Monday, October 16, 2017

Galatians 3:23-29 - All Sons and Daughters

Galatians 3:23-29
23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Message: All Sons and Daughters (presented by Josh Swanson, Hope Church, Eastside, August 28, 2017)

Time: Paul wrote to the churches in southern Galatia after having a hand in starting them on his first missionary journey to Asia Minor. Paul wrote the book a few months before his attendance at the Jerusalem Council in AD 49. The Galatians fell away quickly from the gospel of grace Paul had preached to them and their disloyalty to Paul’s authority as an apostle. Paul began the letter defending that very issue. In chapter 3 he begin to get to the heart of their error; namely, that these Galatians sought to be justified by the Mosaic Law. In contrast, Paul presented his argument that justification comes to people by faith in Jesus Christ, not by their works under the Law.

What the Lord is Saying:

Josh started out with a discussion of orphans, mentioning how many of our stories in movies and characters are about people that are orphans. We all have a need to belong - to be embraced - we connect with characters - humanity feels a lostness - alienation - we feel disconnected - we feel homeless - the Bible speaks to this - answers the question “What is wrong with me?” - Adam/Eve paradise lost; Paul strangers and aliens (Not of this world) - Yet God is the healer of what is wrong - God brings reconciliation - God adopts us, bringing us home.

The key message of today's text comes from verse 26 - For you are all sons of God


  1. Before Faith - Israel is confined by laws, ceremonies, rituals.
    1. But this was temporary
    2. in Christ, we are full sons of God
    3. in Ch. 4, we are moved from slaves to sons
  2. Rich Text - we are heirs, so what does this mean
    1. In Exodus  - children of Israel were brought out of slavery
    2. Reason you are a son is being united with Jesus
    3. What is true for Jesus in his relationship with God is also true for us
    4. Verse 26 says "All" and in verse 28, "all one" (I was reminded of the Sheila Walsh song from the 80s, "We're all one.")
  3. Adoption as defined in the Greco Roman world
    1. Families cared for families, specifically Jewish
    2. But in Greco-roman world adoptions occurred
    3. 7 or 8 Caesar leaders were adopted; Caesar Augustus was adopted by Julius Caesar to maintain the hierarchy
    4. Octavion said that Julius thought by Octavion to be one of God's so Caesar Augustus gave him the name son of God.
    5. Every President of the United States makes a similar claim that he will make America great again
    6. This is the tone in this world that Paul proclaims his message
  4. Jesus divests himself to the lowest type of person - "a slave"
    1. The meaning of adoption in that day was infant exposure or taking a child and throwing it on the trash heap where it would end up a slave or in brothels and have no dignity or worth
    2. Jesus becomes the lowest class person once again - "We are all sons of God."
    3. The only recipient of heirs are sons, but God here is making everyone a recipient; this is an explosive message
  5. This was a radical message
    1. A whole new community; our new identity in Christ
    2. But do we show partiality in our faith
    3. Do we treat each other the same?
    4. God is forming a new community
    5. It's a new social movement
      1. western nations all have dignity and worth (humanistic values)
      2. equally birthed in Christian movement
      3. Luke Ferry, philosopher in France wrote - "Christianity introduced concept that all classes of people have equal identity; Christianity was the pre-cursor of modern democracy; "All men are created equal."
      4. people like equal dignity
      5. Civil Rights movement is another example
    6. All these movements ideas, at their core, is found in Jesus Christ's message of adoption of the lowest class of people
    7. Do we care about everyone?
  6. A new Vision of God
    1. In the pantheon of god's you go to a different god to get what you want
    2. But everywhere Jesus calls him My Father
    3. He invites us into same relationship
    4. How do I become a child of God?
  7. What has God done for us
    1. God becomes man, a slave, exile, suffers, dies
    2. Every time Jesus speaks to God he calls him "Father" except for 1, when he is dying on the cross
    3. Faith is the open hand that receives the gift
    4. Turn from wandering to welcoming
    5. Read the prayer of belief
Prayer of Belief: Lord, Jesus Christ, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever imagined, but through you, I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared to hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment, and offering forgiveness. I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior. Amen. 

This is a strong message. We are all children of God. There are no class systems. The true message of the Gospel is everyone is a priest. We are all made in the image of God. Jesus was a different kind of leader, he submitted himself to others. Each person is filled by Jesus' presence. The new humanity is one of equality.

Promise: We are all full sons of God. We are this way because of our unity with Christ. What is true of Jesus is true of me. I have been adopted. All men are created equal.

Prayer: Lord, it is difficult sometimes to see how we are trained in this world. It is hard to see the messages of church and religion and the separation that takes place between people in society. Lord, thank you that this isn't your message. Lord, you came to save us. You came to make us fellow heirs of the promise. You came to remind us we are all made in your image. Thank you for showing us this about ourselves and seeing such value in us. Thank you for truth. Thank you for making me a son of God.

Proverbs 14:4 - The Mess of Productivity

Proverbs 14:4
Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue (abundant crops) by the strength of the ox.

Message:  The Mess of Productivity

Time: King Solomon is the principal writer of Proverbs. Solomon's proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.

What the Lord is Saying: There are multiple messages in this passage, but the central one is that productivity is messy. Much revenue comes from the strength of an ox. An ox was a key component of agriculture, especially during times when there wasn't automated equipment. An ox can do more than a person. It is a hard working, large animal. But, it also must be fed and cared for. It is an animal that can be messy. So, if you desire cleanliness and always keeping things clean and never making a mess, then you will have to accept sometimes not being very productive. There is nothing wrong with keeping things clean but its okay to let things get messy as well. Do we try to find ways to be productive without being messy. That seems to be the message here. Harvesting is a long-term result or consequence and for that, we may have to experience temporary disarray.

I think there is also a word here toward animals and their usefulness which often gets lost now in our technologically savvy way of the land.  

Promise: The issue here to me is trusting the process. God has provided animals to help us succeed. And this help may be messy and that may be hard for people that like things to be clean. But, we must be willing to sacrifice something that is important to us to yield a long-term benefit. 

Prayer: Lord, you are good. Your ways are right. Help me Lord to trust in your outcomes and realize what you have provided for me in this world to assist me. Help me, at times, to roll with the punches and not stare to quickly at the here and now, but to trust you for the outcomes that you have clearly set up. Thank you for overseeing all of life and providing me what I need 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Proverbs 7:21-27 - The Gatekeeper of Death

Proverbs 7:21-27
With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him.
Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as fetters to the discipline of a fool,
Until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it his life.

Now therefore, sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth.
Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths.
For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain.
Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.

Message:  The Gatekeeper of Death

Time: King Solomon is the principal writer of Proverbs. Solomon's proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.

What the Lord is Saying

Background
For me, the crux of the first 20 verses of Proverbs 7 is the pleading from a father to his son to treasure the commandments that he is passing along. Treasure the words of the sage, of the Father God. Stay close to them. Adhere to  them in your life, for only then will you be able to withstand the temptations that will be present in this life. And temptations will be many. But, the sexual temptations, or the carrying away of ourselves to abandon our principles will be the strongest. We can't even give them a moment. The door opens when we allow ourselves to be in a dangerous environment. For the young boy, it is walking down the road of the adulteress, where she lives. There are other ways to get to our destination, so we should not even go there. 

The Problem
These remaining verses catapult the encounter and we get to witness first hand what is in store for the person that gets pulled away. I must admit, as a man, these verses resonate with me because I am pulled away too easily, it would seem. The clothing manufacturers have continued to make clothing that simply show off too much of a woman. I struggle with my eyes and it is a struggle when people are bending over in front of you or wearing short dresses. I'm captivated by my wife, but would prefer it in the privacy of my own home. It's really a horrible thing for the man to live with for it is everywhere. And the phone makes it worse. It is too easily accessible. Thus, the title of this message: the gatekeeper of death.

Studying this passage
Verse 21 begins "with her many persuasions." Again, these to me are not just verbal, but they are visual persuasions. They could be a glance, an alluring look, but most likely they are the way a person carries oneself. 'Many persuasions' also speaks to the many different ways we are confronted with this. The temptation now shows itself in so many different ways. But also in these verses is the inference that the person is reluctant because "she entices" and "she seduces." Thus, even in these verses, one could apply I Corinthians 10:13 in that there is a way out when the temptation presents itself.

And then the striking words of verse 22 "suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to slaughter." The road to death is set. The man is walking it. He is captivated, and yet, his life will never be the same. The visual expression of an ox going to slaughter is such an assault; it is such a picture of what the sin does to us. It because a drug that overtakes all of our senses. The ox is obviously not realizing his destination. The ox is being led somewhere that it is thought will only yield good outcomes. The "slaughter" represents the end, not the journey. But "he does not know it is his life." He is consumed with the moment, not the end. The consequences or results of this act are not overtaken by the momentary high.

And so the chapter ends the way it begins. There are words from the wise one to the son, "Listen to me" and "pay attention." Here is the reason: "Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways" and "do not stray into her paths." In these words is the idea I think of 1 Corinthians 10:13 and it is "don't go there." Don't put yourself in a position that is hard to come back from. Once the ox is on the way to the slaughter, it is too late. I must think about this in my life. For instance, I just realized that when I am down on life, or angry, then it is not good to have my phone with me and so, like going to bed - don't bring it to bed. Leave it in the other room. 

At the end of this passage is more ammunition. It is the father building the case. He hopes that the son would simply listen to his words. He would hope that this is compelling enough. But, he also then shows the son the results of the sinful lifestyle. This paints the picture of any addiction in our lives.
For many are the victims she has cast down, 
and numerous are all her slain.
Her house is the way to Sheol, 

descending to the chambers of death.

The language is final. They are victims. They are numerous. This is a problem many have. They are slain - again death. Her house is on the trek to death. Her house is lower than any person really wants to go. It should be clear, but instead deception has taken over. 

PromiseThe foolish young man who heeds the call of the adulteress will find nothing but destruction in her arms.

Prayer: Oh Lord, I need help in this. I am not strong. I am too easily lured away. Once the sin starts, it just continues to be a problem. I'm embarrassed as to what this sin has done to me over the years. To think that I can be so easily enticed. Lord, place a hedge around me. I need your protection. Give me strength. Give me rest today. Lord, I want to be free. I hate the feeling of being a slave to it. I want to follow you. Help me Lord. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Song of Solomon 2:8-17 - Marriage, Love, and Sex

Song of Solomon 2:8-17 “Listen! My beloved! Behold, he is coming, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills! “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he is standing behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, He is peering through the lattice. “My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along. ‘For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!’” “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely.” “Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.” “My beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. “Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether.” I think it's always a good reminder that God values the The relationship of a man and a woman, which is clearly pictured here in this book. There seems to be a question or concern as to why this book does not directly mention Yahweh, And yet in these times in which I am living, it is supremely important to know that God cares for my marriage. The fact that we have beautiful language hear that emphasizes the desire and passion a woman is to have for her husband should be a great encouragement to me.

Message: Marriage, Love, and Sex

TimeSolomon wrote the book during his reign as king of Israel, meaning he composed it sometime between 971 and 931 BC. 

What the Lord is Saying:

The words of Paul that state how the wife is supposed to be submissive to her husband and the husband is to love her wife are both clearly represented in these verses. The husband is seen peering through a window, looking through a lattice, anticipating being with his wife. The spring weather is mentioned in the blossoming of the flowers. The cold is gone and they can enjoy themselves freely in the warmth of the day with each other.

It makes me wonder how much pursuing I do of my wife. Or do I rather just expect her to pursue me and find interest in me. How much courting of her do I do? How much effort do I make in really pursuing her?  Too often I think I simply expect her to for fill all of my fantasies but do I fulfill hers, realizing that they probably look a lot different than mine. It makes me think. We've been married over 25 years now and it definitely feels like there is less pursuing and more just being comfortable. I get accustomed to living a certain way and I find that I am not making much effort toward improvement.

Promise: From Ligonier Coram Deo: As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:1–5, the husband does not have authority over his body, but his wife does. Similarly, the wife does not have authority over her body, but her husband does. This authority is to be exercised in a loving way, just as Christ exercises loving authority over His bride, the church (Eph. 5:25). The marriage bed must not be a place of abuse or demands; rather, it is a place for intimacy that reflects self-giving love (Heb. 13:4).

Prayer: Lord, in my marriage I see I am off and selfish. I think you for this woman that you have given me. Help me to not take her for granted and to continue to court and pursue her. I praise you for creating and ordaining marriage. It works. It is needed. Help us to not simply survive but continue to love, respect, serve together, and love one another.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Proverbs 7:1-20 - Wisdom and the Forbidden Woman

Proverbs 7:1-20
1 My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you.
Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding intimate friend;
That they may keep you from an adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.

For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice,
And I saw among the naive, discerned among the youths a young man lacking sense,
Passing through the street near her corner; and he takes the way to her house,
In the twilight, in the evening, In the middle of the night and the darkness.
10 And behold, a woman to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
11 She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home;
12 now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner.
13 So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she says to him:
14 “I was due to offer peace offerings; today I have paid my vows.
15 “Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16 “I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt.
17 “I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with caresses.
19 “For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey;
20 He has taken a bag of money with him, at the full moon he will come home.”

Message:  Wisdom and the Forbidden Woman

Time: King Solomon is the principal writer of Proverbs. Solomon's proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.

What the Lord is Saying:

Keep, Treasure, Bind

My son
  • Keep my words
  • Treasure my commandments
  • Keep my commandments 
    • And live
  • Keep my teaching as the apple of my eye 
  • Bind them on your fingers
  • Write them on your heart
  • Wisdom is my sister
  • Understanding is my intimate friend
I look at these opening verses and its clear that a parents words hold value to our children. The words of those over us, that have wisdom have value to us. They are to be a treasure, or of value in our lives. These verses don't express mere listening. Listening is assumed. Words are to be kept. They are to be followed. They are to kept as I live. They are to be wrapped and memorized and held onto in our lives, in our heart. Foolishness comes when we live to our own way. Without the Holy Spirit at work, living in us, we look foolish. There is a desire for wisdom and understanding because it's worth is clearly seen. We want it.

Resist Temptation
Why is it so important to keep the words, and treasure these commands? Because sin is lurking. Sin is waiting. Temptations are near and all around. In this passage, the danger is personified in an adulteress, luring us away. While adultery is the subject here, the issue here is one of being enticed away. The purpose of adhering to the commandments is they:
  • Keep you from an adulteress
  • From the foreigner who flatters with words
This is the entire purpose of this passage, to keep us free from what is present in this world in which we live. The adultery is real. The foreigner is real. These are not people that may be present. They are present. They are active and present in our lives. And keeping the commandments and words are meant to keep us from these people, from being swayed away. People will flatter us with words, but we must keep God's word close to our heart.

Looking in the wrong places
The Father will now tell of a story, of a situation of a young man, lacking sense. And now we will see why this young man lacks sense.

He says, this young man was Passing through the street near her corner; and he takes the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, In the middle of the night and the darkness. This is huge. The young man didn't just go any way, but purposely passed through the street near the adulterers corner, taking the way to her house. And he was at night, in the middle of the night, amidst darkness. He put himself in harms way. He didn't take precautions. Maybe he thought he could handle it. Maybe he was going somewhere else, and had no intention of seeing the adulteress, but he put himself in the way. He gave in to his trigger. 

In life, we have to stay out of harm's way. 

And this woman shows all the danger signs: And behold, a woman to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home; now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner. This woman goes to meet him. She isn't waiting. And she is dressed for her role. She is cunning. She is boisterous and rebellious. She does not reside at home, but lives really in the streets. She may sleep at home, but she doesn't live at home. Her business is in the streets. 

Verses 13-20 focus on her seizing this young man, taking him back to her place. Her husband is gone so they can have fun. There is a big danger here. But, it started with the son not keeping the commandments, but desiring to go his own way. 

Promise: We are to stay close to keeping the commandments and treasuring them so we will be kept out of the wrong places and be able to resist temptations. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the clarity of you Word. Thank you for showing us the importance of staying close to your commands. You are concerned about my forever, not just my today. Help each of my family members, my children to be able to resist temptations. Give them the power to flee from things that will bring them down. Help them to keep commandments and treasure the words both that we put forth as parents and from the Words of the Lord. Place them in Christ. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Psalm 132:11:18 - A Throne and Temple in Zion

Psalm 132:11:18
11 The Lord has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.
12 “If your sons will keep My covenant and My testimony which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
14 “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 “I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread.
16 “Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, and her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.
17 “There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed.
18 “His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon himself his crown shall shine.”

Message: A Throne and Temple in Zion

Time: Based upon authorship and subject matter, Psalms cover a range of centuries. David is mentioned 73 times, Solomon 2, Moses 1, and 50 designate no specific person. It is believed they were compiled around 537 BC. The psalms deal with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

What the Lord is Saying: I enjoyed the first 10 verses of this chapter, thinking about worship and the sacrifice of David took in his life of building a temple and taking an oath to focus on a place of worship. Now, as a move through these verses, using the Phillips books I have on the Psalms, there are 4 Promises: Regarding the Scepter, the Sanctuary, the Saints, and the Site. 

The Scepter (the Lord will govern righteously and enforce righteous behavior)
The Lord has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back. Hezekiah had taken care of the temple, now he mentions the promise or oath the Lord had made to David's dynasty. It was a bold statement, for Hezekiah was making it at a time he was childless. 

Of the fruit of your body (David) I will set upon your throne. If your sons will keep My covenant and My testimony which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever. Hezekiah's father was not a good man (Ahaz). Ahaz reigned over Judah from 741-726. Ahaz was a man of idolatry. Hezekiah would reign for 29 years over Judah. In 2 Samuel 7:16, God's promise to David and his throne was unconditional, meaning David didn't have to do anything to get it. God made a promise to him without any work required of David, "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever." (David was the 2nd king of Judah around 1000). After David was Solomon from about 970 to 931 BCE. Solomon's promise was conditional - And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life. - I Kings 3:14. Did Hezekiah wonder about this? David had 2 surviving sons from Bathsheba - Solomon and Nathan. Solomon's descendants included Hezekiah. Hezekiah's sons included Jeconiah (also called Jehoiachin and his name later shortened to Coniah). Jeconiah had 11 sons but none of them took on the throne and thus, the royal line to Christ though Solomon came to an end. Solomon's line is traced to Joseph. But David's other son Nathan, the legal line, is traced to Mary.

Could it be that Hezekiah, knowing what kind of father he had, wondered if the promise of God was still unconditional?

The Sanctuary
For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. Zion is the final resting place of the Ark, in Moriah. This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. God's resting place, as he states is Zion, not in a Muslim mosque. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. The result of this place will be abundant and complete satisfying (possibly pointing to the Messiah). 

The Saints
Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, and her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. Here is a promise to the priests and that they would be made righteous, or have salvation. Before ministering, a man must be right with God and man. Again, these are now words from the Lord. Hezekiah makes this switch in verse in verse 14 and it continues to the end of this Psalm. God will make man righteous. He clothes them with salvation. And the response of man is singing with joy. 

The Site
There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. These verses continue to speak of the product of the temple residing in Zion, God residing in Zion: The Horn of David (The Messiah) will spring forth. A light or a lamp will shine forth for the anointed. I wonder what Hezekiah thought. He may have thought this would come from his seed. But, his seed would actually end this. Manasseh would come from his seed and Manasseh was not good. So these are words of confidence from the Lord, the Lord has prepared a lamp for His anointed.  

His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon himself his crown shall shine. The dreadful things said of the Lord's enemies will be exposed and judged. There will be shame. Yet Jesus, the Lord, will be crowned. 

Promise:  This Psalm chronicles the Davidic covenant, as seen through Hezekiah and what Hezekiah put his hope and trust in. And it what I put my hope and trust in.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your promises, that they never end. You fulfill them, even if at times, we think they may come about in our own way. Thank you for salvation and making us right before You, making us righteous and clean. Thank you for your promise and how it is interwoven throughout time. Thank you for the anticipation of the Messiah, to take away the sin of the world. There is hope in You. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Psalm 132:1-10 - A Commitment to Worship

Psalm 132:1-10
1 Remember, O Lord, on David’s behalf, all his affliction;
How he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
“Surely I will not enter my house, nor lie on my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it in the field of Jaar.
Let us go into His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool.
Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, you and the ark of Your strength.
Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your godly ones sing for joy.

10 For the sake of David Your servant, do not turn away the face of Your anointed.

Message:  A Commitment to Worship

Time: Based upon authorship and subject matter, Psalms cover a range of centuries. David is mentioned 73 times, Solomon 2, Moses 1, and 50 designate no specific person. It is believed they were compiled around 537 BC. The psalms deal with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

What the Lord is SayingA man after God's heart is someone that loves God, trusts His commands, and is willing to be obedient to His Word. He recognizes his sin. And when he sins, he recognizes that God forgives sin and that he is to turn from that sin and desire to please God in all that he does. David was not perfect and this is true. But still he believed God.

I am seeing that God sustains my life and permeates all of it. He rescues me and he sets me on the course that is most pleasing to me and him and so I worship him. I do notice that my worship of God is not consistent. Or I wonder if it is part of my life and just not in the way I normally identify worship.  

I spent much of my time in prayer, asking. Praising God for who he is and what he has already done is often absent from my lips. I need to praise God and also in scripture I see the importance of places of worship. The temple is mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament. It is important in our life that I continue to worship God and we gather at a place of worship, a place that is separate from where I reside and live. This is who I am in Christ, separated from the world. 

Psalm 132 overview
The first 10 verses deal with David's praise to God to build Him a house in Jerusalem. It is most likely a Psalm from the lips of Hezekiah. 

Lord remember David, and all his afflictions. Lord, David is anxious. He desires to build a temple for God in Jerusalem. All of his works were dedicated to this. 

How he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob. At Bethel, Jacob was running away from home. But, as he ran, he suddenly realized that this God who had been the God of Isaac his father and Abraham his grandfather, could also be His God. Thus, he makes a vow to God, a solemn vow and here Hezekiah agrees with this vow. David made it. Jacob made it. And I can make it as well. 

Surely I will not enter my house, nor lie on my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids. Am I tireless in my purpose in securing this place of worship? Do I take spiritual things in my life seriously? God desires that from his people. I am not sure I have a real self-abandoned approach to worship and entering the house of the Lord. Once again, the ease with which anything happens, including attending church in which churches are numerous, makes one think that attending church is not that difficult. But, difficulty is not the issue here, but rather passion and desire. 

Until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob. It would take David years to find this place. But, he never gave up. He found it, a mighty rock on Mount Moriah.

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it in the field of Jaar.  The news of David vow to the Lord was heard throughout the kingdom. Let us go into His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool. Ephrathah was where David's kinfolk or family members reside. And here is their desire to go also to this dwelling place, to agree with David. Family can be the most difficult to win over, but David's family now embraced his vow to the Lord. 

Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, you and the ark of Your strength. These same words were used by Solomon in 2 Chronicles 6:41 when dedicating the temple he had built. And here similar words are ascribed to the Lord because the temple had been cleansed; and the work of purifying and rededicating the temple was finished. 

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your godly ones sing for joy. Here he asks God to now clothe his priests with righteousness. He urged them to be right with God, but it was God's work to make them righteous. 

For the sake of David Your servant, do not turn away the face of Your anointed. Hezekiah pleads before the Lord not his own life and name, but the name of one greater than himself -- David. It was the greatest name he knew. For his sake, he asks God to keep his face toward His anointed ones. He knows that he must come to the Lord not on his own merit. And we also plead the name of Jesus, a greater name than David, to rescue us from ourselves. 

Promise: Worship is a time to rest and relax in the presence of the Lord. 

PrayerLord, help me to be more concerned about coming to the temple of you Lord. Lord, you are true and I want to consecrate myself to you. Help me to get excited about worshiping you. Help me to focus and concentrate myself on worshiping you and going to the house of worship. Lord, you can rest, for myself and the people of God are before you, worshiping you, giving you praise, setting aside all that they are to come before you.