Sunday, April 22, 2007

My Hiding Place (Psalm 32)

Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble;
Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalm 32:7

Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy word.
Psalm 119:114

And a Man shall be as an hiding place from the wind,
and a covert from the tempest;
as rivers of water in a dry place,
as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Isaiah 32:2

This last verse was spoken in reference to Jesus Christ during His Millenial reign; however, what will be true of Him then, is also true of Him now: He is our refuge, our covert from the tempest, our hiding place. Is He your hiding place?

Psalm 32 contains the word maschil in its title. This word simply means “instructive”, and is one way for the Lord to highlight certain portions of His Word to us. Like Jesus stating “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear”, to emphasize certain things He was saying, even so, King David here says that this is an instructive Psalm. Pay attention – there is much wisdom we can glean from this chapter to apply to our lives.

What is Jesus our hiding place from?

From Fear.

- In service.
Proverbs 19:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
- When facing death.
Proverbs 14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death. The word for “hope” here means “to flee for protection, confide in, to have hope, make refuge, put trust.”

From Enemies.
Psalm 143:9 Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto Thee to hide me.
Jeremiah 36:26 But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.

From Sin and Temptation.
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

From Trouble.
Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.
Psalm 91:1-2 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.
Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Psalm 66:12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

Who can enter this hiding place?

"David does not say, 'Thou art a hiding place' merely, as one among many; or the 'hiding place,' as the only one; but, 'Thou art my hiding place.' There lies all the excellency of the text. 'He is mine; I have embraced the offer of his salvation,' says David; 'I have applied to him in my own person: I have, as a sinner, taken shelter in his love and compassion; I have placed myself under his wings; I have covered myself with the robe of his righteousness; and now, therefore, I am safe.'

"Suppose a traveller upon a bleak and exposed heath to be alarmed by the approach of a storm. He looks out for shelter. But if his eye discern a place to hide him from the storm, does he stand still and say, 'I see there is a shelter, and therefore I may remain where I am'? Does he not betake himself to it? Does he not run, in order to escape the stormy wind and tempest? It was a 'hiding place' before; but it was his hiding place only when he ran into it, and was safe. Had he not gone into it, though it might have been a protection to a thousand other travellers who resorted there, to him it would have been as if no such place existed. Who does not see at once, from this simple illustration, that the blessings of the gospel are such only in their being appropriated to the soul? The physician can cure only by being applied to; the medicine can heal only by being taken; money can enrich only by being possessed; and the merchantman in the parable would have been none the wealthier for discovering that there was a 'pearl of great price,' had he not made it his. So with the salvation of the gospel: if Christ is the 'Balm in Gilead,' apply the remedy; if he is the 'physician there,' go to him; if he is the 'pearl of great price,' sell all that you have and buy it; and if he is the 'hiding place,' run into it and be safe; there will be no solid joy and peace in the mind until he is your 'hiding place.'" (Fountain Elwin, 1842. Taken from The Treasury Of David)

1) Notice the first two verses of Psalm 32: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

The foundation of all our spiritual blessings is our salvation in Jesus Christ. When we turn to Him in repentance and faith, believing in His death as the payment for our sins, His burial and literal, physical resurrection, He saves us. He wipes the slate clean of the record of our sins. They are no longer credited to our account, but, instead, we have imputed (credited) to us His perfect righteousness.

This hiding place is for those whose sins are forgiven – God’s children, those who are born-again. Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. There is a popular saying that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Even so, the lightning of God’s wrath will never strike twice. Two thousand years ago, God the Father placed His wrath for sin upon His Son, Jesus Christ, as He bore our sins upon the cross. If we receive Jesus’ gift of salvation and the forgiveness of sins, accepting His complete payment for our sins, through faith, we will be placed in Jesus Christ. The lightning of God’s wrath will never strike us – it has already struck our Substitute! Divine wrath will never strike the same place twice! Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Salvation in Jesus Christ is not presented as a forbidding fortress, but as a strong tower. There is no closed drawbridge, or iron portcullis waiting to slam down on the unwary, but our Lord is an inviting tower that locks out the enemies, protects from the storms and all other danger. He is the only true place of safety in this world!

2) Psalm 32:3-5 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Those who maintain their fellowship with the Lord and who confess and forsake their sins will find Jesus is the perfect hiding place. Don’t let sin bar your way to this refuge! When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, His blood cleanses us from all sins and wipes out the record of our iniquities. Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

3) Psalm 32:6-7, 11 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Who can enter this hiding place? The godly (righteous) can enter this refuge through prayer. As we draw close to our Heavenly Father through heartfelt prayer, we enter this hiding place. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. If you are unsaved and still feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repent now – before it is too late - and turn from your sins. Accept the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the free gift of salvation He offers. Let Him be your hiding place for all eternity!

4) Psalms 32:8-9 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

Who else can enter this hiding place? Those who listen to God’s Word, who heed it, and let it guide their conduct. Let the Lord instruct and guide you day by day, and when the storms of life come, you will find yourself safely in the center of His will and held securely in the hollow of His hand!

5) Psalms 32:10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

Lastly, there is one final person that this passage teaches can enter this hiding place: those who trust in the Lord. My friend, are you trusting in the Lord? Are you leaning on Him, and letting Him be your all-in-all? Why not trust in Jesus with all your heart, and you will find He is the only refuge worth hiding in! All others will fail time and again, but Jesus never will!

No doubt about it, storms will come. Let Him be your hiding place.

My Hiding Place

Lord, You are my hiding place, standing strong and sure,
My refuge in the storms of life, a fortress that will endure.

Lord, You are my hiding place through life's stormy gale;
You are my fount of grace when my strength begins to fail.

You are my hiding place though enemies surround;
You fill my heart with Your peace - peace that always abounds.

When my sins come back to haunt me and I need a hiding place,
You shelter me under Your wings, and remove all of sin’s trace.

Lord, You are my hiding place – whom shall I fear?
Why should my soul be cast down when You are always near?

You are my hiding place - You took in this lonely waif -
In Jesus, I know I am secure, I know I'm forever safe.

When the tempests come - their winds and waves crash over me,
You are my hiding place - the only place I long to be.

Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble;
Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalm 32:7

Is Jesus Your Hiding Place?

Poem written December 25th, 2002
Study written January 28th, 2003
By Jerry Bouey

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

The Lord Thinketh Upon Me

(Psalm 139:13-18)

King David was awed and overwhelmed by the knowledge that God knew all that was in his life, in his thoughts, in his heart, and in all his tomorrows. This is what he said:

Psalms 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

The fact that His Heavenly Father cared for Him was wonderful to him - as it should be to all God's children!

Psalms 139:13 For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

Reins are what drive us - our minds, wills, personalities. According to this passage, the Lord not only created us, He created what makes each of us unique, including our personalities.

I remember as a younger Christian, I used to get discouraged because I was serious-minded most of the time, when I laughed it was something fleeting. I had so many people tell me I needed to be more lighthearted, more easy-going - I couldn't change my personality, my inward being, to suit them - and I was made to feel like my personality was wrong. But then a kind Christian woman showed me this passage, and just as God's Word teaches that He made us as we are (height, physical appearance, and traits such as hair and eye color, etc.) - so too He made my basic personality (not referring to sinful characteristics, but to general manner). When I realized this, it took a load off of me. I realized I could be satisfied with the way my Heavenly Father made me. How about you - have you accepted the way God made you?

Psalms 139:14 I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Jeremiah 1:5a Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.

Job 10:9-13 Remember, I beseech Thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt Thou bring me into dust again? Hast Thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast Thou hid in Thine heart: I know that this is with Thee.

Like a Potter, the Lord God fashioned each of us, like vessels of clay. Notice the last verse above: And these things hast Thou hid in Thine heart. The work He has done in creating us was important to Him.

Psalms 139:15 My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

God made Adam out of the dust of the ground, and each of us is fashioned out of that same dust (earth) in the wombs of our mothers, away from the prying eyes of man - but always developing under God's watchful care.

In verse 16, it says, Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Notice it says "unperfect", not imperfect. Unperfect means "incomplete, or not complete (yet)". God knew all about us before He even began to create us. When we were yet unformed in the womb, the Potter knew exactly what the finished vessel (product) would look like - and He had everything about us already written down in a book in Heaven, before He began to develop and form us.

It is an interesting study to look at the other books that God keeps His records in Heaven: the Book of Life (or the Living) in Psalms 69:28; the Books of our Works with which the lost will be judged by in Revelation 20:13; the Book of Remembrance in Malachi 3:16; the Book of Tears:

Psalm 56:8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?

Psalms 40:5, 17 Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

The Lord's thoughts are continually toward His creation. He didn't just create this world and then walk away from it - He is actively involved in the lives of His creatures.

Why did God create man?

Revelations 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.

He created mankind so we could bring Him pleasure. He created us for fellowship and to reciprocate His love. But He did not want to make robots - He wanted to give us a free-will, so we could freely reject Him or freely love Him in return. Unfortunately, with that choice, mankind could and did choose to rebel against his Creator.

BUT knowing that man would rebel, the Lord God planned His way of salvation before He even created the world - a plan that all three members of the Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) would be actively involved in (just as all three members were involved in the creation of the Heaven and the earth).

Revelation 13:8 refers to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." This plan was so sure in the heart of God, that He considered it as good as done - just awaiting His perfect timing to bring it into effect.

The book of Revelation (17:8) also refers to believers (the saved, those who have repented of their sins and received the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ) as those who have their names "written in the (Lamb's) Book of Life from the foundation of the world." (See also 13:8; 20:15; 21:27)

Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

2 Timothy 2:19 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.

Psalms 139:17-18 How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee.

God created each of us for a purpose - have you received His gift of salvation? Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, believing that He shed His blood and died for your sins upon the cross (paying the complete penalty that our sins deserved), that He was buried and rose again three days later? If you have done so, are you walking in fellowship with your Saviour now?

You are important to the Heavenly Potter, to the Creator, and He is continually thinking about all those He created. Are God's thoughts important to you?

Remember, the Lord thinketh upon you!

Written and preached June 25th/05
Jerry Bouey

For the study preached the day before:
All Our Tomorrows (Psalm 139:1-12)

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

All Our Tomorrows

(Psalm 139:1-12)

Some of the most interesting things to learn from the Bible are the attributes of God. The more we realize who He is, what He is like, what He can do in the lives of His children, the more we can learn to trust Him in our day to day lives.

God's Word teaches that God is a Trinity, one God made up of three Persons. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - all are equal and have the same attributes. Some of them are: God is eternal - He has no beginning nor end. He is Omnipotent (all-powerful). God has the power to calm the storms and raise the dead; create the world or save a soul. Just as all three members of the Trinity were involved in the creation of the Heaven and the earth, so too all three are involved in the new creation (the salvation of sinners). God is omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time). And God is also omniscient (all-knowing). He knows everything there is to know about His creation - past, present, and future - all our inward thoughts, all our actions, all our needs and desires. He also knows those who trust Him for salvation.

Psalms 139:1-6 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

We need never fear that He cannot understand us - He knows all that goes on in our minds and in our hearts. He can sympathize with us.

Psalms 139:7-8 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

There is nowhere we can go to that God is not there.

Psalms 139:9-10 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

The wings of the morning - all is dark until the sun's rays come over the horizon, at the speed of light the horizon brightens. If we could move to the farthest shore of the farthest sea in that same instant of time, even still God is already there!

God is already in all our tomorrows, and He is working out His perfect plan in His children's lives. An example in my sister's life illustrates this in a very real way.

Several weeks ago, my sister came up to Kelowna where I live. She was here for about two days, and then left to go back to my Mom's house (where she was staying). Just before she left, I felt led of the Lord to give her $60, which I did. She had $100 of her own. On the way back, she needed to get some gas for her van. She went in to pre-pay $50 (which means it would shut off before or at that amount). After starting pumping, she went in to buy some subs for her family. For some reason, the clerk did not program the gas pump for the $50. While my sister was in the store, her oldest son decided he would be helpful and switch the gas to another tank - unfortunately he was gripping the nozzle the whole time, with gas spewing everywhere. In his panic, he did not let go of the pump handle. When my sister came out and realized what had happened, there was $100 worth of gas pumped with probably half of it on the ground. My sister was now down to $40 and some spare change (after purchasing the subs).

She gets to our Mom's place and realizes that one of her tires is leaking. She goes to a gas station to fill it up and just hears the air hissing out. She pays the station $25 to fix her tire, and the tire blows up while they are repairing it!

They tell her she needs a new tire and roll one out that they were selling for $75. She stated that she cannot afford to pay that amount. They said they would subtract the $25 already paid, and she would only need to pay $50 now. After talking with them for a few minutes, she made it clear that all she had left was $15 in bills. All this time she was praying and trusting the Lord - she believed that He knew this would happen before she left Kelowna, and was claiming His promises to meet this need.

Eventually the attendant finds a replacement tire that he could sell for $40 (the $25 already paid, plus $15). As she is getting out her money to pay this bill, the clerk suddenly lets her know that there will be $6 something in tax. Right about then, my sister remembers the change from the subs, and goes to count it: 2 Twonies ($2 coins) and 3 Loonies ($1 coins).

God knew what was in her tomorrows, He knew the test He planned for her faith, and He knew EXACTLY what she would need before she got there - and that is why He prompted me to give her $60 (which covered the subs and the tire replacement).

We can trust our Heavenly Father! He knows all about our tomorrows, and is there already to provide for us and take care of us! Therefore we need not fear our tomorrows, nor worry about them. We just need to seek Him today, and He will provide for today - and when tomorrow comes, He will be already there ahead of us!

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Psalms 139:11-12 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

No matter if we are walking in the brightest day or the darkest night, it is all the same to the Lord, and He is not limited by what would normally hinder us.

If someone is an unbeliever, they certainly won't find the fact of God's omnipresence and omniscience pleasant. There is nowhere they can go to flee from God! God is the perfect Judge - knowing all about the rebellious sinner, knowing fully all their crimes and rebellion against Him, and able to pursue the sinner everywhere and bring them to justice.

But for the believer, these words are comforting. The Lord knows all about us and our trials; He knows all our struggles and our desire to walk with Him; He always knows what is happening in every aspect of our lives - and can work out all things for our good and for His glory!

God is always with the believer. Jesus has promised, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." That means He will always be with us. It is a comfort to know that God's power and presence will be with us wherever we go in this world, and in whatever situation we face - His presence is with us, and His power is at work on our behalf!

His power:
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

The Trinity:
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

His presence:
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Nothing can ever separate us from Jesus or His love! (See Romans 8:38-39)

Are you running from God, or are you learning to trust Him more each day?

Remember, the Lord is in all your tomorrows!

Written and preached Friday June 24th/05
Jerry Bouey

For the study preached on the following day:
The Lord Thinketh Upon Me (Psalm 139:13-18)

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

Psalms 42-43

I was just reading Psalms 42 and 43, and was thinking how they so much addressed the troubles a believer can face, and the exhortation to look up to the Lord for the help and comfort needed. Here are some thoughts on these 2 chapters:

Psalms 42:1 (To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Do you long for God? When you are troubled and discouraged, is the Lord the one you cry out to and desire? In this life with its trials and sorrows, do you thirst for fellowship with your Heavenly Father, as a hart pants after water in a dry, barren wilderness?

2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Does your soul long for continual fellowship with your Saviour? Are you grieved when your sins cast a cloud between you? When life seems to overwhelm you, do you thirst for God as the Psalmist does? Do you thirst for God's Word to quicken you and draw you even closer to Jesus day by day?

Psalms 119:20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

Do you remind yourself of past times of fellowship with the Lord and other believers, when times were sweet? When you worshipped and served the Lord together? When you sought the Lord and His Word in His house that met together in His name?

5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

One thing I love about the Psalms, is that they express all the emotions and situations we will ever encounter. They may start on a plaintive note - but they always end positively, with a call to look up to the Lord. Jesus is the only place of security and comfort - He is our Haven of Rest in our troubled lives!

7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

This is what I preached on Friday, May 13th - Waves and Billows. When life overwhelms you, all strength is gone, and you are sinking fast, where do you look for help? Cry out to God and He will lift you up out of the miry clay and set your feet upon the Rock - the only solid ground in this life!

Psalms 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Notice it is God's waves and billows that are in your life (See also Jonah 2) - He is the one that allows or causes all that the believer experiences in his or her life. He is in complete control, He has a purpose for all your trials, and He is working out all things for your good. Why not trust Him? Learn from what He has to teach you through this trial.

8 Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

The Psalmist knew who was in control in his life, he knew who to seek (in prayer), to praise (His song), and to remember (His lovingkindness)!

9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Let the world and your enemies say what they will - and just cling to the Lord during this trial. No trouble or temptation is too bleak or hard to endure when we place our eyes solidly on our Saviour! Our trial will end on a note of praise - and those who mocked and scorned will one day have to admit that the Lord stood by His child, and there was nothing the enemy of our souls could ever do separate us from His love!

Psalms 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

We may not know the "why of the trials" - BUT WE CAN TRUST!

"It is not for us to know; it is ours to trust."

"It is not the part of faith to question, but to obey." - A.B. Simpson.

When the waves and billows overwhelm, just cling to the Master of the waves - and in His good time He Himself will calm the sea, and you will enter the safe haven He has prepared for you. (See Psalm 107:23-32)

3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

When the way is dark, let the Word of God light up your path. There are hundreds upon hundreds of promises to claim, myriads of passages to learn about God's working in the lives of His children, and much comfort for the troubled soul. For starters, study out Romans 5:3-5. In each new trial, remember how the Lord has worked in your life in the past! He is still the same loving God, and He will never leave you, nor forsake you. This trial is for His glory, to do His work in your life.

4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

Ah, the sound of praise amidst the storms of life! Is that your song of faith in your night of trial?

5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Hope in God - and praise Him who loves you with an everlasting love! Lean on the Lord in all your trials - He will undertake for you (See Isaiah 38:14) - and HE WILL CARRY YOU THROUGH!

May 26th/05
Jerry Bouey

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

Psalm 107 - Part Two

Psalm 107:1-2a O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.

Do you thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His goodness, for His mercy, for all He has done in your life? If you are anything like me (and I am sure you are because He fashioneth our hearts alike!), you do not do so nearly enough. Maybe that is why thanksgiving is referred to as a sacrifice in verse 22 of this chapter and in Psalm 116:17. Too often we are like the nine lepers that went their own way, instead of the one that returned to give thanks to the Lord. (Luke 17:12-16) There are so many benefits we can praise Him for. Bless the LORD, O my soul! (Psalm 103:1-5 and 68:19)

We can thank our Heavenly Father for His mercy during the times that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Thank Him that He did not let us perish in it! He will use afflictions and trying circumstances to get our attention and bring us back to Him when we have strayed. Are you wandering in the darkness right now? Let the Lord be your light, and keep your focus steadfast on Him. (Micah 7:8 and Isaiah 50:10)

Psalm 107:10-11 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:

Are you sitting in the darkness the shadow of death? Are you bound and imprisoned by the chains of your sin because you rebelled against the Word of the Lord - in fact, even held God's counsel in contempt? (Proverbs 5:22 and 2 Samuel 12:9-10) When we presumptuously sin against the Lord, disregard - yea, even despise - His clear counsel and direction, and stubbornly go our way, we allow the Devil an opportunity to gain a foothold in our lives. (Ephesians 4:27 and 1 Peter 5:8) The consequences of hearkening to the pleasures of sin for a season always bring a great cost. You can mark it down:

"Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will always cost you more than you are willing to pay."

Psalm 107:12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.

If you are a born again child of God and have fallen into sin, God is dealing with you and using this affliction to bring you to repentance, not to despair. The valley of trouble (Achor) is the door of hope - because that is what the Lord uses to cause us to realize our sinful, backslidden state, and remind us of the forgiveness and cleansing that is ours when we confess our sin to the Lord and forsake it. (Hosea 2:6-7, 14-15; Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9) Will you heed His chastisement, endure it and receive the rebuke and correction that the Lord is giving to you? While not joyous, this chastening can bring forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness if you submit to and receive His correction. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

"If conscience be allowed to do her work the probability is we shall soon be made aware that there is an Achan in our camp, an Achan which must be dealt with unsparingly if we are to enjoy the smile of the Lord again. If we have set up some idol it must be thrown down; if we have indulged some lust it must be mortified: if we have entered a forbidden path it must be forsaken: if we have willfully departed from some path of duty it must be returned unto..." - Arthur Pink.

Psalm 107:13-14, 16 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. For He hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

The Lord is faithful and will hear the humble cry of His penitent child. He is the only one that can issue the pardon from death our backslidings deserve. (Psalm 68:20) It is only because of His mercies that we are not consumed! (Lamentations 3:22-23) Truly, He is able to deliver our soul from death, our eyes from tears, and our feet from falling! (See Psalm 116:1-9)

"This verse... sums up the mercy experienced by captives. The Lord breaks the strongest gates and bars when the time comes to set free his prisoners: and spiritually the Lord Jesus has broken the most powerful of spiritual bonds and made us free indeed. Brass and iron are as tow before the flame of Jesus' love. The gates of hell shall not prevail against us, neither shall the bars of the grave detain us. Those of us who have experienced his redeeming power must and will praise the Lord for the wonders of his grace displayed on our behalf." - Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David.

Prodigal child, your Heavenly Father is waiting for you to come to yourself, acknowledge your sin, and turn from the pigpen of sin towards home. There He stands with open arms, waiting to receive you!

Psalm 107:15 Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalm 107:43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Truly, our Heavenly Father is good to His children! Praise the Lord and thank Him that He loved you enough to send His only begotten Son to die for you, and still loves you enough not to let you go astray from Him without chastening you to bring you back to His loving arms!

It is His lovingkindness that drew us to Himself when we first got saved, and His lovingkindness that brings us back when we stray. (See Jeremiah 31:3) Praise the Lord!

September 2nd/04
Jerry Bouey

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

Psalm Series

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

The Nine Cares Of A Shepherd - by Kate (Psalm 23)

A Psalm Of Guidance (Psalm 25) - Part One

Comfort And Strength From Psalm 27

My Hiding Place (Psalm 32)
Marrow In Your Bones - Spiritually (Psalm 32:3-5)

Grace To Fret Not (Psalm 37:1-11)

Psalms 42-43

Sevenfold Praise - Part One: Seven Ways To Praise God (Psalm 100)
Sevenfold Praise - Part Two: Seven Reasons To Praise God (Psalm 100)

Bless The Lord - by Kate (Psalm 103:1-5)

Psalm 107 - Part One
Psalm 107 - Part Two

The Lord's Eight Provisions - by Kate (Psalm 121)

All Our Tomorrows (Psalm 139:1-12)
The Lord Thinketh Upon Me (Psalm 139:13-18)

Psalm 107 - Part One

This Psalm is divided into four main sections, each one presenting a different picture of the distress of man. While each part deals with a physical dilemma, I believe that a spiritual crisis is also represented in each. In regards to the spiritual aspects of this Psalm, I think that both the lost and the save can find themselves and their situations here.

Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.

Have you thanked the Lord lately for His goodness toward you? A saying that I've heard some churches use is: "God is good!", and the congregation responds with, "All the time!" Do you have that confidence and assurance in the Lord, that no matter what happens in your life, you will praise and thank Him? Do you tell others? Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Psalm 107:2-3 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.

Truly, He has redeemed the believer from the hand of the enemy. According to Hebrews 2:9, Jesus, by His death on the cross, has tasted death for every man. Verses 14 and 15 state, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:4-6) He shed His precious blood on the cross to redeem people from all nations of the world - whosoever puts their faith in His finished work. (1 Peter 1:18-19 and Romans 1:16) Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; Have you received His free gift of salvation?

Psalm 107:4-5 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.

Are you wandering in the wilderness of sin, aimless, alone, empty, barren, lifeless? Is your spirit hungry and thirsty? Jesus can fill that void and bring life to your troubled soul.

Psalm 107:6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.

If you've cried out to the Lord for salvation, in repentance (turning from your sin) and faith (believing in the Gospel - Jesus' death for your sins, His burial, and physical resurrection in fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures), He has heard your cry. Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. In John 6:37, Jesus states that "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."

Psalm 107:7 And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

Heaven is that city that God has prepared for those that believe in Him. (Hebrews 11:10, 13-16; 13:14 and Revelation chapter 21) And Jesus is the only way there. (John 14:6; 10:9 and Acts 4:12) Is Heaven your eternal home?

Psalm 107:8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

This phrase is repeated four times in this Psalm (verses 8, 15, 21, and 31) No matter your situation, if you are saved, you can still praise the Lord for His goodness in your life! (Romans 8:28) Like the hymnwriter H. G. Spafford said, "It is well with my soul."

Psalm 107:9 For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Has the Lord Jesus Christ filled that spiritual hunger and longing in your soul? You need never hunger or thirst again. Let Him fill that void today. (Matthew 5:6; Revelation 22:17; Isaiah 55:1-3; John 6:35; 7:38)

John 4:14 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.

September 1st/04
Jerry Bouey

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thy Right Hand

This is a theme that has always intrigued me in the Scriptures. I did not realize how many references there were to the right hand of God until today.

This is my attempt to dig into this theme a little more – of course, some of these passages might fit into more than one category. Some longer passages are quoted because either there are more than one reference to God's right hand in that passage, or the surrounding context was necessary to show what was in view. I have also taken the liberty to quote several passages that were not specifically referring to God's right hand, but were useful to illustrate some of the points being made.

God's right hand is:

1) The Place Of Power And Authority:

Exodus 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

Psalms 89:13-14 Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Isaiah 48:12-13 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

Isaiah 62:6-9 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. The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.

Habakkuk 3:3-4 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.

Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Ephesians 1:15-23 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

1 Peter 3:22 [Jesus Christ,] Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Revelation 5:1-10 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 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. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

2) The Place Of Judgment And Victory Over His Enemies (ie. The Wicked):

Exodus 15:11-12 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.

Psalms 21:8-10 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.

Psalms 48:10-11 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness. Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.

Here is the Psalmist's cry for God to judge his enemies when he cannot yet see God's hand at work:

Psalms 74:10-11 O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom.

Psalms 78:52-55 But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased. He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.

Psalms 98:1-2 (A Psalm.) O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

Psalms 110:1 (A Psalm of David.) The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Psalms 110:5-7 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Lamentations 2:2-4 The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof. He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about. He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire.

Habakkuk 2:15-16 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.

3) The Place Of Honour And Fellowship:

There are several passages listed here that are not referring specifically to God's right hand, but are useful to illustrate more clearly that the right hand is also a place of honour and fellowship:

1 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand.

1 Chronicles 6:31-33, 39 And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order. And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel... And his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, even Asaph the son of Berachiah, the son of Shimea...

Proverbs 3:13-18 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

Ecclesiastes 10:2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

It is interesting to see the contrast in the following two verses from Psalm 16. For both David and the Lord to be at each other's right hands, they must be facing one another. We can also see this in effect in Isaiah 41:10 and 13 (quoted later in this study).

Psalms 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 45 is an allegory that has much in common with the Song of Solomon. Here the King is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the King's daughters are those individual believers who have trusted in Him for salvation. From looking at several commentaries, I believe the Queen represents the Bride of Christ as a whole. All believers are the daughters (ie. children of God - though pictured here as daughters in the context of the Royal family of Heaven, and pictured various times as sons in the New Testament to show that they are the firstborn heirs of the kingdom) of the King of Kings, and collectively are His queen.

Psalms 45:9 Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

Isaiah 45:1-4 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

Even being at the place of honour is no excuse for wickedness on our part:

Jeremiah 22:24-25 As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.

Matthew 25:31-34 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Acts 2:30-36 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Here we see the Lord honouring the first Christian martyr, who was faithful to Him:

Acts 7:55-56 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

4) The Place Of Instruction And Guidance:

Deuteronomy 33:2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.

Psalms 45:4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

Psalms 139:8-10 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Isaiah 63:11-14 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.

Revelation 1:16, 20; 2:1 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength... The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches... Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

5) The Place Of Safety And Deliverance:

Psalms 17:5-7 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.

Psalms 20:6-7 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Psalms 44:2-4 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them. Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Psalms 60:5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.

Psalms 80:14-17 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.

Psalms 108:6 That thy beloved may be delivered: save with thy right hand, and answer me.

Psalms 109:30-31 I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.

Psalms 118:13-16 Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.

Psalms 121:5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

Psalms 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

6) The Place Of Sustaining And Blessing:

Psalms 18:35-36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

Psalms 63:7-8 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

Psalms 73:23-24 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.

During trying times, we are exhorted to remember the times of God's previous blessings:

Psalms 77:5-10 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

Song of Solomon 2:6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.

Isaiah 41:10, 13 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness... For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Revelation 1:17-18 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

7) The Place Of Ministry, And Rest In His Finished Work:

Acts 5:30-31 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Romans 8:33-34 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Our identification is with our Lord in the heavenlies, where He is now sitting:

Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 8:1-2 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Notice that the Old Testament priests always stood in their ministry – it was never finished, because sin was only covered until the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood and died upon the cross. Now, because of His finished work, our sins are blotted out forever, forever cast out of God's sight, removed as far as the east is from the west. Now our High Priest is sitting in Heaven, because He has completely finished the work of salvation He came to do:

Hebrews 10:11-13 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

April 21st/07
Jerry Bouey

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Work Of Thy Hands

Half truth: God loves you just as you are!

Real truth: God loves you as you are (minus the sin), but He loves you too much to leave you as you are!

Jeremiah 18:2-6 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Our vessels, though created by the Potter, are marred by sin. We need the Lord Himself to remake and remold our broken, marred vessels. We need to be born again, be made new creatures in Christ Jesus. This can only happen through faith in His finished work upon the cross of Calvary. Have you trusted in Jesus alone to save you from your sins – have you trusted in the Saviour to do what He came to do: save you from your sins?

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

If you have placed your faith in Jesus and His gift of salvation, not in your own good works, to save you, then the next verse is also applicable to you:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God is working on each of us – not only working in our lives, but working directly inside us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Those who have trusted in Christ are new vessels that He has put back on the Potter's wheel and is remaking. The word for workmanship in the above passage is “poemia,” where we get our word “poem” from. As any writer knows, an Author keeps working on a poem until He gets it exactly right, exactly the way He wants it.

He is changing and transforming us, conforming us to the image of His Son.

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.

Not only is God working on us, we have His sure promise that He will strengthen and finish what He has begun! We need never fear – He won't rest content in His work until He has removed the blots out of our vessels. Though the work won't be completely finished until we get to Heaven, as we walk with Him daily we will be changed from glory to glory.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Psalms 68:28 Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

Psalms 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

To perfect means to complete, to finish what He has started.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Isaiah 26:12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.

One verse that the Lord has impressed upon my heart lately, and that I have shared with several friends in the Gospel Mission's drug and alcohol recovery program, is:

Psalms 68:13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

We are like a clay vessel that has fallen, dropped on the ground and shattered. Because of our sins, we are lying among the pottery shards, broken and useless. But the Lord makes us a wonderful promise, if we have trusted in Him for salvation, He will make us as a dove whose wings are covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. We will be transformed from something marred, of no value, to something that is beautiful and virtuous. The next verse in this study expresses it wonderfully:

Song of Solomon 7:1 How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

God's work is the work of a cunning workman, a master craftsman – something that the Master has taken great pains with, that He has put time and effort into to make His finished product just right.

One final verse for us:

Job 14:14-15 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

Praise the Lord! Just as any good artist or writer, the Lord cares about His new creation, and desires to always be with us.

To end this study, I want to quote a devotion from Charles Spurgeon's Morning And Evening that has been a real blessing to me:

"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." --Psalm 138:8

Most manifestly the confidence which the Psalmist here expressed was a divine confidence. He did not say, "I have grace enough to perfect that which concerneth me -- my faith is so steady that it will not stagger -- my love is so warm that it will never grow cold -- my resolution is so firm that nothing can move it; no, his dependence was on the Lord alone. If we indulge in any confidence which is not grounded on the Rock of ages, our confidence is worse than a dream, it will fall upon us, and cover us with its ruins, to our sorrow and confusion. All that Nature spins time will unravel, to the eternal confusion of all who are clothed therein. The Psalmist was wise, he rested upon nothing short of the Lord's work. It is the Lord who has begun the good work within us; it is He who has carried it on; and if He does not finish it, it never will be complete. If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence, the Lord who began will perfect. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all. Our confidence must not be in what we have done, nor in what we have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do. Unbelief insinuates -- "You will never be able to stand. Look at the evil of your heart, you can never conquer sin; remember the sinful pleasures and temptations of the world that beset you, you will be certainly allured by them and led astray." Ah! yes, we should indeed perish if left to our own strength. If we had alone to navigate our frail vessels over so rough a sea, we might well give up the voyage in despair; but, thanks be to God, He will perfect that which concerneth us, and bring us to the desired haven. We can never be too confident when we confide in Him alone, and never too much concerned to have such a trust.

Preached April 17th/07
Jerry Bouey

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Good Conscience

1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

I was challenged by reading an older post on a friend's blog today (How Does A Life Become Shipwrecked?), and I wanted to dig in a little deeper into the subject of having a good conscience.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives this as its primary definition of the word conscience:

"Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them. Conscience is called by some writers the moral sense, and considered as an original faculty of our nature. Others question the propriety of considering conscience as a distinct faculty or principle. The consider it rather as the general principle of moral approbation or disapprobation, applied to ones own conduct and affections; alledging that our notions of right and wrong are not to be deduced from a single principle or faculty, but from various powers of the understanding and will."

The word conscience comes from roots words meaning "with knowledge." David Cloud, in his Way Of Life Encyclopedia, gives this definition and quote:

"The conscience is the knowledge of good and evil which God has put in man (Prov. 20:27; Rom. 2:15). The Greek word, suneidesis, means 'a knowing with oneself.' 'It denotes an abiding consciousness whose nature it is to bear witness to the subject regarding his own conduct in a moral sense (Tit. 1:15). ... Conscience, accordingly, is the awareness man has of himself in his relation to God, manifesting itself in the form of a testimony that is the result of the action of the spirit in the heart' (Zodhiates)."

Easton's Bible Dictionary gives this interesting definition:

"That faculty of the mind, or inborn sense of right and wrong, by which we judge of the moral character of human conduct. It is common to all men. Like all our other faculties, it has been perverted by the Fall (John 16:2; Acts 26:9; Rom. 2:15)."

Our conscience is convicted when we do something wrong though we already had the knowledge that doing it would be sinful; or when we refuse to do something we know would be right to do (see James 4:17). When we go against our conscience, it is sin. One of the criteria the lost will be judged by is how they heeded their conscience (see Romans 2).

We can see this in effect by reading the following passage of Scripture:

Romans 2:14-15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

When we wilfully disregard the warnings of our conscience, we will find ourselves walking in sin, and perhaps even opening a door to further compromise - whether it is in the area of our thoughts, our words, or our actions.

The Apostle Paul made it a priority with him to make sure he lived with a good conscience (ie. one clear of guilt or cleansed of wrongdoing).

Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Paul's conscience was a check on his conduct - yes, he had the Word of God to live by and renew his mind with, the Holy Spirit to direct him inwardly, but he also heeded his conscience, knowing it was a further indicator of his conduct. Notice from the last verse above, Paul made sure that his conscience was right before God and before men - I believe too often we excuse ourselves because we think we have done our duty towards God, and we neglect to do what we know to be right towards our neighbour (ie. fellow man); OR, sometimes we do the opposite by going through the motions and helping out a neighbour just so we can quiet the voice of our conscience when we are not right before the Lord. Paul's example is an excellent one to follow: to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Romans 9:1-3; 10:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh... Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

How many times have we (and I am very much including myself here!) gotten ourselves into trouble or fallen into sin because of not guarding ourselves in this area? If we really think about it, many small compromises pose the danger of greater compromises further down the road. How much trouble would we have stayed out of - even if the struggle was only in our thought life - if we had heeded the voice of conscience? If we had only: turned that TV/movie off when sin started coming across it, put that novel down when we found it contained content that was displeasing to the Lord or contradicted God's Word (and made a choice to NO LONGER read that author!), turned off the radio or changed the station when music that was dishonouring to God came across it, walked away from the conversation when friends and co-workers started to get vulgar or suggestive, chosen to stop frequenting stores or companies that actively glorified sin or put out ungodly products (I realize we all need to shop in an ungodly world - but do we shop where sin is open and blatant?), stopped reading those newspapers or magazines that were filled with nudity (or partial nudity, which is just as bad to fill our minds with) or crude articles.

I'm sure there are many other applications you can make to this principle, but these are ones I have faced countless times. When I heeded my conscience and changed my conduct/interests in those areas (and limited my exposure to certain things, such as turning off the radio or TV when I was at work), my walk with the Lord was strengthened; however, when I disregarded my conscience, tolerated that sin longer than I should have, didn't walk away from those conversations that were filthy, then I found I struggled with those impure thoughts and images that had been fed into my mind!

Our conscience is our mental warning light that warns us when we are going into bad territory - stop!! Turn the opposite way and prevent a spiritual accident! Our conscience is like that dashboard warning light in our vehicles that tells us something is wrong - we do ourselves harm when we disregard its warnings. By itself, it will not be enough to tell us what is wrong with something (we still need the Word of God to enlighten us), but it highlights the area we need to be cautious in.

The Way Of Life Encyclopedia gives further information on this topic of the conscience:

"The conscience (1) must be cleansed by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14; 10:22); (2) convicts of sin (John 8:9; Rom. 2:15); (3) should be kept pure and void of offense (Acts 23:1; 24:16; 1 Tim. 1:5, 19; 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3; 1 Pet. 3:16); (4) motivates the Christian to do right (Rom. 13:5; 1 Pet. 2:19); (5) can be seared (1 Tim. 4:2); (6) can be defiled (Tit. 1:15); (7) can be weak (1 Cor. 8:12). The Bible also uses terms such as 'spirit' (Prov. 20:27) and 'heart' (1 John 3:19-21) to refer to the conscience of man. Prov. 20:27 says the spirit of man is God's candle to search the inward parts.

How to Have A Good Conscience: (1) Salvation (Heb. 10:22). (2) Baptism (1 Pet. 3:21). (3) Diligent obedience to the Bible (Heb. 5:14; 13:18; 2 Cor. 1:12). (4) Faith in God's Word (1 Tim. 1:19). (5) Exercise to keep the conscience clear before God through obedience to His Word (Acts 24:16)."

I do not want to repeat the points of Brother Cloud's study (please look up the references and consider what he has pointed out on this subject), but I think it would be worthwhile to build upon some of them.

1) A Conscience Cleansed By The Blood Of Christ:

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

If you know of anyone who is struggling with a guilty conscience because of things they have done in the past, exhort them to trust in the Lord for salvation (if they haven't yet done so) and be washed in His cleansing blood shed for them. Then, if their conscience still bothers them after making their sins right and confessing them before God, encourage them to study out Hebrews chapters 9-10, and consider what God says about the finished work of Christ and the Holy Spirit's ability to purge your conscience from dead works, so that you may serve the living God with a clear conscience and heart. Encourage them to claim the promises in those chapters by faith - they certainly helped me, when I realized that the blood of Jesus had the power to cleanse my conscience and wipe away the scars and troubled memories of my life lived apart from Him, or lived out of fellowship with Him. God's mercies are new every morning - claim the promises of a new beginning in Him every day, and let the Lord heal your heart and mind.

2) A Weak Conscience:

Notice how our conscience can be affected by our level of Bible knowledge:

1 Corinthians 8:4,7 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one... Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. (Read also verses 8-13; and 10:25-29.)

We can train our consciences wrongly and have them weakened by being ignorant of the Bible (such as had happened in the case of the Corinthian believers who had not yet learned that meat offered to idols could not harm them spiritually) - and sometimes we can even cause our consciences to cry out against us by holding on to false beliefs.

I remember, as a younger Christian, getting involved in a weekly Bible study with some Seventh Day Adventist friends. (I did not understand the issues of separation back then to the level that I do now - now you would never find me at an ecumenical Bible study or one put on by a cult or by professing Christians who were not sound in the faith.) When I led the studies, I focussed solely on the Word of God; however, they would continually bring in their legalistic teachings from Ellen G. White (their false prophetess). I also had some interaction with various members of our study group outside of these Bible studies, and between all of them, I was continually bombarded with their teachings on the Sabbath and other issues. Pretty soon, I did get confused and was convinced for about ten months that I was supposed to keep the Sabbath each week (nothing like messing with your work schedule!) During those ten months, until the Lord led me to sound materials refuting Christians observing the Sabbath, my conscience would actually speak against me when I broke the Sabbath. Now that I see from the Scriptures that the Sabbath was a picture of our rest in Jesus Christ, and that this commandment is completely fulfilled in Him, my conscience no longer bothers me, and instead gives me the assurance that I have truly kept it through my faith in Christ.

3) A Seared Conscience:

Notice the lost can sear their consciences:

1 Timothy 4:1-3 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

The word for sear means "to brand ('cauterize'), i.e. (by implication) to render unsensitive (figuratively)."

With the Holy Spirit dwelling within, I do not believe a Christian can sear their conscience in the same sense, but we certainly can harden our hearts by persisting in thoughts and actions that we already know are wrong.

Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

That is why the Walt Disney mentality of "Let your conscience be your guide" is so dangerous to follow: we can harden and defile our conscience so much so that a particular sin that once bothered us no longer does so. I remember as a lost person being exposed to a particular Satanic rock group - it turned my stomach and bothered me so much. I was renting out a room in a boarding house, and one man down the hall kept playing his favourite ungodly music. Day in, day out, I heart it - eventually it stopped bothering me, and in my lost condition I started to like it and bought my own copy of that group's greatest hits! Praise the Lord, one day I got saved and the Holy Spirit quickened my conscience again! That music became offensive to me once again - and this time I obeyed the Lord and put it (and eventually all rock music) out of my life.

4) A Defiled Conscience:

Titus 1:9, 13-16 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers... This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

The word for defiled in the above passage means "to sully or taint, i.e. contaminate (ceremonially or morally)." Unbelieving here means "(actively) disbelieving"; therefore it is referring specifically to the lost, those who reject the truth of the Word of God, and who live in such a manner that opposes it.

Can Christians defile their consciences by becoming rebellious toward the Word of God and allowing things into their lives that would defile them? I believe so, but not to the same extent; however, I do believe there is the danger there of becoming so accustomed to a sin that we tolerate it in our lives, and no longer fight against it.

Please consider this verse again:

1 Corinthians 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

The word for defiled in this verse is different than the one above, and means "to soil (figuratively)." By being ignorant of what the Bible teaches, our weak consciences can be soiled - and our lives and our influence certainly may be defiled. (Do a word study on defile/defiled in the New Testament, and see how a believer can defile his life. Those sins are certainly things to stay away from if we want to glorify the Lord!)

5) A Good Conscience:

1 Timothy 1:5-6 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

Three things every believer should strive to have:

A pure heart - that is a heart cleansed by faith (see Acts 15:9 and Matthew 5:8.)

A good conscience - one that is kept pure through obeying its warnings.

1 Timothy 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

The word for pure means "clean (literally or figuratively); clear." We should always be striving to have a clear conscience, striving to put sin out and getting the sin right when we have done wrong.

Faith unfeigned - that is sincere, unhypocritical faith that is based fully on God's Word.

1 Timothy 1:19-20 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

As my friend Tim has pointed out in his blog, when we disregard the warnings of our conscience, we are headed for trouble! Shipwrecked faith just ahead! As we can see from the above passage, when our faith is shipwrecked, Satan is able to do damage to our lives.

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

Strong's Concordance gives this definition of good in this verse: "properly, beautiful, but chiefly (figuratively) good (literally or morally), i.e. valuable or virtuous (for appearance or use, and thus distinguished from 18, which is properly intrinsic)." Strong's definition #18 is the word used in the other New Testament passages referring to a "good conscience." The other passages refer to our consciences being good inwardly or instrinsically (ie. in themselves, when heeded) - but this verse seems to be referring to its effect on others when it is good. When we have a good conscience, it is beneficial to us, but also valuable and virtuous in its effects on others.

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. (See also verses 21-25.)

1 Peter 3:14-17 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

It is better to endure trials because of doing right and having a clear conscience - and therefore having God's praise and reward, than to be ashamed because of doing evil and suffering for it.

6) Baptism Saves Us From A Guilty Conscience:

According to the following passage, what does baptism save us from?

1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

This is one often misunderstood passage that is twisted by the cultists to make it seem that baptism is necessary for salvation.

First of all, let's define one word in the passage: saved. Saved/salvation means delivered/deliverance. The cultists like to teach that it always refers to being delivered (ie. saved) from sins - but a careful look at the context will show what type of deliverance is in view in each passage.

For example, consider this verse:

Psalms 18:3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

This is David, the man after God's heart - a true believer - who is saying God will save him when he calls upon the Lord. Save him from what? From his sins? No - that has already happened to this righteous man. From his enemies!

Or how about this passage:

James 5:14-15, 19-20 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him... Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

James is already writing to believers. What will the prayer of faith save that sick person from? Their sins? No - they were already saved from that. Their sickness! For the sake of clarification, I believe the primary context of this passage is dealing with sickness as a result of chastisement. When the backslider believer finally gets their sin right in the sight of the Lord, then the sickness will be healed, and the believer will be delivered from death! The contrast to this would be the backslider not getting his sin right and the Lord chastising him with death (what the Apostle John refers to as the sin unto death - as long as the believer has not gone that far in his rebellion, there is still hope for him to be healed).

Now back to the verse under discussion:

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

What is the believer promised deliverance from? From sins? No - Peter is already writing to those that were saved from sins through faith in Christ. From a bad (ie. guilty, impure) conscience! When a believer takes that important step to be baptized and publicly identified with Christ, and His death, burial, and resurrection, their conscience is clear in regards to that first commandment for a new believer - whereas those who disobey do not have a good conscience in regards to their submission to God and His authority in their lives. I have found that, for many, it is this primary step of obedience that brings God's blessings and growth in their lives - and many do not know the peace of mind and heart (and the good conscience) that comes from full surrender because they are unwilling to submit to God in this first area - often marking a life of half-hearted submission. If you do not have a good conscience in regards to obeying the Lord in baptism, humble yourselves and make it right. You will find that this surrender will bless you more than you might realize.

7) A Bold Conscience:

If your heart and conscience are pure, cleansed by the blood of Christ and made void of offense through obedience to the Lord's leading in your life, then consider this final passage:

Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

We can approach the throne of grace through prayer, and know that the Lord will answer our prayers when there is nothing between us and the Saviour. When we have dealt with whatever sins may be in our lives at any given time, put our eyes firmly on the Lord Jesus Christ, then we can have boldness to enter into the presence of God for fellowship and for supplication for others.

How is your conscience as you are reading this? I admit, I was challenged through my friend's blog and meditating on these various passages. I pray you were too.

April 7th/07
Jerry Bouey