Delivered on 8/21/16
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but there may be someone here tonight that could use a big burst of joy in their lives? I am not talking about that temporary stuff. I am not talking about happiness or being happy because to me happiness only last as long as whatever it is…is making you happy. For example, we are all happy whenever we get our paychecks, correct! Then the reality sets in, that it’s already been spent before it reached the bank. ( Mortgage, bills, utilities, and so on ) So..it was just a temporary happiness. Don’t get me wrong, we are all thankful for God’s provision with being employed.
You see happiness can be like, eating at your favorite restaurant, you look forward to your meal then after that, happiness has been satisfied, and on to the next one. Hapiness can be like, taking a sip of your favorite drink on a hot day, you’ll get a real good rush, your thirst has been satisfied, and then its gone. On to the next one. Another example, we lost our van when I got into that accident. A part of me was really…beaten but happy, in my mind, yeeaay…we can replace our old van. Then reality sets in again,oh no…another monthly payment.
There are too many things in life that can take away our joy. And it just depends on the circumstance that we are in. You know it… you know what I am talking about! You are sitting there right now and you’re thinking about it. It’s heavy, it’s a burden, you feel like it’s the end, and it wont get any better. “ Lord Bring Me Back My Joy”. You are here tonight worshiping our God with a big headache! Correct!
That’s why some of you may be here tonight, and can’t worship and praise our God the right way, “In Spirit and in Truth” ,because your head hurts too much from all of the things and stuff that was suppose to bring you happiness, but instead all it brought you was pain and heartache.
“Restore to me the joy”, as King David has put it, which is on our text tonight. It is different from the temporary happiness that I have mentioned earlier. Momentary.. material happiness. Having this type of joy is different. When you have this type of joy, you have an invisible strength that comes from Within. You can have this type of joy even when things are not going your way. You can have this kind of joy even in the midst of storms and tribulations. Joy to the believer is something that can be constant because the believer realizes where their joy comes from. It doesn’t come from material things, it is not anything that can be bought. This type of joy can only be given by our Lord, and nobody, or anything in this world can take it away.
But what happens when we lose this joy, or the better question to ask is, can we loose this joy???
Well church… I would have to answer that question with a resounding Yes! It’s possible for even the best of us to lose our joy. I know you may be surprise with my answer, how can we loose something that comes from God? Just bear with me for a little bit and i will explain it to you. It’s possible for even those of us who have been created after God’s own heart to lose our joy. Like King David, why do you think he wrote this psalm, or prayed this psalm. Let me give you a few examples of what is the meaning of “loose”. It can mean, dropped, misplaced, or it even means to be defeated.
When you lose something it can also mean that you were beaten. And I’m sure some of you may be feeling that way tonight. Beaten!!! It is not that hard to see. Just look at how you worship and praise God tonight. Is it in “Spirit and in Truth”, Or are you giving praise, but your mind and your heart is somewhere else? You just lost your joy!
You see the way you praise and worship can tell a lot about what you are made of. Just by looking at yourself, at your praise and worship, you can tell if you’re winning or losing. Here’s a test, do you remember the time that you were saved, do you remember that joy? Then, where is it now? You cant loose your salvation! What changed, the circumstance? Do you remember coming to worship with nothing on your mind other than giving “Spirit and in Truth”, kind of worship. Do you remember that? Where did that joy go? Do you see what I mean now, of how you loose that joy?
Church…I know it may be hard for you right now, but somehow you have to find a way to bring that joy back. Look at this Psalm ( power point ) Look at what David prayed for. This prayer is not exclusive for King David only. Why cant you and I pray this same prayer. Look...(power point) Look to the person next to you, and say “pray this prayer”.
I bet if you pray this prayer, and get your joy back, you’ll soon find your way in true worship. If you find a way to praise God while going through your circumstance, having that same joy that you had before, then your circumstance will start to look better! Because now you can see the the One that gave you your joy. Nothing is blocking it anymore.
Let us now look at the life of King David and why he had to write this Psalm. It was a psalm that David wrote after he was confronted by Nathan for committing adultery with Bathsheba. You all know the story, if not you can read all about on 2 Samuel, chapter 11-12. It’s too long to put on the power point and we’ll be here all night if I have to show you both chapters. Let me just refresh your memory on the story.
David had everything and didn’t want for anything. He was king of Judah and Israel, and he had strong passions. He was a soldier and he had many wives. Yes,David was living the easy life, nothing to worry about. David was just in bed one evening, and he couldn’t sleep so he decided to get up and take a walk. That’s when he spotted the pretty Bathsheba taking a bath. Now I don’t know why Bathsheba was out there in plane sight of David? Is there no shower curtains in the baths around that time? Is it an open bathroom? The Bible didn’t go into details, it just says that David saw her. Can’t add anything more to that.
If you still remember the story, David sent for her and they slept together and she got pregnant. David out of guilt, tried to cover up everything by having the husband come home from war, get drunk, and sleep with her, but that didn’t work. So he had Joab to put him in the roughest part of the battle so he could get killed. And after Uriah was killed in battle, David moved Bathsheba into his home and made her his wife. David lost his joy because he sinned.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
51 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving kindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight--
That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
It was only after David was confronted with his sin that David repented, therefore writing this Psalm. And David is no different than you and I because there are some sins in our lives that we know we have, yet they have gone unrepented because there’s no Nathan in our lives to confront us. We don’t need a prophet to point out our sins, we have the Holy Spirit to convict when needed. David wrote this Psalm to repent, but it is also here to remind us of the need to repent and get right with God. It is hard to bring back that joy, if we are not right with the One who gave us that joy.
David gives us a good model to look at in this Psalms when it comes to repentance. This is one of the Psalms that can teach us patterns and structures, how we should know when we confess and repent. Let us look at three things about Our previous verse of Psalm 51:10-12. Create, Renew, and Restore today.
Psalm 51:10-12 ( Short Version )
“Create in me a clean heart”, “Renew a steadfast spirit within me”. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.
David prays, Lord Create, “Create in me a clean heart”. I have to admit I was a little confused when I read this verse,as to what David meant when he prays “Create in me a clean heart.” After all David was a man… that was said to be a man after God’s own heart so why would he need the Lord to Create in him a clean heart. In the dictionary, “create” means= to bring into being. Which now makes a lot of sense when we were saved, we had to be born again, with a new heart. Of course having said that, it does not mean that with this new life, this new heart, we would not sin again. Just like David we will fail at times, and that is when we need this prayer.
David didn’t say Lord just patch up my old heart, instead he said Lord cut off the old me and create in me, a new me. Lord generate in me, Lord Produce in me, Lord Construct in me a clean heart!
If we are going to be the people that God is calling us to be, we need to ask God to replace the old heart with the new heart so that our old worldly wisdom becomes heavenly wisdom, old carnal love becomes spiritual love, old fears, becomes Christian fear, and those old works, become new sanctified works.
Next David prays, Lord Renew “and Renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Remember… David is hurting inside when he writes this. He is literally in mourning after Nathan exposes him. So his spirit is broken, and realizing this, David knew the only way he could continue to run this race was if the Lord renewed a “right Spirit” within him.
David prayed “Renew.” This was different than his previous request for the Lord to Create. However, once again David admits he is missing something when he asked Lord renew. And I guess what I like most about David in this Psalm is that he recognizes what’s wrong with him. Why am I not in the right place with my Lord? In this case his spirit needed a new charge. His spiritual walk was low because of sin, and joy was hard to find. In other words, he was asking the Lord to take what was already in him and refurbish it. Take what was already in him and renovate it. Take what was already in him and repair it. Because it has been broken. A lot of us need to pray that same prayer. Lord, restore my spirit, Lord mend my spirit, Lord make good my spirit. Because if we don’t, we… like David will have a hard time finding joy.
And yes, of course, there will be that time that we will be too blind, too stubborn to see our faults, and do the next mistake possible, blame someone else. Or like David come up with a clever plan to hide our mistakes. Conviction has to come in, and we need to cry out like David and say, Lord I’m tired of having the wrong spirit, renew a steadfast spirit in me”. David is saying, Lord renew in me a spirit that acts and exercises the same qualities of your Spirit. Renew in me a spirit of uprightness. Renew in me a spirit of integrity. Renew in me a spirit of obedience. Renew in me a spirit free from the temptations of sin, and its snares. Renew in me a spirit of Love. Renew in me a spirit of Joy. Renew in me a spirit of peace. Give me a spirit that is fixed,on trusting the Lord.
Now we come to the last part, 1st prayer Create, 2nd Renew, Lastly Restore. Let us see in this text, David’s request for the Lord to restore. “Restore to me the joy of my salvation”,And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. No one will ever recover their lost joy until there is a request for its return. David knew his joy was gone when he committed that sin. He didn’t deny the reality of his conditions. However, at the same time, David would have never asked God to restore his joy if he did not believe that God would be able do it.
David didn’t ask, for just any joy. He asked for the joy of his salvation. Lets review what we have heard so far. You remember we talked about being happy earlier and how temporary it is.
Let us look at this in full circle, so you can see how blessed we really are.Let us talk about salvation for a minute? David said the Joy of his salvation. You need to know that your salvation is something to have joy about. Your salvation is something that is eternal. Salvation is a sure thing. Salvation can never fail because it’s founded and built upon an everlasting God. And God’s foundation is secured by His grace that can never be removed. And all of that is now completely wrapped up and shaped in Christ. But it doesn’t stop there because Christ took all of that and applied it in His Spirit. And all who believe in and serve Christ, are heirs to that same Spirit. And since we are heirs to it, we can now rejoice about our salvation.
And after the Lord has restored your joy, He does not just leave you there alone, but “uphold me by Your generous Spirit” We cannot fully praise Him with just our spirit. Our spirit t is ready to fall. Our spirit alone is drawn to sin and despair.”uphold me by Your generous Spirit” , because my spirit is not enough. If you leave me to myself, I may walk for a ways, but I might get a little weary. If you leave me to myself, I may run for a little while, but I will surely get tired and faint. We cannot praise right with our spirit alone. We can’t worship in “Spirit and in Truth” . Our spirit alone will put us in bondage. Our spirit alone will be defeated.
We all know that when it comes to the serious…hard things in this life, and especially when we’re dealing with sin. We cannot face them alone. When the Lord upholds me, I’ll be able to run this race. If the Lord upholds me, I’ll be able to break the chains of tradition. If the Lord upholds me, I’ll be able to stand against my enemies. When the Lord upholds you an i, with His generous Spirit, our worship won’t end today, we’ll be able to worship Him tomorrow. We’ll be able to praise Him on Tuesday. We’ll be able to exalt Him on Wednesday. We’ll be able to honor Him on Thursday. We’ll be able to adore Him on Friday. We’ll be able to give Him reverence on Saturday. And when we come back here on Sunday, it won’t be hard for us tell of His goodness, because all week long, His generous Spirit was with us. And along with that, the joy of our salvation.
David made a mistake, and yes it came with a price, but God is a faithful and just God. David was forgiven. Here’s the verse…
2 Samuel 12:13-14
12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”
13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
Not only will Gods Spirit keep you and I… I’m glad, that the Spirit of God is a Generous Spirit. Everybody in here knows that before Jesus came into our lives, we use to face the storms alone, tossed around like a ship without a sail. Before Jesus, we felt like our soul was locked up in a prison chained to sin. But since Jesus came into our lives, we don’t have to face the storms alone. Since Jesus came into our life, He’s given our soul freedom, because I hear Him saying this verse…
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed
I am so grateful, that one day at Calvary, Jesus set me free. Aren’t you grateful that Jesus set you free? And I’m glad, that if I ask Him to Create in me a clean heart, He’ll do it. I’m glad, that if I ask Him to renew in me a right spirit, He’ll do it. I’m glad, that if I ask Him to restore my joy, He’ll do it.
Listen…we have all made mistakes in the past. And Jesus paid for it all on the cross. There was probably a time in your life where you left the Good Shepherds side, and you know in your heart that something was missing. The world alone may have given you moments of happiness. But the kind of happiness that ends. Gods joy is eternal!
Love and Joy Perfected
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
If you are here tonight, and for some reason, whatever it may be, you are having a hard time finding your joy. Then its time to pray that same prayer that David prayed…
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
In Jesus name!!!
Delivered on 8/14/16
1 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
Jesus, now states the illustration of how this chapter of John started, of Jesus being “The Good Shepherd”. Jesus as the “Good Shepherd”, does more than to risk His life for His flock. Jesus, willingly gave His life, enduring death to save sinners like you and I. The sacrifice that Jesus made was for the “sheep”…the lost. It is for those whom the Father has given Him. It is for those whom, through the death of Jesus on their behalf, will be justified and enjoy having fellowship with our God.
For the message today, we will focus on a very familiar Psalm…a famous Psalm that we all know and have heard quite a few times. Since this psalm is so familiar, we’re in danger of missing the depth of its meaning. And, because it’s setting is in the world of sheep and shepherds, many of us who has never lived in a farm can slide right past its richness. But, before we get into this Psalm, let me tell you a quick joke…
A typical blonde had gotten sick of all the blond jokes so one day she decided to get a makeover,cutting and dying her hair. After buying a new convertible, she set out for a drive in the country where she came across a herd of sheep. She decided to stop and talk with the shepherd. After a few minutes of chit-chat, she said I have a proposition, if she could guess the total number of sheep can I have one. The shepherd agreed but was absolutely shocked when she guessed correctly… 382. He kept his promise and allowed her to pick one out to take home. After the woman picked out her sheep and put it in her car, the shepherd said he had a proposition for her, If I can guess your real hair color, can I have my dog back?
Here is the Psalm…
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
In order to help us better understand this powerful Psalm and unlock the Psalm’s secrets, let us break it down to a clearer understanding, of…why a great warrior like King David, would write such a powerful psalm in regards to our Lord being his Shepherd. The image of our God as a Shepherd is untiringly rich, meaning that our Lord as our Shepherd, he will never run out…there is no end to Him being our “Good Shepherd”.
The shepherd stays with his flock. His sheep are totally dependent on Him for food, water, and protection from wild animals. Remember that David was tending sheep before being anointed as king.
In the New Testament, Jesus is reveled as the Shepherd of His church. Which, we have just read from our opening verse of John 10:11. Let us now take a look at this Psalm, broken down. There are two main characters in this Psalm, The Shepherd and his sheep. And there are three main ideas. Psalm 23:1-3, our Lord being personal in His ownership.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
God provides for us personally because of who He is. Look at the first phrase of verse 1: “The Lord.” This is the name “Yahweh” and was the name first revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14: “I am who I am.” Ordinary Israelites considered this name too holy to be spoken by human lips. In fact, it was so revered that it was only pronounced once a year on the Day of Atonement, and then only by the high priest in the most holy place of the Temple.
David chooses in the opening verse of Psalm 23. The great “I AM” is “my” shepherd. This is very similar in thought to Psalm 8 where we read, “O Lord “Yahweh” our Lord.” He is other than us and yet He for you and I.. He is powerful and He is personal. He is majestic and He is mine, as David has written. He is a consuming fire and yet He is my sensitive shepherd. I love the image of Yahweh as shepherd in..
He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.
Because the Lord is my shepherd, He cares for for you and i personally. We see four ways that His provision is personal in verses 1-3. God’s provision makes us content Verse 1. The last part of verse 1 tells us that since the Lord is my shepherd I will not lack anything that is really necessary and good for me: “I shall not be in want.” God always provides. Short Sunday school story…
A substitute Sunday School teacher asked his class one day, “How many of you can quote Psalm 23?” Several of the children raised their hands, including a little girl who was only four years old. The teacher was surprised that someone so young would know Psalm 23 so he asked her to recite it for the class. She stood up and said, “The Lord is my shepherd. That’s all I want.”
She may have had the words mixed up, but understood the message perfectly. Church.., if Jesus is your shepherd, everything else should be secondary. We could say it this way: “If the Lord is my shepherd, then I shall not want. If I am in want, then the Lord is not my shepherd.”
When our God makes a promise of provisions, ( house, food, and clothing, etc ). He will provide, and we will lack nothing.
Psalm 34:9 (NIV)
Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.
This is really the main idea of the psalm. Since God is our shepherd all of our needs are taken care of. One of the best definitions of contentment I’ve ever heard is this: Contentment is not having everything you want. Contentment is wanting everything you have.
When someone says, “I shall not want,” we need to sit up and take notice because we live in an age of discontentment. Listen to these words by Max Lucado…
Our discontentment as the “prison of want.” Its prisoners want something bigger. Nicer. Faster. Thinner. If your happiness comes from something you deposit, drive, drink, or digest, then you’re in the prison of want. Are you hoping that a change in circumstance will bring a change in your attitude? If so, you’re locked up. You’re in a cell of discontentment. Allow the powerful simplicity of verse 1 to permeate your personal life, what you have in your shepherd is greater than what you don’t have in life.
Do you believe that?
God’s provision nourishes us mentioned in verse 2. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.” Notice that the shepherd “makes” me lie down. The shepherd would take the sheep and fold their legs in such a way that they would become paralyzed for a while and therefore had to lie down and get their much needed rest. At one time or another, we have been made to lie down as a result of discipline, or to persevere. Whether it from a broken bone, some other health problem, heartbreak, or even the loss or change of job. The shepherd has slowed us down, “make us lie down”…stay down for a reason.
By nature, sheep are nervous,timid, and fearful. When they know the shepherd is with them, they can relax. They know that they are protected. Isaiah 43:5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. If there is fear, or friction in the flock, a sheep can’t sleep. Instead of lying down, they stand up and keep themselves on high alert. The shepherd tries to minimize the tension of the flock by separating those who cause trouble. A good shepherd keeps an eye out for those small things that can frustrate or damage the flock.
A hungry sheep is forever on its feet, looking for food. The shepherd makes sure that they are in “green pastures,” where they can feed among the rich, sweet grass and lie down on the carpeted pasture. Lie down, relax, I Am is with you. Some of us never slow down enough to chew on the green pastures of God’s Word. We are so used to being in a hurry, that we miss out on what our Shepherd has to say. We’re filled with fear or we’re in friction with others in the flock.
We’re good at allowing the small frustrations of life to knock us off center and we loose our focus on the richness and sweetness of Scripture like we should. God wants us to lie down in the midst of the Shepherds abundance.
After being fully fed, the sheep are then led to still waters. Sheep by nature are afraid of running water and will refuse to drink unless everything is still and quiet. Shepherds would often divert water from a rushing river to make a private pool for the sheep to drink.
Even with the sweet waters the shepherd has to lead the sheep to the good water because otherwise they will stop and drink from polluted puddles where they can pick up parasites. Meaning, false teaching, false doctrine. We’re a lot like that, aren’t we, at one point or another? God has provided so much for us and yet we often drink from places that will only harm us. Know your Shepherds voice, and listen!
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
The sheep will listen to Jesus, “The Good Shepherd”, and they will follow only Him. These believers will have a new direction and commitment in their lives. The Son of man, acts like a Shepherd, separating the former into eternal life, and sending the latter away into eternal punishment.
God’s provision restores us Verse 3. Because sheep are careless,and curious creatures, they often need to be restored. Look at the first part of verse 3: “He restores my soul.” The word, “restore” means to “bring back to a former or normal state, to make new.” Sheep can get lost faster than any other animal. This can be serious for many reasons. They may fall and get hurt. A predator may pounce on them, and lead them astray. Again…know your Shepherds voice. ( Big S )
God’s provision guides us, second part of verse 3. “He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” The word used for “paths” refers to a “well-defined and well worn trail.” This is one more bit of evidence about how gullible sheep really are. Even when the path is perfectly clear, sheep will still stray. Since the shepherd knows the trails, he can guide them in the best way. Almost everybody here has gone on a hike, correct? The path has been cleared, its visible, the park rangers made sure that we stay on the path where it is safe.
God longs to lead us in paths of righteousness. Most of us know the right road we should take but our selfishness and sinfulness often lead us astray. We need the shepherd to guide us in the right way because like sheep, we often have no sense of direction. As we submit to the shepherd He will lead us in paths of righteousness. And He does this for the sake of His name. Listen…God will not let you and I ruin His name. That is why He said in His words “ righteousness for His name sake”. God guides us for His sake, not for ours. His reputation is at stake. His character is on display. His name is Yahweh and He will accomplish His purposes and lead us on proper paths.
God’s provision is personal and can be seen in the fact that He gives us contentment, nourishment, restoration and guidance.
Now, as we continue on to Psalm 23:4 When we come to verse 4, we notice a couple changes in this psalm. In verses 1-3, the sheep are in the sunshine. In verse 4, the sheep are in the shadows. God not only takes care of us through the delightful times, He guides us even through those dark seasons of our life.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Notice also that the words have changed. In the first half, David is extolling the virtues of the Shepherd, using “He” and “His” to refer to God. Now, when we come to the second half, he speaks to the Shepherd directly: “You are with me, your rod and your staff…you prepare…you anoint.” When times are tough, God becomes more real to David. Sounds familiar in your life, at one point or another, we have experienced that? Correct! The promise-keeping God guides us through times of deep gloom and despair. In fact that is where the “Good Shepherd” shines, whenever we go through the hard times, He is quick to remind us the “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”.
We see that God’s protection is pervasive, covering every aspect of life, from green pastures to the shadows of death. Because God will protect us…David is confidently saying, that there is no need to fear death. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” The picture here is of the shepherd leading his sheep back home in the evening. As they go through the rocky ravine and narrow paths, that can, frighten the flock. The shepherd knows from experience that predators like bears and wolves can take cover as they wait in ambush and danger the flock. David could also be referring to the approach of autumn when the sheep are forced to find other fields and get ready for the coming winter. During this time the flock is entirely alone with the shepherd and must follow closely to avoid danger.
Notice it says that we …walk through the valley. We don’t have to stay there. We’re passing through. Through the blackness there is brightness. Through the gloom there is glory. Notice also the word “shadow.” In one sense the shadow of something is more ominous than what it represents. On the other hand, the shadow of a dog cannot bite and the shadow of death cannot harm us if we stay close to the shepherd. When there is a shadow there must be light somewhere….
1 Corinthians 15:55
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?
This verse reminds us, that the Redeemer has removed the sting of death, and only the shadow of it remains. David continues, “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” The rod was like a club that often hung from the shepherd’s belt. It was used to protect the sheep.
Shepherds were very accurate in their aim and would throw this club at attacking animals.( Show Pics 1 &2 ) The staff was a slender pole, with a little hook on the end. It could be hooked around the leg of a sheep to pull him from harm. It was also used to direct the flock, and occasionally to discipline the sheep. Not once do we read of sheep carrying rods and staffs. They must rely completely on the shepherd for safety and direction. Likewise, we must lean on the Lord for all that we need and find comfort in his power and corrective discipline.
When the sheep could see the rod and the staff, they knew that they were protected. They could walk through dark valleys as long as the shepherd was with them. We can be strong even in the face of death because we have a protector who has overcome the grave.
As we continue on with Psalm 23:5-6
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
David, in these verses are saying that, there is no need to fear enemies. In verse 5, David writes, “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” Some commentators suggest that David is switching here to that of a gracious dinner host. There might be something to be said for that but I think he’s using a common expression to describe what a shepherd does to “prepare a pasture.” Ideally, the best place for the sheep to graze is on a flat area.. Before letting the lambs roam around, the shepherd inspects it for poisonous plants and makes sure there are not any predators prowling around. The sheep can eat and rest even though there are enemies nearby because the shepherd is doing His job.
I think David is still submerged in the sheep and shepherd relationship in this part of scripture. In ancient Israel, shepherds used oil for three purposes, to repel insects, to prevent conflicts, and to heal wounds. Sheep are really bugged by bugs. Flies like to deposit their eggs into the tender membrane of the sheep’s nose. When the eggs would hatch, larvae would drive the sheep insane, causing them to beat their heads against rocks and trees. When sheep see flies they freak out. They shake their heads up and down for hours. The shepherd knows what flies can do so he covers their heads with an oil-like repellent. This oil then is also used to prevent injury.
Sheep can get pricked by thorns and receive cuts from the rocks. This oil serves as an ointment to protect their sores from getting infected. Wow!!! What a beautiful picture of what the Shepherd does for you and i. He deals with our problems by protecting us from those things that can hurt. He helps us have harmony with others. And, He comforts us and heals us when we’re beat up, and bruised. We are wounded sheep in need of a healing Shepherd. Do you have any wounds today? Let the Good Shepherd heal it!
Because God’s protection is pervasive, we don’t have to dread death, we don’t have to be anxious about what enemies may do to you and i, and we don’t have to be paralyzed by our problems or circumstance. We come now to the final truth of Psalm 23, God’s pleasure is important… its supreme.We’ve already seen that God guides in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. God’s pleasure is demonstrated in two ways.
God gives us more than we need right now as mentioned on verse 5. Look at the last part of verse 5 and the first part of verse 6: “…My cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…” This picture has two meanings as well. The shepherd would often carry something to drink and would share it with his sheep when they needed it. He would be generous because he knew they had to have some liquid or they would perish. God’s goodness and love will follow us. The word “follow” literally means, “pursue.” in another translation.. translates it this way: “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” WOW!!! For those who have put their faith in Jesus, we have been given much more than we deserve and we have more than we need. That is how good, our “Good Shepherd” is.
We’re also recipients of his love and mercy, by not receiving what we deserve. If God gave us justice, we’d be punished for our disobedience. But because of Jesus we can have confidence in His mercy. His goodness and love. Love led Jesus to the Cross, where the shepherd gave his life for his sheep. Why does the Lord do all this for us? His motive is to display the honor of His name. It brings Him great pleasure to overflow in goodness and love toward needy sheep, ( you and I ). He’s with you and I, right now to bless us with more than what we deserve.
God is preparing us for everything we’ll need later as mentioned on verse 6. We have more than we need right now and we’ll have everything we need for eternity. Look at the last phrase of verse 6: “…And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” That has not happened yet, and yet the “Good Shepherd” has already prepared it.The psalm begins with the joyous statement, “The Lord is my shepherd” and closes with an equally positive affirmation of faith: “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The sheep have been following the shepherd to green pastures and through shadowy valleys. The seasons have changed and now they’re coming home. The flock is now ready to winter in the safe harbor of the Good Shepherd’s home. They are so satisfied with the flock to which they belong and with the ownership of the Shepherd that they have no desire to change a thing. They want everything to just go on forever.
Because we enjoy the presence of the “Good Shepherd” and have more than we even need in this life, we can’t wait to spend eternity with the Lord in His house. Forever we’ll praise Him, giving glory to His name as we recognize that His pleasure is important Psalm 84 tells us…
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You.
The Lord is looking for lost sheep right now. If you have never asked Jesus save you from your sins and shepherd your life, you are not yet in His flock. You are missing out on the best part of being with “The Good Shepherd”. Stay close to the shepherd. Many sheep will come to the shepherd daily and rub against his legs and wait for a pat on the head. They want the assurance that the shepherd is there for them. Sheep that stay close to the shepherd reach the water first. Those next to the shepherd get to the sweetest grass first. But most of all they get to enjoy it all with the shepherd by their side. When we stay close to the shepherd, He will make sure all of our needs are met.
Unfortunately, many of us like to stray. Sometimes as a last resort, a shepherd will discipline a straying sheep by putting a leg across his staff and with one quick motion, pull down on the leg to break it. Because the sheep cannot walk, the shepherd then carries the sheep from field to field, sometimes even putting him on his shoulders.
Show Pic 3
Do you know what happens as a result of this discipline? That sheep never strays again. He becomes so used to being right next to the shepherd that he can’t imagine going his own way ever again. He had to be broken in order to be healed. After going through Psalms 23, it makes me wonder why some sheep choose to leave the flock? Is the “Good Shepherd”, removing the threat to the flock? Or Maybe…just maybe, this sheep needs to be broken in order to know that He, or She…Needs the Good Shepherd!
Message was delivered on Aug 7, 2016
2 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’
We are only qualified to do Gods work, not because of our own talents, abilities, or training, but because God is with us. And if He is not with us, then no amount of skill or experience will make us qualified. We serve and belong to a God who is alive, who is present, who is right here, right now. And He who gives life and breath to everything that lives. I AM... is whether anything else remains or not.
Let me ask you, when did you last feel Gods presence in your life? I don’t mean a merely intellectual recognition that God is with you, for our God is everywhere, but rather, when did you last recognize in your heart that Our God is personally...intimately abiding in you?
If you are like many believers, it may have been a while since you really felt His presence. Too many people go about their lives without a genuine sense of Gods closeness. Repeatedly in Scripture, we see that whenever God calls someone into His presence,
I Am, reminds us of His enduring presence. We just read this in the story of Moses. I Am was with Joshua, Gideon, Jeremiah and so on...Just to name a few. These men discovered, as we can, that the awareness of Gods presence energizes us to follow Him. It was never in mans power to be obedient to I Am, it is all by His empowering presence.
Why does I Am, repeatedly assure His followers of His presence? He does so..because we need to be reminded of the reason for our confidence. Each time God calls His own into action, He essentially says, “ you can be strong, and courageous because I Am is with you”. Victory was never about our abilities, our skills, strength, gifts or dedication. It all had to do with I AM’s presence. “I can do all things through who...( Christ ) who strengthens me”, (Phil 4:13)
I Am knows how difficult life can be, and He knows every detail of each struggle that we face. As a believer in Jesus Christ, we can put our trust in Him, and that I Am will keep His word, because I Am is faithful.. He is here right now, He is with you wherever you go, as He promises in His words, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”.
Our God is Faithful...
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,upright and just is he.
These are just a few verses to describe our Gods faithfulness. Let me give you a short story of a father who does not quit in a time of need.
In the country of Armenia, in 1988, Samuel and Danielle sent their young son, Armand, off to school. Samuel squatted before his son and looked him in the eye. “Have a good day at school, and remember, no matter what, I’ll always be there for you.” They hugged and the boy ran off to school.
Hours later, a powerful earthquake rocked the area. In the midst of the pandemonium, Samuel and Danielle tried to discover what happened to their son but they couldn’t get any information. The radio announced that there were thousands of casualties.
Samuel then grabbed his coat and headed for the schoolyard. When he reached the area, what he saw brought tears to his eyes. Armand’s school was a pile of debris. Other parents were standing around crying.
Samuel found the place where Armand’s classroom used to be and began pulling a broken beam off the pile of rubble. He then grabbed a rock and put it to the side, and then grabbed another one.
One of the parents looking on asked, “What are you doing?” “Digging for my son,” Samuel answered. The man then said, “You’re just going to make things worse! The building is unstable,” and tried to pull Samuel away from his work.
Samuel set his jaw and kept working. As time wore on, one by one, the other parents left. Then a firefighter tried to pull Samuel away from the rubble. Samuel looked at him and said, “Won’t you help me?” The firefighter left and Samuel kept digging.
All through the night and into the next day, Samuel continued digging. Parents placed flowers and pictures of their children on the ruins. But, Samuel just kept working. He picked up a beam and pushed it out of the way when he heard a faint cry. “Help! Help!” Samuel listened but didn’t hear anything again. Then he heard a muffled voice, “Papa?”
Samuel began to dig furiously. Finally he could see his son. “Come on out, son!” he said with relief. “No,” Armand said. “Let the other kids come out first because I know you’ll get me.” Child after child emerged until, finally, little Armand appeared. Samuel took him in his arms and Armand said, “I told the other kids not to worry because you told me that you’d always be there for me!”
Fourteen children were saved that day because one father was faithful.
Wow!!! Church, how much more faithful is our heavenly Father! Whether trapped by fallen debris or ensnared by life’s hardships and struggles, we are never cut off from God’s faithfulness. He is true to His character. He is reliable and trustworthy and can be counted on always. I Am “will never leave you, nor forsake you”.
These verses that we just read, when put together, establish that God’s faithfulness is not some minor or secondary part of His character. To say that God is faithful goes to the very core of who He really is. If He didn’t keep His Word, He wouldn’t be God.
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”,
“He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love”
“His works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,upright and just is he”.
That’s the way God’s attributes function. If you took away love, God’s character would be incomplete. God’s love works with all the other attributes, like His justice, to produce the right kind of results. God’s faithfulness means that each attribute in His character is working at full capacity at all times. When does God’s love fail? Never!!! because He is faithful. When is God less than holy? Never!!!, because His character is pure and He is always faithful to who He is and to what He says.
A.W. Tozer puts it this way: “All of God’s acts are consistent with all of His attributes. No attribute contradicts any other, but all harmonize and blend into each other in the infinite abyss of the Godhead.”
God’s faithfulness is at the core of His very nature. He is all knowing, holy, the creator, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, just, sovereign, unchanging, and loving because He is faithful to His own character. He never changes any of His attributes.
Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote on the book of Thessalonians...
1 Thessalonians 5:24
24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
This very verse pertains to becoming holy. This confident hope sustains the believers present pursuit of holiness through Christ, despite the ongoing struggles with temptations.
When we struggle. All of us experience hard times in our lives. Some of you may be struggling with sickness, financial pressure, grief, or even depression. Church... choose to focus on God’s love, mercy and faithfulness. He does not promise to prevent problems from coming into our lives, but He does promise to go through them with us. Call to mind what you know to be true. God is faithful, and¬ He will always be there for you and I.
Even when we fall into sin, Our God still remains faithful, and of course there should always be the fear of being disciplined. But none the less, in our time of weakness, God remains faithful.
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Gods forgiveness is given as we admit our need of it, not on the basis of any act we have done to earn it, but solely because of His grace. The gift of forgiveness carries with it purification from unrighteousness. Our God, accepts us as righteous because He imputes to us the righteousness of Christ. For this verse to have its true meaning you have to have I Am with you in your life...The One name, above all names! And what Name is that???
Immanuel- which means, God with us.
God’s faithfulness means that everything He says and does is certain.” He is 100% reliable, 100% of the time. He does not fail, forget, falter, change, or disappoint. He says what He means and.... means what He says ¬and therefore does everything He says He will do. You really have to know, who your God is, what He stands for, and why we belong to Him! Remember that God loves you and i, with the same love that He has given His only Son. God’s unfailing faithfulness means that everything He says and does is certain, and that we can be certain that He will always be one hundred percent God, one hundred percent of the time, or He will not be God at all.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Our God loves to surprise His faithful people with answers to prayers far exceeding anything they, or we can ever imagine.That same power is as close as the the Spirit within us. This power is the Spirit of the risen Christ. Because of the power that God has given the church, the Apostle Paul, gives glory to Him. Believers should live to give God glory, and to also reflect Gods glory. Let the people around know that you belong to a faithful God. Lift your head up, because He who has called you is Faithful!
And again in the story of Moses...
5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.
For forty years God maintained Israel and never had a shortage or crisis. Secondly, His faithfulness is not fragmented, His is an unfailing force of faithfulness. The Babylonians were forceful, but God was greater, they were not destroyed because God’s compassion was with them. Perhaps that is why we are reminded that when we pass through the waters they will not drown us,remember the “Passing Storms”,when we pass through the fire, the fire will not burn us. From the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo. Our God was in the fire with them. Through the good times, and hard times. God remains faithful!
His faithfulness is not stale, He has an unfailing freshness of faithfulness. The scriptures say that they are new every morning, verse twenty three of Lamentations...
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassion never fail. 23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Each and everyday is a new day with the Lord. Though we do not know what the day holds, but we know the One who holds it. As i have said earlier, Through the good times, and hard times. God remains faithful...Great is Thy Faithfulness!
Prepare for the Lords Supper....
message was delivered on July 31, 2016
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
This is one of the most important expression in the New Testament of the the doctrine of the divine inspiration of Scripture. The Bible has been breathed out by the Spirit of God...God is the source and ultimate author of Scripture. Though written by human authors, Scripture nevertheless has the full weight of His authority. The Bible, from start to finish and down to its very words, is the inerrant, meaning it “contains no error”, word of God.
The Bible applies to all men and women in every culture, in every age, in every walk of life. It is Gods supernatural manual that alone reveals the mind and ways of God so that humankind may know and experience His presence, and blessings.
The Bible is Gods written record of His works through the ages. It provides substantial evidence of His nature, His plans, and His purpose, so that we can confidently place our faith and trust in him. Because of His words, we are not left to archaeological, historical, or even theological guesswork. We can know that it is all True, because it has been written. Hence the words “for it is written”.
Scripture has it all, our past, or present, and yes even our future. Of course, we know not know the exact dates, but we do know the what lies ahead simply because, “it is written”. Not only do we feel secure in every word of God. But... God also gives us a warning of things to come.
2 Timothy 3:1-7
3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Scary right!!! With these parts of scripture, and many more warnings in the other books. How can we be secure and place our trust in God knowing that these things will happen. Or...if it has already begun? We look at our surroundings, we see, or read the news of the things that are happening around the world. When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy for the early church, is he speaking of our time now...after the resurrection? Or events to come before Jesus second coming? In keeping with the overall New Testament perspective, it is an era inaugurated by Christ’s first advent, and consummated by His return. You will hear many interpretations on this subject, but which one is real? The real question should be is, where, or better yet who do you put your trust In? Me... personally, whatever happens, whether i die today, tomorrow, or whatever time God has set for me, i am saved! There are just to many things to worry about, so many voices to listen to. Put your trust in God, and let Him do the rest. He is in control!!!
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
We will be going through the whole chapter of Psalm 46, i will break it into three parts because, it is a long chapter, it has a total of eleven verses. Let me point out the use of the word “Selah” after verse 3, verse 7, and verse 11. This curious phrase is most likely a musical rest, in which the singers stopped singing and only the instruments were heard. According to one Bible dictionary, this phrase can also signify a musical,silent reflection. It also carries with it the idea of “meditation.” In Psalm 46, we’re called to pause and meditate three different times so that we can comprehend what God is saying to us. For our purposes this message, we’ll follow this natural outline and pause at these same spots.
We’re reminded of three essential truths about God from this passage. God demonstrates His dependability through:
His Protection (1-3) His Presence (4-7) His Position (8-11)
God desires to be our refuge, our strength, and our help. God is our refuge even when what seems permanent is demolished. When the world crashes in around us, God is still there, protecting us. The word “refuge” literally means “to flee,” as in running to a shelter. The idea is that God wants us to run to Him for protection. The word “strength” implies that we can rely on His might when we feel weak and defenseless.
The phrase “ever-present help” means that God is quick to give assistance. It literally means that He has “proved” Himself to be such a help in the past and we can therefore trust in Him in the present. Because of this we do not have to fear. The word “trouble” can mean, “affliction, distress, or tribulation.” God is calling us today to not live in fear because He is our refuge, strength and help. If we run to Him we will not be afraid. Verse 2 is true only if verse 1 is true. If God is your refuge and strength, you don’t have anything to worry about. He will do His part as you seek protection in Him.
In verse 2 the writer is imagining the worst calamity that could possibly hit his people as he describes earthquakes, volcanoes erupting, and mountains slipping into the sea. Even though the “earth gives way,” or the landscape suddenly changes, we don’t have to be afraid. Mountains provided refuge in times of war and were considered to be the most secure part of nature. They were the most fixed and firm things on earth.
Verse 3 describes the roaring waters of the sea, which is a picture of our lives when they’re out of control. “Roaring,” means to “be in great commotion, to rage, or be at war.” Our country is in commotion as we wonder what will happen next. When the “mountains quake with their surging” refers to the pride or haughtiness of the mountains. Our sense of pride and invulnerability as a country has been replaced with quaking and concern about the future. Does this make sense, with what is going on in our country? What will happen next for our country? “God is our refuge”
If we become more humble as a result, and recognize that God is our protector, our faith can cast out fear. The psalmist is saying that when that which is secure is suddenly gone, we’re to seek refuge in God Himself. Our sense of helplessness and fear should drive us to Him.
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
This verse beautifully says it all. The first “Selah” is used at the end of verse 3. Let’s pause here and reflect upon God’s protection and our need to seek refuge in Him. Confess any personal sins, any sins in our church, what i mean by church is, as an individual, being part of Gods body. Not the building. “God is our refuge”
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
The first three was about His protection. Now...we will look at His Presence.
God protects us when we seek refuge in Him. Fortunately, we don’t have to run far to find Him because His presence is right here with us. Verse 4 paints a picture that is easy for us to miss. First of all, the city of God is Jerusalem. While it was a very beautiful city, it had no river that ran through it like the other major cities and countries of that day. Babylon was built on the Euphrates. Egypt had the Nile. Rome had the Tiber. Jerusalem did not have a physical river but it had something even better, the very presence of God.
God’s grace flows through like a river that brings gladness and joy to His people. While the ocean rages and foams, God’s presence is depicted as a calm and gently flowing stream. This image in Scripture is used to represent happiness, abundance, and peace, even when everything else is falling apart.
God’s presence with His people is one of the central truths of Scripture. Verse 5 says that “God is within her” and verse 7 declares that the “Lord Almighty is with us.” This is from the root word “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” and was used in Matthew 1:23 to refer to Jesus. That means that when we put our faith in Jesus, we have “God with us” at all times.
Notice the last part of verse 5: “God will help her at the break of day.” No matter how bad things get, God’s presence means that He will help us. When we wake up to start a brand new day, we will experience what Jeremiah did in..
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassion fail not.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
God is present with His people even when “nations are in uproar and kingdoms fall” according to verse 6. “Uproar” is the same word that is used in verse 3 to describe the roar of the waters. When the nations are agitated like the waves of the sea, God is still with His people. Even if we go through war, famine, terrorism, illness you name it,we can take comfort in the fact that God is with us. No matter how bad things get, we can always count on His presence. The last part of verse 6 reminds us of God’s incredible power. When “he lifts his voice, the earth melts.” What we are witnessing now, and what will happen in the future cannot be, compared to the awesome power of God. The raging world melts or dissolves before Him.
Verse 7 concludes by saying that the “God of Jacob is our fortress.” As in verse 1, God is depicted not only as powerful, but also as a fortress that we can run to for safety. The description of God as “The Lord Almighty” in the first part of verse 7 means, “The Lord of Hosts.” The hosts refer to all the armies of heaven. The Lord Almighty has all the hosts of heaven ready to do His work. As such, we can take comfort in His presence as we seek His protection. “God Is Our Refuge”
We now reach the second “Selah” and thank God for His presence with us. We have now learned about...His Protection (1-3) His Presence (4-7), Now..let us look at..
His Position (8-11)
Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolation in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
We can depend on God during times like this because of His protection, His presence, and finally, because of His position. As a nation, and as a church, according to verse 8 we’re called to “come and see the works of the Lord.” This word means to “run or pursue” in order to “see,” which refers to “gazing, contemplating, or perceiving.”
Verse 9 shows us that in His position as the Almighty God, He can make “wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.” The Assyrian empire was at that time the mightiest on the globe. It had already overrun many of the smaller kingdoms and had hoped to conquer the entire world. But God had other plans. A broken bow is of no value and a spear that is shattered is no longer effective. Shields set on fire cannot function. In His position as sovereign king, God is in charge!
Verse 10 calls us to bow before His position as sovereign ruler. We’re called to “Be still and know that I am God.” To “be still” means to “cast down or let fall.” It’s the idea of not putting forth exertion... not to struggle. The picture is of letting our hands fall to our sides, as we leave matters with God. We’re not to just have a “moment of silence” or even to just be quiet. The purpose is so that we can know God. To “know” means to “acknowledge and comprehend, or to discover.” We can’t even begin to know God by experience until we become still before Him. This is actually a rebuke. We’re to cease striving and working in our own self-effort and submit ourselves to God.
Notice the last part of verse 10: “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” As we quiet our souls and reflect upon His position as Lord over the whole world, we will recognize His supremacy and inevitable triumph over the nations. Until we’re still and quiet before Him, the awesome reality of His coming exaltation among all the nations will not impact us, Church...no matter what happens, remember this, God will be exalted among the nations! Like i had mentioned in our bible studies...
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Whether you bow down to God now, or bow down to God in heaven or in hell, YOU WILL BOW DOWN!!!
Because “the Lord almighty is with us, and the God of Jacob is our fortress,” we can trust Him. The Lord of Host.. in His position as supreme commander of the armies of heaven
is present with us, because of that we can run to Him for protection. Jesus Christ is God and Lord of history. Nothing has happened outside of His plan. Nothing ever leaves him bewildered or astonished. Nothing ever catches him by surprise. Though there is tragedy and war, though the mountains fall into the sea, those who know Jesus Christ have nothing to fear. Whether nature wreaks havoc, or the nations rage against one another, God is our refuge. If war comes, God will still provide His protection and presence because of His position as Lord of Hosts. He will ultimately triumph.
Let’s pause here at the final “Selah” and be still before God. Affirm the central truth of Scripture that He is supreme and will be exalted among the nations. Psalm 46, has showed us who or God is.... His our Protection (1-3) We are in His Presence (4-7) We Know His His Position (8-11) “God Is Our Refuge”
We may not know what the future holds, but we know in our hearts, who holds it. Put your faith and trust in Jesus. The truth is, what is our life? Scripture.. the “Word Of God Speaks”. I do not know where your relationship is with our God. Whether you believe in Him, put your faith in Him, Have you been faithful in your walk with Him. The fact still remains, we need to make our life right with God.
Jesus is coming back, and we better be ready. There is enough warnings in the Scripture to say otherwise. Luke 21:10-11, gives us another warning of things to come...
10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
These things will happen... “The Word Of God Speaks”, and He does not lie!
Always remember that the Bible tells us that...
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. “God Is Our Refuge”
Pastor Richard Santos
Audio copies of previously delivered messages are now available in CD. Requests can be made on the 'Contacts' tab.