Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Sunrise Looking Forward to the Return of the King

I enjoyed a beautiful sunrise on Christmas morning with my husband. Every sunrise is unique, and this one touched my heart with thoughts of the return of Jesus as King. I hope you enjoy the beauty of sunrise and are blessed with the same encouraging thoughts.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It is always interesting to me how the Spirit seems to lead me in certain directions in my studies. Recently, I have encountered the subjects of creation, origin and the foundational truths in Genesis quite frequently in my studies and as a result of conversations with my husband on apologetics and resources that he brings home in support of those studies.

I was listening to David Guzik recently, and he made a statement that caught my attention to the effect that redeemed man is greater than innocent man. I hadn’t really considered God’s actions or His purposes in light of that possibility. As have many others before me I am sure, the question has come to mind as to why God created man since He knew all that would result in conjunction with that act. It would seem that the emergence of a new creation in the person(s) of redeemed man was the intent from the beginning.

This would also figure in to the argument for the creation of the angels prior to man. One could argue that maybe man would not have sinned without being confronted with temptation from one who could give him a reason for questioning God’s authority; thus, the privilege of choice given the angels to remain obedient to God or to reject Him. From Satan’s conversation with Eve it seems to me that the angels were created with more wisdom and understanding than was given man in the very beginning.

Genesis 3:4–5 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

This implies that Satan already knew the difference between good and evil. Ezekiel tells us that he was perfect until unrighteousness or evil was found in him.

Ezekiel 28:15 “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”

Isaiah gives us a bit more insight by revealing the motives behind Satan’s rebellion.

Isaiah 14:12–14 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

It seems he understood the desire to want to be “like the most High.” This would imply understanding regarding God’s authority and power along with flawed discernment regarding his ability to attain a like position.

In previous studies, I have made reference to the truth that love cannot be understood apart from hate and good cannot be understood apart from evil. It is also true that true love can only be expressed through the freedom of choice on the part of an individual to give that love; it cannot be forced. I think that is why one of the greatest testimonies to the fact of our love for God is to choose to love others in the body of Christ.

John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

He chose to love us in spite of our unworthiness, and we most mirror Him when we love others with the same mindset.

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

1 John 4:9–11 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

No one has the right to question the Creator as to the rightness or righteousness of His actions. Paul actually addresses this thought in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 9:20–23 “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,”

The truth is that God has revealed so much to us through creation and most importantly through His Son that declares His character as the truest expression of love, righteousness and holiness that we have no valid grounds upon which to question Him or reject Him. His desire is that we accept His gift of salvation and embrace Him as Lord and Savior. It is not His desire that any should perish, though He knew that many would choose to reject Him. That, however, does not speak to a flaw in His character. He created both the angels and man as sinless entities with the freedom to choose to accept Him as LORD or not. It is the character of the fallen angels and sinful men that is flawed.

Scripture is clear in declaring that everything that God created was for Him—according to His pleasure.

Colossians 1:16–17 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Revelation 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.”

The Greek defines the word “pleasure” as “a determination (properly, the thing), i.e. (actively) choice (specially, purpose, decree; abstractly, volition)….” In other words, we were created in accordance with His plan and His purposes according to His will.

When taking all these observations into consideration and trying to understand from a limited human perspective, I can only rest in the truth of Who He Is. “Who He Is” embodies everything that is good, and the actions of a good God should not be questioned.

When we choose to accept the LORD as Savior, we become a new creation that seems to be better than the original creation. As Mr. Guzik stated, “We gain much more in Jesus than we ever lost in Adam.”

Ephesians 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Ephesians 2:4–7 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the
exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:16–18 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

And wouldn’t that be a logical conclusion coming from the plan and purposes of a good God!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


It wasn’t long before the LORD went in search of some fellowship with Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

God called out in search of Adam. This was unusual; God didn’t usually have to look for him. He, of course, knew that Adam had sinned and was hiding. Still the LORD provides the opportunity for man to confess to his disobedience. At first Adam only responds that he is hiding because he is naked. God then confronts him with how he knows he is naked; this knowledge could only have been gained by eating of the forbidden fruit. So, instead of repenting and asking God to forgive him, Adam blames “the woman You gave me.” This was in effect also blaming God.

Sin always separates and erects a wall between us and those we love. It’s obvious that God had expected to fellowship with man as He called out His question. I think it is significant to note that He didn’t force a response; He gave man the choice to respond to Him and waited for his response. Because of established relationship, the love of God won out over the fear of man—as it always will when we choose to accept His love.

God then turns to the woman and asks her what she has done. She admits that she disobeyed; but following Adam’s example, she tries to shift responsibility for her actions to the serpent. Our example always impacts others, especially those closest to us, either for good or bad. At least she doesn’t imply that God is somehow responsible since He created the serpent. She does, however, plead the case that she was tricked; and as stated in the previous post, scripture affirms the truth of her statement.

1 Timothy 2:13–14 “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

At this point God turns His attention to the serpent, and we encounter the first revelation and promise of God’s plan of redemption in scripture.

Genesis 3:14–15 “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: (v15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Immediately, we see evidence of God’s power and authority. First, He passes judgment on the serpent. Satan had used the serpent just like he tries to use each one of us; and just like the serpent, we will be cursed if we choose to ignore God’s provision for us.

By verse 15, God is speaking directly to Satan. He is promising a lifelong hatred and conflict between Satan and the woman and between his seed and “her seed.” All other men that have lived since Adam were from the seed of man. I think this is a statement of the struggle of man in choosing between their innate knowledge of right and wrong. This choice is ultimately a choice of accepting or rejecting God as LORD; in rejecting God you have by default given the position of LORD in your life to Satan. The Apostle Paul addresses this knowledge and choice process in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 1:18–21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

The ultimate showdown will involve Satan and the “seed” of the woman, the only human since Adam to be born without a sin nature—Jesus Christ, God’s precious Son. Though Satan will cause Jesus to suffer greatly in His humanity, the wound is compared to a bruised heel; the suffering will be temporary. Jesus, however, will eventually strike Satan with a fatal head wound.

This is also a prophecy, a statement regarding God’s omniscience. None of this was a surprise to God; His plan/provision was already in place waiting to be revealed.

1 Peter 1:18–21 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”

2 Timothy 1:7–10 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

It seems that sin has a purpose in God’s plan and we will discuss that in the next post.

Eve was punished with multiplied sorrow in childbirth and Adam was punished by having the ground cursed. He would have to labor with sweat to make things grow and would have to deal with thorns and thistles in the process.

We are then told that God clothed Adam and Eve with coats and skins. The freedom that accompanied innocence was forever lost. The coverings of skin were obtained by the sacrifice or shedding of blood of an innocent creature to provide a covering for their sinful condition. This is already providing a picture of Jesus having to die and shed His blood for our sins.

Chapter three closes with man being sent out of the Garden of Eden. The LORD established angels and a flaming sword to ensure that man could not eat from the tree of life and remain in a sinful state for eternity.

Genesis 3:22 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:”

One other note—God affirmed Satan’s statement that the knowledge of good and evil made them “as gods.” We know that God is sovereign and that this too was a part of His eternal plan, so it must be for our good. It would seem that we cannot understand love apart from hate or good apart from evil. So we had to come to this understanding to be able to make a meaningful personal choice to love and obey God.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Chapter 3 begins with an introduction to the serpent, and it is described as more “subtil” than any other creature. The Hebrew defines this as “cunning,” and Webster defines this as “knowing, skillful, designing and deceitful.” This tells me why Satan chose this particular creature through which to tempt man to sin. As I reference the serpent, I am confident in declaring that this serpent is possessed by Satan at this time.

Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Satan specifically chose to turn his cunning toward deceiving the woman evidently understanding that she would do better at getting Adam to disobey God than he. His approach was designing and skillful; he lured Eve into conversation with a statement misrepresenting God’s instruction to the couple. Eve immediately corrected him, but she added to God’s words of instruction in the process.

Genesis 3:2–3 “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

God had said only that they were not to eat of one specific tree, but He had said nothing about touching it. Satan immediately contradicts God’s words of warning; he calls God a liar. Then he implies that God is withholding something to be desired from them.

Genesis 3:4–5 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Since God created us with an ability to make our own choices, there had to be a degree of knowledge and awareness on which to base those decisions. I can really relate to the desire to understand/know something that is unknown by you but known by someone else. As the serpent stated, Eve had no concept of the difference in good and evil; everything in her life had been good. Would one really choose to know about evil and all its consequences?

It’s also interesting to note that Satan’s lie was couched in truth as revealed in verse 22 below, and we’ll comment on this a bit more as we get to it.

Genesis 3:22 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil….”

I think one of Satan’s most effective ploys is to adulterate the truth of God’s word. He appeals to the fleshly desires of man and often argues for the legitimacy of those desires by getting men to use their own reasoning in interpreting God’s revealed word. He’s very adept at getting man to look at the scripture through a worldly filter rather than a clear, spiritual filter.

We all know that Eve succumbed and got Adam to join her in disobeying God’s only prohibition.

Genesis 3:6–7 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

It stands out to me that the woman “saw” that the tree was good for food. Did the serpent eat of it to tempt her? She “saw” that it was pleasant to the eyes. I think this is one reason a lot of people identify the fruit as an apple. She also “saw” enough to make her desire the wisdom that eating it would provide her. She seemed to realize that the serpent knew more than she did, and it did not appear to have harmed it. So, Eve took the fruit and gave some to her husband to eat with her. It was interesting to me that after checking several translations, I got the picture that Eve ate first, gave to her husband, he ate—and THEN the eyes of both of them were opened. Scripture is very clear in attributing the sin to Adam because the woman was deceived. She was tricked; he deliberately disobeyed.

1 Timothy 2:13–14 “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

This tells me that from the very beginning, the husband was established as the spiritual cover for the woman. I think that from the first recognition that they were naked, their actions proved that they regretted their decision. They did not hesitate to try and make a covering for themselves. Sin changes the way we see the world around us for the worse. Knowing good from evil certainly did not prove to be the treasure that Satan implied it would be. Nothing with which Satan tempts us will ever be worth sacrificing the blessing that comes with obedience to God. Scriptures tells us that the pleasures of sin are only for a season.

Hebrews 11:24–25 “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season….”

1 John 2:15–17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Chapter two begins with a description of the first Sabbath day.

Genesis 2:1–3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

I believe the establishment of the Sabbath was important for two main reasons.

1. To establish a “type” for use in communicating to man concerning God’s plan of redemption.

2. To establish the importance of rest after work—both for the land and for men and animals that work the land.

As we continue in chapter two, we are given a few more details regarding the creation week.

Genesis 2:5–6 “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”

Though the wording is a bit difficult, it seems that God had prepared a mist to water the face of the ground before filling it with vegetation. There was no cycle of rain, snow, sleet, etc. It would seem that the earth was of uniform conditions and temperature at this time.

This is also the first time that the phrase “the LORD God” was used as the Creator’s title. The Hebrew states “Jehovah Elohim,” the self-existent, eternal divine being. The term Jehovah is the term that was most holy and sacred to the Jews. The word God placed an emphasis on His strength and power and position as righteous judge.

Now we are given more detail concerning the creation of man.

Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Note that the LORD God “formed” man of the dust of the ground. This pictures God as a potter working to “squeeze into shape” (from the Hebrew) the form that He wants out of the clay. After shaping the man to His liking, He then breathes into his nostrils the breath of life. I personally believe that this was imparting to man the whole of life—both spiritual and physical. We know today that the human body is an intricate, complex creation that gives testimony to an awesome, amazing, powerful Creator.

This verse emphasizes that God took special care in the creation of man. He is paying attention to the details. When He breathed into man, He was filling man with a part of Himself. This breath from God made man unique from the rest of the living creation; it gave us a soul. When Adam sinned, it was spiritual death that was experienced immediately. He lost the indwelling Spirit of God, the source of spiritual life.

Next we are told that God had prepared a special garden for man to live in and take care of that is identified as “eastward in Eden.” In that garden there was only one tree that God commanded the man not to eat its fruit—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:16–17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The consequences for disobeying God’s one command—“you will surely die.”

Several questions and/or observations now come to mind. God evidently created man with an innate language and the ability to communicate using that language.

Why did God forbid man anything if everything was good? God never intended us to be robots. The only way He could be glorified by and enjoy fellowship with us as His creation was to allow us to exercise choice. There is no love without choice.

What did Adam understand death to be? I am sure God would have explained it to him in some way for it to be a valid deterrent to disobedience.

The name of the forbidden tree is revealing—“the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Adam was placed in an environment that God had pronounced to be very good. As long as Adam remained in fellowship with God through obedience, he would know nothing different. When, however, he chose to disobey God, he became aware of something that was not good; he was made aware of evil.

God had given Adam the privilege of naming all the animals. In the process Adam realized that he was alone, and God determined that was not good for Adam, and He created woman.

Genesis 2:21-23 “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Adam knew that God had taken a part of him to make woman. I think this is emphasizing the truth that the bond between a man and his wife is to be strong and intimate. In fact God looks upon a married couple as one flesh.

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

I’ve heard a famous quote many times throughout the years, but I don’t know who originated it: “Woman was not made out of man’s head to surpass him, nor from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010


On the sixth day, the final day of His creative work, God creates land animals and humans. Every creature was created from the earth “after his kind.” The wording indicates that God speaks His instruction to the earth and the animals appear out of the earth. God immediately pronounces His actions good.

God then turns His attention to the creation of man, the object around which the rest of creation was centered. Man was to be given dominion over the earth and every creature in it. But there is more; let’s look at the following scripture.

Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Notice that God said “Let us” make man “in our image.” This is a direct reference to the Trinity.

It is also significant to note that both man and woman were created in the image of God. They too were told to multiply and fill the earth and exercise dominion over the other creatures on land, in air and in sea. They were informed that all the herbs and fruits were given to both man and the animals for food. There were no meat eaters on earth at this time.

Genesis 1:29–30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

This time God pronounces His work as “very good.”

I think it is important to note that God emphasizes the truth of six literal days of creation at the giving of the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:9–11 “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

There is a wonderful book called, The Secret of the Universe, by Nathan Wood that provides a wonderful presentation as to how the creation reflects the triunity of God. I think the excerpts below will add to this discussion about creation and inspire one with awe concerning our Creator and His creation.

First, Mr. Wood declares that the universe consists of three things—space, matter and time. He goes on to explain that “each one of these elemental things of the physical universe is threefold.”

• “It is length, breadth, and height, in one Space.”
• “It is energy, motion, and phenomena, in one Substance.”
• “It is past, present, and future, in one Time.”

“If God is Three in One, each one of the three is God, and each one is the whole of God.”

The last quote I’ll use is as follows:

“This universe about us is vast beyond our comprehension. New universes of stars beyond this universe are floating into our ken.

The cause of it must be at least as great.

This universe, from the island universes quintillions of miles away to the electrons whirling in the invisible atom, is one immeasurably articulated, rationally working fabric.

The cause of it all must be at least as rational as that.

This universe contains personal beings, who think, who love, who hate, who hope, who fear, who choose, who determine.

The cause of such beings, of a universe which contains such beings, must be at least as personal they.

The equation of the universe is clear. A vast, rational, personal cause of the universe = God.

He goes into much more detail in the book, but that’s enough to make you go WOW! We truly serve an awesome God.

Monday, December 13, 2010


On Day 3 God gathers the waters into one place, implying that the land occupies its own separate place. He then causes grass to appear on the earth along with herbs and trees with fruit possessing seeds by which they would reproduce after their kind. It is on this day that God first describes what He has done as good. This also implies that “bad” was already in existence for there to be a contrast.

It is not until Day 4 that God speaks into existence the sun, moon and stars. They were created to serve as signs and to mark the seasons, days and years. Though man has not yet been created, God is preparing the creation specifically for his benefit. Man is a creature that operates in time and space. The marking of time is a necessary tool for successful agricultural practices. God would use the designation of time in establishing worship practices intended to teach His people and in declaring prophecy pertaining to the working out of His plan of redemption.

Wayne Walter,, makes a beautiful observation regarding verse 17.

Genesis 1:16–17 “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth….”

“The Hebrew word for set means enhance, show off as a jeweler might magnify the brilliance of his diamond by placing it in a case of black velvet. The firmament surrounding the earth enhanced the beauty of the luminaries even as a magnifying glass.” [end quote]

Again, God pronounces His creative work on this day to be good.

It’s interesting that even in the night God provides a measure of light. The obvious parallel is to His presence in our lives even when we feel surrounded by sin/despair. Christ, the light of this world, separates good from bad. Only the presence of His light in our lives can separate us from the power of evil/dark/Satan.

All the sea creatures and flying creatures were created on Day 5. Point is made that the waters brought forth abundantly and that just as with the vegetation, the living creatures were of different kinds. It is significant to note that God created with variety in His creation according to kinds. He didn’t create using the process of evolution from a big bang that would eventually result in the different kinds of vegetation or creatures.

We are also told that God blessed these creatures and caused them to be fruitful and multiply so as to fill the seas with what we now know to be a multitude of amazing and beautiful creatures. The flying creatures were to be just as fruitful. Again, the more we learn about the natural instincts of these creatures, the more amazed we are by the Creator who made them to be so unique. I never cease to be amazed at the variety and beauty and wonder revealed in creation that continues to be evident even after the impact of the curse of sin on creation.

Again, God pronounces His creative work on this day to be good.

I don’t think I have a made a point of the fact that all God did was speak to accomplish His work of creation. It is simply stated but impossible to understand. God is certainly a God of authority and power far beyond our human understanding. If we could understand all about Him, He wouldn’t be God.

Isaiah 55:8–9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Deuteronomy 3:24 “O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?”

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….”

Friday, December 10, 2010


The gap in time between verses one and two in no way affects the account of the six days of creation that follows. God chose to take six literal days to make a new creation of planet earth, even though He could just as easily have done it in one. Just as fallen man has to become a new creation in Christ to fulfill God’s purpose, so the fallen earth had to become a new creation to fulfill His purpose for man—as it will again before eternity begins.

As I have continued to study, especially in the area of prophecy, I believe the six days of creation and one day of rest were necessary to establish the foundation for the consistency of God’s teaching in the area of “types” or examples throughout scripture. He was illustrating His truth by the use of these examples. I personally believe that one of the key truths to be learned from the time of creation regards the timeframe of His plan for the redemption of mankind. Both the Psalmist and the Apostle Peter equated a day with 1000 years from a heavenly perspective.

Psalms 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

2Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

That would give a picture of 6,000 years for the work of redemption to be accomplished and a time of 1,000 years during which man would enjoy the rest of Jesus as the authority on planet earth without the interference of Satan.

Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

I think it is significant that God defines the days of creation with the phrase “and the evening and the morning were.” The scripture is God’s revelation to man and was written so as to be understood by man. The next revelation given is that on the first day God said, “Let there be light…and God divided the light from the darkness.” (v3-4)

We know from scripture that God is light.

1 John 1:5 “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

It would seem that Satan’s rebellion caused God to remove His presence from planet earth resulting in darkness. Light had to be added to the darkness that resulted from Satan’s rebellion. It would also seem that the universe as we know it was quite different before Satan’s fall. The sun and moon and stars weren’t even made until day four. The sun and moon weren’t necessary for God to define “evening and morning,” but they were necessary to man’s understanding of the terms and what God is saying.

The account of Day 2 seems to indicate that a flood of some type also resulted from Satan’s rebellion since God used this day to divide the waters to make room for the firmament of Heaven between them. This made me think that there might be more significance to the establishment of the rainbow than is at first obvious.

Genesis 9:13 “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”

It is interesting to note that on the first two days of creation, God makes no statement that it was good. I think this probably relates to the fact that He is reestablishing order from the chaos caused by Satan. On the following days he will be adding things to the creation that are specifically meant for the good of man.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


While my interests are more directed toward a verse-by-verse understanding of scripture, especially in the area of prophecy, my husband is more interested in apologetics. Frankly, both areas go hand-in-hand with one another. Apologetics, being able to defend why you believe what you believe, is one of the primary purposes of studying scripture according to Peter.

1 Peter 3:15 “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:”

As I thought about the important chapters in scripture, I don’t think you can overemphasize the importance of the opening chapters of scripture. Being able to embrace the truth of earth’s early history as detailed in Genesis is foundational to establishing a strong faith in the whole of God’s word. Doubts concerning the truth of God’s revelation in the opening chapters of Genesis make for a weak foundation for one’s faith as to the rest of scripture. In light of this truth, the next series of blogs will be used to share my understanding of this foundation of our faith. I will state from the outset that I consider the scripture to be authoritative truth from God to man. I believe that God’s revelation to man is meant to be understood by man. Though God’s revelation of truth to man is necessarily limited, there is no truth that contradicts God’s word. All truth will conform to God’s word. We do not need to make adjustments to God’s word to fit in with man’s attempts to discover that truth in any area of endeavor. It’s man’s understanding of the truth that changes the more he discovers—not the truth itself.

The opening words of Genesis establish God as the Creator of heaven and earth.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

I believe this is a reference to the beginning of His creation. This action resulted in the existence of more than just the three persons of God, the Trinity. I also think it includes the creation of the angels. We know from Job that the angels were witness to the creation of the earth as we know it.

Job 38:4–7 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

For many years I refused to contemplate the possibility of a gap between verses one and two of Genesis because I did not believe in evolution and firmly held to the understanding that the days of creation are literal days—evening and morning. After much study and research, I learned that the existence of a gap did not preclude a belief in literal days, nor was evolution the only possible explanation or reason for a gap. Let’s take a look at verse two.

Genesis 1:2 “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

I actually came to understand that the Hebrew for “without form” made reference to “waste, desolation, worthless, confusion, vain.” Scripture is very clear in declaring that God is not the author of confusion.

1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion….”

Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

The verse in Isaiah above uses the same Hebrew word for “vain” as is used for “without form” in verse two of Genesis. This led me to believe that it was during this gap of time that Satan led his rebellion against God in which one-third of the angels joined him.

Revelation 12:3–4 & 9 “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth…. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world….”

It just now stood out to me that the rebellious angels were cast down to the earth. Further reading resulted in the following insight from Jewish scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

“In Genesis 1:1-2, we find two examples of what we call “syntagmes,” which are words that occur together to denote one unique concept. One such example here is “heaven and earth,” which is the totality of the ordered universe. Second, tohu vavohu – waste and void – the totality of judgment and chaos.”

“Our conclusion here is that we have a disorderly chaos and an orderly cosmos; of course, these cannot apply to the same thing at the same time. In other words, Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 cannot be contemporary, but must be chronological in sequence. In Genesis 1:1, the earth and the heavens are created in a perfect order. Then, sometime later came this chaos as a result of Satan's fall – the chaos of unformed matter which caused it to become undifferentiated, unorganized, confused and lifeless. The earth, thus, became formless and empty.”
[End quote from Fruchtenbaum]

I also found more food for thought during my verse-by-verse study of Revelation.

Revelation 16:18 “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”

It occurred to me that this seemed to indicate there might have been an earthquake that would have compared to it before man was on the earth.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Son’s Reward

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

“it pleased the LORD” – This is a hard phrase for me to digest. God the Father was pleased (desired and took delight) with the bruising (beating to pieces, crushing) and grief (pain, weakness, wounding) of His Son. I can hardly see through the tears even as I type this. It’s easier for me to put the focus of His pleasure on the obedience of His Son—His Son’s desire to do the will of His Father over His own will. The thing is—the Father would never have put such a plan into place were it not for my sin. I know my heart; I would never have chosen such a selfless act of unconditional love and sacrifice involving my son. His love is so amazing! The lengths to which He has gone to have a relationship with me as His child is totally beyond my understanding. I know how many times I have failed Him—sometimes ignorantly, but more often than not by willful choice. I am so unworthy, yet He considers me of great value, a special treasure. This is one truth I’m not sure I’ll ever understand—even in heaven.

Jesus was both our complete sin and trespass offering (described in Leviticus
4-6). Again, the Jewish people understood this far better than do we. The main difference being that the offering of Jesus was sufficient once for all.

“he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days” – I had to stop and think about this phrase quite a while. I finally realized that the word his was throwing me; it is not in the original. It doesn’t matter so much with the first phrase as it does with the second. Jesus would see His seed, His offspring; that is a reference to His spiritual offspring—not physical. “He shall prolong days” I think is a reference to the time that the Father would allow for the offspring to be a great multitude. As I was reminded when reading through one commentary, to have many children was considered a special blessing to the Jews. The Father wants to greatly honor His Son.

The last clause of this verse is a declaration of victory and success; there is no doubt of the Father’s will being accomplished. No matter how deceptive Satan and his legions are and no matter how rebellious and denying mankind is, God’s plan will be carried out in every detail. I thought it was interesting that the Hebrew for prosper stated “to push forward.” Jesus is the One Who will accomplish the plans of the Father through His workings with and among people on this earth.

Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

“my righteous servant” = Jesus, the Son of God

When Jesus sees what He has accomplished through His very painful and sorrowful obedience to the Father, He will be satisfied (to the full, satiated). It’s only because the Savior was obedient in following the Father’s will to truly “know” such pain and sorrow that many will be justified (made righteous—just as if I’d never sinned). How? By becoming the final sin offering. (See 2Corinthians 5:21 as discussed in a previous post.)

Isaiah 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Frankly, I didn’t like any of the translations I read. Something doesn’t set right with me in understanding that the Father is giving the Son a portion or division of the spoils of victory. When I looked at the Hebrew for divide, it included “separate self.” No I don’t know Hebrew, but it makes more sense to me for it to read something like, “Therefore I will separate Him to receive great (multiplied by the myriad) reward, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong.” Maybe I’m wrong, but I see Christ as the Victor and as the One Who will divide His kingdom with the strong (those who by faith are overcomers). This seems to be the truth stated in Revelation

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

The Father shared His throne with the Son, and the Son will share His throne with those who follow Him in faith. That is the prophetic future of those who choose to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Why will the Father reward His Son so magnificently? Because of His obedience. He willingly laid down His life despite being unjustly condemned and treated like a common criminal. He became my sin, our sin, the final sufficient sin offering for all who would come to Him in faith. Even as He was suffering on the cross, he prayed for those who had rejected Him.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

What an amazing Savior I strive to serve!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Willing Sacrifice

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Oppressed doesn’t sound so bad; the Hebrew gives a clearer picture—He was driven like an animal and tyrannized. He was afflicted; the Hebrew included humbling oneself and submitting. No matter how unjust or cruel His treatment, He endured it without complaint or fighting back. He is pictured as a lamb being taken to slaughter and as a sheep being taken to have its wool shaved off—completely submissive.

Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

I really liked the reading of the Complete Jewish Bible for this verse: After forcible arrest and sentencing, he was taken away; and none of his generation protested his being cut off from the land of the living for the crimes of my people, who deserved the punishment themselves.

The Hebrew for declare includes speaking out in complaint. That is a very sad statement and fits in with the gospel accounts. They are clear that Peter made a point to deny Him several times. We know that His mother, John and some other faithful women followers were at the cross and grieving; but nowhere do we hear anyone speaking out on His behalf except Pilate.

The most important point being made in this verse is that Jesus was beaten and killed for our willful sins. Isaiah is specifically referencing the Jews but it applies to all of us

Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

I wasn’t really happy with any of the nine translations I read for this verse. Its wording is a bit confusing. The word grave is a reference to the tomb and the word death references Hades, the place of the dead. I think I got tripped up by equating “the rich” with Joseph of Arimathea (the rich man in whose grave Jesus was buried). The key seems to be that He was put to death with those who were wicked and deserving of death. When He went to Hades, He would have gone to the section we know as Abraham’s Bosom.

Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Note that Hades is translated “hell” in Luke 16. Paul speaks of the Lord going to Hades in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:9-10 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Knowing that Abraham’s Bosom was the section designated to people of faith, then we understand that Jesus indeed fellowshipped with those who were truly “rich” in Hades. These are they who would experience the joy of eternity with the Savior.

The last half of the verse emphasizes that Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God as John the Baptist had declared.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

He had not done anything violent (or wrong or unjust) and had never spoken deceitfully (or falsely or fraudulently or treacherously).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jesus Suffered for My Sin

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The wounding, bruising and stripes are all physical inflictions upon the body of Christ before He ever got to the cross. The Hebrew for bruised was very graphic—to beat to pieces, break in pieces, crush. Transgressions are acts of willful rebellion and disobedience to God; iniquities are a reference to the moral evil and wickedness that are a result of our sin nature.

Chastisement speaks of reproof, instruction, correction, and discipline; Webster goes on to add punishment through the inflicting of pain. I thought the second definition from Webster was very applicable—“To reduce to order or obedience; to correct or purify; to free from faults or excesses.” Christ was punished to bring us to a position of obedience and purity—to make us righteous, free from faults. Because of His sacrifice, we can have peace (safety, happiness, health and prosperity). Because of His sacrifice, we are healed (spiritually). This again brings to mind the verse from 1Peter referenced above.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

“gone astray” = deceive, (cause to, make to) err, seduce, (make to) stagger, (cause to) wander, be out of the way.

As I look at the first two clauses in this verse I get a picture of two different kinds of sheep. The first one wanders off from where he should be because of deceit, or bad judgment, or seduction, or physical impairment. The second is making a deliberate choice to go off on his own and choose his own path independent of the shepherd. These directly relate to the sinners and transgressors in the previous verse.

“laid” = to impinge, by accident or violence, or (figuratively) by importunity:—come (betwixt), cause to entreat, fall (upon), make intercession, intercessor, intreat, lay…
“impinge” = To fall or dash against; to touch upon; to strike; to hit; to clash with; — with on or upon.

More often than not, the Hebrew sends my mind spinning in many directions. YHWH, God the Father, laid our sin on Jesus, His Son. Paul declared this truth in his letter to the Corinthians. As I read through the different translations, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of them. I think you need a couple of them to get the complete picture.

CJB - 2Cor. 5:21 God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.”

NIV - 2Cor. 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

In my mind it is important to recognize that in becoming our sin offering He became our sin. He was there in our stead. This is something the Jews who lived under the sacrificial system of the law understood much more completely than do we who live under grace.

By laying our sin on Jesus, God the Father effectively created a separation between Himself and His Son that had never before existed.

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

In our mind I don’t think we can adequately picture how violent and terrible this was for Father or Son. It wasn’t just my sin, or your sin; it was the sins of every person who has ever lived or will ever live on planet earth. His sacrifice was for all.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

1Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

After willingly and obediently becoming our sacrifice, Jesus became our intercessor before the Father.

Hebrews 7:25 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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Man Despised and Rejected

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Jesus began His years of ministry as a young man, and many were drawn to hear Him because of the miracles He performed. Many became true believers and followers of Jesus, but the majority of the people rejected Him—especially once He began to declare Himself the Son of God. They were completely blind to the truth of the scriptures and thought He was blasphemous for even suggesting such a thing.

The spiritual leaders of the nation in particular despised Him. They were threatened by the popularity He gained through the working of His miracles, and they resented the fact that He performed these miracles on the Sabbath. They were so tied in to legalism, that they had totally perverted the intent of the law. Because of the power these leaders exerted in society, many were afraid to step out in faith to follow Jesus; they were afraid of the repercussions.

“a man of sorrows…grief” – There are many incidents in the New Testament that speak about the Lord’s compassion for the people. He felt their pain, their grief. Most of His miracles were miracles of healing that relieved pain and suffering. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus was in agony in the garden of Gethsemane before His arrest. He didn’t want to endure the cross, yet He wanted more to do the Father’s will.

Mark 14:35-36 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

“we hid…our faces” – I believe this has to be a reference to having to turn from the view of a man that was beaten beyond recognition.

“despised…esteemed him not” – Even Pilate could find no fault in Jesus. He yielded to the will of the crowd to protect his own position.

Matthew 27:24-25 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

The people were determined to crucify the Savior, to the point of cursing their own children if they were wrong.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

“borne” = lift, suffer, carry (away), forgive, pardon, wear
Webster: Carried; conveyed; supported; defrayed.
“defray” = 1. To pay or discharge; to serve in payment of; to provide for, as a charge, debt, expenses, costs, etc. 2. To avert or appease, as by paying off; to satisfy; as, to defray wrath.

“griefs” – anxiety, disease, sickness, weakness

I thought the definitions from the Hebrew and Webster were especially helpful. The word borne not only included the idea of carrying and suffering, but the idea of forgiveness and pardon. The word defray was particularly specific. Jesus averted God’s wrath from us by paying our sin debt and satisfying God’s justice. As I continued to think on this verse, I realized that our griefs, anxieties, diseases, sicknesses, weaknesses and sorrows are a result of sin. This thought immediately led me to a verse in 1Peter.

1Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

By baring our sins in His body on the cross, He was also baring our griefs and sorrows. The main point being—Christ died in my stead. He sacrificed Himself to give me an abundant life.

Although I am making personal application (which I can’t help but), I am reminded that Isaiah is speaking to the Jewish people specifically. The Jewish leaders and all those that supported them in their determination to crucify the Lord felt justified in their actions. They assumed that He was getting His just punishment and judgment from God.

“esteem” = “to plait or interpenetrate, i.e. (literally) to weave or (gen.) to fabricate; figuratively, to plot or contrive (usually in a malicious sense); hence (from the mental effort) to think…”

This certainly wasn’t what I expected when looking up the Hebrew for esteem. This seems to paint a very descriptive word picture of what was going on in the minds of the Pharisees in particular as they sought to get Jesus killed. They were weaving a fabricated story with malicious intent to bring about the death of an innocent man. In doing so they positioned themselves as defending God by judging the One they considered a blasphemer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Introducing Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 is another one of the chapters I treasure most in scripture. It is an amazing prophecy of the future sacrifice of the coming Messiah. I have often heard it referred to as “The Holy of Holies” of the Old Testament, and I have no reason to disagree with that assessment. It is really hard for me to understand how the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah; it provides such a vivid description of the Savior’s sacrifice at Calvary.

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

Whose report? It would seem that Isaiah is speaking as representative of the prophets or maybe even the Trinity in this verse and then as representative of the Jewish people in the next several verses.

What report? The report being given in the last chapter—Israel being restored in relationship to YHWH and occupying a place of blessing and prosperity. In particular, the message of the last three verses. That Messiah will be King of kings; but before that happens, He will be beaten beyond recognition and put to death for the atonement of the sins of the nations—including the Gentiles. This makes me think of verses from my recent study in 1Corinthians.

1Corinthians 1:23-25 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The truth of this message is unbelievable according to man’s way of thinking, but is the embodiment of wisdom in God’s thoughts.

The answer to the second question in the verse is found in 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.

In previous study we have found that the arm is a symbol of one’s strength and power. Making it bare or revealing it would be a word picture of displaying this strength and power for all to see. The fact that His arm is described as holy gives understanding that the judgment executed in His strength and power is righteous and according to God’s purposes.

Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

You have to go back to the last few verses of the previous chapter to identify “he.”

Isaiah 52:13-15 “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”

I believe the context and the rest of this chapter identify this “servant” as the Messiah. “He,” Jesus, the Messiah, will grow up before “Him,” God the Father. Jesus came to earth as a baby; He had to grow into a man just as any other boy born on this earth.

“a root out of a dry ground” – I think this is a reference to the land of the people of Israel as a spiritual desert. He grew up spiritually healthy in spite of His environment.

Jesus was not an especially handsome man. People weren’t drawn to Him because of His looks, but He did have charisma. The beauty of the man Jesus was within—not in His outward appearance. This fits right in with the teaching of scripture in other places.

1Samuel 16:7b …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1Pet. 3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Transparent Heart

Psalm 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.

I think you have to read both of these verses together to get the best understanding. I remember thinking early on that David was describing his thoughts about the Lord. The context of this psalm makes it clear that David is describing God’s thoughts about him. The fact that he numbers them as more than the grains of sand is a commentary on how strong David’s faith in God’s love for him was.

I do think there is a legitimate application to David’s thoughts toward God as well in the last part of verse 18. It seems as if David is saying that when he goes to sleep, he is focused on his relationship to God (implied by the word still); and when he wakes up, his first thoughts are about God. I can honestly say that I have grown in relationship to the point that I can make that same statement quite often. My desire is to grow to the point that my every thought, word, and deed is made with reference to His presence in my life and how it glorifies Him.

Psalm 139:19-20 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

I am sometimes surprised at how abruptly the psalmist seems to change the directions of his thoughts. At one moment he is praising God and thanking Him, and then he turns his thoughts to his enemies, who are most often equated to God’s enemies. That’s foreign to my type of thinking. David, however, was a warrior, and much of his life was spent defending himself from his enemies. Because he considered himself a man of God, he naturally associated his enemies with God’s enemies. I think David’s actions many times reflect the truth that he expected God to act or to give him specific direction to act on his behalf against his enemies—whether Saul or even his own son. He seemed to desire to align his battlefield activities according to God’s direction—his treatment of Uriah being an obvious exception. David’s respect for life ties in directly with his understanding of the worth that God places on each individual through the care that He takes in the creation of that person. In Saul’s case, in particular, he knew that he was dealing with a man that was God’s anointed; and even though he knew he had been anointed by God to succeed Saul, he knew that he should respect God’s authority as to when and how that succession would be effected.

In reading several other translations, this verse is worded more as a desire on David’s part that God would just go ahead and destroy all the wicked people that caused him such grief since these same people showed their disdain for God, especially by using His name so flippantly and profanely.

Psalm 139:21-22 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

In these verses David is expressing his love and honor for the LORD. He was expressing his extreme hatred for the enemies of God as a reflection of his love for his LORD. It seems to be clarifying his thoughts in the previous verses. Anyone who is an enemy of God is an enemy of David. It’s like a son professing his love and commitment to his father by rejecting fellowship or refusing to have compassion on anyone who would show his father disrespect of any kind.

I couldn’t help but think of the Lord’s teaching that we should love our enemies. It would seem in these verses that David had no understanding of that concept. The key difference is that David lived in a time that was functioning under the law. It took Jesus, God in flesh, to come and example and teach us the true intent of the law. David was jealous for God’s honor, and one of the best ways he could express that was to express hatred for those who did not honor God as he did. Jesus is jealous for the honor of His Father as well, and He expressed that jealousy by throwing the moneychangers out of the temple in defense of that honor. Jesus, however, primarily came to reveal the character of God and to provide redemption for wicked, sinful man. His desire was to bring more people into relationship with Himself. He exampled a lifestyle that expressed concern for the sinner through humility and forgiveness without regard to self, and He taught that to honor Him we should follow that example.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

After expressing the desire for God to destroy the wicked, David begins to look introspectively. He loves his Lord, and truly desires to live his life in obedience to and respect for Him. He invites God to search his heart again. If God finds any wicked thoughts or desires, his prayer is for the Lord to direct his thoughts and desires according to the straight way that aligns with God’s way. He is looking forward to a relationship with the Lord that will never end.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

“possessed” = to erect, i.e. create; by extension, to procure, especially by purchase…..redeem

This is a very precious verse. Every individual is specifically created by God in the mother’s womb--a place that God intended as a place of protection and nourishment for the developing person. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David is also telling us that every individual’s redemption has been provided for as well. Even though Jesus wouldn’t die on the cross for another thousand years or so, in the mind of God that redemption was sure before the foundation of the world.

1Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you…

Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

The Hebrew for the word praise includes worship and thanksgiving. We worship and give thanks to God for many reasons. In this particular psalm, David is focused on how God loves him and has such concern for him from the moment of creation in his mother’s womb to intimate involvement throughout his life.

The Hebrew for fearfully indicates to revere as well as to cause fear. This seems to be a statement regarding the value that God places on human life.

“Wonderfully made” is a phrase that indicates the uniqueness of man in the creation and the amazing way in which our body functions. To describe God’s creative skills as marvelous is a reference to the miraculous intricate design of our being. Only in this century are we beginning to get a glimpse of just how miraculous and unique our bodies are with the unlocking of the DNA database that is unique to every individual. David may not be able to understand it all, but he certainly knows how to appreciate the results.

The word soul is a reference to the true person of David that is housed in this magnificently designed body. This reminds me of a quote I heard recently that was attributed to C. S. Lewis: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

Psalm 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.

This verse is confusing at first. The Hebrew for "lowest parts" included a reference to the “womb, figuratively.” I think this is David’s poetic expression coming out. Since we are made of the dust of the ground, the womb would picture the “lowest part” of the woman’s being. “Curiously wrought” is a reference to embroidery and needlework, which I think is a reference to the exacting care and attention given to the design of our being. It would also be a reference to the uniqueness of each individual.

If possible, I am even more overwhelmed than before as I think of the God of the universe keeping intimate tabs on each one of His children to the point of knowing their thoughts before they do and at the same time giving special attention to the formation of every new human. It’s interesting that the word substance was chosen. It’s a reference to the raw material used in the creation, which we know consists of the merging of an egg from the woman and sperm from the man.

Psalm 139:16 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.

The Hebrew for unperfect is a reference to the “embryo, the unformed mass.” When God looked at that embryo, He already had the blueprint recorded that would eventually result in David; that is true for every baby that is born. As that baby continues to develop, God ensures that he/she develops exactly according to His recorded blueprint. The Spirit through David makes express note that this blueprint exists before even one identifiable part of the baby is formed.

It truly grieves my heart to see how little respect our culture gives to these special creations. It is the ultimate in selfishness to decide that one’s comfort or convenience is more valuable or important than to honor the life that God has initiated in the womb. Sometimes we can’t help but wonder why God allows this to continue. One thing of which I am sure is that The Righteous Judge to Whom vengeance belongs will administer justice. The sad thing is that once we get to the point of thinking we have the right to determine who should have the right to be born or not, we are well on the way down the path to determining who should be allowed to live or die according to our assessment of their quality of life (and our current culture reflects that truth). That is an authority that only God possesses. Once we position ourselves as “gods” regarding the value of life, we have effectively done away with our need to recognize His authority in any area.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You Can’t Hide from God

Psalm 139:5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

This is a statement of David’s faith in God’s protective hand upon His life. He knows that nothing can touch Him unless God so chooses to allow it.

Many people seem to think that they can actually do things in secret that even God cannot see. The Psalmist tells us that this is a false assumption. The Apostle Paul declares that one of the most beautiful truths to the child of God is that He can be assured that nothing can touch His life except God allow it for His purposes--which are always for the good and for His glory.

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

This is actually an outworking of who God is; He is love.

1 John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

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

The Hebrew for the word high states, “especially inaccessible, by implication, safe and strong.” I certainly identify with David’s thought. Even though I can accept the truth stated in God’s word, I certainly don’t always understand it. It’s just beyond my understanding. I liked the inclusion of the words safe and strong. Even though I may not be able to truly understand God, I can certainly trust Him. God’s character ensures that the person of faith has nothing to fear from what he may not understand about God’s truth. He can be confident that God only operates from a righteous, compassionate and loving character. I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalm 139:7-10 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. 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 first thing I notice in this section of verses is that David is making a direct connection with God’s Spirit and His presence. They are inseparable. The point David is making is that he knows that there is nowhere he can go to hide from God. In fact, there is nowhere he can go where God is not with him. As one who has trusted God for his salvation, David knows that God is always ready to provide him direction and protection.

As I continue to think about verses 8-9, I get a picture of God’s mercy. We believers are sure of God’s direction and protection when we are on the high road of obedience (ascending to heaven and taking the wings of the morning so to speak), but God is faithful to His own even when we choose to rebel and disobey (make our bed in hell or dwell in the depths of the sea so to speak). He is faithful to rebuke, chasten and forgive.

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Hebrews 12:6-8 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

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

Psalm 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.

David is expressing something that we all must think sometimes if we are honest about our actions. We think that God won’t notice this one thing; after all, “I’m not important; I’m just one among billions,” “no one can see me,” or “nobody knows me here.” David knew the truth—You cannot hide from God. Everything we do is as if we were surrounded by neon flashing signs. To God’s eyes, there is no such thing as night or darkness. He sees us just as well at night as in day and in dark as in light.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nothing is Hidden from God

Another one of my very favorite chapters in scripture is Psalm 139 because it talks about how personal God’s involvement is in my development as a specific creation according to His purpose. There is nothing about me that He does not know and with which He is not intimately involved. It is in fact His very love and concern for us that is at the heart of prophecy. If He didn’t care, He wouldn’t bother.

Psalm 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

“Lord” = YHWH, (the) self-Existent or Eternal; name of God

After looking at the Hebrew, I am convinced that David is expressing his knowledge of the fact that God has penetrated to the core of his being and examined his character intently, and He understands David better than anyone else ever could. The word for known indicates the results of that examination; David was God’s “familiar friend.” I think that truth can be verified with scripture that identifies David as a man after God’s own heart.

1Samuel 13:13-14 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.

Experience has shown me that the best friends are those who share your heart, who love the things you love, who have the same concerns, and who are considerate of you.

The truth is that God has “searched” each one of us. My desire is to also be known by Him as a “familiar friend,” to have a character that embraces the things He loves, that is jealous for His name, and that lives to see Him glorified in me.

Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Not only does David recognize that God knows his character, He also knows where he is and what he is doing at all times. He even knows the thoughts that occupy his mind. I thought the Hebrew root for thought was quite interesting; it states, “to tend a flock; i.e. pasture it; intransitively, to graze.” This seems to be referencing the ideas that dominate our thinking, the things upon which we meditate. The Hebrew for “afar off” was also interesting. It referenced “wandering and precious” among other things. This gives a different perspective to me. Instead of just understanding that God knows our thoughts no matter how far away we may think Him to be, it seems to be saying that He knows where our thoughts like to wander, the meditation on things that are precious to us, things we may choose to hide from others. It really ties in more directly to the Hebrew for thought.

Psalm 139:3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

“compassest” = to cast away, to diffuse, winnow, spread, scatter, to turn aside

The Hebrew for this word has stumped me; it wasn’t what I expected to see. After going to good old Webster, my thoughts were drawn to the word spread. It made me think that the NLT had the best translation, “You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest…”

This fits in with my understanding of God’s working in the lives of His children. We are created with a purpose to bring Him glory, and He doesn’t just leave us to chance regarding that purpose. As God, He can direct our paths without taking away our freedom as to whether to follow that path. Because God is love and He knows us so well, we are given every opportunity to honor Him in fulfilling that purpose—even if we take a few detours from that path along the way.

Psalm 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

David knew that God knows us even better than we know ourselves. He is omniscient; He knows everything. He even knows every word that we are going to say before we know it ourselves. Nothing we do or say surprises the Lord.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


1Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

At this point Paul gets everyone’s undivided attention; he tells them that he is going to reveal to them a secret, something that God has not revealed to anyone before. The Greek for sleep states, “to slumber, to decease, be dead.” It’s obvious that in the context of this passage the reference is to physical death. Paul is telling this body of believers that not everyone is going to die. Also in context, Paul is sharing this revelation with people who have trusted Christ as Savior. The exciting new truth—“we shall be changed….to put on immortality.”

One of the first things I notice is that Paul seemed to think that he could be part of that group—“we shall not all sleep.”

The next truth revealed is that whether dead or alive, the believer will be changed, made different. The question begs, “What kind of change?” Our mortal, corruptible bodies will be made immortal (eternal) and incorruptible (not subject to decay or depravation).

There are so many other questions that this truth poses, such as how and when? Paul gives a general answer to both in verse 52.

• In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – an instant, less than a second

• At the last trump – I did quite a bit of study on this in conjunction with my topical study of the rapture. Suffice it to say that many scholars have given varying explanations regarding this trumpet. I want to share with you a few paragraphs from that study as quoted from Renald Showers that make good sense to me.

“1Corinthians 14 talks about the trumpet from a military perspective, so it would appear that thought would be continued in chapter 15. In Bible times, “when they went to war, they had a “last trump” that would be blown that would tell the fighting men, ‘Your time of fighting is over. It is time for you to go home and rest.’ A ‘last trump’ ended their time in the warfare.”

There were also two trumpets related to guard duty. “They had a first trump that signaled when a man was to start his watch…then they had a ‘last trump’ which signaled that his time on guard duty was over and it was time for him to go home.” The comparison to the Christian is obvious.

“The fact that Paul, when he mentions the last trump, doesn’t explain to the Corinthians what he meant by that indicates that they understood what he meant by ‘the last trump.’ They were very familiar…with that terminology of ‘the last trump’ signals used for Roman soldiers, whether their fighting is done or their tour of duty on the watch is over for that day.” [end Showers quote]

I recently learned that the trumpet is blown each morning of the month preceding Rosh Hashanah. During Rosh Hashanah 100 notes are sounded with the trumpet each of the two days. It is observed two days because of the difficulty in discerning the new moon; therefore, the date from year to year is unknown. It seems that there could be a possible application to the rapture--but only time will reveal the truth.

1Corinthians 15:54 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

When this transformation takes place, then the child of God will realize what it means for death to be swallowed up in victory. It would seem from the human perspective that at death man meets ultimate defeat. For the child of God, however, it is the seed that germinates into victorious, everlasting life!

Where was this written? In the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 25:8–9 “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

In context the prophet is talking about the time that the Lord comes to establish His kingdom and all Israel turns to Him in faith for salvation. Paul is declaring the truth of that prophecy also to be applicable to the body of believers resurrected to immortality before that time.

1Corinthians 15:55-56 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”

If we embrace this truth, we can face death without fear and looking forward to our future. It is our sin that subjects us to death, and it is the law that reveals how bound we are by sin. Death has no sting when you know that you face an eternity in the presence of God. The law can impart no strength to sin in one who has embraced God’s grace.

1Corinthians 15:57-58 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

The child of God, however, has gained the victory over sin and death through the sacrifice of our “Lord Jesus Christ.” This truth should motivate us to serve the Lord in spite of all the temptations the flesh and the enemy may throw our way. It should encourage us to persevere through the tough times and strengthen us to make the hard choices such commitment may require. It should fill us with such gratitude that we “abound” or are characterized by a life of service in doing the work of the Lord. There is no sacrifice that we can make in serving the Lord for which the reward will not be far greater.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


1Corinthians 15:46-47 “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”

This section gets a little harder to me since we know that our resurrected bodies will arise from the dust of the ground. Verse 47 helps us draw the distinction between natural and spiritual. The natural man, Adam, was created from the dust of the ground and was dependent on the laws of nature as established by God for his existence; his sustenance was dependent upon God’s provision through the creation on earth. The spiritual man, Jesus Christ, though willing to humble Himself and be born of flesh as a man, is a supernatural being, a heavenly being. His willing sacrifice made it possible for man to be transformed into a heavenly being.

The life force of our earthly body is the blood.

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood….

The life force of our heavenly body is the Spirit.

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Romans 8:9-11 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

1Corinthians 15:48-49 “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

I really liked the wording of the New Living Translation for these verses: Every human being has an earthly body just like Adam’s, but our heavenly bodies will be just like Christ’s. Just as we are now like Adam, the man of the earth, so we will someday be like Christ, the man from heaven.

I think Paul’s explanation of this truth in his letter to the Romans gives us a fuller understanding.

Romans 5:17–19 “For if, because of the offence of one man, death ruled through that one man; how much more will those receiving the overflowing grace, that is, the gift of being considered righteous, rule in life through the one man Yeshua the Messiah! In other words, just as it was through one offence that all people came under condemnation, so also it is through one righteous act that all people come to be considered righteous. For just as through the disobedience of the one man, many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the other man, many will be made righteous.” (Complete Jewish Bible)

1Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

We have determined that flesh and blood are descriptive of man’s natural body, and this corruptible body can have no part in God’s eternal kingdom. God’s kingdom is one of righteousness.

Hebrews 1:8 “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”