Sunday, October 29, 2006

Love Your Enemies

Meditating recently on Romans 8:28, I was faced with a very real application of that verse:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

All things that happen in my life are allowed by my Heavenly Father - and everything that happens to me (whether good or bad) He is working out for my good. They may be bad in themselves, but He will turn it around and bring some good out of it for me. It is not a promise of a rosy future, but a plan He is working out. The very next verse teaches us exactly what the overall good is that the Lord is bringing about in every trial and triumph in my life:

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

All things that the Lord allows or personally brings into my life have been lovingly approved of for my spiritual good.

This past week, I have been helping out a friend. He stayed with me for a few days, and I had given him a key to my apartment so he could still get in while I was at work. On Wednesday night, I got home to find out that he had ransacked my apartment! Various things were stolen - for the most part things that didn't really matter, plus some things that were more important, such as my checkbook and coffee can of coins that I was saving up for some teens in my church.

When I realized what had actually happened, I was surprised, yet filled with God's peace. When I started making a list of what was missing and what still remained, I began to praise the Lord that He held back this man's hand from taking more than he did. I changed the locks the next morning, and contacted my bank to cancel my checks. It turns out several days later, while I was at work, that he came back again, tried to get in, and couldn't because of the changed deadbolt lock - then he attempted to damage my doorknob, but was not able to get in.

I just praise the Lord for His grace at work in my life - and that He had put a love in my heart for this friend, that my first response was to pray for him and his repentance, not to get my stuff back (actually, I have not even prayed for that at all), nor to be bitter or seek any kind of revenge. As I prayed for him and this situation, the Lord impressed various passages upon my heart, which I was able to preach on yesterday.

Matthew 5:43-48

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

Here Jesus is referring to an Old Testament passage:

Leviticus 19:17-18 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

True love means I will love my brethren, love my neighbour, that I will speak up and rebuke him if he wanders into sin, and that I would not seek personal revenge for any wrong done to me. God commands that we love our neighbours.

But then He quotes their addition to the Scriptures: "And hate thine enemy." The Pharisees and religious folks thought that they were doing good if they loved those who loved them, and hated those who already hated them - but THAT was not what God's Word taught. Jesus exposes their hypocrisy and traditions and teaches true love and righteousness:

Matthew 5:44-48 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

When we respond to the world around us in the exact same way they are treating us, we are no different than they are. When we respond to hatred, abuse, slander, and evil treatment with good, with the love of Christ, THEN we are showing the lost world around us that our profession of faith in Christ is real - THAT we are really the children of God.

The last verse is misunderstood by many. Perfect means "complete, mature." Jesus is saying that we are to be like the Lord God in the aspect of loving our enemies - that we are not to be immature babes and respond in evil, but mature believers and respond in Christlike love and compassion - EVEN TO OUR ENEMIES! I tell you this much, when you are truly fervently praying for your enemies, they are no longer your enemies - they may treat YOU as their enemy, but you will have done all that you can do to reconcile with them - and the ball is left in their court whether to reconcile with you in return.

That is much like what the Saviour has done to us:

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Jesus Christ has paid the complete penalty that we deserved for our sins when He shed His sinless blood and died upon the cross for our sins. He arose from the grave the third day and is now ascended into Heaven, sending forth the Holy Spirit to be a testimony of His salvation and to convict you of your sin and need of Him as your Saviour. He has done His part to be reconciled to you - now it is up to you to respond to the Gospel invitation and be reconciled to God.

Romans 5:6-8

When we were at our worst, Christ came and died for our sins:

Romans 5:6-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

When we were ungodly, when we were rebelling against God, when we were sinning and going astray from God, He sent His Son to die for us. THAT is the love we are to have for our enemies - when they do us wrong, we are not to do them evil in return, but to still have love and compassion for them - whether they reject it or not. THAT will prove to the world that we are different than those who live according to its philosophies and treat others the way the lost treat them. When the lost see you living differently, when they see Christ in you and living through you, they will take notice - it will have an effect on them! Your manner of living will back up your witnessing.

Romans 12:17-21

Romans 12:17-18 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

We are commanded not to repay evil for evil - we are not to do wrong in return for the wrong done unto us. The next phrase: "Provide things honest in the sight of all men," puzzled me somewhat until I thought about motivations. When my friend was hiding his evil intent, he won my friendship and hid what was really going on in his heart - he deceived me and then took advantage of me. However, as a follower of Christ, as someone who desires to be Christlike, I am to be honest in the sight of others - I AM TO BE TRANSPARENT, with no hidden motives or agenda, despite whatever evil intent others may have towards me.

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

I am not to seek personal vengeance, but to leave my situation and the person who has done evil towards me in the hands of the Lord, and in His own time, He will take vengeance if needed - whether that happens in this life, or in the future if the person dies as a lost person and they face God's judgment at the Great White Throne.

Romans 12:20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Paul here quotes Proverbs 25:21-22. What he is saying is to do right no matter what - to treat our enemies with the love of Christ and not to treat them in the same manner that they have treated us. When we feed them or give them drink, though they are the least deserving of it, we show them the same love our Heavenly Father has shown us time and again - even when we have rebelled and sinned against Him, when we have despised His grace and turned our backs on Him. His goodness eventually led us to repentance (Romans 2:4), and frankly that is what can happen when we show love and mercy to those who have sinned against us.

You see, if we treat others with the same hatred and evil that they have treated us with, their heart is hardened and (in their mind) they feel justified for their wrongdoing - YET if we treat them with love instead, with forgiveness, with compassion and sympathy, they may be broken and see the error of their ways, and see that our profession of Christianity is REAL! They will see it is not all words, that it is not all a sham - the Bible is real, and God is real, Christianity is real - because if Jesus can still work through me and reach out to the lost or straying soul that hurt me, then perhaps they will get a glimpse of the love of God towards themselves. Perhaps this view of what God has done for them and to them will bring them to repentance and to the Saviour.

If not, there will be more coals of fire heaped upon their head, there will be more that they will be accountable for if they still persist in rejecting the gift of God and His offer of grace. They will not be able to stand before Jesus, the Great Judge, one day and say, "I rejected Christianity, I rejected the Bible, I rejected You, because all the so-called Christians around me were all hypocrites, they were all out for themselves, they all lived like the lost around them, and NONE of them showed me the love of Christ." Because now they've seen this love in action in your life!

1 Peter 2:19-25

1 Peter 2:19-20 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

God will reward the believer who endures wrongdoing for doing what is right in His sight. He will praise them and be well-pleased with them choosing to obey God's Word and submit to the Holy Spirit's leading in this manner. If we suffer wrong because we have done wrong, then we have no one to blame but ourselves - we deserve what we get then, it is sowing what we have reaped! Yet, if we suffer wrong because we are being faithful to our Heavenly Father, there is a reward and a blessing promised.

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Big shoes to fill, a big example to follow - but the Lord never commands us to do something that He will not equip us and give us strength to do. We CAN follow Jesus in this manner, we CAN be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect in regards to loving our enemies. It is a matter of growth and relying on God's grace.

1 Peter 2:22-23 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

It is man's natural response to fight evil with evil, to pay back in the same manner we were treated - if reproached and spoken evil of to respond likewise, if slandered or cussed out to dish out coarse speach in return, if stolen from or taken advantage of to respond in kind - to do unto them exactly what they did unto us - BUT that is not God's way, nor is it the example Christ set for us (see Jesus' contrast to this world's philosophy in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31). When He went to the cross, when He endured the false trial, the false witnesses, when He suffered the beatings and the scourging and heard so many things spoken against Him, Jesus, our example, did not fight back in return. He could have threatened them all with extinction - He was God after all! Instead, He left His life, His trial, His death upon the cross, in the hands of His Heavenly Father - knowing He was in control, and His will would prevail. Jesus then went to the cross, and died the same way He lived: FOR OTHERS!

1 Peter 2:24-25 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

What a blessed example to follow in the Word of God - what a convicting example! We should love others as He has loved us (John 13:34-35), we should forgive others as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32), we should show the mercy to others that we have been shown by Christ Himself (Luke 10:37; Titus 3:3-6 and Lamentations 3:21-23).

Luke 7:40-43, 47

In Luke 7:36-50, there is the account of the woman who broke an alabaster box over Jesus' feet and washed and anointed Him with her tears. She was so grateful for the salvation and forgiveness the Lord had given to her. Simon, a Pharisee, was self-righteous and looked down upon this women, so Jesus told him an illustration to portray their spiritual condition:

Luke 7:40-43 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Those who have truly seen their sinful condition before God and have received His forgiveness will love the Lord in return and want others to know that same Saviour, have that same peace with God and forgiveness that they have personally experienced.

If you are filled with bitterness, angry and hateful towards others, unwilling to extend forgiveness to your enemies, perhaps you have never experience the love and forgiveness of God for yourself. It is still available - salvation and forgiveness is a gift, free for the taking. It is received through repentance (changing your mind about your sin and turning away from it in your heart) and faith (turning to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and receiving Him instead).

What the Lord has done in my life through His grace, He can do in yours. Do you know my Saviour?

Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

October 29th/06
Jerry Bouey

Saturday, October 21, 2006

David And Mephibosheth - 2 Samuel 9

A Picture Of The Kindness Of God Unto Fallen Man

Many of us are familiar with the basics of the story of David and what transpired before he became king. I would like to quickly sum up his story as the background for the message that I preached today at the Gospel Mission.

Saul was chosen as Israel's first king - but due to his rebellion against the Lord, he was told that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to a man after God's own heart. That man was David. Shortly after being anointed by the prophet Samuel, we find David fighting the giant Goliath and defeating him through faith in the Lord God. That victory earned him respect in the eyes of Jonathan, who possibly would have been the next in line to be king if Saul had not lost the kingdom. Instead of Jonathan being jealous of David, he stripped off his kingly robes and gave them to David. See 1 Samuel 18:1-4. A solid friendship started that would last years, even after Saul sought to kill David and David was forced to flee for his life. See 1 Samuel 23:16. While Jonathan was confirming his father's intentions toward his friend, knowing that if what David said was true, their houses would be perpetually at war with one another - he made a covenant with David to look out for the children of the other party if something should happen to one or the other. See 1 Samuel 20. Then in the course of time, Saul and some of his sons - including Jonathan - were slain in a battle with the Philistines.

It did not take long for the news of this loss to get back to the rest of the nation of Israel.

2 Samuel 4:4 And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

Here we see that Jonathan's son was lame because of a fall. He was living in exile, an enemy of the king. All his inheritance was lost - much like the Prodigal Son who lost all his inheritance through his sin, Mephibosheth lost his inheritance through the sin of Saul. Likewise, all of mankind has fallen into sin, through the rebellion of Adam and Eve - all of us are exiled, far from God, our inheritance lost and squandered.

2 Samuel 8:15 And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

2 Samuel 9:1-3 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.

Notice what is stated here: what David was about to do for Mephibosheth was a clear example of the kindness of God toward the lost sinner! David - which means "Beloved" - offers kindness to his enemy because of a covenant made with another, because of Jonathan's sake (remember this). Christ is referred to as the Beloved in the Song of Solomon, and He offers us the kindness of God because of the covenant He has made with His Father in Heaven.

2 Samuel 9:4-5 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.

King David sends for Mephibosheth, and he comes at the king's invitation. He received this invitation, though he expected the worst. Knowing that many kings in the surrounding nations often killed their rivals, he expected nothing but judgment...

And the same is true of us too: we are members of a rival kingdom - the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13) - serving a different king in opposition to the King of Kings, living in rebellion and exile, enemies of God (Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:12), deserving nothing but judgment and the King's wrath (Ephesians 2:2-3). Like Mephibosheth, we are poor, destitute, crippled - not worthy of the least of God's mercies...

2 Samuel 9:6a Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence.

Here we see Mephibosheth's fear. Another verse gives us his thoughts at this time:

2 Samuel 19:28 For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?

Jonathan's son, expecting to die, humbled himself before the king, and waited in fear for what was to come next...

But it wasn't what he expected at all!

2 Samuel 9:6b And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!

In my mind, I picture this scene as one of compassion, of love, of tenderness. David, perhaps in a voice laden with emotion, speaks: "Mephibosheth, look up. I have something to tell you..."

2 Samuel 9:7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.

How often do we hear these words of comfort repeated over and over in Scripture - when God wants to send a message or get someone's attention, often the first words spoken are, "Fear not." Knowing that we would be fearful, He takes the fear away.

There are three things mentioned in this verse:

1) I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake.

Mercy offered because of a covenant made with another! David tells him because of the covenant made with Jonathan, he is offering mercy and grace to Mephibosheth. Here is the second name defined in this study: Jonathan means "the gift of God." Because of the gift of God, He can extend His mercy and grace to us! Because of the New Testament (Covenant) made between the Father and the Son, through the gift of salvation - through the gift of the Saviour - the Lord God offers His mercy and grace to us. In the New Testament of our Bible, we see this covenant fulfilled through Christ's death on the cross for our sins, through His burial and His physical resurrection after three days - because of this covenant, Christ offers us the gift of eternal life and reconciliation to the King of Kings!

Notice this covenant did not depend upon the worth of the recipient, but upon God's grace - God's unmerited favour. That is good, because none of us could ever deserve it. This grace is offered to all who will receive it through faith.

2) I... will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father.

The inheritance that was lost through sin was now to be restored! Restored because of the gift of God - God's free grace to the lost. Here Mephibosheth is promised back all that he lost through the fall and the taking away of his kingdom.

2 Samuel 9:9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.

Likewise, through the gift of salvation, God promises to restore what was lost when we lived in rebellion to Him:

Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

Now through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are made joint-heirs with Christ, and have an inheritance in Him.

3) Thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.

Fellowship with the king! Freely granted to an undeserving man. The opportunity to eat at the king's table - sitting with royalty, fellowshipping with the king as a close friend. That is what God offers fallen man through the gift of His Son - fellowship with the King of Kings, fellowshipping at His table:

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Notice Mephibosheth's humble response:

2 Samuel 9:8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?

Who am I to deserve this great kindness? Who are we to deserve the kindness of God? Praise the Lord, it does not depend upon our worthiness, but upon His love!

But King David had one more thing he freely bestowed upon Mephibosheth:

4) 2 Samuel 9:11 As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.

Not only is Mephibosheth allowed to eat at my table, he is there as one of my sons! He was given the right to be there, because of the covenant made with another. King David took someone that was unworthy, and adopted him as one of his own sons. Even so, because of the New Testament that Christ has made, through faith in His shed blood and finished work upon the cross, we are given the right to be considered as one of God's sons too, to be adopted forever into the family of God!

Psalms 113:7-8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.

The King of Kings is reaching down to lift up all those who will place their faith in Him - lift them up to sit with royalty, in the family of God!

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Have you trusted in Christ alone to save you, have you received the Saviour, and His free gift of eternal life? If so, John 1:12 is true of you too. There are two main thoughts I want to bring out from that verse:

1) The reason this verse says "sons" is because it was the sons that received the firstborn rights, that received the inheritance. Though you may be a son or a daughter of man, through faith God considers you His son - He gives you the right of the firstborn inheritance. You are now a joint-heir with Christ, if you have truly received Him as your Saviour. See Romans 8:14-17. You have the rights - the privileges - as a son of God.

2) God also gives those that trust in Him the power to live as sons of God. Before we trusted in Him, we were enslaved to our old masters, sin and Satan, but now those chains have been broken and we are given the power to live as a child of God.

Adopted, a child of the King, all the rights and privileges of sonship (our inheritance in Christ). Not worthy in ourselves - but worthy because of the love of God! No matter our past, no matter our background, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's love makes you worthy to be a child of God!

2 Samuel 9:13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.

Our study ends with Mephibosheth dwelling in Jerusalem - the City of Peace. All true believers dwell forever in peace with God. It is interesting to note that in eternity we will also dwell in the New Jerusalem. See Revelation 21-22.

One final point worth mentioning: Mephibosheth means "Destroying Shame." And that is what this passage is all about - King David taking away the shame and reproach of his enemy and making him his son; likewise, the Lord Jesus Christ died upon the cross, bearing our shame and reproach, so that all who would receive Him and respond to His Gospel invitation would have their shame removed, and be raised up out of the dust and the dunghill and set with princes.

Have you received the Gospel call of our Beloved King? Have you received The Gift Of God? Lastly, has the Lord Destroyed your Shame and raised you up as His child and given you an inheritance fit for a king?

He longs to!

Preached and written October 21st/06
Jerry Bouey

You may also appreciate these excerpts by Spurgeon on this same passage:

Raised Up With Princes

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Lord Uses Clean Vessels

2 Timothy 2:19-22 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Do you want to be a vessel that the Lord can use? He uses vessels of gold and silver - vessels of honour - for His glory, they are set apart (sanctified) for special use. If you want to be used by the Lord, you need to be a clean vessel.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

I used to deal with severe depression, and in the worst of the battles I turned to drinking (which never helped); then when I wanted to be used by God, He could not use me until I became a clean vessel!

How do we become clean vessels, according to the Word of God?

1) Salvation cleanses us from our sinful past:

Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

For the believer:

2) How to cleanse your heart (be clean on the inside).

Confess that you have sinned against the Lord, and forsake (repent of) that sin.

Psalms 51:2-4 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Confess here means to agree with God about what He said regarding my sin. When I truly repent and acknowledge my sin to the Lord, He will forgive me and cleanse me from it.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

3) How to cleanse your conduct (be clean on the outside).

Study and apply the Word of God, memorize it, meditate on it.

Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Regardless of your past, cleansing is available. The Lord will only use clean vessels for His honour.

Are you a clean vessel?

Written/Preached October 3rd/06
Jerry Bouey

Here is a follow up: After I preached, one of the men from the Mission's recovery program went to the head of the program and told him that he wanted to be the kind of vessel that the Lord could use! That is awesome!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pharaoh's Four Proposals

Wow - September sure was one busy, hectic month for me! God was stirring up some things in my life and getting me to leave the nest I was in - so that I would be ready to move into the new sphere He wanted me to be a part of now. (See Deuteronomy 32:11-12) I am no longer working full-time at the hotel (though the door is still open for me to work shifts here and there), but am now working at the Gospel Mission where I have been preaching once (sometimes twice) a week for over 2 1/2 years, and have done several years of volunteer work on top of this.

I have been praying for ways to get more involved in the lives of the people there - and all of a sudden this job opportunity came up (the senior evening position in the Mission), and the job was basically dropped in my lap. Because of the work the Lord was doing in my heart prior to this point in time, I knew this was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be. A lot of things fell into place - including His peace like a blanket covering my heart and mind. I am finished with the full-time graveyards at the hotel, and am adapting to the days at the Mission now - though yesterday I just slept most of the day...

It will be 4 days on, and 4 days off (plus whatever odd shifts I might still get at the hotel - no set schedule there though). That will give me plenty of time to work on studies, my websites, my blogs, etc. and still work on my messages at the Mission. I was thinking that if I had to preach up to 4 days in a row that would mean I would have to shorten my messages and not have as much time as needed to develop them - but even will a full hectic week last week, the Lord still gave me two messages - the second one (this is the one below) actually went a little longer than planned, but it sure had everyone's attention! Praise the Lord for His grace - especially for this step into greater ministry opportunities, for a day job that will allow me more time to get involved in church soulwinning times (could not easily do that before with full-time graveyards), for being able to be around the people at the Mission throughout the week (not just on the day I was to preach), and for more opportunities to preach the Word of God (which gives me more experience in this area too - not just more opportunities to get the Word of God out to those in the Mission) - also, I am looking foward to being able to do more series and build upon prior messages (which I can easily do if I am preaching two to four days in a row).

My message today is what I preached on Sunday - the basic idea is not new to me, as someone has pointed out these four passages in a message I have read before (though theirs dealt with Satan trying to hinder us from being involved in our local church - attempting to hinder us from worshipping God in the manner and place He has designated - and using work as one of the main hindrances from assembling together with other believers). Using the same four passages as my springboard, I took it in another direction, aimed at presenting the Gospel to the lost at the Mission.

Pharaoh's Four Proposals

The other day I was reading through parts of Exodus and was reminded of what happened to the nation of Israel. During a world-wide famine, God led them to take refuge in Egypt, where He had already placed Joseph ahead of time. Because of the wisdom the Lord gave Joseph, he was able to protect the nation of Egypt, many surrounding areas, and even his own family, from the dire effects of the famine. With his family dwelling in Egypt, they began to grow mightily as a nation. As the years passed, the Egyptian Pharaohs put them into slavery, cruel bondage and hard labour - and the Israelites cried out to God to deliver them. In God's timing, He led Moses to go back to Egypt and lead His people out of their slavery to Egypt and bondage to the Pharaoh.

This is literal history, of which we can learn many lessons from - but one I want to most impress upon you today is how Egypt is often pictured in the Word of God as the world, and the Pharaoh as Satan. The lost are living in the world, enslaved to sin and Satan - and the Lord God wants to deliver them out from that bondage! In each of Pharaoh's four proposals (should we say, compromises) we see pictured the Devil's proposals to mankind.

The Lord commanded, "Let my people go." But the Devil had four proposals to offer instead:

1) Stay In Egypt.

Exodus 8:20, 25, 27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me... And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land... We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.

It was the Lord's will for the Israelites to completely leave Egypt - but Pharaoh had other plans. His first proposal was that they simply stay in the land. You don't need to go anywhere - you can stay in Egypt and live with us, be like us.

And here we can see one of the Devil's compromises to lost humanity: Stay in the world - don't go anywhere; stay here, live with us, be like us. Just dwell here in a world opposed to God, living according to its philosophies, and be just like the rest of the lost around you. Be an atheist - follow the philosophies of the world. Believe in evolution - that this whole world, and you yourself, just came here by chance. You don't really need to believe the God of the Bible. Just live for yourself and be one of us!

But that is not what God wants - that is not His plan for fallen mankind. God wanted them to completely leave Egypt, and the Devil's compromise would have them still living in the midst of a world that is against the True God...

2) Don't go too far away.

Exodus 8:28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.

Sure, you can go worship your God in the wilderness - just don't go too far away. Look there's a patch of wilderness over that hill, you can go seek your God there, or perhaps over there in that grove of trees. It's silly to head off into the great unknown when you can seek Him nearby.

The Egyptians had many gods - and the Pharaoh's second proposal was to merely add Jehovah - the God of the Israelites - to the gods of Egypt. One god is as good as another - oh, you want Jehovah? Okay, just add Him to all of our gods and we can worship all our gods together.

The Devil's second compromise: Don't be too radical; don't rock the boat. Okay, you want to be religious - but don't go teaching that your God is the true God and your way is the only way. The world's philosophy is that all religions are equal, all ways lead to Heaven - one religion is as good as another. The world's media is good at trying to give us this impression - many cults do this likewise - especially the New Age movement. But we also see glimpses of this in the ecumenical movement - where apostate Christendom is moving closer and closer to a one-world religion, as prophesied in the book of Revelation.

Have your own beliefs - have a mix of this and that - but don't get too hung up on that Book - that Bible that teaches that Jesus IS the ONLY way of salvation, the ONLY way to Heaven, the ONLY name that you can be saved by, the ONLY way to God the Father; that ONLY the Bible is true, that it is to be the SOLE authority for your faith and daily living, that God's Word is the ONLY guide for every area of your lives. That's going too far.

Be like the Hindus with their 300,000 million gods - just say a prayer and add Jesus to whatever else you want to believe in. Be like the Samaritans in 2 Kings 17, that added Jehovah to their pagan gods - have a mix of the "best" of all religions - they are all the same anyway.

But that is not what God's Word teaches - that is NOT the plan God set in motion. If any way was as good as another, if all ways led to Heaven, if we were all good enough to make it there on our own, Jesus would never have had to come from Heaven, shed His blood and die on the cross of Calvary...

3) The men can go.

Exodus 10:8-11 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.

At first it seems like Pharaoh was going to let the men leave with their children too - but we see from the context he was simply being sarcastic. His third diabolical proposal is this: The men can go, but leave your families - especially the children - behind! Let me control your homes, let me have your families - I don't care how religious the fathers get, as long as I can have the families! (P.S. that means the men will really never go too far, because that would mean leaving their families behind them.)

Here we see one of the Devil's greatest attempts at compromise - personally I think this is the worst of the lot! Men - the heads of the home - you can be religious, oh go ahead and get converted and get involved in some church - but leave me your families, especially your children! Because if I can control the home, I've got you.

Even if the fathers truly got saved, with Satan having his hand in the home - with the children being raised by the world's philosophies, being entertained by the world's music and the world's movies and the world's video games and following the world's heroes - he's still got control of their hearts and minds! The Devil says, "Go ahead and 'be spiritual', but leave your families behind - let me influence your wife by the fashions of the world, control your home by my philosophies, and I know you can't do anything to hinder my kingdom of darkness! Your home, your family, your children, will never amount to much... and will never be a hindrance to me or ever be used by God!"

Be a Sunday Christian - but don't let the Bible influence your home. Go to church and make business contacts - put on a outward show - but don't let it really affect your home. Just be religious - be religious when it is convenient, when it suits your purpose - but don't let it affect your personal, day by day, life.

Even this compromise is against God's plan for the home - His will is to train your children in the way they should go (ie. according to God's Word), to train them up in the ways of the Lord, to teach them God's plan of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross of Calvary - then to raise them to serve the Lord...

4) Leave your flocks behind.

Exodus 10:24-26 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.

Go ahead - get religious, but don't go all out. Sure, go into the wilderness, do whatever you want, pick and choose what you want to believe - but make sure you hold back on God. He wants you to leave Egypt - go ahead, but leave your flocks behind. There were two main problems with this proposal: 1) they would still have one foot in Egypt; 2) They were leaving the heart of their religion out!

You see, the flocks and herds were for their animal sacrifices. These were the God-ordained way for the Old Testament believer to deal with their sin. They would offer an animal sacrifice, shed its blood to cover their sin - these sacrifices were a picture of the coming Messiah, the Lamb of God, who would one day shed His blood and die on the cross for their sins. Satan didn't care how religious they got, as long as it was either just going through the motions, OR as long as the heart of their religion (faith in the Redeemer) was neglected or put aside. Without faith in the Saviour and His deliverance, they would still be living in Egypt, never to leave!

In the same way, the Devil doesn't care what religion, what philosophies, what path fallen mankind takes - as long as it is without the ONLY Saviour - as long as true faith in the Jesus of the Bible is neglected, he doesn't care what you do or what you believe - he still has you! Without the redemption that the Lord Jesus Christ provided by His finished work on the cross of Calvary, without believing in His death, burial, and literal physical resurrection on the third day, the heart has been taken out of your religion - it is NOT Biblical Christianity then - and as such, offers no real hope of salvation. Go ahead - believe Jesus was just a good man, but don't believe that that He is the Son of God (God manifest in the flesh) and that He died to personally save you! Believe what you want, but don't repent and trust in Christ ONLY for your redemption, for your hope in Heaven, for the gift of eternal life. Anything else is fine with the Devil.

But none of these compromises fit in with God's plan. He came to completely deliver fallen mankind from their bondage to Satan and the world, from their slavery to sin, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Shortly after this point in time, the last of the ten plagues was poured out on Egypt. This was the death of all the firstborn. The Israelites heeded God's Word, the lambs were slain, and the lambs' blood covered their doorposts - then that night when the angel of death passed through to slay the firstborn, the Israelites were saved from the wrath of God because of the blood - He saw the blood and passed over their houses. Then the nation of Israel completely left Egypt, going through the Red Sea that the Lord had parted. Once they were on the other side, the Sea closed in on the Egyptian army, killing their old master, Pharaoh, and making it so they could not go back to Egypt.

Likewise, when someone trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ's finished work of redemption, they are saved from the wrath of God because of Jesus' blood that was shed and applied to their hearts. They are delivered completely from their old master, Satan - his power over them is broken. Any sins that a believer commits is committed willingly, as God has broken the power of sin in their life, and Satan no longer has dominion over them. They are delivered from this present evil world, from the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of God's Son. It is a complete deliverance - God does not offer a salvation that has one foot in the world and one foot in Heaven, that has partial allegiance to Satan and partial allegiance to God - Jesus came to set us free from sin and Satan.

Romans 5:8-9 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Please also read the rest of this chapter to see how the Lord has delivered us from being the servants of sin.)

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Colossians 1:12-14 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you? Has He delivered you from your old master, Satan, and from his kingdom of darkness, from this present evil world and its philosophies?

Preached October 1st/06
Jerry Bouey

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Edited Well Of Living Waters

If you have already read my study A Well Of Living Waters and appreciated it, I would encourage you to read the last half, starting from Jeremiah 31:12 on. I rewrote it and added much more to it.

I wanted to further develop the contrast between the righteous drinking of the living waters and the wicked whose waters were drying up. When I was first working on the study, I noticed those passages (and listed the references), but was more focussed on the living waters flowing forth. However, now I have decided to dig a little deeper into this theme as well, and present these contrasts both together.

I hope this study is a blessing to you. If you are willing, please pray for the Lord to give me wisdom as I study His Word and put studies and messages together. I sure could use it and would really appreciate it.

It was pointed out to me that my message on John 3:16: The Gospel In A Nutshell did not mention the resurrection of Christ, therefore did not "present the complete Gospel." The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is something I preach on regularly. This message was based on the notes I put together for preaching at the Gospel Mission. I only have about 7-10 minutes to speak, so sometimes it is hard to go much further than I have stated. It was not a deliberate oversight, and it was something I probably did touch down briefly on (I say probably, because I normally do, but I do not remember all I said that day - except for what I had in my notes). Then I typed these notes up that night when I got home, adding a few more Scripture, but not developing it more. I attempted to clarify this point in #4 above - hopefully it is better now.

Thank you for your interest in this blog. May the Lord richly bless you.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Of How Much More Value Are We?

1) Sheep.

Matthew 12:11-12 And He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Many times in Scripture believers are compared to sheep, and many wonderful applications are made. Then Jesus states that we are so much better than a sheep! If men care for sheep, even so, God's love for us is so much greater! He will rescue us, seek and save us (see Luke 15:4-7; Matthew 18:11-14), have compassion on us (Matthew 10:36), and bring us into His fold (through faith in Christ - John 10:16).

Luke 12:31-32 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

2) Sparrows.

Matthew 6:25-26 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

God cares for all of His creation, but He considers us of so much more value than anything else on this earth. Several places in the New Testament and the Old Testament, God compares the believer to sparrows. As God knows the number of all the sparrows, and knows the number of hairs on each of our heads, so too He knows all about us, and cares for each of us.

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

God will not forget His children! They are of infinite value to Him!

The Lord meets the needs of all His birds, even so He will meet all your needs! (See Luke 12:24) Are you casting all your care on Him? He does care for you!

If you are saved, you will only be at home in the presence of God - despite whatever comforts and attractions the world may offer you. (See Psalm 84:1-4)

3) Lilies.

Luke 12:27-28 Consider the lilies how the grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Matthew 6:28-30 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

As our Heavenly Father clothes the flowers of the field, so He clothes His children. We need not fear or worry about our daily needs - we simply need to have complete confidence and trust in the Lord to provide them, and faith in the promises of God stored for us in His Word!

Like the other two comparisons above, God's children are also referred to as lilies in the Song Of Solomon. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lily of the Valleys, and we are as the Lily. (See Song of Solomon 2:1-2. Also see the comparison in Hosea 14:5)

Song of Solomon 2:16 My Beloved is mine, and I am His: He feedeth among the lilies. (Also see 6:2-3)

The Lord delights to fellowship with His children. Are you taking time out each morning to seek Him first? Are you seeking His righteousness and His will for your life each day?

Matthew 6 and Luke 12 are wonderful passages to read and meditate on - especially when you are fearful and fretting about your daily needs. Your Heavenly Father wants you to trust in Him and not be afraid. Go claim some promises today!

If you have never placed personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in His finished work on the cross of Calvary and received Him as your Saviour, then you cannot claim these wonderful promises until you do so. Please carefully read the following Gospel tract in order that you may clearly understand what the Bible teaches about how to be saved (according to the Bible): God's Simple Plan Of Salvation.

October 26th/04
Jerry Bouey

For a list of studies that use the Song of Solomon as the springboard:

Song Of Solomon

How Much Do You Value God's Word?

If we were honest, most of us would have to say that we don't value God's Word nearly as much as some of the believers living in Bible times, nor as much as those prophets (the holy men of God) whom He used to write His Word.

Do we value God's Word more than gold, silver, or riches?

Do we esteem God's Word more than our necessary food?

Do we rejoice in hearing the Word of the Lord, rejoice in hearing His voice speak to us through the pages of the sacred Scriptures?

Do we value God's Word as much as King David and the other Psalmists?

Psalms 19:7-10 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Like the Psalmist who penned Psalm 119, do you:

- hide God's Word in your heart (verse 9)

- believe it (verse 66)

- choose it (verse 173)

- keep it (verses 8, 17, 22, 33, 34, 44, 55-57, 60, 63, 67, 69, 88, 101, 106, 115, 129, 134, 145, 146, 167, 168)

- meditate on it (verses 78, 148)

- remember it (verses 16, 52, 55, 83, 93, 109, 141, 153, 176)

- long for it (verses 20, 40, 82, 123, 131, 174)

- delight in it (verses 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77, 92, 143, 174)

- rejoice in it (verses 111, 162)

- hope in it (verses 49, 74, 81, 114, 147)

- take comfort from it (verses 50, 52)

- yea, in fact love it (verses 48, 113, 119, 127, 140, 159, 163, 165, 167)?

Psalms 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

Psalms 119:30-32 I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto Thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart.

Psalms 119:54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

Psalms 119:97-100 O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts.

Psalms 119:103 How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Do we value God's Word as much as the Patriarch Job?

Job 23:11-12 My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

Do we value God's Word as much as the Prophet Jeremiah?

Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

Do we value God's Word as much as King Solomon (the New Testament church/believers are pictured in the inspired song he wrote), John the Baptist and all those that truly know Jesus' voice?

Song of Solomon 2:8-10 The voice of my Beloved! behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My Beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, He standeth behind our wall, He looketh forth at the windows, shewing Himself through the lattice. My Beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away.

Do we leave the hustle and bustle of this busy world behind and spend time with the Lord, listening to His voice speaking to us through the Word of God? Is His voice (His Word) precious to us?

John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

John 10:3-5, 27 To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:

Do we value God's Word as much as the Gospel writers and Jesus in His temptations?

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Do we value God's Word as much as the Apostle Peter?

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

God's Word contains in it all that we need for our spiritual life. It is to be our counsel, our comfort, our hope, our spiritual food, our song, our delight, our nourishment for daily growth. Is it yours?

God wants you to hear His voice through the Scriptures.

Are you listening?

How much do you value God's Word?

Written September 18th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

While the above study looked at how much we valued God's voice - His Word - the following study gives the opposite side of the coin - How much does God value hearing our voice?

Arise, And Come Away

For a list of studies that use the Song of Solomon as the springboard:

Song Of Solomon

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

His Banner Over Me Was Love

Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

If you ever went to Sunday School as a youngster, you have probably heard the little children's song based upon the above verse. Though I did not grow up in a Christian home, and I do not believe I went to any sound churches as a child (four years attending Sunday School in a Pentecostal church - I do not ever remember hearing the Gospel from them), I still had some exposure to songs such as this that were based on verses from the Bible or from Bible stories. I praise the Lord for this song and John 3:16 - because even as a lost youngster, I learned the truth that God was love, and that He loved me - and later as an adult, this fact was always in the back of my mind when I thought about God. I knew He cared about me in my darkest times.

Though many of us may have sung that song or read that verse, did we really know what it meant? Yes, the Lord has covered His children with His love, but what is a banner, and what are we rallying under as Christians?

A banner is a flag, a standard. In this case, God's Word says His flag over us is love. The flag the believer is to rally around is love! Not some ecumenical, lovey-dovey, wishy-washy, anything goes love - but love according to the Word of God: love for God first, then love for others. (See Matthew 22:37-40)

The banner the Lord has placed over us is love - is your life, your daily conduct, your attitude towards others, a reflection of that love?

After the tabernacle was completed, the Lord gathered the nation of Israel and divided them into their individual tribes, each tribe having its own standard. The order they were to march was designated by God Himself.

Numbers 2:2 Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines a standard as: "An ensign of war; a staff with a flag or colors. The troops repair to their standard." Ensign means: "The flag or banner of a military band; a banner of colors; a standard; a figured cloth or piece of silk, attached to a staff, and usually with figures, colors or arms thereon, borne by an officer at the head of a company, troop or other band." Repair means: "To go to; to betake one's self; to resort; as, to repair to a sanctuary for safety."

The Defined King James Bible defines ensign as: "Flag, banner, or standard, esp. a military one raised high as a rallying point."

From the above definitions, we can see that the standard was the flag each tribe (each division in the army comprising the nation of Israel) gathered around - it was what they resorted to as a sanctuary, a place of safety. Each standard had its own distinct figure or color. This flag was also what they marched under - the standard they raised, representing their position in the army.

Numbers 2:3 And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be captain of the children of Judah.

The first standard we see listed in the Word of God is the standard of the tribe of Judah. From what I have read, the standard for the tribe of Judah was the lion. I have not been able to confirm that Scripturally - BUT we do know that the tribe the Messiah was to come from was the tribe of Judah, and this belief (in the coming Messiah) they were rallying under as a nation. And Jesus Christ, the Messiah foretold in the Word of God, did come in the fulness of time - and one day He is coming back again to reign: He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Genesis 49:8-10 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Revelation 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Are you rallying under the Lord Jesus Christ? Is the Lion of the tribe of Judah the banner you are holding high? Is He the ensign you are seeking and gathering around?

Look again at Numbers 2:2 Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house...

Every tribe, every family, was to be rallied under the banner representing their father's house. Are you gathered together with the house of God, representing your Heavenly Father's house? (See 1 Timothy 3:15 and Ephesians 3:14-15) Does the world (and even your enemies) clearly know which army you represent? Is it obvious to others that you have rallied under the banner of the cross?

Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

Right about now I think it would be prudent to restate part of the definition of standard: "an ensign of war." Too often we forget that we are in a war - we entered into a spiritual battleground the moment we got saved! When we gather around the banner of the cross, we are declaring battle on falsehood, on false religion, on unrighteousness; we are declaring war on the world, the flesh, and the Devil. I think we as believers get sidetracked and even sideswiped by the Devil because we forget this fact! We forget there is a war going on - and we get a bit of shrapnel first - then we wake up! Then we put on the whole armour of God.

In the army of the Lord, we are fighting this old world by being salt and light in the midst of it (see Matthew 5:13-15 and Philippians 2:14:16) - creating a thirst, preserving our society and families, shining the light of the Word of God, exposing sin and error.

Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

In this world, we are one of the main ways the Lord uses to hold back sin (through living righteously and having an influence on our society and those we come in contact with, and by our petitions for the lost around us) - once the true church is raptured out, there will be such chaos that this world has never seen when evil is no longer held back like it has been (see 2 Thessalonians 2:7 and Genesis 6:3). Until then, the Lord has lifted US up to be a standard against the evil around us.

Isaiah 11:11-12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Isaiah 49:22-23 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

As a declaration to the nation of Israel, God has promised them that He would use the Gentiles to bring them back to their own land, and that He would set up a standard to the people. As a general application, are you rallying behind the nation of Israel? Too much of the world is opposed to them and more and more nations are fighting against them (whether physically or through the media). YET, we know the Lord has promised them the land of Palestine forever, and one day Jesus will come back and reign from Jerusalem. Are we gathering around the standard of the nation of Israel - or are we just letting them fight against this ungodly world alone? (This is not an endorsement of all that the nation of Israel has done, but it is an acceptation of God's promises which will one day be fulfilled.) His promise to bless those that bless the nation of Israel is still in His Word! Likewise also His promise to curse those who curse them!

Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Does the world know where you stand in relation to the nation of Israel and to their Promised Land?

Zechariah 9:16 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

Isaiah 62:6-7, 10-12 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth... Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

Are you lifting up a standard for the nation of Israel? I admit, I have not protested the iniquity against them as much as I should have in the past - but the more injustice, lies and slander I see in the media, the more I cry out and stand against their enemies!

Isaiah 62:10 is interesting: Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.

Just as those Isaiah was prophesying about were to prepare the way of the people, even so we too should be preparing the way for others to hear the Gospel.

Isaiah 40:3-4 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ's first coming - his preaching of the Gospel prepared the hearts of the nation of Israel for the reception of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. In some ways our task is similar: we are to make straight paths toward those who the Lord places in our way, so that they can hear and receive the Gospel of Christ. We should cast up (ie. build up) the highway of holiness, gather out the stones (the stumbling blocks - whatever is hindering the preaching or reception of the Gospel), and lift up a standard for the people to rally around. We should lift up Jesus Christ before the eyes of our friends, families, and neighbours.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

John 3:14-15 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Jesus had to be lifted up on the cross (ie. crucified) in order to draw all men unto Himself. Now we are to lift Him up (ie. exalt Him through our witness). As we do so, we are lifting up high the Gospel standard, and causing others to see it.

Galatians 3:1b ...before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you.

Webster's defines a standard-bearer as: "An officer of an army, company or troop, that bears a standard."

What standard are you bearing? What standard does your church rally under? What standard do you and your family rally under? Is it the Word of God? Too many throughout history have rallied behind a man, or a denomination - and when that man or denomination has contradicted the Word of God, they often took a stand for that man or denomination and against God's Word. Is your standard the Word of God? I am a Baptist by conviction because I believe that denomination is the closest historically to what the New Testament teaches a church should should be like (ie. in beliefs, practices, ordinances, etc.). If my local church ever stood against the Word of God, I would leave it and search for another faithful congregation that sought to teach and follow the Bible. My standard is the Word of God, and my Baptist church only inasmuch as it follows that standard. How about you?

Let's even make it more specific: do you rally under God's preserved Word - a Bible that you can hold in your hands today? Do you rally under the King James Bible, based on the preserved Hebrew Masoretic Text, and the Greek Textus Receptus? It is the only Bible in English today that is based solely on these texts - all other modern versions are based only partly on them and, are in fact, mostly based on other manuscripts that were edited or put together by heretics and unbelievers. Which Bible is your standard - your sole (or should that be "soul") authority?

Psalm 20:5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

Psalm 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

I love the words to Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus (I encourage you to read all the stanzas to this hymn - though this link has slightly different lyrics than I am used to):

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Are you lifting up the cross of Christ? Are you rallying around the Gospel banner? Are you gathered in your Father's house where the standard is the Word of God? Lastly, is love the banner you are serving under?

August 30th/06
Jerry Bouey

For a list of studies that use the Song of Solomon as the springboard:

Song Of Solomon

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Genesis Series

Table Of Contents:
(List of all studies in this blog based on passages in Genesis)

References To Genesis In The Book Of Job

Genesis 1:1 & The Trinity - Chapter 1

Three Avenues Of Temptation - Chapter 3

A Picture In Genesis Five - Chapter 5

Genesis: God's Sovereignty - 6:19

Genesis: God Remembered - various passages

Genesis: Claiming The Promises - 13:14-17

Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part One - 15:1

Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part Two

Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part Three

Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part Four

Genesis 15 - Thy Shield

Genesis 15 - Thy Exceeding Great Reward

Wrestling Until The Day Break - 32:24

When Life Doesn't Go As You Planned (Character Study on Joseph) Chapters 37-41, and 50

But God... - 39:20-21

Jesus, The Sinner's Surety - Chapters 43-44

Other Studies of mine based on Genesis:
(Not posted in this blog, but are located on Eagle's Wings Ministries)

The Story Of Three Gardens: The Garden Of Eden - Chapter 3
And I Will Give You Rest (The Rest Of Salvation) - Chapters 5-8
Abraham Offering Isaac - Chapter 22
Lessons From The Life Of Jacob: Jacob, The Plain Man - Chapter 25

Song Of Solomon Series

Table Of Contents:

Draw Me And We Will Run After Thee - 1:4 - The Lord must draw us to Himself first - both for salvation and for fellowship.

Beside The Shepherds' Tents - 1:7-8 - Do you fellowship where God's flock gathers, and is your shepherd one after God's own heart?

Lessons In The Valleys: The Lily Of The Valleys - 2:1-2 - Jesus is with us in all the valleys of life.

Of How Much More Value Are We? - 2:1-2, 16 - How much does God value His children?

Shadows And Wings - 2:3 - What does it mean to live under God's shadow, under the shelter of His wings?

His Banner Over Me Was Love - 2:4 - What banner are you rallying under?

How Much Do You Value God's Word? - 2:8-10 - Is hearing God's voice important to you?

Arise, And Come Away - 2:13-17 - The Lord is calling you away from the hustle and bustle of this world to have fellowship with Him.

The Shadows Flee Away - 2:17 and 4:6 - A look at the theme of God being our light and the darkness passing away.

Wrestling Until The Day Break - 2:17 and 4:6 - What are we wrestling against, and how long will this wrestling go on?

A Well Of Living Waters - 4:12, 15 - Is living water flowing out from you to others?

List of my other Studies or Poems based on passages from the Song of Solomon, but not posted in this blog:


Is Your Armour On? - 5:1-6:3 - Are you neglecting part of your armour, and how will that affect your daily walk and fellowship with the Lord?


The Shadows Flee Away - One day the trials will be over.

The Valleys Of Life - The various trials we go through as believers.

He Gathers His Lilies - When the Lord takes His children home.

The Valley Of Faith - Oh the savour of His name!

A Well Of Living Waters

Song of Solomon 4:15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

In the verse just quoted, Solomon (picturing Jesus) stated that the believer is like a fountain... like streams... like a well of living waters. What exactly does this mean? If we go to the New Testament book of John, we will see two passages that reveal the meaning of this and other similar Old Testament references:

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Salvation through faith in Christ, everlasting life - a well of water springing up from the believer's soul. When we place our complete confidence in Christ, our faith in Him alone for salvation, He quenches that thirst deep inside us that only He could ever fill. This thirst to know the True and Living God will be quenched when we come to the Saviour and receive Him through repentance and faith. According to John 4:14, the true believer will NEVER thirst again in the way they did before coming to Jesus Christ. The word used in the Greek for never is a double emphatic, and means "No Never!" "The Lord Jesus Christ is saying that when we come to Him for salvation, He will completely fill that void inside us and we will never, ever thirst again!" He is THE Fountain of Living Waters.

But the phrase is also used in reference to the well of water flowing up within the believer himself - ie. spiritual water flowing within and out of the believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in fellowship with his Lord:

John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Lord Jesus Christ promised here that the Holy Spirit - who would indwell all believers after Christ resurrected from the dead and ascended into Heaven - would give power to the life that is submitted to Him. He would create a spiritual fountain within each child of God that not only would quench their own thirst but would be able to flow out to others - a source of life and refreshment.

Barnes makes the following comment on rivers in verse 38: "This word is used to express abundance, or a full supply. It means here that those who are Christians shall diffuse large, and liberal, and constant blessings on their fellow-men; or, as Jesus immediately explains it, that they shall be the instruments by which the Holy Spirit shall be poured down on the world."

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown say this about rivers of living water: "It refers primarily to the copiousness, but indirectly also to the diffusiveness, of this living water to the good of others." Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines copious as: "Abundant; plentiful; in great quantities; full; ample; furnishing full supplies"; and diffuse as: "To spread; to send out or extend in all directions; to disperse."

Living water is flowing water. If you look at the Hebrew words underlying the phrase "running water" (in Leviticus 14:5-6; 50-52; 15:13 and Numbers 19:17), you will notice that it means "living water"; ie. water that is always flowing, running freely, springing or gushing up, not stopped up or stagnant. Consider the Dead Sea - water is continually flowing into that Sea, but nothing ever flows out, and there is no life in that Sea!

The Lord wants the water of His Holy Spirit to be flowing through us daily as we serve Him! To be filled with His Spirit means to be controlled or influenced by Him, to be guided by His Word and led by His Spirit in our lives. When we are not quick to obey His prompting, we grieve or quench His work in us and through us and we become like a garden inclosed... a spring shut up, a fountain sealed (see Song of Solomon 4:12 - Is Your Armour On?), where the water is not flowing forth, but is drying up.

John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

I find it interesting that Jesus referred to the Old Testament Scriptures as testifying to what He was proclaiming on that great feast day. What may seem a little confusing is the fact that Jesus is not quoting one specific passage, but making a general summation. When we start to dig into the Old Testament a little further, we will find that this theme of living water (and other related terms) runs throughout various books.

As we have seen from the opening verse in this study, the Song of Solomon refers to a well of living waters. There are also various references throughout other OT books, but especially the book of Isaiah.

I remember going through a "dry period" last fall, after I came back from my Mom's memorial, I felt so drained spiritually, so dry inside - but I made a choice to keep my focus on the Lord and I can remember crying out to Him and pleading with Him to quench that thirst inside, that dryness that situations in my life had just made almost unbearable. Then I picked up my Bible and started reading the very next chapter from where I was currently reading, and came across these verses in answer to my prayer:

Isaiah 41:17-18 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

It was not a coincidence that the Holy Spirit led me to keep reading! As I meditated on what was presented in that passage, the thirst was quenched when I realized that the Lord was with me and still fulfilling His promises in His Word. He quenched that thirst by reminding me that my complete fulfillment and satisfaction in life was found only in Him. In our time of sweet fellowship, my Heavenly Father made my wilderness into a pool of water - He made a fountain in the midst of the valley of Baca (weeping) I was going through. Praise Him for His gentleness and compassion on this poor and needy soul - praise Him for providing that spiritual water when my soul was seeking it! Though I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me! (See Psalm 40:17)

Webster's gives this as one of his definitions of spring: "A source; that from which supplies are drawn. The real Christian has in his own breast a perpetual and inexhaustible spring of joy."

These spiritual fountains, springs, wells, watered gardens, etc. all picture the satisfaction we have when we are walking with Christ: joy, peace of mind, contentment, comfort, rest, refreshment.

Family Bible Notes states this in regards to John 4:13: "Earthly blessings, however numerous and great, cannot satisfy the desires of men. But the blessings of the Holy Spirit, which Christ gives to those who ask him, furnish and secure to them satisfying and eternal joys."

In commenting on John 4:13-14, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown make the following observations: "The contrast here is fundamental and all comprehensive. 'This water' plainly means 'this natural water and all satisfactions of a like earthly and perishable nature.' Coming to us from without, and reaching only the superficial parts of our nature, they are soon spent, and need to be anew supplied as much as if we had never experienced them before, while the deeper wants of our being are not reached by them at all; whereas the 'water' that Christ gives -- spiritual life -- is struck out of the very depths of our being, making the soul not a cistern, for holding water poured into it from without, but a fountain... springing, gushing, bubbling up and flowing forth within us, ever fresh, ever living. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Christ is the secret of this life with all its enduring energies and satisfactions, as is expressly said (John 7:37-39). 'Never thirsting,' then, means simply that such souls have the supplies at home."

Since then I have noticed other passages on the same theme. I will not quote the various references to Moses striking the rock and water flowing forth, though obviously that was a type of the fountains of living waters that would flow forth from believers (they are also a type of Christ - see The Rock Of Horeb).

Psalm 107:35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.

Isaiah 12:2-3 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Isaiah 35:5-7 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 43:19-20 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

Isaiah 44:3-4 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Jeremiah 31:12, 14 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.

In verse 14, we see that the Lord will satisfy His people with Himself, with His goodness. The Hebrew word used here for satiate means: "to slake the thirst." Our Heavenly Father promises to slake His people's thirst - He will completely fill that spiritual thirst inside our souls with Himself!

Genesis 2:8-10 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

Just like a river went out of Eden (which means "Delight") to water the Garden that God had planted, even so those who walk in right fellowship with the Lord will spiritually be as a watered garden, with rivers of living water flowing within and out of them to others. In the passage above, we see the first reference in the Bible to a river and to the Garden of Delight it watered - this river was the source of the fruitfulness of the garden. Is your garden well-watered? Is it producing much fruit for the Lord?

As the Garden of Eden was created to be a paradise for man to delight in as he walked in fellowship with the Lord, having all his needs and (godly) desires met - all our delight is to be in the Lord, and He will meet all our needs! When we delight ourselves in Him first and foremost, our desires are fulfilled and satisfied, because they will be the desires He Himself gave us, and they will be according to His will. (See Proverbs 37:3-6)

There is an interesting contrast presented in the following passages - obviously it goes beyond their physical condition and also deals with their spiritual condition:

Isaiah 48:21-22 And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out. There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.

Those believers walking with the Lord Jesus Christ are no longer thirsting. They have drunk of the living waters of salvation, and Christ is fulfilling and satisfying their souls with His peace, joy, etc. However, the lost cannot find this peace - because they are trying to do so without the Prince of Peace! No peace with God will leave men with no peace within their hearts and minds.

Isaiah 57:18-21 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

Without peace with God and the rivers of living water flowing within, mankind is left as a troubled sea. The difference is profound: springs of living water that are flowing are not clogged with mire and dirt, but are flowing, running freely, unhindered and refreshing - however, a life that is filled with sin and rebellion is like a sea that has no rest, but is continually tossing and turning, churning within, continually casting up the muck and mire of sin, leaving the sinner without inward peace or spiritual rest.

Consider the following passages in regards to backsliders or those walking in rebellion to the Lord - when men are not right with God, they cannot find lasting satisfaction, their waters dry up, and they are left dry, barren, lifeless, empty.

Isaiah 1:30 For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.

Psalm 107:33-34 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

Isaiah 42:15 I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.

Notice the following passage is not spoken of in the past tense (though it is an indirect reference to the first plague of Egypt, it obviously goes far beyond that) - but as something God will still do:

Isaiah 50:2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst.

Hosea 2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.

Hosea 13:15 Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.

The Scriptures give us a choice: abundant life in Christ or a dry, barren, empty life without Him as our Saviour. (See John 10:10) Are you drinking water from the Rock, satisfying yourself with the fountains of living waters that are found in the Saviour and in the victorious life He provides as you walk in fellowship with Him? Is the well springing up in your life?

Numbers 21:16-18 And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it: The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah.

Hm, this last passage is interesting! I would say it is a type. The people dug the well according to the direction of God's Word, and the water sprung up. Then they went to Mattanah - which means: "a present; specifically (in a good sense), a sacrificial offering." When the Lord has satisfied the longings in your heart and soul, do you give yourself back to Him as a sacrificial offering, a living sacrifice? (See Romans 12:1)

Psalms 36:8-9 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

August 29th/06 (Edited September 7th/06)
Jerry Bouey

For a list of studies that use the Song of Solomon as the springboard:

Song Of Solomon