Thursday, March 29, 2007

The God Of...

Many times in the Scriptures, we come across phrases like, "The God of heaven," (used 8 times in Ezra - a time of new beginning and rebuilding for the nation of Israel), "the God of [the] earth," "The God of [your or thy] fathers," "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," "The God of Israel" (used 7 times in Ezekiel), and "The God of hosts" (used 7 times in Amos).

Some phrases only used once or twice:

"The God of Bethel ('the house of God')" (Genesis 31:13).
"The God of the Hebrews" (Exodus 5:3).
"The God of the spirits of all flesh" (Numbers 16:22 and 27:16).
"The God of David thy father" (2 Kings 20:5 and 2 Chronicles 34:3).
"The God of Jerusalem" (2 Chronicles 32:19 and Ezra 7:19).
"The God of gods" (Psalm 136:2; Daniel 11:36).
"The God of all the families of Israel" (Jeremiah 31:1).
"The God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego" (Daniel 3:28-29).
"The God of Daniel" (Daniel 6:26).

Israel's enemies referred to God as "the God of the land" (2 Kings 17:26-27), and God's enemies referred to Him as "The God of judgment" (Malachi 2:17).

There are a few other choice titles that we find in the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 33:26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun ('the righteous nation'), who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.

1 Samuel 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

2 Samuel 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. - See also verse 47.

Psalms 18:46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. - See also Psalms 24:5; 25:5; 68:19-20; Isaiah 17:10; Micah 7:7; and Habakkuk 3:18.

Psalms 29:3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. - See also Acts 7:2.

Psalms 42:8 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.

Psalms 43:2 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?

Psalms 59:10 The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies. - See also verse 17.

Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Isaiah 65:16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Romans 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

I don't know about you - but reading some of these phrases makes me want to shout Hallelujah or sing praises: the God of my salvation; the God of my life; the God of my strength, the God of my mercy (I sure do need lots at times!), the God of truth.

Ephesians 1:17 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:

In addition to the above quote, we find seven titles/names of God unique to the New Testament (the rest of the names in this study were just bonus blessings to my heart!):

1) The God of the Living:

Mark 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. - See also Matthew 22:32.

2) The God of Patience:

Romans 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

3) The God of Hope:

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

4) The God of Peace:

Romans 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Philippians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

5) The God of All Comfort:

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

6) The God of Love:

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

7) The God of All Grace:

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

The Old Testament referred to God as "The God of mercy," but it is even better to know Him as "The God of all grace"! Mercy is God withholding what I deserve due to my sin - BUT GRACE IS GOD REACHING DOWN AND GIVING ME WHAT I DON'T DESERVE BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE FOR ME! Praise the Lord for both His mercy and grace!

Ah, life, patience, hope, peace, comfort, love and grace - all found in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and freely available to all who have trusted in Him alone for salvation.

Our God is the God of all we need.

He is the God of Jerry Bouey. Can you put your name there as well?

The God of _________.

God bless. ;)

March 29th/07
Jerry Bouey

Sunday, March 18, 2007

God Is Faithful

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Faithful means "true to one's word. Constant; not fickle." It carries the idea of being trustworthy, dependable, reliable. Over and over in the Scriptures, God and His Word are both declared to be faithful.

There are some specific things that God is declared to be faithful about:

1) Faithful to give us a way out of the temptations we face in life.

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

2) Faithful to forgive us when we repent and confess our sins to Him.

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

3) Faithful to give us new mercies every morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

4) Faithful to deliver us from evil.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

5) Faithful to keep His promises and to always be our High Priest on the throne of grace.

Hebrews 10:19-25 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. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

6) Faithful to be faithful! - even when we struggle with doubt.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

There are three things the Word of God tells us that God cannot do. The first was mentioned above - God cannot deny Himself. He is not double-minded; He meant exactly what He said.

The second one is: God cannot be tempted with evil (ie. sin).

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

He will never turn aside from His righteousness or holiness. He will always be the same; He will never change or be corrupted in any way - unlike faithless man.

The third thing is: God cannot lie.

Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

That means that God will be faithful to all He has promised, faithful to keep His Word, faithful to His covenants, faithful to His children.

7) Faithful to preserve His children and to continue the work that He has begun in us.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

March 18th/07
Jerry Bouey

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Jesus Is Prophet, Priest And King

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

In the Old Testament, the Lord had three offices that He set up in leadership for His people - they were the offices of prophet, priest, and king. The representatives of all three of these offices were anointed, and all three pictured the Messiah (the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek term Christ - the Anointed One) who was to come. Through these offices, He revealed Himself to His people. These three offices not only pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ, but were all completely fulfilled in Him.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

In Scripture, a testimony about something was believed and accepted if there were two or three witnesses that declared it. In these three offices, we have the authoritative declaration of their offices, and the Messiah who would come to fulfill all three offices in Himself.

In this light, it is interesting to note Jesus' threefold testimony/witness of Himself in Matthew 12 (please read surrounding verses for the context):

1) Jesus is greater than the office of the prophets, and their witness pointed to Him:

Matthew 12:39-41 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Deuteronomy 18:15-18 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

Jesus is that Prophet that was foretold:

Acts 3:20-24 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.

Acts 7:37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.

2) Jesus is greater than the office of the Old Testament priests, and their witness pointed to Him:

Matthew 12:5-6 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. (Ie. the Temple being the place where the priests ministered to the people.)

1 Samuel 2:35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

Jesus is that Priest that was foretold:

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Hebrews 7:21, 24-28 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)... But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Jesus is is the fulfillment of the type of the Aaronic priesthood, and the Priest after the order of Melchizedek.

3) Jesus is greater than the office of the kings, and their witness pointed to Him:

Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

1 Chronicles 17:11-14 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.

Jesus is that King that was foretold:

Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Matthew 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Acts 2:30 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;

Matthew 27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

1 Timothy 6:13-16 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Revelation 19:6, 11-16 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.... And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

In Conclusion:

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Jesus is the Faithful Witness - the Prophet that was foretold - the one that all the prior prophets pointed towards. (See Hebrews 1:2.)

Jesus is the First Begotten From The Dead - the High Priest - the one that all the OT priests were just a type and a shadow - the one that would be the Only Mediator between God and men; the True Priest that represented God to men and men to God, and fulfilled that by offering Himself wholly upon the altar as the sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus is the Prince Of The Kings Of The Earth - the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Prince here means "the first (in rank or power)." He is the Most High King, the greatest King that would ever live - and He lives and reigns forever!

Zechariah 6:12-13 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Jesus, in appealing to the three main authorities of the Old Testament, established that He was so much better and greater than those three witnesses - and that He Himself is Prophet, Priest, and King.

"[Jesus] has already fulfilled His role as prophet, He is now fulfilling His role as priest (He accomplished the Aaronic priesthood on Calvary - and is now performing the Melchizedek in the Holy of holies in Heaven) - and His future role as King will begin with the Millennial Kingdom." - statement posted online by a friend.

I've Found The Pearl Of Greatest Price
(Lyrics: John Mason)

I’ve found the Pearl of greatest price,
My heart doth sing for joy;
And sing I must, for Christ is mine!
Christ shall my song employ.

Christ is my Prophet, Priest, and King;
My Prophet full of light,
My great High Priest before the throne,
My King of heav’nly might.

For He indeed is Lord of lords,
And He the King of kings;
He is the Sun of Righteousness,
With healing in His wings.

Christ is my Peace; He died for me,
For me He shed His blood;
And as my wondrous Sacrifice,
Offered Himself to God.

Christ Jesus is my All in all,
My Comfort and my Love,
My Life below, and He shall be
My Joy and Crown above.

My Christ, He is the Tree of Life
Which in God's garden grows;
Whose fruits do feed, whose leaves do heal;
My Christ is Sharon’s Rose.

Christ is my Meat, Christ is my Drink,
My Medicine and Health;
My Peace, my Strength, my Joy, my Crown,
My Glory, and my Wealth.

My Saviour is the Heaven of Heavens,
And what shall I Him call?
My Christ is First, my Christ is Last,
My Christ is All in All.

March 14th/07
Jerry Bouey

(Hymn taken in part from the website linked above, and partly from two other sources.)

I just love how the Lord guides! I finished the study, and then was looking for a poem to post on my poetry blog - and I found this hymn in my saved emails. Did an online search and found many more verses to it. What a tremendous blessing!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Hand And Arm Of God

Matthew 14:24-33 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

When the storm raged the strongest, Peter's faith faltered and he cried out for help. Immediately, the Lord Jesus Christ was there to catch him and hold him up with His hand. The Hand of safety, the hand of comfort, the hand of power, the hand of God.

The theme of God's hand or His arm is one that is frequently seen throughout Scripture. These terms are used in various instances:

1) In Creation.

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

By His spoken word and stretched out arm, the Lord God made the heaven and the earth. All that we see in creation was made out of nothing by His great power. If our Saviour can make all of creation, why do we think anything else is too hard for Him to do?

2) In Delivering The Nation Of Israel From Egypt.

Jeremiah 32:21 And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;

This theme is the one that is repeated the most in regards to God's stretched out arm in the Old Testament. If the Lord could deliver His people from their slavery to Egypt, and then later from their captivity to Babylon, we can be assured that He can deliver us from our sins and from the trials in our lives.

2 Kings 17:36 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.

Acts 13:17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.

3) In Judgment Of His Enemies.

Isaiah is one of my three favourite Old Testament books (the others being Psalms and Song Of Solomon). In it, we see God's judgment against rebellious nations and those who sought to harm His people:

Isaiah 5:25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

This last phrase is repeated four more times in Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21; and 10:4. Whenever the Lord delivers His people from their oppressors or their enemies, His hand or outstretched arm brings His people comfort and safety - however, to His enemies, it brings destruction and defeat.

Isaiah 30:30 And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.

Which side are you on? Are you for the Lord and His people - or against them? That all depends upon what you have done with Jesus Christ. If He is your Saviour, then His hand is working on your behalf.

4) In Salvation.

Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is the only one that has ever been able to bring salvation to this sin-darkened world. There was no one else that could ever save us - for all have sinned and need a Saviour themselves; therefore the Sinless Substitute came to be our Saviour.

Isaiah 59:16-17 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

Isaiah 63:5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

Isaiah 52:10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

By His death upon the cross and His shed blood, the Lord Jesus Christ purchased salvation for all who would receive Him. Though the whole world will not accept Jesus and receive His gift of salvation, one day the whole world will see our Saviour!

Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Chapter 53 then goes on to describe how God revealed His arm of salvation: through the Lord Jesus bearing ALL our sins upon the cross, by dying in our place, and being buried in a tomb - and then by rising again the third day. Praise the Lord, it is finished! All who truly turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, in repentance and faith, will be saved.

Has His arm of salvation been revealed to you? Have you received His free gift? If so, all the promises in the remainder of this study are yours to claim.

5) In Ruling And Reigning When He Comes Again.

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

When Jesus comes back for His bride, the church, He will reward those who have been good and faithful servants to Him.

6) In Comfort And Blessing.

This is a verse that has spoken to my heart countless times:

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Mark 10:13-16 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. (See also Mark 9:36.)

Isaiah 46:4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Exodus 19:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.

Deuteronomy 32:9-12 For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

The arm of God - promises of provision, guidance and gentleness to both young and old. Surely being carried in His arms is a tremendous comfort to those who love the Lord!

7. In Strength.

Ezra 7:28 And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.

8. In Provision.

Ezra 7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.

Ezra 7:9-10 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Ezra 8:17-18 And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God. And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;

9. In Protection.

Ezra 8:22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

Ezra 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.

10. In Deliverance.

Isaiah 33:2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

11. In Upholding His Children.

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

Jesus Christ is your refuge to run to in all the storms of life, your retreat, your asylum, your place of safety in this troubled world.

Psalms 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

When we stumble and fall in our daily walk with the Lord, He is there to pick us back up, forgive us when we repent, and uphold us (notice the word upholdeth is in present tense in verse 24 - the Lord continually upholds His children). Truly words of comfort and strength to our souls!

The hand of God - He's still got this whole world in His hands. The hand of God - have you placed your life in His hands? If you have trusted the Lord for salvation and placed your hand in His (so to speak), remember: He is holding you and will NEVER let you go.

John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.

12. In Victory.

Psalms 98:1 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 Jesus Christ is victorious over all things - over the world, the flesh, the Devil, over sin, death, and the grave. Victory is found only in Him. Are you living in light of that victory? You can!

March 12th/07
Jerry Bouey

Isaiah's Fear Of The Lord

Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

Strong's Concordance defines confidence as "properly, a refuge, i.e. (objective) security, or (subjective) assurance." And refuge means "to flee for protection; figuratively, to confide in." When we fear the Lord, He is our confidence, our refuge, our place to flee from in the storms of life - whether they be caused from trials or from enemies that desire to do us harm.

In Isaiah chapter 8, we see God's rebuke of the nations around Israel that were seeking to injure them. God doesn't take it lightly when the children of the devil seek to mess with God's children! Though I am unsure of the exact date of this prophecy, I believe it is sometime near the time that the Northern Kingdom (ie. the ten Northern tribes) were carried away into captivity by Assyria, which took place in 722 B.C.

Isaiah was ministering to the kings of Judah (the kings of the Southern Kingdom), and this chapter contains some exhortations to Isaiah (and to us) to keep his eyes on the Lord, and not put them on his enemies. They could threaten God's people all they wanted to, but God was still in control! Nothing could happen to those who have trusted in the Lord for salvation - except for what God sovereignly allowed into their lives. This was certainly a good lesson for Isaiah and Judah (as well as for us).

Isaiah 8:9-10 Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.

Go ahead, you heathen nations, and threaten My people all you want; judgment is coming to you instead. You can gather together all you want, but you will be broken in pieces and your plans and threats will come to nothing. God is standing with His people! If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation, He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you - regardless of what threats the lost world tries to give to intimidate you, only the Lord's plans will come to pass.

Isaiah 8:11-12 For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines confederacy as "A league, or covenant; ...a combination of two or more persons to commit an unlawful act."

The Word of God says we are not to fear the confederacies of men, we are not to fear what other men fear, we are not to be afraid of whatever threats they may utter towards us - your Heavenly Father is still in complete control!

Isaiah 8:13-15 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

Don't fear men or their threats towards you - fear God alone - and when we do, He promises to be our sanctuary in this fallen world. To me, that is a promise that is so precious!

Webster's defines sanctuary as "A place of protection; a sacred asylum... Shelter; protection."

Isaiah 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

In God's timing, our (and His) enemies will stumble and fall, unless they repent and turn to Him for salvation. We need not fear their schemes and evil workings - just keep our eyes steadfast upon the Lord our God, fear Him, and He Himself will be protecting and watching over us.

2 Kings 17:36, 39 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice... But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

It is interesting to note that part of this passage in Isaiah is quoted in the New Testament as an exhortation to us today:

1 Peter 3:13-15 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 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:

When we walk in the fear of the Lord - rather than in the fear of man - and we conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing and honouring to the Lord, we receive the commendation of our Heavenly Father, and are given opportunities to be witnesses of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

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

Psalm 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

Are you walking in the fear of the Lord?

March 12th/07
Jerry Bouey

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Jacob's Fear Of The Lord

Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

The fear of the Lord is used in two different senses in the Word of God: For believers, the fear of the Lord is such an awe, reverence, and love for the Lord God that they depart from evil - that they desire to turn from sin and also get any sin right that they have allowed to come into their lives. To the lost, the fear of the Lord is more a terror, a dread, such a fear of His power and His judgment that they are overwhelmed. (See 2 Corinthians 5:11.) Better to trust the Lord for salvation, and then have the only fear in your life that pleases Him: the fear of the Lord.

Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

In Genesis 34, we have the story of Jacob's daughter, Dinah, and her fornication with Shechem, a lost man. When her family found out what had happened, they were understandably upset.

Genesis 34:1-5 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.

Shechem and his father sought to make marriage alliances with Jacob and his family: Shechem would marry Dinah, and their two families/people would be united through further intermarriage with one another.

Genesis 34:6-8 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.

Jacob's sons agree deceitfully, and exhort the men of Hamor's household to circumcise themselves first before this alliance can be completed. (See verses 9-17.)

Genesis 34:18-19 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.

Though Shechem had done wrong in lying with Dinah, he sought to do right by taking her as his wife. When given the conditions to make this a reality, he didn't hesitate or procrastinate - even though circumcision would have been a painful thing for adult men to undergo.

While Hamor's people were sore and recovering from their circumcisions, Levi and Simeon went into the city and slaughtered all the men, taking their livestock, taking the women and children captive, and spoiling the city. (See verses 20-29.) As a result, fear of reprisal came upon Jacob:

Genesis 34:30-31 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

Jacob was suddenly distraught by the fear of man - until the Lord spoke to him, and told him what to do.

Genesis 35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

In effect, he was told to go back to where he first knew the Lord, where he first walked with Him. Go to Bethel (which means "house of God"; see Genesis 28:17, 19), dwell there, and make an altar to God.

Basically God was saying, Put your eyes back on Me, Jacob. He realized that he and his family had not been walking with the Lord the way they should have been - and knew there was some business he needed to take care of first!

Genesis 35:2-5 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

Due to their compromises, Jacob's family had allowed themselves to be influenced either by Laban's household or by the people of the land of Canaan, and had allowed idolatry to take a foothold in their own household. Out of the fear of the Lord, Jacob made his family put away all of their idols and to cleanse themselves - which included changing their garments, and removing their earrings (the implication here being that these earrings had a direct association with idolatry).

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

When Jacob and his family repented, the Lord put His terror upon the cities round about Jacob's family, and God gave them complete safety from their enemies. God delivered Jacob and his family because they ordered their conversation (ie. manner of living) right:

Psalms 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

Are you walking in the fear of the Lord?

March 11th/07
Jerry Bouey

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Comfort And Strength From Psalm 27

Psalm 27:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Notice how David used personal pronouns throughout this Psalm. The Lord was his light, his salvation, the strength of his life. If there has been a time and place in your life that you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, then these passages apply directly to you also.

The Lord is your Light - He is the one that shines His Word on your path, that lightens your way, that enlightens your understanding. Are you following Him? Then, why fear?

The Lord is your Salvation - then why fear? If He has already delivered you from your sins, then trust God to deliver you (in His time) from whatever trials you are facing now... and trust Him meanwhile to give you grace to persevere in them and learn what He would have you learn about His work and His will in your life.

"The powers of darkness are not to be feared, for the Lord, our light, destroys them; and the damnation of hell is not to be dreaded by us, for the Lord is our salvation." (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David.)

The Lord is the Strength of your life - He is the eternal Rock underneath you that will not move (see Deuteronomy 33:27 and Isaiah 17:10), and the Faithful one you can rely on for the strength you need today (see Hebrews 10:23).

Verses 2-3 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

"Here is great courage for the time to come. 'Experience breeds hope and confidence.'" (Richard Sibbes, quoted in The Treasury Of David.)

Confidence comes from steadfast faith in the Lord, from focussing on Him and His promises to you in His Word. When you claim His promises and lean on Him for support, for protection, for peace in your heart and mind, then there is no cause for fear. The Lord is able to protect you and deliver you just as He was able to give His people victory and protection all down through the ages. Think of the nation of Israel at the Red Sea (Exodus 14) or King Jehoshaphat facing the Ammonite army (2 Chronicles 20), of Joshua facing the Canaanite nations or Gideon and his 300 men facing an army of 135,000 men, composed of Midianites, Amalekites and the children of the east that were gathered together against them.

Victory didn't come from their military might, their physical strength, or even from their use of reason or desperate schemes - victory came from the Lord of Hosts alone. If your trust is in the Lord your God, then be confident in Him and "Fear not, nor be dismayed"!

2 Chronicles 20:17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.

Verse 4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

The house of the Lord is where the presence of the Lord was manifested to the nation of Israel - both in the tabernacle and then later in the temple that King Solomon built. God's presence is not limited to believers in a certain physical location today: He will manifest Himself to all those who seek Him in spirit and in truth, who walk in His ways, who keep His commandments and who abide in His Word and His love. (See John 4:23-24 and 14:21-23.) There is a special intimacy the Lord promises and reveals to those who walk closely with Him, and to those who are gathered together in His name.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The New Testament church (ie. born again believers gathered together in a local assembly) is also referred to as "the house of God" in 1 Timothy 3:15 (see also Hebrews 10:21 and 1 Peter 4:17).

Being assembled together with other true believers, fellowshipping with the Lord, is a glimpse of Heaven upon earth - and one future day, we will dwell forever in His house, nevermore to leave His presence. All of Heaven is the Father's house - and the Lord Jesus Christ has made it ready for us! See Psalms 23:6 and John 14:2-3.

...to behold the beauty of the LORD...

"An exercise both for earthly and heavenly worshippers. We must not enter the assemblies of the saints in order to see and be seen, or merely to hear the minister; we must repair to the gatherings of the righteous, intent upon the gracious object of learning more of the loving Father, more of the glorified Jesus, more of the mysterious Spirit, in order that we may the more lovingly admire, and the more reverently adore our glorious God. What a word is that, "the beauty of the Lord!" Think of it, dear reader! Better far -- behold it by faith! What a sight will that be when every faithful follower of Jesus shall behold "the King in his beauty!" Oh, for that infinitely blessed vision!" (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David.)

Beauty is a particular excellence about something; that which is admirable or pleasant about something.

There is so much about the Lord Jesus Christ that we could admire, that is pleasant to meditate on, such as His unfailing love, His goodness towards us, His mercy that endures forever, His holiness, His compassion, His forgiveness, His faithfulness... The list could go on and on. What is beautiful to you about your Saviour?

Song of Solomon 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

Like the fairest among flowers, so Jesus is the fairest among men, the chiefest among ten thousand.

Oh, to dwell in His presence, to think about His beauty, and to learn of Him and from Him! Oh, the blessedness of seeking the Lord's will and His Word together with other Christians.

Psalm 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

No wonder they are still praising Him!

Verse 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

A pavilion is: a tent; a temporary movable habitation. In times of trouble, the Lord promised to protect, to hide, to cover David in His tabernacle, in His temporary dwelling.

"Where was the secret place of the tabernacle? It was inside the Holy of Holies. No one could go there but the high priest. Do you know what was in there? The ark of the covenant, which was only a box overlaid with gold; but upon the ark was the elaborate lid, which God designated as the mercy seat because blood was sprinkled upon it. Now in our day because the Lord Jesus has shed His blood, we have a mercy seat to which we can go. And that is where He hides us. What a secure place we have!" (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers] 2000, c1981.)

"No one of old dared to enter the most holy place on pain of death; and if the Lord has hidden his people there, what foe shall venture to molest them?" (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David.)

"Could he but have a place in God's house, There he should be quiet and easy: there troubles would not find him, for he should be hid in secret; there troubles would not reach him, for he should be set on high... The safety of believers however is not in the walls of the temple, but in the God of the temple and their comfort in communion with him." (Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary)

We have the same promise today. God's promise of protection is not limited to the Old Testament Jewish tabernacle, but is found in His holy presence.

Verse 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

Praise the Lord for the victories He has given us! Are you walking in light of those victories? Truly, Jesus has made us more than conquerors!

Psalm 105:1-3 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

Are you offering the Lord any sacrifices today? A sacrifice implies that it cost us something, that we are offering something dear to us - much like King David did in 1 Chronicles 21:24.

Are you offering Him sacrifices of joy?

Are you offering yourself as a living sacrifice?

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Are you offering the Lord sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving?

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

How about the sacrifice of righteousness?

Psalm 4:5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Or the sacrifice of a contrite heart and a humble spirit?

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Verses 7-8 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

"If he cannot now go up to the house of the Lord, yet, wherever he is, he can find a way to the throne of grace by prayer." (Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary)

As I was studying out these verses months ago, I was struck by the parallel to these passages in Esther:

Esther 4:11 All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.

Esther 5:1-2 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

Queen Esther wanted to approach the throne of King Ahasuerus - which if she had approached without his permission, it would have meant certain death for her. The king held out his golden scepter and gave Esther favour in his sight and then fulfilled her request. Similarly, apart from the Lord's favour/grace, we cannot approach God. But we have access to His throne of grace, access to our Heavenly Father through prayer, because of the Lord Jesus Christ's finished work upon the cross and our faith in Him.

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The King's scepter is extended; His invitation is given; we can approach His throne of grace and receive the mercy and grace we need to help us through whatever trials or situations we are facing today.

"Observe, that the command was in the plural, to all the saints, Seek ye; but the man of God turned it into the singular by a personal application, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. The voice of the Lord is very effectual where all other voices fail. When thou saidst, then my heart, my inmost nature was moved to an obedient reply. Note the promptness of the response -- no sooner said than done; as soon as God said "seek," the heart said, "I will seek." Oh, for more of this holy readiness! Would to God that we were more plastic to the divine hand, more sensitive of the touch of God's Spirit." (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David.)

Verse 8 is a promise, an invitation, a command. Seeking means that He can be found. (See also Jeremiah 29:13.) When the Lord calls you through your circumstances and trials, through His Word, through the inner prompting of His Spirit, do you seek Him there and then? Too often we put the Lord on hold - yet, this verse indicates that when we know He is speaking to us, it is an indication He wants us to fellowship with Him then - whether through prayer (our talking with Him), through reading His Word (letting Him talk to us), or both. There is something to be said for set times of seeking the Lord, but He never intended us to limit our fellowship with Him to only those times.

The fact that this inner prompting indicates that my Saviour is seeking to fellowship with me first has been a tremendous blessing to my heart - and a check to my spirit whenever I think to temporarily put off that prompting. The reason He is moving you to pick up His Word is because He wants to speak to you about something or to give you some passage to pass on to others. The reason He is bringing someone or something to your mind and prompting you to pray about that very thing is because He is desiring to move in that area and is waiting for your response. Is He speaking to your heart now? Then why not seek His face as you meditate on this study? I'm sure He would love to hear from you!

Verse 9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

When I was working on this part of Psalm 27, this stanza and chorus of a wonderful hymn came to mind:

The Solid Rock
(lyrics by Edward Mote)

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

Chorus:
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

As the previous verse indicated, the Lord has been seeking us first; therefore any cloud upon His countenance is due to our sin (which separates from Him - see Isaiah 59:2) or our everchanging emotions/feelings. The solution to the first is to repent of the sin that came between us and the Saviour, and the solution to the second is to walk by faith, not by sight. When it seems the Lord has forsaken us, we must instead choose to believe by faith that our feelings are wrong, and put our eyes back upon the Saviour. The Lord has given us this promise in His Word:

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Consider the following passage of Scripture:

Song of Solomon 3:1-4 By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.

The night mentioned here is the darkness that some trials cause in our lives (darkness from without - chapter five of the Song of Solomon deals with the Shulamite falling asleep spiritually; ie. darkness from within; backsliding), and make it seem that the Lord has abandoned us or withdrawn Himself from us (see also Job 23:8-10 and Isaiah 50:10). However, we see the solution is also presented in the same passage of Scripture: to keep seeking the Lord, keep our eyes steadfastly upon Him, and to abide continually in His Word through personal Bible study/meditation and listening to the watchmen (preachers) as they faithfully preach His Word (see Ezekiel 3:17 and 33:7).

Verse 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Many have strained relationships with their parents, some having been abandoned or cast aside for various reasons - yet the Lord promises to be there always for us.

My parents got divorced when I was two, and I grew up with my Mom, but later I did have an opportunity to live with my Dad on two separate occasions. For years, I had my parents turn away from me because of receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and turning from the false religion I was raised with. Both my Mom and my Dad didn't want much to do with me - until the Lord broke through my Mom's blindness and she turned to Him in faith - then my Dad's health went downhill so fast that he realized he could very well die from his health problems. The Lord brought a preacher by to give him the Gospel, and he trusted in the Lord as well within the last year of his life. Within six months of each other, the Lord took them both home to be in Heaven with Him - and now though reconciled with them both, in one sense my sister and I felt abandoned, because they are no longer here.

As we meditated on this verse, we took comfort from the assurance it gave us of our Heavenly Father's love and care for us. He strengthened both of our hearts through the blessing of being our Heavenly Father, the Father of the fatherless. If you have experienced the loss of your parents (whether through abandonment or estrangement, or through their passing away), I trust the Lord has given you His precious comfort through His Holy Spirit, as He has done abundantly to me and my sister.

Psalms 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

Hosea 14:3b ...for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

Verses 11-12 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

A plea for instruction and guidance in a time of peril. Consider these verses on the same theme:

Psalms 5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

Psalms 25:4-5 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Psalms 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

Psalms 143:8-10 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

Oh Lord, make your guidance to us so plain, that we cannot mistake it; so clear that we must be fools to forsake it. Teach us not only what your will is, but how to fulfill it in our lives. Lead us, Lord, each day, and guard our paths from those enemies that would seek to cause us to stumble in our walks with you.

Verse 13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Our spiritual struggles - our temptations from the world, the flesh and the Devil - may cause us to be faint at times, yet it is our confidence and trust in the Lord that will strengthen us. First, David believed in the Lord's goodness, then he saw it at work in his life. The best remedy for the fainting and weary heart is to wait upon the Lord.

As we walk in faith, trusting wholly in His Word, we will see His goodness at work in our lives. When doubts and fears come our way, remember the Lord's goodness, and take courage from that.

Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalms 31:19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Psalms 65:11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

Psalms 107:8-9 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Jeremiah 31:14 And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.

Verse 14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

This is one of my favourite verses - and one of the verses that has helped me the most in overcoming my battles with depression. He promises to strengthen our hearts when we wait upon Him. The idea of waiting is two-fold:

Waiting on the Lord in prayer - looking to Him to move in our situations and bring us peace in the midst of the trial or struggle we are in.

Waiting upon the Lord in service - serving Him. The word "wait" is where we get our word "waiter" from: seeing what the Lord needs us to do (as revealed through God's Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit), and then serving Him in that regard.

When we wait upon the Lord in these ways, then we find our hearts are strengthened, and our eyes are fixed steadfastly upon Him.

Psalms 25:3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. (We need not fear or be discouraged; those who wait on the Lord will not be ashamed.)

Psalms 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (How much of our weakness of heart is because we put our eyes upon the wicked around us and began to fret about their prosperity?)

Psalms 62:1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. (Oh heart, why fail when the Lord promises to deliver you from your distress? Keep looking unto Jesus!)

Psalms 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (Our hearts are strengthened by the hope - the confident expectation - we receive from the promises in God's Word.)

Isaiah 40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Of course, one of the most popular passages in the Bible...)

See the next verse too: Isaiah 41:1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment. (The Lord says when we wait upon Him, we will renew our strength - then He commands the world to step back and give us that opportunity to do so!)

Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

What are you afraid of?

Keep your eyes on the Lord, and He will strengthen your heart, lead you day by day and give you victory over the battles in your life, and take away your fears as you hope and trust in Him alone.

Be of good courage - wait on the Lord!

March 3rd/07
Jerry Bouey

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

Psalms Series