God gives His people assurance through the prophet Isaiah. At times it may appear that He is not concerned for us and that He sits way off in the heavens like the divine Watchmaker of the deists. But this is not the case!
Glad to have a home,
Glad to have a home,
They would not listen, “therefore Moab shall wail.” "The way of the sinner is hard" (Pr 13:15) and stubborn pride will always lead to sorrow.
Lord – Keep my heart from pride lest it destroy me and I fall! Give me ears of humility to listen to the words of wisdom from Your Scripture and from the “prophets” who speak it’s truths to me.
Now keep in mind that Moab was no friend to God’s people. Isaiah surely knew this yet his heart grieved regarding what lay ahead for them. Hear Matthew Henry on this very point:
“The prophet himself has impressions made upon his spirit by the prediction of it. Though they are enemies to Israel, they are our fellow creatures. It becomes God’s ministers to be of a tender spirit, to be like their Master who wept over Jerusalem even when He gave her up for ruin.”
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and we should not either!
Praying for a heart full of mercy,
We, who were by nature enemies of God and under His righteous wrath and displeasure are now, through the reconciling work of Christ, objects of His comfort!! Oh how marvelous! Shall we not then “cast all our anxiety upon Him, because He care for us”? (1 Pe 5:7)
As the redeemed Christ is not only our Savior by Whom we are saved but also our salvation by Whom we are kept safe!! “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” (vs 2)
O Great God, you who are Jehovah Jah – the eternal and unchangeable One, help me to know you as my Savior and as my salvation. Help me to run with total abandonment into the strong tower of your salvation with all the cares of this life. Thank you for removing the enmity between us . Thank you for being my Savior and my salvation! AMEN.
In humble gratitude,
I recognize that some of this refers to the glorious restoration of the earth at the end of the world as we know it. I can’t imagine what that will be like and long for it intensely. However, this morning I was struck by Matthew Henry's application of this passage to the remarkable change that converting grace makes in a life. He says: “Men of the most fierce and furious dispositions shall have their temper so strangely altered by the grace of Christ that they shall live in love even with the weakest and such as were formerly easy prey.”
The gospel changes people. “If any man is in Christ he is a new creation.” The mind is renewed. Sinful passions are calmed. The nature is changed. “It makes those that trampled on the meek of the earth, not only meek like them but affectionate towards them.” (Henry)
O God, you have saved me by your gospel. Please continue to sanctify me by it. Renew my mind that I may be meek and make me affectionate towards others and may Your kingdom come and Your will be done.
Thankful for the shelter of the Tender Shoot,
Thankful for the Sovereign Shepherd,
Regardless of what my political views are and regardless of whether they are right or wrong views, God's Word convicts me on this issue. Just as Isaiah realized a sobering truth about himself in Isaiah 6 so does Lori in her everyday life - I am a woman of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips. Too many times I have not used my tongue in ways that would glorify God regarding leaders with whom I may disagree. Too many times we all have.
Romans 13 is penned by Paul under the horrific dictatorship of Nero. Has America ever had a worse leader than Nero was to Rome? Yet, look at how Paul speaks of him. He is an authority who has been placed in that position by the sovereign hand of God. Some leaders are placed for our comfort and some for our discipline, but God's hand is in the midst of the establishing of every leader for His own divine purposes. I need to trust Him!
Now, let it be said that Paul certainly spoke out regarding various issues - as should we. He was not one to candy coat sin or to ignore it. He dealt clearly and plainly with issues that faced the people of God. However, Paul spoke out while still engaging in respect to the office and the office bearers.
We can disagree and even move for change while still being a respectful citizen. If Paul challenged the church at Rome to be respectful to Nero, then who am I to refuse to be respectful of President Bush, President Obama, or whoever will come next?
Titus 3 pierces me even more for it specifically reminds us to "show ourselves examples to those around us by our subjection and obedience to the government that is over us" (Matthew Henry). What example does my speech and do my emails portray regarding this application of the law?
We are to be subject and obedient (unless we are asked to sin - Acts 4:19-20). We are not to malign or be contentious. We are to be gentle and to show every consideration for all men. Are we doing this where our leaders are concerned? Am I doing this where our leaders are concerned?
Matthew Henry commenting on Titus says this: "If no good can be spoken, rather than speak evil unnecessarily say nothing. We must never take pleasure in speaking ill of others, nor make the worst of anything, but the best that we can. We must no go up and down as tale-bearers, carrying ill-natured stories. As this evil is too common, so it is of great malignancy. This is among the sins to be put off...."
How is our speech regarding our new president this day? Are we taking pleasure in speaking ill of him, tale bearing about him, or sharing ill-natured stories. If so, may God grant us the grace to put off this sin.
Regardless of our views, opinions, and convictions where our president's positions are concerned we are to be meek in heart, speech, and conduct. Truth should and must be spoken but there are right and wrong ways to speak. May we glorify our God in how we speak.
Finally, may I ask are we praying as much for our leaders as we are talking about them and joking about them? God's Word tells us "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and for all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." As for me, I am covenanting with my God to pray for President Obama and all of those in authority over us.
In His glorious grace,
It was planted on a “fertile hill” in good soil. God did the work of preparing this fertile soil by removing the stones from it. He built a tower in the middle of it for its defense. He took good care of this vineyard and what did he expect in return? “Then He expected it to produce good grapes….”
Henry says, “God expects vineyard fruit from those that enjoy vineyard privileges.” As well He should! Sadly, they did not produce good grapes but worthless wild grapes! “Wild grapes are the fruit of the corrupt nature. They are hypocritical performances that look like grapes.” (Henry)
What fruit am I producing? Is it good? Is it wild and worthless? How I need the Spirit of God to help me produce the fruit of God (Gal 6).
In need of His mercy,
How does He wash and purge the filth and bloodshed? He does it by the work of the Spirit! Oh, how we need the Spirit of the Living God! Once again hear Henry's words, “The Spirit herein acts enlightening the mind, convincing the conscience, guiding us, separating between the precious and the vile, quickening and invigorating the affections, and making men zealous in good works.” This is the Spirit’s work of sanctification in the life of a believer.
Our faithful God promises to sanctify His people through His Spirit. But not only does God sanctify us, He also fortifies us. Look at the promises that are ours because of the cleansing work of the Sprit: “…then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day…a flaming fire by night…. And there will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.”
God will protect His church and all of those that belong to it. There is much here that is similar to the cloud of glory that accompanied Israel in the wilderness. That cloud was a refuge to God's people. God is still a refuge to His people and He is a refuge to them in all weather.
Whatever I am facing, be it the scorching heat or the torrential cloudburst, He is my refuge and strength and "an ever present help in trouble." He has saved me from my sin and He will certainly save me from my troubles! My Redeemer is faithful and true! Pacian said, “He will not allow him that is redeemed to be destroyed, nor will He cast away those whom He has redeemed with such a great price.”
In Him I am sanctified and I am secure!
In His glorious grace,
This is the God that I worship! This is the God that I serve! This is the God of my praise! This is the God who’s glory is my chief end and my fullest enjoyment! May my knowledge of Him increase as I daily dig in the treasure field of His Word and may my worship of Him and my service to Him become ever increasingly full of joy! I pray yours does as well.
In His glorious grace,
Within the Psalm the reason for the command is given: “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depths of the earth; the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; and His hands formed the dry land.” First, God is to be praised because His is great. His greatness makes Him worthy of our praise.
In the midst of these wonderful exhortations there is a sobering warning: “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah…. They tried Me, though they had seen My work.” The last part of verse 9 stops me dead in my tracks. “They tried Me, though they had seen my work.” They saw but their seeing didn’t translate into believing.
“The aggravation of this sin was that they saw God’s work. They saw what He
had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt. They saw what He was doing for
them every day in the bread rained down from heaven and in the water He gave
from the rock. They could not have more unquestionable evidences of the presence of God!” (Henry)
The rich man of Luke 16 thought that seeing should be believing and pleaded with Father Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead so that his loved ones could "see." But Abraham told him, “They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them.” The rich man responded, “No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham resplied, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” How true, Jesus rose from the dead and multitudes saw Him, yet many hearts were still hardened - many hearts are still hardened.
In this Psalm we are commanded to sing with great joy and to live with great faith. God's works are clearly seen and we are without excuse. Seeing is not believing, believing is seeing. The clear focusing of that sight is found in the pages of this glorious Bible as the Spirit illumines it's words.
Oh God, let men hear Your voice as it is spoken in Your Word. Only then will they rightly view Your works and rightly know Your ways. Only then will they come and sing joyfully. Send Your Spirit to accompany Your Word to the ears of Your people!
I am truly moved to tears this morning! How kind is this God of mine who is a Father to the fatherless! The end of 2008 was hard, very hard. Only a few weeks ago I found myself being disowned for the second time in under four years by my Mom and Dad. It has not been an easy thing (<---understatement) and my heart has been greatly grieved. In the providence of the Almighty, Psalm 94 is the first passage of God’s Word that I come to for 2009. Wow! What a timely comfort! Who but Providence could plan that I would be here this day! "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." (Prov. 25:11)
Verse 12 begins with an acknowledgement that the LORD's chastening is a blessing. I must admit, I have been chastened in my life many times and I have been taught out of God’s law through that chastening. Chastening though painful is good -“The LORD disciplines those He loves”. Chastening though painful accomplishes much- “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes.” All my trials have had and all my trials will have a Divine purpose. “When we are chastened, we must pray to be taught, and look into the law as the best expositor of providence” (Matthew Henry).
So often my parent’s actions have been used to sanctify me. Many times through the years I have been forced to search my own soul regarding my relationship with them to see if there are any wicked ways in me. Sometimes there have been, sometimes there have not, but every time there have been spiritual lessons to learn.
In Psalm 94 the Psalmist goes on to speak of the relief that God grants in the midst of adversity. I have, over the past month particularly, felt the heavy weight of adversity. I have been abandoned by my earthly parents. But, God is a Father to the fatherless and here in Psalm 94 He so clearly has reminded me that He “will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance.”
While I have no earthly family preceding me and no earthly inheritance coming my way from them, I do have a faithful God Who will never leave me nor forsake me. I am His people and I am His inheritance. I am His inheritance and in Him I have an inheritance. 1 Peter points out that His is an inheritance that is “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”
I may be abandoned by everyone and everything in this world but I will NEVER be abandoned by my God. “Though we may be cast down, we will never be cast off! Whatever my friends and family do, God will not cast me off nor throw me out of His covenant or care.” (Henry)
The relevant beauty of these Words from my Father are a relief to me in the midst of this current adversity. Ages ago when He had these words penned He knew that I would need them at the beginning of 2009. What a timely Word! What an amazing Word! May I tremble at His Word this day, this year, and always!!