Thursday, February 26, 2015


In this post we will take a look at Psalm 24 and find hope for the future.

Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.  For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

David’s declaration is an important anchor of truth in light of all that is going on around us today.  It’s easy to lose sight of that truth in light of God’s plan to allow Satan’s rule to continue for so long—at least in our reckoning of time.

Every part of creation is the possession of God Almighty.  God created the earth for mankind and gave him authority over that creation. 

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Man rebelled against God and relinquished his dominion to Satan.  Though Satan currently holds the title of “god of this world,” that time will come to an end.

2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Revelation 20:2-3 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Revelation 20:7-10 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Satan is being allowed a time of dominion on earth; but the LORD GOD is sovereign in the universe, and Satan can only act within established parameters. Though we may not understand why God is allowing this, we can rest in the truth that His plans are holy and righteous and for the good.

Psalms 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 24:3-5 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

The obvious question—What is “the hill of the LORD?”  The Psalmist tells us.

Psalm 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

Psalm 132:13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.

It stands to reason that the “holy place” is the temple. 

Exodus 26:33 And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.

So, the question seems to be:  Who is qualified to minister before the Lord or enjoy fellowship in His presence?  This is especially interesting since there was no temple during David’s lifetime; his son Solomon built it. 

The answer to the questions posed in verse 3 includes four characteristics.
·      One with clean hands – The Hebrew for clean states, “innocent, blameless, guiltless.”  This seems to be a reference to our actions; it is primarily with our hands that we physically serve or harm one another.
·      One with a pure heart – The Hebrew for pure states, “beloved, empty, clean.”  The first two words were quite interesting to me and not what I expected.  When I saw the word empty, I immediately connected it guileless and selfless—having no ulterior motives.  It makes sense that one who is innocent and blameless in his/her relationship with others and is not known for deceit would be beloved.
·      One who does not have a vain soul – My first thought on reading this verse was that this was a reference to pride.  The Hebrew for vain states: 
evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective….”
·      One who is not deceitfulThis would characterize a person who has no ulterior motives.  More importantly, regarding service to the Lord, the psalmist is referencing one who is serving from a heart of love and obedience to the Lord. It describes a person who refrains from using people as pawns to accomplish his own agenda.

This seems to be an impossible standard to which to aspire.  In David’s day, to be clothed in that righteousness was an ongoing process through the sacrificial system looking forward in faith to God’s permanent provision through His Son.  For believers today that righteousness is imputed to us when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior by faith; the Father sees the child of God clothed in the righteousness of His Son.

2Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Philippians 3:7-9 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith….

Blessing is a reference to abundance and prosperity.  Where we go wrong is assuming that this is a reference to material things.  It can include material things, but our richest blessings are spiritual and eternal.

Psalm 24:6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

I like the Complete Jewish Bible translation of this verse:  Such is the character of those who seek him, of Ya‘akov, who seeks your face. (Selah)

Jacob is a reference to the nation of Israel as the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.  David is referencing those of Israel who are seeking to serve God in truth from their heart.  Selah is reference to a pause in the music, a time for reflection.

Psa. 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.  Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

This is a call for the King of glory to come Mt. Zion—a time for which David longed.  I don’t know if David realized the ongoing spiritual warfare between the armies of God and the legions of Satan.  He was well aware, however, of God’s provision for Israel in physical battle against their enemies.  He knew that God had given Israel victory many times through His miraculous provision—beginning with the exodus from Egypt.    David also knew of God’s provision on a personal basis, e.g., when he was empowered to kill the Philistine giant Goliath.

I, too, am looking for the return of the King of glory to Zion to assume the throne of David as King of kings and Lord of lords.  David had no idea that it would be thousands of years before his hope was realized.  I truly believe that the scripture reveals that His return is very near according to the signs of the times.  The Lord expects us to recognize those signs.   He took notice of the sons of Issachar that understood the times in which they lived and cursed the Pharisees and Sadducees for not recognizing Him in light of the signs prophesied in scripture.

1Chronicles 12:32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.  He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.  And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

The signs of the times are evident.  I suggest you take the time to read Matthew 24, 1Timothy 4 and 2Timothy 3.
·      Israel is a vibrant nation once again.
·      Labor pains are active.
·      Evil abounds.
·      God’s word is being rejected to accommodate the flesh.
·      People are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
·      Lies and hypocrisy are the norm.
·      To have a “conscience” concerning right and wrong is becoming a thing of the past in light of the rejection of the absolute truth of God’s word.
·      People on the whole are selfish, inconsiderate and prideful.
·      Science and technology are forging ahead in areas that are intended to redefine what is human.  Personally, I think there are limits that God will allow in this area.

Look up…for our redemption is drawing near!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


In this post we are going to take a look at Psalm 100.  I am old enough to remember learning this psalm in elementary school.  How sad to think that such would not be allowed today.

Psalm 100:1-2 “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”

The Hebrew for joyful noise states “to split the ear with sound, shout.”  I love music, and I love to sing and play the piano.  I think it is wonderful that David, the musician, is encouraging everyone everywhere to praise the LORD boldly whether or not they can carry a tune or play an instrument perfectly.  I think, just as regarding our perception of beauty, the LORD has a much different perspective.  He looks for beauty that is of the heart, and He appreciates music that is from the heart.  The expression of praise is music to God’s ears when it springs forth from a heart of love and gratitude.

It is significant to note that this psalm is addressed to “all ye lands”—not just the nation of Israel.

Some translations use the word worship instead of serve, which is correct from the Hebrew; but it also means “to work, to labor.”  It’s easy to associate gladness (joy, glee, pleasure) with worship, but we are also to be joyful as we do the work of the Lord.  The Hebrew for singing included the idea of triumph or success.  This made me think of Joshua 1:8:
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
That led me back to defining working for the LORD.  It is obeying God according to His will as revealed in the word of God.

Psalm 100:3 “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

The word God is “elohim” (plural in the Hebrew), a reference to the Trinity—Father, Son and Spirit.  The psalmist identifies God as our Creator, “He that made us.”  This truth is stated simply and forthrightly as a fact—not open for debate. God created us for His pleasure, for special relationship to Him.  If we acknowledge Him in faith and serve Him, we are “His” people and the sheep of His pasture.  He wants to take care of us as tenderly as the Shepherd cares for His sheep.  He wants us to recognize how weak and helpless we are without Him.  He wants to feed us with spiritual food to help us grow and become strong in the Spirit.

Psalm” 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

Note that we are called to “enter” His gates and His courts.  We know from the words of Jesus recorded by John that there is only one way to access His presence—and that is by grace through faith in Him. 

John 10:7&9 “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”           

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”   

Only those who acknowledge God as Lord and Savior would be willing to come into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.  To “bless His name” is to adore and honor Him.

Psalm 100:5 “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

Even as the psalmist invites the world to join him, he sets the example by closing this psalm in praise and thanksgiving to his LORD.

“the LORD is good” – He is the only One that is truly good.

Matthew 19:17 “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”

Luke 18:19 “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.”

His mercy (kindness, pity) is everlasting (without end).

Lamentations 3:22–23 “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”

His truth is also everlasting; it will never change.  Jesus is the embodiment of truth (as stated in John 14:6 above), and He will never change.

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

Monday, February 2, 2015


Psalms 32:1–11 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

My heart rejoices with David to know that my sin is forgiven so thoroughly that it never existed in the eyes of God.  I liked the way I heard James Merritt phrase it:  “He locks our sin in the vault of grace and throws it in the sea of mercy.” 

We all can relate to wishing that we could keep a sin hidden, but the child of God realizes that is pure foolishness.  David had an intimate relationship with God. He knew that God knew he had sinned—He just didn’t want to confess it to Him.  That immediately set the stage for a huge struggle with his guilt—to the point that he was moaning and groaning and experiencing great depression.  He finally got to the point that he could no longer produce any tears.

Another good quote from Merritt:  “Sin was the wound; silence was the infection.”

“thy hand was heavy upon me” – I thought that was a very telling expression.  David’s relationship was so close to the Lord that he recognized his guilt as the hand of God pressing him to repent. 

Today’s society/culture has  conditioned us to believe that there is always something or someone else we can blame for depression and other mental or emotional conditions.  David knew he was trying to hide sin.  Because of the undermining of God’s word today as well as the lack of knowledge of God’s word, people sometimes don’t even recognize their sin.

It finally reached the point that David could take it no longer; he confessed his sin to God.  The Hebrew for confess includes the idea of “bemoaning with wringing hands.”  This describes an attitude that is an acknowledgement of sin with repentance—true regret with intent to change.

God never rejects His servant who comes to Him with true repentance and a desire for restored fellowship.

2Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin….”

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 32:5-6 ”I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.”

David declares that it is natural for those that pursue godliness to naturally turn to God in prayer in their time of need.  He also implies that there is a time when God cannot be found.  I think David is expressing this thought from a human perspective.  We think God is able to “be found” when we are experiencing times of blessing and meaningful fellowship with God in worship and prayer.  On the other hand, when the Lord permits those times that test us to refine and grow our faith, times when we don’t feel like God hears us, we think He can’t “be found.”  Job is the perfect example.  Although David has experienced those times when he couldn’t find God, he knew that God was still worthy of his faith; he could count on God to bring him through whatever trial or testing he was experiencing.

David’s wording immediately brought to mind those beautiful verses in Isaiah.

Isaiah 43:1-3:  “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.”

Psalm 32:7-8 “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

David is very confident of God’s protection and preservation in the midst of trouble.  What does it mean for God to surround you with songs of deliverance?  I would like to think more of it being a special gift of the Spirit to the servant of God that allows him to sing the praise of His Savior throughout the time of trouble because of the strength of His faith.

Suddenly, the prayer changes from a time of David talking to God to a time of God talking to David.  I believe that is what prayer is all about—a time of two-way communication.  God is telling David that He cares about Him as an individual—just as He cares for each one that places their faith in Him.  He wants us to have good success in life; He wants to give us spiritual understanding and wisdom to make application with that understanding.  The Hebrew for “instruct” stated to “guide wittingly”; it means to guide by design. God has a special design or purpose for my life.

The Hebrew for the word “teach” included the phrase “to flow as water.”  Today, we believers can expect to experience God’s teaching through the working or flow of the Spirit in our life.

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

The word guide includes the idea of training the heart (character) in conjunction with the mind (intellect).

Psalm 32: 9-11 “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

You can’t reason with a horse or a mule.  You have to train them to a conditioned response through repetitive training.  God is saying that He doesn’t want us to be like conditioned animals—like robots.  He wants fellowship with those who come to Him through choice in response to His love and faithfulness.

When the wicked reap the consequences of their actions, they will find no comfort or relief; they can only expect sorrow and anguish.  Those who trust in the Lord, however, can always expect to experience God’s mercy (kindness, favor) to carry them through to a place of deliverance.  It reminds me of the following verse in John:

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

The Lord specifically states that those who follow Him will experience tribulation/trouble.  The key is that He will deliver us through that experience.  Not only that, we will benefit from that experience if we keep our focus on Him.

Romans 5:3-5 “… but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  

As usual, David ends his Psalm praising the Lord.  He exhorts the servant of God to be glad and rejoice.  I liked the thought that Webster added to the word glad—wearing a gay or bright appearance.  As servants of God, our joy should be reflected in our countenance; people should be able to see the peace and joy that permeates our being.  To “shout for joy” is to boldly and confidently praise God before others.  That brings some other verses to mind.

Hebrews 13:15 “By him [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”