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.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Proverbs 20:22 - Awaiting God's Deliverance

Proverbs 20:22
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.

Message: Awaiting God's Deliverance

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: I notice in life that I desire people to get what I think they deserve. I hate how I actually enjoy seeing acquaintances struggle or have difficulty. Granted, I don't want them to be poor. And there is also something in me that likes seeing a person suffer. Like Tiger Woods, who cheated on his wife for many nears, then got found out. Ever since, he has struggled with his golf game. Granted, there are other reasons, but there is some sense of justice in me that likes the fact that he is struggling. 

I have a just God. He is fair. And at times, I also want to be the judge. But, in this scripture, I see the admonition that I need to wait. I need to wait for the Lord. It is not for me to repay evil. God will save me. 

Now, I think this verse speaks of someone wronging me. It could be singling out a mistake I've made at work, which happens. It could be saying something that infers that I am not doing my job, which happens at work and even happens at home. I know that I am hypersensitive to criticism. In those moments, I want to speak out. I want to defend myself. I want to basically say, "I'm not taking that from you." I do this. I actually wonder here if the very act of getting defensive is a mechanism in me to want to repay evil. I basically am thinking, "You're wrong."  

And then I often struggle with anger when someone doesn't get what I think is coming to them. I need to work on not being so sensitive. 

Promise: If I trust in the Lord for vengeance and pray that He will make me patient with sinners just as He is patient with sinners, the Spirit will enable me not to seek vengeance when it is not appropriate to do so. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this instruction. I see now how quick I am to defend myself. I see how quickly I feel someone attacking me and how quickly I want them to experience my wrath. Lord, help me to wait on You. Help me Lord to let you take care of the situation. I want to believe this God. I want to believe that You are in control and act upon it in my life. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Psalm 116:10-19 - Great Faith in God

Psalm 116:10-19
10 I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”
11 I said in my alarm, “All men are liars.”

12 What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me?
13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh in the presence of all His people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.
16 O Lord, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,
You have loosed my bonds.
17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the Lord.
18 I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh in the presence of all His people,
19 In the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

Message:  Great Faith in God

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: The Greek Old Testament is also called the Septuagint or LXX. 

Often in life, it is going through a difficult circumstance, a distressing situation, when we are most affected by the love and grace of God. And in this Psalm is that recognition. It is also through the recognition that we are a sinner that we understand how wonderful it is to have our Savior. We find the Lord just and good. We find rest in Him. God has been merciful toward us. We have been rescued today and we are rescued for all tomorrow's. In heaven, we will be completely at rest and able to walk with our Savior. That is the message of the first 9 verses. In those verses there is the sweet recognition of being low, of the mercy and grace of God and our permanent state with God in heaven.

Then in verses 10-19 is living life. How then do we now live?

I am hurting and no man is helping
Verse 10,11 - "I believed when I said, I am greatly afflicted."  I said in my alarm, "all men are liars."

I have stared at these verses for some time. For some reason, as I read them, I struggle with their understanding. What I see in this Psalm is his recognition that God is real through our circumstances. In and of himself, man does not bring the answer to life. 


The Psalmist declares that I said in my alarm so these words were voiced, not in somber reflection, but in boisterous alarm that all men are liars. I think the Psalmist is experiencing a quite revelation that man does not hold the answers to living and the problems of life should move us to him. In his hurt, in his affliction, he turns to believing in God. Men, themselves, are liars. There attempts to unravel and solve life are in vain. He believes God, he is hurting, and his hurt is great, and people are not the answer. I suppose at the moment I can relate.

I think of people I speak to, like Delphina, who had her boyfriend just walk out on her after several years together. She had yielded to this man her body, through sexual intimacy, against her better judgment, and then he had gone after another woman. And in that distress she was deeply afflicted and hurt, feeling like no one will really want her if she does things God's way. And just like the Psalmist, is the reflection that man cannot fix problems of pain. I continue to watch my 16 year old son ignore our direction, our instruction, our rules, and continue to go his own way. Our role as parents seems utterly useless. We don't feel like trying any longer. Lord, we are hurt, afflicted. We believe you O God, but we hurt. It's people that hurt us. People disappoint us. You have created us to be people that value relationships; we need each other, but not to solve life but to live it together, in growing dependence on God.

Paul adapts this statement in 2 Corinthians 4:13 with the words, "But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak." I believe when I said is the idea that I can speak, now, because I believe I can speak and my words are that I am greatly afflicted. He cried out to God because of a real need.

No one like you
What shall I render to the Lord? How could I begin to pay back the Lord for his mercies toward me? For all his benefits toward me? The Psalmist is focused on God, not man. It's not that man is useless here and offers nothing, but it is God that he is focused on, in thanking him for his mercies and love. It is unlike anything that he could receive from man or his fellow men. 

Thankful heart
The Psalmist then references a cup of salvation. It is not clear what this cup is as it is not the Lord's supper but more likely a cup at the end of the meal that he holds and thanks God for his bounty and his love. I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. There is a simple and profound acknowledgement to God that even in the meal that he has provided we can be thankful. His mercies are new, not just every morning, but with every meal that we can take. He uses the meal, at the end, then as a time to thank His God for his mercies. 

There is such a danger in life to always be in want. In these verses, I am seeing the Psalmist turn his attention toward God and seeing God as the answer to his life, his comfort, refuge, and the one that deserves his praise. 

I commit everything to the Lord
In verse 14, he says, I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh in the presence of all His people. A vow is a promise someone makes, generally when they are in dire straits, like experience a sickness which they think at the time they will not come out of. It is at this time when we see what matters most -- life. All the fluff of life and all that we think is important, suddenly disappears and for that moment, life is what is most important. We desire to simply continue with life. 

As it says in the verse, a vow is a debt, thus there is a payment that is made. And here in the verse is a willingness to pay, in I shall.  Thus far, in these verses is the assertion that God is all that there is and so he worships God and is giving himself to God. He is doing this in his prayer. Thus, in the presence of all God's people he makes the promise to live his life for God. Isn't this what the baptism is in a person's life? It is testifying of a changed life, but it is doing in, preferably in front of people. It needs to be in front of people. 

Precious to the Lord is death of the His chosen
And just as verse 14 speaks of life, verse 15 speaks of death. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. It speaks here of the high value the Lord places on the death of those that have been called by Him, His godly ones. Our life is sealed by Him and our death is no different. He takes care of His. As we walk with God in the land of the living (v. 9) we can also walk with Him at the time of death. We can trust him in both circumstances. 

God is there. He is with us in life and in death. He is our God. Verse 16 takes a moment to acknowledge that he is indeed God's servant. O Lord, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,
You have loosed my bonds.


Promise: I can have faith in God. I can. He continues to show me over and over his faithfulness. He is a God to be praised. 

Prayer:
I believe in You God. I get hurt, but you God are the answer, not man. In You are so many benefits, so I turn to You. I pause, at the dinner table, to call upon Your name. 

I shall pay my vows to the Lord, in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.

O Lord, surely I am They servant, I am Thy servant, the son of Thy handmaid, thou hast loosed my bonds. To Thee I shall offer a sacrifice of thankgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord. 

I shall pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. In the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem, 'Praise the Lord.'

Sunday, June 25, 2017

James 5:13-18 - Persevere through Prayer

James 5:13-18
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

Message: Persevere through Prayer

Time: James is thought to be the brother of Jesus. It is written about AD 45.

What the Lord is Saying: 

1. The Call to Prayer

There are 3 anyone statements: Is anyone suffering? Is anyone cheerful? Is anyone sick? I recalled that James 1 started with the idea that we have trials and the first action to the trial is asking God for wisdom. When we are going through a difficulty, the first response is to talk to God and ask him for help. In this scenario the response to each statement is prayer. Our focus remains on the Lord and looking to Him for help. This idea is central to our faith - we depend on God. We trust in Him. We rely on Him. 

2. The Character of Prayer

The final statement is in response to sickness and calling on the elders of the church to come and pray over the person. He calls on leaders of the church and they anoint him with oil. Oil in Bible times was medicinal and was used to treat lacerations, like the parable of the Samaritan in Luke 10:34. It is used to express concern and it strengthens. Symbolically it is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Is this a practice still today, that is, to anoint people with oil? According to our church, it is still a practice. James is encouraging us in the practie of church leaders interceding for one another. 

We are to have faith, a fervent energetic spirit, and righteousness.

a. Faith is the means of the power of prayer (v. 15 - prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick). Faith is conviction, it is trust, full confidence, and no doubting. Personally, I think it is very hard to pray without any doubt. 

b. Fervent energetic spirit (vs. pray for one another as effective prayer (v. 15-16) we are passionate about what God wants. 

c. A righteous individual (vs. the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much v. 16)

3. The Consequence of Prayer

v. 15 - faith will restore the one who is sick
v. 15 - they will be forgiven him if he committed sins
v. 16 - mutual confession provides healing - confess to one another
v. 16 - prayer can accomplish much 

example is Joni and we are not to put faith in faith; result is a transformed life.


Promise: Prayer can accomplish much, in my life, in other lives.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to learn how to continually pray. Thank you for Hope Church and their pastors and bringing the Word through them. Thank you for Pastor Roy and this message he gave this morning. Teach me now to continue to depend on You and trust you throughout all of life's circumstances. Help me to pray more for in doing this I trust you for the outcomes of life and acknowledge that I am not in control.