Monday, December 23, 2013

Armor, A Sword and Walkie Talkies (Pt 2 of 2)

Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm (Eph. 6:13).

Okay, there it is. One, we need to know what God’s armor is. Two, we need to have all of it. And three, we need to put each piece on. Why is this so important? So that after the spiritual battles you will still be standing, and standing firm! Without God’s armor and weapons, the Devil may very well destroy you. So, it is absolutely imperative for all of us to get this and employ it in our lives.

We’ve covered verses 10 through 13, so let’s look at the armor from verses 14 through 18.

Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness (v. 14).

I like that. First of all, Paul says, when the enemy attacks, stand your ground! “Yeah, why should I be moved, devil? You are attacking one of God’s children here. I have the truth of God and the reality of all that He is. God is good, He is present with me, He is all powerful, He is perfect and right in all of His ways. He is merciful and kind, and He is my refuge and strong tower of defense. God is working all things out for good for me, because I love Him and I am His child. You can’t do anything that my God doesn’t allow you to do. And I trust my God!”

An analogy for the belt of truth could be a weight lifter’s belt. Have you seen one of those? It is that thick, leather belt they wear around their waist when they are lifting those heavy weights. Without it, their bodies begin to buckle under the pressure of all that weight on their shoulders. But with the belt around their waist, their bodies stay straight and upright and can hold the weight for a moment, until they set it down.

We have the truth on our side. Who God is. What He has done. What He is going to do. His character. His mercy and love.

So, #1, the belt of truth. And #2, the body armor of God’s righteousness. When you come under attack, think of the truth of God and the truth of who God is; think of how God is perfect in all of His ways. Think of His character and know that He is working out His perfect plan and perfect purpose for you.

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News (the Gospel) so that you will be fully prepared (v. 15).

Jesus said, I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). The peace that we have, that has come to us through the Gospel, is the peace of Jesus Christ Himself, the peace of God dwelling in us. Isaiah said that Jesus will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And we have access to this peace through Jesus. Amen? Amen!

We are not fully prepared for the attack of the devil unless we put on the peace of God, the truth of who He is, and what He is doing in our lives. We need the peace that only comes from knowing Him. The peace that comes from the Gospel is like entering into a rest. We are resting in what Jesus has done for us, not what we have or have not done for God. He has done it all. We are saved by grace through faith alone, not by works, so that no one may boast except in God and in His goodness and faithfulness. And we are resting on what He is going to do for us, not what we can or cannot do. Oh, the perfect peace found only in the presence of our Lord. Be in that place! Be at peace with what God is doing in your life. Be at peace with where you are at “in Christ.” You are in Christ and He is in you. You are in God’s hands. Remember the storm that Jesus calmed? While they were afraid, He asked the disciples why they had so little faith. He was with them and they should have known that He would save them. Be at peace. Only in our Savior may true and lasting rest be found.

Okay then, the 3rd piece of armor for us to “put on” is resting in our relationship with Christ and being at peace because of our salvation in Him. Putting on the peace that comes from the Gospel is another necessary piece of the armor in order for us to be prepared for the attacks that inevitably will come. Let us seek that rest in the presence of the Lord Jesus daily.

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil (v. 16).

Faith here I think refers to standing firm in our trust in God with our lives, knowing who He is and that He intends good for us. Faith is seen, it is born out, when we are standing our ground against the enemy as he lies to us or when the attacks keep coming, because we know that God is Sovereign in all things. Our gracious Father works all things out for good for those that have faith in Him. We need to stand strong, continuing to put our faith in Jesus to accomplish His perfect will in His perfect timing in our lives.

I love the illustration the Holy Spirit uses in this verse for faith. When our faith is strong it becomes like a shield that stops the fiery arrows of the devil. I can picture a large, thick metal shield being held up against some nasty and fiery arrows. But, I see those arrows bouncing off of the shield. Just, bing…bing….bing, falling all around and the little fires burning out. Notice that there isn’t just one arrow. Isn’t that true? It seems when we are under attack it just keeps coming, one after another. Make your faith like that big, heavy iron shield. Strong and impenetrable, and keep holding it up against those arrows. One after another they come, but the enemy will exhaust his resources at some point, so hang in there and keep that shield up.

So, #4, keep your faith strong and focused on the Lord and who He is and what He is doing. He is the Creator of all things and all things are held together by Him. He will never let us down!

Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (v. 17).

The fifth and final piece of armor to put on is salvation, and we are to put it on like a helmet. Okay, but what does Paul mean by “put on salvation?” Here’s one possible answer. I think Paul may mean two things here: the hope of our eternal life in Christ and the unpayable debt we owe to Christ for this salvation He has freely given us.

When we are faced with trials and temptations, when the devil is attacking our finances or our loved ones, when we are weak or being persecuted, when things are happening that we just do not understand, look to the cross. Look to the salvation that God has so freely given to us as a gift, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We could not make ourselves right with Him, He did it for us. God humbled Himself and became a man and went to the cross for you and me and for the whole world. That is the sacrifice that He made for us. We need to stay focused on the eternal life that He worked out for us. We need to stay focused on our true home, God’s kingdom. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” When we remember that we have eternal life, we remember that nothing can or will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ, not even death. No matter what is happening, He keeps our souls safe for all eternity with Him.

 Romans 8:35-39, NLT, says:

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us ( NKJV says, “we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us”). 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amen? Amen.

The sixth thing Paul tells us to do is not to “put on” another piece of armor, but to “take the sword of the Spirit”, which he explains is the Word of God.

So, we have five pieces of armor to put on, and now our weapon to take with us is the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures that make up our Bible.

Imagine being on the battle field with all that armor, your helmet and your shield, but with no weapon. And you are out there with no communication device to speak to your commander, your fellow soldiers or allies in this battle. You probably wouldn’t last too long out there. We have been given all the armor and now we just need to put it on. But we must take a weapon for the battle, and our weapon is God’s Word. His word is truth, it is alive, active and effective, piercing through the heart like a sharp, two-edged sword. It goes out and does not return without accomplishing what God set out to accomplish by it. Going through these verses in Ephesians, learning to put on the whole armor of God, is a perfect example of the wisdom, strength and power that we have available to us through His Word. It is the Word that spoke all things into existence.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says:

3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

God’s Word and our prayer life are the weapons we use to knock down the strongholds that the enemy has taken and to take them back in Jesus’ name. These are our spiritual weapons.

So, that is the armor of God and our weapons to fight with, His Word and prayer. Prayer is like a communication device that a soldier might use on the battlefield to reach his commander or fellow soldiers. We must use prayer to reach our High Commander, and we must stay in close coordination with our fellow “soldiers.”

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere (v. 18).

On the battlefield, we can be in constant communication with our Commander. Through prayer we can be asking for help, getting instructions and directions, and just being comforted and encouraged by Him. Prayer is key in this battle. Notice, Paul doesn’t say, “don’t forget to pray every once in a while.” He says, “pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” If a soldier is out in the battle and only getting the directives from his/her superiors every once in a while, how can they expect to have victory? We need to be in constant communication with our Savior for His strength, His wisdom, His power and His direction. Lord, help me to call on you more, even constantly!

And we should never forget the fellowship of the believers. Some of us have gotten into the habit of skipping church. And I’m not here to judge or beat anyone over the head, but my wife and I had missed church for some time when we moved to a new state, so we know firsthand. And now that we are back and plugged in, the blessings of our new friends in the Lord are indescribable. There is nothing like loving, Christian fellowship in the Lord. These are God’s fellow soldiers on the battle field, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. They need you and you need them if you are going to have any victories in this spiritual warfare raging all around us, all of the time.

Okay, so to summarize, we found five pieces of armor to put on, one weapon to take with us, a communication device to stay in constant touch with our High Commander and the support of our fellow soldiers in Christ.

For armor, put on truth like a belt and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Gospel. Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil and put on salvation as your helmet. Take the sword of the Spirit for your weapon, which is God’s Word. And pray in the Spirit at all times and on all occasions for all believers everywhere.

Stay alert in this battle against Satan and his army. Both Paul and Peter exhort us to stand firm against the devil and to stay alert. And be persistent in your prayers for all of God’s army everywhere.

By God’s grace may He arm us, empower us and keep us through this battle. The war has already been won by Christ at the cross. Give us victory in our battles, Lord Jesus. And, may Your Kingdom come soon!

For the full commentary on the Armor of God, visit
 
 
 

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Armor, A Sword and Walkie Talkies (Pt 1 of 2)

Put On All Of God’s Armor: Ephesians 6:10-18

We are under attack! But don’t head for the hills. All of us in God’s kingdom of light are sitting in the middle of Satan’s kingdom of darkness (he is the god of this world, for now, Paul said). We are the world’s enemy and we are living our lives in its territory. So, Paul exhorts all believers, all followers of Jesus, to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power and to put on all of God’s armor so that we will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-11, NLT).

Did you know that Satan has strategies currently employed to destroy you? Peter tells us to stay alert and to watch out for our great enemy, the devil, because he prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. He exhorts us to stand firm against him and to be strong in our faith (1 Peter 5:8-9).

This battle is not against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

So, this is not a fight that we can win in the flesh. That’s a relief, because I know that I would have no chance in my own strength against Satan and his army! I mean, I was a pretty good athlete once upon a time, but I get winded now just walking to the mail box! The most well trained, disciplined and ready athlete would have no chance against a power like Satan in the physical realm. This battle is real, and it’s being waged right now in the spiritual realm. The fight is over you, me and all believers, and every soul on earth, and there is no way to avoid it.

It’s interesting to me that many scientists theorize that two or more worlds can co-exist in the same place. They say it is possible that there are many unseen worlds co-existing with ours right now, unbeknownst to us. From God’s Word, we know that there is the realm of the spirit co-existing all around us, all of the time. This realm is full of good and evil spirits, a.k.a. angels and demons.

Sometimes, we are just cruising along in life and all is well. And praise God for those times, because they are wonderful and that’s the way God ultimately wants it to be for us. And we have His wonderful kingdom to look forward to, where there will be no evil or sin, only righteousness and peace. But, many times in life we begin to realize that something is wrong. God’s Holy Spirit, that He has given us, speaks to our hearts and we just know that things are off, and we realize it’s a spiritual attack. Even if life is seemingly smooth for you at the moment, right now Satan and his minions are scheming against you; attacking in ways you do not recognize and planning further attacks on you shortly.

Now, at this point, you may be thinking, “gee, thanks for the upbeat message today, Brian. I think I’ll go on back and find something else to read!” But don’t. I am not trying to discourage or bring fear, but warn you and to shed some light on how the Bible says to defend ourselves as Christians against the attacks of the Devil. God has led me into this study because we all struggle with spiritual attacks.

Paul, in writing to the Ephesians in chapter six, got all of this down. You remember that he had a few attacks to deal with in his life! If you haven’t already, prayfully read verses 10 through 18, and then we’ll continue going through them one by one.
 
 
For the full commentary on the Armor of God, visit
 
 
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

... A Commentary on Psalm 32:10-11


“Mercy Surrounds Those Who Trust in the LORD” 
Psalm 32:10-11
10. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.
11. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

The “sorrows of the wicked” is contrasted with “those who trust in the Lord” and the mercy of the Lord that surrounds them. Walking outside of God’s way brings sorrow (see verse 3). But, mercy and deliverance is available for all those that trust in and walk with the Lord. 

Mercy is God’s unfailing lovingkindness. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13) and God has shown just how much He loves the world through Jesus Christ. His unfailing love surrounds those who trust in Him. 

Trust is faith and obedience in His word and His Spirit. “He who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.”

The trust spoken of here in Psalm 32:10 is equivalent to our reliance on God in verse seven. Believing in Christ and keeping His commandments are inseparable (see John 13:31-16:33).

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another (John 13:34).”

“If you love Me, keep My commandments (14:15).”

“…the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him (John 4:23).”

“Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent (John 6:28-29).’"

“At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him (14:20-21).”

“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me (14:23-24).”

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (15:4-5).”

Intellectual belief in Christ is not faith. Jesus said, “not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven (see Matthew 7:21-23).” The Lord is gracious and patient with our short comings. Branches that remain connected to vines do not produce perfect fruit, but they do produce fruit. God will perfect us in His time. But we must be abiding in Christ, moving ever closer to Him and His perfect will for our lives. If we are truly trusting in Him we will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:19-26). By God’s grace, through faith, the Spirit Himself is changing us from the inside out. We must cooperate with the Lord by seeking Him daily, yielding to His will and walking in the power and love of the Spirit. The result will be a beautiful and miraculous production of the fruit of God in our life.

“Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart (Psalm 32:11)!”

“You righteous” and “you upright in heart” speaks of the righteousness of Christ that is now ours through faith in Jesus Christ, imputed to us because of God’s amazing grace. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, shout for joy! “Rejoice” could be described as “spinning around in violent emotion, beaming in joy.” “Shout for joy” triumphantly, because of all the Lord has done for us (see Psalm 107).

Rejoicing in forgiveness comes from the assurances of God’s love, protection, guidance and forgiveness, even if we sin.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).”

“Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(1 Thess. 5:16-18)

“Of all people, Christians have reason to be most joyous. God has forgiven us of our sins, and we have the hope of eternal life with Jesus Christ. Our relationship with God has been restored through Jesus Christ, so we may now pray without ceasing. Prayer is the constant awareness of and communion with God and the awe that we have as we worship Him. So, in everything, we give thanks. We know our life is in God’s hands and His purpose. Nothing can happen to me except God allows it. And if God allows it to happen to me, He has a purpose for it. We are to be a joyful church, a praying church and a thankful church. ‘This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’” (the proceeding paragraph was taken from The Word for Today Bible, page 1579, “The Will of God”, by Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa)

Trust in the Lord. Call on His name. Seek Him, and you will find Him. Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you. God’s unfailing love surrounds those who trust in Him.

For the full commentary on Psalm 32, visit 




Monday, November 4, 2013

... A Commentary on Psalm 32:8-9


“God is Speaking. Are You Listening?” 
Psalm 32:8-9
8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
9. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.

Prayer is not meant to always be a monologue, a one-sided conversation. It would be silly if we ran into someone at the store and just talked straight for five minutes without letting them speak, and then just walked away, “okay, bye.” Isn’t that what we do to the Lord sometimes? Prayer should often be a dialogue, a two way conversation. Prayer is the most amazing aspect of our relationship to God. We have the opportunity, 24 hours a day, to come boldly to His throne of grace and commune with the Living God.

To all those that have called on the Lord and put their faith in Jesus Christ, God has promised to instruct us and teach us, to counsel and watch over us. He promised this through David in our text, but Jesus also spoke in detail about it. How does He comfort? How does He counsel us? I submit that, by the Holy Spirit in us, He will do it in three primary ways: through His Word, through prayer/worship and through our brothers and sisters in Christ that He is using to speak to us. 

Jesus promised the disciples that He would not leave them alone after His physical departure from the world.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17).”

“At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him (14:20-21).”

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (14:26).”

“When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you (16:13-15).”

When we pray, we should make sure to get into a nice quiet space, set aside enough time to bring our worship, petitions and intercession to the Lord, but also make enough time to just wait on the Lord. Wait? Yes, wait.

“Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”

“Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah (pause/wait/meditate on) (Psalm 4:4).”

Have your Bible with you. The Lord may want to speak to you through His “living and active” Word (Heb. 4:12). If you wait on Him, He may also want to speak directly to your heart. You will just know that God is speaking to you in your spirit. And, you can compare what you think He is speaking to your heart with the revealed word of God in the Bible. He will never contradict Himself, and the Bible is the standard we use to judge whether something is of God or not. He will teach, He will comfort. There won’t be condemnation (condemnation is from Satan). “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).” There is loving direction, wisdom, insight and leading. Isn’t that what the Lord says in our text? God instructs His children, teaches and counsels. The Holy Spirit is called “the Counselor.” God does do these things! He is so good! We say we ask Jesus “into our heart.” But Jesus Himself makes it much more explicit when He prays for all believers in John 17.

“I do not pray for these (the apostles) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (that’s you and me!); that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (17:20-23).”

Jesus prayed that He would be in us, that we would be one with Him as He is one with the Father.

God is speaking, but are we taking the time to listen? Listen for the Lord’s voice speaking to you through His word, through prayer and worship, through your brothers and sisters in Christ, and directly to your heart as you wait on Him. He is faithful and He is good. So good! The more you wait on God and hear from Him, the easier it will become to discern His “voice” in your spirit. Pray for discernment.

Notice that in our text David hears from God while he is praying and waiting (Selah) on the Lord. The voice speaking to David is God’s. “I will instruct you and teach you and counsel you…” God is telling David that He will instruct him... as He is instructing him! This is an example of a believer in God waiting on Him (Selah at the end of verse 7) and hearing from Him (in verse 8). Just to clarify, I say God “speaks to our heart” because I do not think that we can hear the voice of God audibly. There are cases in both the Old and New Testaments of God doing just that. But, if it happens today, it is extremely rare. If God wants to speak to me audibly, I would have no problem with that, and He certainly could if He wanted to. I’ve just never experienced it myself and personally know of no one who has.

Let us not be stubborn like a mule or wild like a horse (verse 9) and not hear our Heavenly Father speaking to us individually and personally.

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:15).”

Jesus is the King of kings, but like King David was to Israel, Jesus is our friend and brother, as well. Do not be like an animal that needs to be controlled by bit and bridle. This statement in verse nine is set in direct opposition to the intelligent cooperation described in verse eight. Our spirit should be yielded to His Spirit. Come to the Lord willingly. Let His Holy Spirit work in you. Do not be forced into cooperation. For believers, God’s purpose for you will be done, but it isn’t usually very enjoyable when we are not cooperating.

The greatest joy in being a Christian is spending time with Jesus. He gives to us His peace, not as the world gives. His joy is made complete in us as we bask in His presence, sitting at the Master’s feet and listening (like Mary, Martha’s sister). Don’t be afraid and don’t make excuses as to why you can’t or don’t have time to pray that long or that way. Just humbly call upon the name of your Lord and Savior and ask Him to come and be with you... and wait. It usually takes some time as our heart and mind quiets. Read some verses, be waiting expectantly (in faith) and receive all that the Lord has for you, His lovely child, set apart for Him in Jesus Christ.

For the full commentary on Psalm 32, visit 
https://www.walkingwithjesus.net/vbv


Brian Farrell is a follower of Jesus, saved by God's amazing grace through faith in Christ. Brian is a Bible teacher and the founder of Walking With Jesus Ministries. He lives with his wife Dana in Temecula, California.













Tuesday, October 22, 2013

...A Commentary on Psalm 32:6-7


“Turning To God In Trouble” 

Psalm 32:6-7

6. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.
7. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

The Holy Spirit, speaking through David, promises us here that when the Lord’s children call upon Him, He will be found, and He will protect and deliver us from our trials and troubles. He will give us deliverance and fill our hearts with songs of joy and thanksgiving for His deliverance. We all have troublesome times in our life. That part I do not like so much! But, this is a fallen world that we live in. It is a violent, God-hating world that is in reality, ruled by Satan. Trouble and hardship will come. But rejoice in God’s promise of deliverance. He will surround you, and will be found when you call on Him.

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You (Psalm 9:9-10).”

The “therefore” in verse six looks back to the forgiveness that David found when he confessed his sin. Because of God’s grace, everyone who is godly (worshippers of/believers in God) should pray to Him while He may be found. We have seen in verses 3-5 that forgiveness and restoration with God are as close to us as our own hearts. James said, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).”

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).”

“Surely the mighty waters” seems to harken back to the flood waters of Noah’s day. But, like Noah and his family, the waters will not reach those that call on the Lord. God’s wrath and judgment is being poured out on a wicked and rebellious world (Rom. 1:18). His wrath against wickedness does not reach those in Christ, though. God has accounted our sin to His Son Jesus Christ, on the cross, for all who believe in Him. Those that call on the name of the Lord are accounted the righteousness of Christ, and are therefore no longer the recipients of God’s wrath.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13).”

“The mighty waters” may also speak of a flood of adversity and trial. Though God does allow trials in our lives, everything that happens to us is allowed by Him and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Notice in verse six that prayer/relationship with God, through the mediator Jesus Christ, keeps us safe in His will, under His wings, safe in His ship, riding the flood waters instead of drowning in them!

He Himself is our hiding place, our refuge and our strong wall of protection from trouble. He has surrounded us with songs of deliverance. We sing out to Him joyfully because of His intercession in the midst of our trials and troubles. He is our deliverer. He reaches into our lives and is the worker of miracles.

When God allows trial and hardship to infringe on my life, many times I just do not understand what is happening or why it is happening. I have to remind myself that God is sovereign over all. He is on His throne. Nothing happens that doesn’t first pass through His counsel. I am a child of God and He has a plan for me. He works all things out for His people according to His perfect plan.

In Exodus, chapter 15, Moses and the children of Israel sing to God a song of deliverance because of the mighty workings of God to free them from the Egyptians. Here are a few verses:

“The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him (Exodus 15:2).”

“Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders (Exodus 15:11)?”

“You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation (Exodus 15:13).”

“You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O LORD, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands have established. The LORD shall reign forever and ever (Exodus 15:17-18).”

Think of all that God has brought us through to this point. Will He bring us this far to forsake us now? No! He will see us through the wilderness. He has already delivered us from our slavery to sin and brought us into the glorious kingdom of His Son. He will see us through our adversities in this life. We will enter into His promised Kingdom.

In Mark, chapter 4, Jesus and His disciples were crossing the lake to the country of the Gadarenes.

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith (4:36-41)?’”

At another time, before Jesus raised a little girl from the dead, He said, “do not be afraid, only believe (Luke 8:50).”

And, in Psalm 27, David expresses His trust in God,

“The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.”

Lord, stand with me in my trial. Be present. Work out Your perfect will for my life. I ask for Your peace and joy. See me through this, Lord. Be my strength. I give my heart and life to you Lord, and pray that in all that is happening, Jesus Christ may be glorified in me. Amen.

For the full commentary on Psalm 32, visit http://walkingwithjesus.net/vbv.html


Monday, October 7, 2013

...A Commentary on Psalm 32:3-5

“The Drought of Summer Replaced With Torrents Of Living Water”
Psalm 32:3-5
3. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.
4. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Oh, the misery of denial in the heart of a child of God. David attempted to keep his sin from his friends and all of Israel for somewhere around 9 to 12 months, but he was miserable. The conscience of this “man after God’s own heart” was taking its toll on him. J. Vernon McGee suggests that David may have lost weight during this period. So overcome with guilt and the hand of God heavy on him, he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat and he just groaned throughout the days. The NLT translates verse three as follows: “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long.” The KJV says “roaring” instead of “groaning”. David was living a lie and was not right with God. He was silent in confession, but roaring throughout the day with the heavy burden and horror of his guilt. Psalm 38 further illustrates how David felt during 
this time. Like Psalm 32, it is one of the penitential (repentant) Psalms.

In verse four, David then says (NLT), “Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.” In First Corinthians 11:31-32 and in Hebrews 12:5-13, the Lord reminds us that He does chasten and correct His children, when the need arises. One reason He does this is that “we will not be condemned with the world.” In Hebrews, the writer tells us, “For whom the LORD loves He chastens.” He goes on, “But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness and afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Like a good father on earth, our Heavenly Father does not hesitate to teach us His way when we ourselves are obstinate and unchanging. If we are not corrected, we are not His. If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged (1 Cor. 11:31).

The hand of the Lord was heavy upon David, and like a drought stricken land at the height of summer, his soul was dry. In First John 1:5-2:2, the beloved disciple says that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

Now, as we transition from verse four to verse five, we remember that this Psalm was set to music. At the end of verse four, we have the musical term “Selah”, which is a rest or pause in the song to contemplate what has been spoken and to wait on the Lord. Spurgeon speculates that moving from verse four to five may have also brought a change to a higher key in the song. With the forgiveness of his iniquity, David advances from the drought of summer to God’s grace poured out on him like the torrents of a monsoon.

In verse five, David says that he will confess his transgressions to the Lord and will acknowledge his sin to Him, that he will no longer attempt to hide it. The last part of verse five is the result: “and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” or, in the NLT, “and you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” As soon as David confessed his sin, God forgave him. In the Hebrew, the language implies that God forgave him instantly. I believe the forgiveness came to David as soon as his heart was set on confession, even before the words got out, and as he was saying it, the love and mercy of God overflowed his drought stricken soul with torrents of living water.

Now, it is important to point out that admitting our sin to God is not the same as confession. Confessing is saying the same thing about our sin as God, seeing it the same way He does. Confession is a true repentance of the heart, and includes a turning away from our sin and giving it to the Lord. Confession softens the heart to receive God’s leading and guidance in our lives, which we will see in verse eight of this Psalm.

This portion of Scripture reminds me of the story of the prodigal son, recorded in Luke 15:11-32. It says that when the prodigal came to himself, he said, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Our nature is such that it is always fighting against God’s Spirit within us. The flesh lusts against the spirit. So, daily renewal is essential in our walk with Jesus. Many times we fall short of taking hold of the invitation for renewal in His presence. But as soon as we are still and seeking Him, waves of mercy and love pour forth over us, and we are renewed in His love once again.

Bring me to the cross, Lord. Search my heart and show me where I am off. Renew my soul with your presence, the peace and joy that comes only from you. Thank you for the free gift of forgiveness and your love in Jesus Christ. Move me, lead me and guide me into your perfect plan for the life you’ve given me. In Jesus name, Amen

For the full commentary on Psalm 32, visit http://walkingwithjesus.net/vbv.html