and the Jewish rulers, Paul shows how people both received and rejected Jesus.

“After John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’ Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.”

a. As John was finishing his course, he said: John the Baptist responded to Jesus the right way. He prepared the hearts of others for Jesus, and he saw Jesus as who He really was. John knew Jesus was the One greater than all others. He knew Jesus was more than a teacher; He was the Lord God we must all answer to.

i. The sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose: This statement shows that John knew Jesus was high above him. In that day, it was not uncommon for a great teacher to have disciples follow him, and it was expected that the disciples would serve the teacher in various ways. This arrangement came to be abused, so the leading rabbis established certain things that were too demeaning for a teacher to expect of his disciple. It was decided that for a teacher to expect his disciple to undo the strap of his sandal was too much; it was too demeaning. Here, John insisted he wasn’t even worthy to do this for Jesus.

b. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him: Those who didn’t know the Scriptures rejected Jesus, and delivered Him to Pilate to be executed. This was true even though they lived in Jerusalem and were rulers among the Jews. Therefore Jesus was executed and laid in a tomb.

c. They took Him down from the tree: In calling the cross a tree, Paul drew on the idea from Deuteronomy 21:22-23. In that passage, it says that God curses a person who is hanged from a tree. Paul wanted to communicate the idea that Jesus was cursed so that we could be blessed (Galatians 3:13).

4. (30-37) Paul preaches the resurrected Jesus.

“But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings; that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm:

‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.’

And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus:

‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’

Therefore He also says in another Psalm:

‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’

For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.”

a. But God: These are wonderful words. Man did his best to fight against God – even to kill Him – but God was greater than man’s sin and rebellion, and Jesus rose from the grave, winning over sin and death.

b. But God raised Him from the dead: Here, the fact was simply stated. Yet, evidence from eyewitnesses was also offered (He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him).

i. We should not miss an emphasis on events in Paul’s preaching here; it is so evident that it can be missed. He focused on things that actually happened, not on philosophy or even theology. “Christianity is not just a philosophy or a set of ethics, though it involves these things. Essentially Christianity is a proclamation of facts that concern what God has done.” (Boice)

c. God has fulfilled this for us their children: Then Paul applied the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrection means that Jesus truly is the unique Son of God (Psalm 2:7), and it proves that He was utterly holy even in His work on the cross (Psalm 16:10).

5. (38-41) With a promise and a warning, Paul applies the truth of who Jesus is and what He did for us.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:

‘Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you.’”

a. Through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins: The promise is that, because of who Jesus is and what He did for us, forgiveness is offered to us freely in Jesus. We may be justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

i. We can never justify ourselves before God. To think so assumes God grades on a curve, a measure that bends according to human weakness. To think so also gives us the glory for our own salvation instead of simply saying, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

ii. Some refuse to embrace the salvation of Jesus in the secret place of their heart, because they want a salvation of their own making. They want to be saved the old-fashioned way – they want to earn it.

iii. Only a few months after this, Paul wrote a letter to these churches in Galatia, dealing with these same themes of being justified by God’s grace, and not by keeping the law.

b. Everyone who believes is justified: Jesus does not only forgive us, but we are also justified by Him. Forgiveness takes care of the debt of sin, but justification puts a positive credit on our account before God.

c. Beware, therefore: The warning is that if we do not embrace the person and work of Jesus with our whole lives, we are despisers who will perish. In this warning, Paul quoted a passage from Habakkuk regarding the judgment that came upon Jerusalem. If God judged them, He will also judge those who refuse and reject His offer of forgiveness through the work of Jesus.

i. “Although ours is an age of great grace, God is nevertheless also a God of great judgment, and sin must be judged if it is not atoned for by the work of Christ.” (Boice)

ii. Some commentators complain that Paul here preached too much like Peter did on Pentecost. It is a strange complaint. This shows us that Peter and Paul preached the same gospel, and the same gospel was preached some fifteen years after Pentecost as was preached on that first day.

iii. Others note similarities between Paul’s sermon here and the sermon of Stephen in Acts 7. That was a sermon that Paul heard when he still hated the name of Jesus. Perhaps the sermon of the first martyr of the church still rang in the ears of the man who presided over his execution.

D. The Response to the sermon at Pisidian Antioch.

1. (42-43) Many people, both Jews and Gentiles, express interest in Paul’s message.

So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

a. When the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath: Both Jews and Gentiles at the synagogue responded positively, yet Luke noted an even greater response from the Gentiles present.

i. We should assume that many of these believed for two reasons.

· First, because many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas. There was a continuing interest in their message.

· Second, because Paul and Barnabas persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. This means they had already started to trust in the grace of God.

b. Persuaded them to continue in the grace of God: Continuing in grace is as important as beginning in grace; we must never leave it as the basic principle of our relationship with God. Far too many only think of grace as the introduction to the Christian life, but God wants grace to remain as the foundation for our life with Him.

2. (44-45) On the next Sabbath, envy creates opposition.

On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.

a. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God: The scene is easy to picture. The whole city was ready to hear the gospel from Paul on the next Sabbath.

i. “In our day, people are overwhelmed with information. We have radio, television, newspapers, magazines. People did not have any of this in that day. So when somebody came through from another city, the person was a source of precious information and people naturally thronged about him. The missionaries were proclaiming something new.” (Boice)

ii. Yet there was not merely the power of novelty; there was more notably the power of the word of God. This was the primary power that attracted people, and Luke emphasized it in his account.

· The whole city came together to hear the word of God (Acts 13:44).

· Paul and Barnabas spoke the word of God to them first (Acts 13:46).

· The Gentiles responded to the word of the Lord (Acts 13:48).

· The word of the Lord spread through the region (Acts 13:49).

b. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy: The dramatic response made the leaders of the synagogue envious. This is inevitable for those who are more concerned about being popular than serving God. When someone else is more popular, they become filled with envy. We can’t all be popular to the same degree, but we can all serve and please God to the same degree in Jesus Christ.

c. Contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul: Suddenly, Paul’s preaching was opposed as if he were conducting a debate, with his opponents contradicting him and blaspheming God.

i. The blasphemy mentioned probably has to do with abusive and degrading language directed towards Jesus, whom Paul preached.

d. They opposed the things spoken by Paul: It seems strange that these religious people who waited so long for their Messiah would now reject Him when Jesus was presented to them. One great reason was they wanted to keep the division between Jew and Gentile, and if Jesus was to be the Messiah of all men, they wanted no part of Him.

i. “They simply could not accept a teaching that opened such floodgates. For themselves and their adherents they could accept a message as God-sent and tolerate some change in their teaching and practice, but they could not endure that the Gentiles should be made equal with God’s ancient people.” (Williams)

ii. “The Jews could not endure that the Gentiles should be equal to them, being as much concerned against the Gentiles being exalted, as against their own being depressed.” (Poole)

iii. Some people end up rejecting Jesus because of the way He changes our relationship with other people. Some would rather hold on to their bitterness and animosity towards others than turn to Jesus and be reconciled.

3. (46-48) Paul and Barnabas respond to the Jewish opposition.

Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us:

‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

a. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold: They had wonderful zeal for the things of God. They wouldn’t let this challenge go unanswered, because they really believed the truth about Jesus.

b. Since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles: They rebuked those who rejected Jesus, letting the Jews know that it was a privilege that this message should come to them first, a privilege they were now rejecting.

i. When you want to tell others about Jesus, begin with your own group. But if they don’t receive it, or when they start to reject it, don’t stop telling others about Jesus. Just find others to tell, others who will listen.

c. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed: They also responded with more evangelism to open hearts, now directing their efforts to the Gentiles, in obedience to God’s command (Romans 1:16) and in fulfillment of prophecy (the quotation from Isaiah 49:6).

i. The Gentiles responded to Paul’s invitation with enthusiastic belief, learning with joy that God does not hate Gentiles, but offered them salvation in Jesus.

ii. Paul showed wisdom in not spending all his time trying to persuade hardened hearts. We know that even after he made Gentiles the focus of his evangelistic efforts, he still prayed earnestly for the salvation of Israel (Romans 10:1), but he spent his missionary time ministering to more open hearts.

4. (49-50) Blessing and opposition.

And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.

a. And the word of the Lord was being spread: It was being spread through the efforts of Paul and Barnabas, but especially through the lives of these people being brought to Jesus Christ.

i. It’s remarkable to think that this church was born in a little more than a week. On one Sabbath Paul and Barnabas preached in the synagogue and there was a wonderful response. The following Sabbath there was a mixed response, some very hostile and some very receptive. They took the receptive ones and started a church that was lasted for hundreds of years and through that church, the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region (Acts 13:49).

ii. Sometimes remarkable works of God happen quite quickly. We should be happy for such seasons of rapid progress in God’s work.

b. But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region: Wherever there is revival, the second group to be revived is the Devil. Jewish opposition was strong enough to force Paul and Barnabas to leave the area.

5. (51-52) Paul and Barnabas react to their expulsion from the city of Pisidian Antioch.

But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

a. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them: In doing this, Paul and Barnabas treated the city as if it were a God-rejecting Gentile city.

i. If Jewish people had to go in or through a Gentile city, when leaving the city they shook the dust off their feet as a gesture saying, “We don’t want to take anything from this Gentile city with us.” In this sense, Paul said “I don’t want to take anything with me from you Jesus-rejecting religionists.”

ii. This rejection did not make Paul and Barnabas think there was anything wrong with themselves. They knew the problem is with their opposition, not themselves.

b. And came to Iconium: They carried on the work, going next to Iconium. All too often, rejection and opposition for the sake of the gospel makes us want to give up. But Paul and Barnabas responded with appropriate determination.

c. Filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit: Being filled with joy and being filled with the Holy Spirit go together. Paul and Barnabas had joy that contradicted their circumstances.

i. Paul is a great example of his own command to be constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

ii. “The happiness of a genuine Christian lies far beyond the reach of earthly disturbances, and is not affected by the changes and chances to which mortal things are exposed. The martyrs were more happy in the flames than their persecutors could be on their beds of down.” (Clarke)

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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What does Acts 13:38 mean?

Paul and Barnabas are in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, near the center of modern-day Asia Minor. This is the fourth of five parts of Paul’s address. The first was how God saved Israel in their past (Acts 13:16–25). The second was the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 13:27–31). The third was how Jesus’ resurrection was promised in prophecy (Acts 13:32–37). Paul will end with a warning to accept Jesus or risk the punishment promised in prophecy (Acts 13:40–41).

In this fourth part, Paul faces his hardest task. To the Jews, “salvation” looks a lot like what Paul talked about earlier: rescue from slavery in Egypt, hardships in the wilderness, homelessness, and enemies (Acts 13:17–22). When God promised a Savior would come from David’s line and John the Baptist declared that Savior was imminent (Acts 13:23–25), Jews naturally believed He would free them from Roman rule and bring the years of peace and prosperity the prophets promised. That didn’t happen. The man who followed John died and, as far as the synagogue members know, that was the end of it.

Paul explains how Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior but He offers an even more complete type of salvation. Ultimate salvation from slavery, hardships, and enemies is still in their future. Now, Jesus offers salvation from sins. Paul has a hard time convincing his audience, but Jesus did, too. Early in Jesus’ ministry, four men lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof while He was speaking. Jesus declared that the man’s sins were forgiven. The scribes could not believe Jesus had the authority to forgive sins, so Jesus healed the paralyzed man, as well. Later, Jesus told His disciples how His death gave Him the right to forgive sins (Matthew 26:28); the resurrection acts as the accompanying miracle that proves His claims (Luke 24:45–47). Right before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus told the disciples to be His witness—to tell others about Him (Acts 1:8).

This is what Paul and Barnabas have come to do.

Context Summary

Acts 13:16–41 gives the transcript of Paul’s message in Pisidian Antioch. It is the only recording of Paul’s many synagogue sermons. Paul’s message can be broken into five parts, each identified with a call to heed Paul’s words: 1. God’s saving work in Israel’s history and promise of a future Savior (Acts 13:16–25); 2. The Savior’s story (Acts 13:26–31); 3. The prophecies of the Savior (Acts 13:32–37); 4. The nature of ”salvation” (Acts 13:38–39); 5. A warning to accept the Savior (Acts 13:40–41). Some Jews and many Gentiles do accept the message, but the synagogue leaders drive Paul and Barnabas out of town (Acts 13:42–51).

Chapter Summary

Acts 13 transitions Luke’s account (Acts 1:1) fully into a record of Paul’s ministry to spread the news about Jesus. The Holy Spirit calls Paul and Barnabas for their first missionary journey. They teach about Jesus’ offer of forgiveness of sins on the island of Cyprus and in the district of Pisidia in modern-day south-central Asia Minor. Along the way, they face opposition, desertion, and persecution: themes that will follow Paul throughout his life. But they also experience the joy of watching the people they’d least expect come to a saving faith in Jesus

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