Bible Study

May 2018
Safe and Secure

The human mind is a treacherous place. Here, all sorts of evil notions are concocted. If some of our thoughts were revealed, we would be sent to the dungeon. It is hard to keep one’s mind pure in this day and age. An old preacher said that evil thoughts, like birds, flyover our heads and warned us not to allow them to nest on our heads. David gave a perfect illustration of this by his actions with Bathsheba in 2 Sam. 11:2-3, “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Most know the remainder of the story with its acts of infidelity and murder.

Enter Psalm 51 with David calling out to God in anguish. The hounds of hell are nipping at his heels. Unconfessed sin will do that to us. We may look well, but we are fully aware of a “Payday Someday,” as Andrew Murray’s sermon was entitled. Prior to my salvation, I ran hard with the world and I am not proud of that. I paid a dear price for my wickedness. Like David, I knew I would not get away with my sins. Thank God the day came when the dawn of Heaven erupted into my soul, I repented of my sins and asked Jesus into my life.

We all tend to focus on the obvious in this Psalm, but I would like to focus on the not so obvious. This Psalm speaks to eternal security with the Father. In God’s eyes there is no grading of sin. Through human eyes, David’s sins were horrifying. Yet he acknowledged his sins, asked for forgiveness and was restored to a right relationship with God. David did not lose his “salvation” but went on being used and known as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts.13:22). David is one of the most revered humans of the Bible. When a true believer fails, God never forsakes-He restores!

Verse 11 is used by naysayers as proof against eternal security. During David’s time there was not a “personal” in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit as in New Testament times. What he is referring to is 1 Sam. 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul…” (lost his anointed kingship). David was concerned God would do him likewise; take away his Spirit anointed kingship; not salvation. Verse 12 is the absolute key. “Restore unto me the joy of “thy” salvation (many misquote this to read “my”). David did not ask God to restore his salvation. David never lost anything; so, there was nothing to return. On Christ the solid Rock we stand!

May 2018
Do As You Have Said

Imagine David’s euphoria at this climax in his life. After the disappointment at Perezuzzah, it seems David searches Scripture and sought the face of God. As he drew near to God, God drew near to David. The celebration, as the ark of God came to Jerusalem, thrilled David’s soul. The people left praising God because he took on the gracious nature of God. David  had favor with God and with men. He had rest from his enemies. He was dwelling in a beautiful home. He was as a child before God, full of devotion and delight. The cherry is carefully placed on top when God promises to make David an eternal dynasty. Echoes of the Abrahamic covenant swell through God’s promise to David. David would not be able to put into words his elation and wonder at God’s blessing. He worships God privately and exclaims, “Do as thou hast said…and let thy name be magnified forever” (2 Samuel 7:25-26).
Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, Believer. For to you, God has given “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4). They are such because he is just. All that God does is balanced with equity. He does not bless on a whim nor recant on a whisper of a thought. If you confess your sin you have a promise, He will forgive you because He is just and righteous. His promises are great and precious because He is gracious. It is by his grace you are saved. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Come boldly before the throne of grace in any time of need. The value of His promises is esteemed because of the purity of His character. He speaks the truth which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began. The guarantee of His promises renews each morning. Great is His faithfulness. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from our Father with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
May sincerity of heart saturate your worship, for God has given unto you exceeding great and precious promises.

May 2018
God’s Leadership Training

Do you remember the first time you met your best friend? Sometimes after spending time with one another, you almost feel like you never knew what life was like before you had met.

The same thing can happen to us in our Bible reading. We become so familiar with some fabulous people in Scripture, we overlook their introduction. It says in Exodus 17:9, “And Moses said unto Joshua…” His name appears many more times, but this crucial figure suddenly bursts on the scene in the Bible with a monumental task—defeat Amalek. Take note of the powerful moments which fashion this young man into a courageous leader.

Joshua had to learn to worship. In a few chapters, Moses encounters the Lord palpably in the Tabernacle. They speak “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Then Moses turns to go his way in the camp, but Joshua lingers. He wanted to sear his memory with this signature moment. He may have only been a spectator of a crucial conversation, but he craved the same access to God Moses had.

Joshua had to learn to work. In Exodus 24, Moses conferences with the Lord on Mount Sinai, and Joshua, his attendant, travels with Moses part of the way. Moses is up on the mountain for forty days and nights, while Joshua seems to wait in the wing the entire time. Do you think Joshua could have found better things to do for forty days and nights? He certainly could have ventured a few alternatives, but faithful service was his task.

Joshua had to learn to war. This is where we are introduced to Joshua, and in God’s development program this is where we all must begin as well. The enemy wanted to route the Israelites. They had already taken advantage of the weak and feeble. Now they were going in for the kill. Someone needed to lead the novice army into battle. This was not a task for the faint of heart. Moses taps Joshua.

In your life, God is training you through worship, work, and war. Worship is more than attendance on Sunday. It is the desire of your heart to linger with the Lord a little longer. Work is not your nine-to-five, bringing-home-the-bacon work. No, our work is to do the will of the Father. We may have to carry on indefinitely, but our objective is faithfulness. War is more than active combat. It involves preparation, too. It means taking advantage of every opportunity to sharpen your skills as you lead your family. It means living soberly and circumspectly knowing the enemy desires to sift you like wheat. It means prioritizing the best things which train up your loved ones and yourself in the things of the Lord instead of the frivolous things of the world.

Where have all the leaders gone? Where are the modern-day Joshua’s? Too many believers flunk out of God’s leadership training. Will you learn to war, work, and worship?

Apr 2018
Shine The Light

Have you ever spent much time in total darkness? As a hunter, my normal day spent afield will start with a walk into the woods in the dark. When I have set up a stand in a somewhat unfamiliar spot, I have often used the aid of “bright-eyes”, which are reflective thumbtacks that I would have stuck into the side of trees that will reflect brightly when the light of my flashlight hits them in the dark. So I would follow a trail in to some marker I would have left on the side of the trail, which would indicate to me that I need to then start looking for my bright-eyes to help guide me to my stand. Unfortunately, I can think of several times in which my bright-eye spacing was obviously too great and I have spent many anxious moments frantically shining my light around to try to locate either the bright-eyes or my tree stand. So while I have never been truly “lost”, even the idea of not knowing exactly where I was in the dark is definitely enough to get my heart pumping and definitely causes me to look forward to the first beams of morning light.
Our passage today reminds us of the difference of being in the dark verses the light. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we read, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Paul says that the unbelievers are blinded and are walking in darkness. However, unlike my example of being in the darkness in the woods, the vast majority of unbelievers are not aware of the darkness they are in. In fact, many of them would consider us Christians to be the ones who are blinded, whereas they would consider themselves to have been “enlightened”. Truly the god of this world has done a masterful job blinding the hearts of those who walk in darkness!
However, we also see the remedy for those who walk in darkness in verse 6, which says, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The answer for the blindness of an unbelieving heart is a supernatural work of the Spirit of God in which He shines the light of the gospel into one’s heart, stripping away the blinders of darkness that Satan has over their eyes. I rejoice in the fact that light IS greater than darkness and that He has done this work in my life. May we do our part in shining the light of the gospel into our dark world today!

Apr 2018
I Saw the Light!

Elihu is the whipper-snapper in the group. He was nameless from the beginning of the book, so some think he is the narrator speaking to the character of Job. Others believe he is actually present during the dialogue between Job and his three friends. Whatever the case, he claims, “Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay” (Job 33:6). He may sound bold, but he is balanced. In a way, he is confirming he is frail as dust, but he also wishes to shine some light upon Job’s dilemma with divine wisdom.

Paradoxically, Elihu embodies humility in his response which contrasts with Job’s growing austerity. In an effort to vindicate himself, Job has fallen into the trap of pride. The pressures of life do reveal what lays undisturbed within our hearts. As we will soon read, God questions Job, whittling his pride down to size, but Elihu revealed this truth from the beginning, “God is greater than man” (Job 33:12).

How does Elihu explain the trials of Job? He wishes to alter Job’s perspective a little. Initially, for punishment trials are not intended, but for preservation. “God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not” (Job 33:14). God wishes to intervene in man’s life to shape and direct him so he may “withdraw man from his purpose and hide pride from man” (Job 33:17). The purpose of trials is to keep “his soul from the pit” (Job 33:18). In some cases, the trials may take a man to the brink where “his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers” (Job 33:22).

What is man’s hope? Listen! Listen to the messenger who shows “unto man his uprightness” and “is gracious unto him” (Job 33:23-24). You will see Job concurs with this wisdom later when he says, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: Yea, twice; but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:4–5). In the trials of life, God is the one speaking “once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.” Our response should be silence and not speaking; hearing not haranguing; listening not lecturing.

If you love God and find yourself in the throes of temptation, remember God’s work is to shape and direct your life. He may be reaching into your life on a deeper level than you may realize. Listen to the messenger. Your vitality will return whether in this life or when you “shall see his face with joy” (Job 33:26). “He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light” (Job 33:28).

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

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