Reflections and Meditations
An Annual Devotional
by Bell, Pearl T
New Every Morning
And thine ears shall hear a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
This text invites the reader to be in communion with the Triune God: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. It evokes a unique voice amid the discordant sounds seeking to engross the mind. It tweaks our spiritual sensibilities to recognize the distinctive voice of the Holy Spirit as it speaks and gives direction to the seeker of truth.
Because we have a journey to take, the text enjoins us to stop, wait, and listen. When we make room for the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will undoubtedly hear the voice saying, “This is the way.” When God is in control of our entire life situations, we can make no mistakes, plan a bad and unfruitful trip, or take detours. If we remain in touch with our Leader, all our actions and activities will be directed by God.
This text also calls for willing obedience. We live in an age where disconnect is rampant; this cannot be so for the child of God. If you have chosen to let him be your Guide, then the inner voice will urge you to yield and lay all your plans before him. The Leader knows the right way, and the voice does not admit any detour.
Let us practice listening for that special voice for it is IT that speaks (or whispers) in the ear. Our ears must be cleaned out; no wax such as fear, doubt, or uncertainty should be allowed to remain and harden in there. We need to have our ears and hearts spiritually irrigated so that the special voice can be clearly heard, detected, and understood.
Amidst the storms of Mount Horeb, Elijah heard the still small voice. Do you want to hear that still small voice directing your life? God speaks: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). May we all pray for the gift of an acute, sensitive ear to hear and a mouth to utter “shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths” (Ps. 25:4).
Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. Luke 1:38
Here is commingled joy and submission. The angel appeared to Mary, the young engaged virgin, and told her that she was highly favored because God had chosen her to be the bearer of his precious Gift to the world—His Son.
On hearing the salutation, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured” (verse 28), Mary was overwhelmed with a holy awe and fear. She pondered over his words and then engaged in an interactive questioning: “How can this be possible since I know not a man? I have no intimacy with my fiancée.” The angel saw her fear and consternation and told her how God would perform this “strange act.” “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee” (verse 35).
Having heard this account from the heavenly messenger, Mary submitted herself to the divine assignment. She contemplated the salutation and the message, and she concluded, “if God says so, if He ordains it thus, who am I to question God? So here I am a simple handmaid, may His will be done” (author paraphrase). Then in one joyful outburst she exclaimed: “BEHOLD the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (verse 38).
Following her submission, she uttered the most wonderful hymn of praise ever came from mortal lips—“The Magnificat.” She praised God who had chosen her the least among the maidens, took away her reproach and possible shame, and elevated her to a most coveted position.
Are you willing today to let God use you as He chooses? God made us all for His own purpose. May we willingly say, “Lord, I yield myself to You this moment to be used as You see fit. I am available to You, so please use me today.”
Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? John 1:46
Nazareth had a bad reputation comparable to any of today’s cities with a ghetto: South Bronx of New York City, Watts in California, Chicago’s south side, or even Soweto in South Africa. Every major city has an “off limits” area to the more cultured and refined classes. All kinds of devious and unseemly behaviors are practiced there. So it was with Nazareth during the early messianic period.
Jesus was now selecting his followers whom He would teach, train, and later commission to carry forth the “everlasting gospel” to all men. Philip, one of his first disciples, responded to the invitation and unselfishly shared it with his brother, Nathaniel. Philip said to him, “We have found him [the Messiah], of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write; Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (verse 45).
Phillip gave a glowing report of this pure, noble, upright, and dignified young man, but Nathaniel, in scornful derision and skepticism, stuck up his nose at the idea. He retorted, “I do not know what has come over you; as far as I know, nothing good has ever or can ever come out of Nazareth; you must be dreaming or you have been fooled” (author paraphrase). Phillip remained unruffled and simply issued the invitation: “Come and see” (verse 46).
Jesus, who saw Nathaniel coming to Him, declared, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile [meaning deceit]” (verse 47). Nathaniel’s simplicity, innocence, and devotion to spiritual things had endeared him to Jesus. He asked Jesus how He knew and recognized him. Jesus’ response must have triggered a profound depth of spiritual confession for upon learning that Jesus saw him when he was under the fig tree perhaps meditating and praying, he was moved to exclaim, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (verse 49). Nathaniel’s hope was fulfilled, and his prayers had been answered once he was able to meet with the One for whom he had been praying. As a convert of John the Baptist, he was in expectancy of the Messiah as well.
There are many practitioners of the “Nathaniel Syndrome,” who categorize people based on their locality, origin, race, status and social standing. The interaction between Jesus, Phillip, and Nathaniel shows very clearly that it is not your country, social standing, wealth or education that matters to Jesus, but it is your heart relationship. People from any station in life, any street, town or ghetto are all the same to Jesus. He came to set all men free; there is no discrimination or partiality in his arena. All men stand before Him as sinners in need of his cleansing and atoning blood. He came to free all men from the curse and bondage of sin.
As Nathaniel, let us maintain and practice that simplicity of faith, looking and expecting to see or find Jesus even though He is not far from any of us. May we be reminded that “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3), and wherever people are, God is also there.
As the Deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
Psalm 42:1, NIV
One definition of the word “pant” is to long for or to crave. With this in mind, I have often wondered about the deer’s watering habits. I have never seen them approach any watering spots to drink water. There is no water in their habitation, so they are always thirsting and hankering to get water to slake their thirst. No doubt that is the reason why they will chew on any green, juicy herb within their reach.
King David also found himself in a spiritual desert where he had a thirst for the living God. He needed to feel God’s presence near him. He was alone, isolated, parched, destitute, and dehydrated because he could not hear or receive any signals from God. His soul longed to make contact with the Source of infinite power. He needed a refreshing. In his anguish he found solace in poetry and cried out agonizingly, “My soul is parched; I need to hear Your voice; I need to feel Your hand; I am lost without You; I am drowning on dry land; I need You Lord God of Host; I need to feel You near me. Reach out to me and let me feel Your Presence; I NEED You O, My God! Not a word, just a nod will quench my thirsty soul for I know You are there” (author paraphrase).
King David became a deer (metaphorically) languishing for a spiritual connection. Do you feel the need for God as King David did? Do you pant for God and need His presence near you? Do you crave for God because you lack spiritual nourishment and are thirsty for his Word and desire his Power? God is only a prayer away, and He will hear you when you call. He is the very best Friend in the entire world. If that is your need, then pray, “Dear God, quench my thirsty soul.”
Some people pant for transient things, but let us pray that we may crave for a lasting relationship with God.
When Christ abides in us, our thirst for everything will be quenched. Let us seek God first, for He truly satisfies. King David advises, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Ps. 34:8). When He satisfies our divine hankering, our parched desires will be slaked and we will be fully refreshed. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). There will be no more thirst. Great news!
The Entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.
At all buildings, there are usually two signs: an entrance and an exit. We enter the building through the entrance, be it a door or a gate. In a similar manner, as we begin our walk with God, we need to find the door or gateway that provides entrance to Him. King David tells us how to enter into this new experience. If we read the Word of God, it will give us light, for it is light.
When we embark on our Christian journey, we do not know what lies ahead, hence the need for light. Thus, the Word—read, studied, and memorized—will shine upon the path. No successful action can be achieved in darkness. In creating the world, the first object the Creator called into being was light. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.… And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:2, 3). Referring to God’s illuminating truths, David said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). This biblical reference confirms the function of the Word: it gives light so the seekers/adventurers will know where and how to place their steps.
Besides giving light, the Word also gives understanding. The Word then has a dual purpose: giving light and opening the mind to comprehend. It then becomes the key to open any door and provide the entrance required. Without direction and understanding, seekers cannot see the path and are sure to stumble for they are unable to find the entrance. May we allow the Word to find entrance into our hearts and minds so that it can guide us into knowledge and the acquisition of wisdom!
Freely ye have received, freely give.
What a charge and a challenge! Everyone likes freebies. All around in different markets and stores are signs and sales urging prospective shoppers to “take one; it is free” or “buy one and get the other free.”
During harvest time many farmers leave baskets of produce at their gates saying “free, help yourselves.” The notion of getting something for nothing is very endearing. Who doesn’t want a free meal, a free ride, a free checking account, or a free book? The idea of freeness is ingrained in our psyche.
Even though the gift is free, it has conditions and constraints: Give and you shall receive. One text states, “Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom” (Luke 6:38). Here, the overt message is to give freely so that you will receive freely, with no strings attached.
The core of the message uproots selfishness, covetousness, and greed. God gives all things freely: air, life, breath, mind, heart, soul, and body. All He asks in return is that we freely yield ourselves to him. In this reciprocal activity, God is neither forcing nor coercing anyone into submission. Our response is a free choice. In the Garden of Eden, our first parents had their choice—freedom in obedience or slavery in disobedience. We all know the result of their choice.
God gives the sunshine and the rain freely. He allows the beautiful flowers to freely bedeck the environment at different seasons of the year. He fills our skies with song and chirping birds for our pleasure. He gives His grace, patience, love, care, mercy, and lovingkindness freely without our asking. He does not hold back; both the obedient and the rebellious have the opportunity to receive bountifully of His gracious gifts—especially the gift of life.
Our heavenly Father’s final act is the free gift of His most prized possession, His only Son. The Gift of heaven redeems and restores humanity into the unsullied image He first created. May God’s example serve to inspire us to share freely what we possess with those in need, remembering that all that we possess is a free gift from God.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him. 1 Chronicles 16:29
God is to be praised and glorified for He is great, and there is none else beside Him. He is the Almighty; He is the Creator; He gives and sustains life; He controls all nature. He commands and all nature responds to His call. He tells the storm, “Peace; be still!” And the sea is made calm (see Matt. 8:23–27).
God is great! There is no other God beside him. He holds up worlds and the starry heavens; the planets and all the hosts of heaven obey His voice. God’s name is worthy to be praised. Give Him the glory; His kindness and mercies are new every morning. We are His creatures, and we must never cease to give Him glory, for He is the Creator and Sustainer. When we enter the Tabernacle, the synagogue, or the meeting place, we ought to take an offering of thanksgiving to show our appreciation for all He has given us. God does not need our money, but we give in grateful praise for who He is.
God’s name is revered among the earth. He is everything to all humanity. He is the Prince of Peace; He is the I AM, the Rabbi, and the King of glory. He is the Lord of hosts, the heavenly Father, the Holy One of Israel, and the everlasting God. He is the most high God. Because Jehovah is all encompassing, the apostle Paul affirms, “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Therefore, man has neither alternative nor recourse but to give glory to the name of the Lord.
May we at all times and under all occasions lift up the name of God, for He alone is worthy of our praise, honor, and worship. “Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion [Zion]; and … unto thee shall all flesh come” (Ps..65:1, 2). Let His name be glorified!
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and Harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16
Doves are wonderful creatures from the avian family. One looking at them would think that they are silly. They are found in the most inane places: under bridges, the eaves of houses, and anywhere there is human habitation. They are mindless creatures that do not squawk, twitter, and chirp as other birds do. They are non-competitive, and their cooing is seldom heard. They are restive in nature.
Doves have been used to symbolize the purity, wholeness, and innocence of life. After the flood Noah sent a dove to test the readiness of the land to receive his cargo. After two tests the bird returned with an olive branch in its beak signaling that he could disembark.
At Jesus’ baptism God’s approval was signified by the Holy Spirit resting on Jesus’ head in the form of a dove, and the voice was heard saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).The dove symbolizes the affirmation and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Consequently, the Word of God counsels us to have a dove-like posture by maintaining a singularity of purpose with our minds focused on the pure and untainted. Doves do not engage in combat or bird fight; they do not pick at each other even when perched side by side. They are calm and demonstrate wisdom; human beings can learn from them.
Jesus was sending out His disciples to face the challenges of ministry; they would face a hard, indifferent, and antagonistic world, so He forewarned them of the cynicism and rejection they would meet. They were to know the Word and be fully armed with truth so that they would not be discouraged or dismayed in the face of criticism and rejection. They were presenting Jesus, the Good News of the gospel, hence opposition was certain. Many of them would be snares for the enemy who would try to eliminate them; it was essential that they stand on the principle of truth—the sure Word of God.
Jesus knew that the disciples would face confrontation and traditional bigotry, so He warned them that “offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1). As practicing Christians we need to heed the Lord’s counsel to the first disciples. We must walk in the light given us and be careful to not make others stumble. By so doing, we will be a savoring influence to others rather than causing harm.
Let us take our cue from the doves: generating peace, wholeness and balance, simplicity, and innocence so there can be harmony among all with whom we interact. Let the quiet, loving solitude of the dove permeate within our lives now and throughout all our waking days. May we be as harmless (meaning innocent) as the doves but wise enough to shun and avoid evil.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness . Psalm 119:36
A significant portion of Psalms is filled with prayers: prayers for upright living, for understanding, for protection, for forgiveness, and also for punishment. They constitute the entire gamut of human emotions, from seeking justice and knowledge to asking for deliverance and direction.
In Psalm 119:34 David asks for understanding so he can keep the law with his whole heart. Not satisfied with that request, he seeks a deeper relationship with God and asks Him for help to incline—bend, lean, turn—his heart unto God’s testimonies. David recognizes his condition. No doubt he has reached one of his “prodigal moments,” and so he pleads for purity of heart and mind. He does not want to be inclined to what others have or long for their possessions.
This is every sinner’s prayer: to ask God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to incline our hearts toward awareness of God’s Word, to hide His truths in our minds, and to delight in the testimonies of what God has done, can do, and will do for us. With such a prayer on our lips, we will be restrained from a covetous eye.
Let us pray this prayer, asking God to help us to long for the testimonies of what God has done for His people and learn more of His truths. May our experience be an inheritance forever that will cause our heart to rejoice!
Judge not, that ye be not judged
We live in a blame-casting society. Humankind hardly ever wants to accept responsibility or accountability for their actions, and they are always looking for someone else on whom to transfer their behavior. Then they will assert, “See, he is not better than I; look what he does; he is just as bad as I.”
We are all sinners and do not have the luxury of being judgmental. We should not assess, calculate, or declare right from wrong. That is not our prerogative; it’s God’s. Scripture goes on to say that “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (verse 2). We are not privy to people’s motives and should leave alone those things of which we have no knowledge. God has not abrogated His power and given it to mere humans to pass judgment on any of his fair creation. The faultfinders and the naysayers need to examine themselves— see their own faults and failures before passing judgment on others. Let the wise, faithful, and true Judge do all the judging.
Even if you think you are blameless, you have no legitimacy to evaluate other people’s behaviors. Who says that person needs your intervention? The case of Moses’ intervention on behalf of his Israelite brother whom he sought to defend was abruptly rejected on the grounds of his wanting to be judge. Having recognized that his previous secret was known among many, Moses fled the scene.
None of us should set ourselves up as the final authority of right living and behavior. We should not assess others by our own standards; neither should we judge their inner motives. God knows all hearts, and He has not asked for assistants. Let us keep our eyes focused on the glory of our God; let kindness prevail among us, and let us not transfer our own inept behaviors unto others or magnify their weaknesses. We should check first to see if we deserve the same criticism. A very Christlike rule to follow is to judge ourselves first and then lovingly forgive and help our neighbor. Judgment and justice belong to God. May we adhere to Christ’s command.
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. Psalm 100:3
To have knowledge and to want to know something is human inquisitiveness. Everyone wants to have knowledge of how something works or is constructed. Man’s curiosity leads him into this never ending quest to know.
In every realm of learning: classical, mediaeval, scientific, ecclesiastical, eschatological, or philosophical, humanity is seeking to know what he does not. People continually pursue this incessant quest into the unknown. This is an important exercise because without knowledge, humankind remains in ignorance, which results in sorrow, misery, woes, and misgivings.
In humankind’s quest to know the essence of things, they need to stop and recognize that all knowledge resides in God, the All-knowing and Omniscient One. God, the Creator, is the originator, manufacturer, engineer, and developer of all ideas. He is everything for every existing object that comes from His hand, His mouth, and His workmanship. There is no deficiency in His repertoire of knowledge. He invites us to seek knowledge and to know Him, to become familiar with Him, to spend time with Him, and to develop a forever friendship with Him.
King David, a man “after God’s own heart,” summons us to know who the Great God is: “It is he that hath made us and not we ourselves”—Creator. Humankind loves to take ownership and believes that they are self-existing and self-maintaining. David wanted all humankind to recognize their impunity and nothingness. He emphasized that without God, they are nothing. We did not make ourselves. Therefore, man needs to give homage and honor to God, the Creator. Where is your understanding? We cannot make or create anything. Whatever we do put together, God had already laid the foundation and provided the seed to engender the new thing. God is the Creator of everything in heaven above and in the earth below. We do not and cannot exist without God. If He stretches out His hand and recalls the very air we breathe, all created beings—humans, beasts, the birds of the air, the fish in the sea, and all things that live and move—would die instantly. We live and breathe by His presence, not without it. Did you know that?
The most important question is: how does one get to know God? God is very near to us. All nature speaks of Him: the gentle flowers, the sweet sounding birds, the babbling brooks, the quiet creeks, the roaring rivers, and the mighty seas with their rolling billows as well as the lofty mountain peaks. All these things attest to the greatness of God and His control over His creation. When one spends time reading God’s Word, God will help us to get to know Him.
We are called to action: to know, to find out, to discover, to be aware, and to be cognizant of God. Humankind must use all their capabilities to know God, to experience Him, and to spend time with Him in order to become intimately involved with Him. It is our solemn obligation and duty to get to know this God: the Jehovah Jireh, the Provider, the Jehovah Uzzi, my Strength, and the El Shaddai. May you seek to know Him today, this very moment.
Let not your heat be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1
Assurance and more assurance is the substance of this text. There is much angst in this world and in our daily lives that cause much disease and distress. The ability to eke out a living for the family, education for the children, maintain spousal relationships, paying the bills, interacting with neighbors, etc., can cause endless amounts of distress. It has been so since sin despoiled fair Edenic atmosphere and unleashed myriads of challenges on the human family.
With the disruption came misery, murder, uncertainties, doubts, fear, anxiety, worry, sickness, incurable diseases, wars, distress in society, restlessness among families, and incessant wars. Neighborhoods are not safe anymore; children are being kidnapped and slaughtered; we have rampant spousal disorder and unfaithfulness; the troubles escalate and go on ad infinitum. The comforting thought is that Jesus says, “Do not trouble yourselves” (author paraphrase).
When Jesus came, walked, and lived, everyone expected Him to rein in peace and bring stability to the nation. Because He was the Life Giver, the Healer, the Restorer, the people sought to make Him a ruler, which would settle their fears and quell their anxiety. They asked Him, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). We long for peace and political security. Jesus was a different kind of a man with a different kind of mission in mind.
The time when Jesus and the disciples walked and worked, the social conditions were similar to ours. People lived in fear and terror of being overrun by the political and religious authorities and truly longed for a respite. They wanted rest from the harassment and oppression of their neighbors. Jesus’ mission was not a political one; He came to seek and to save those who were lost and dead in trespasses and sin. His mission was that of restoration and healing. He comforted the downtrodden and gave sight to the blind—both physically and spiritually.
Having chosen His special twelve disciples, He trained, equipped, and commissioned them to go into the entire world to replicate His mission. Somehow, they were overwhelmed with the awesomeness of the task and were filled with anxieties, primarily because Jesus was returning to His Father’s side in the heavenly courts, and they would be left without a mentor. Jesus calmed their fears and spoke these very reassuring and immortalized words, “Let not your heart be troubled; … I am in charge and will always be with you; you will never be alone” (author paraphrase). These words were their marching order. Jesus stated, “Believe in Me; I cannot lie; I will come again and receive you so you will be with me always” (author paraphrase).
Those reassuring words are also the Christian’s mantra. God does not lie; His words stand fast. May you keep calm and fear not because Heaven has the cure for every disease, disorder, and distress.
Do all things without Murmurings and disputings. Philippians 2:14
God’s Word provides direction on how to live according to God’s plan: graciously, sublimely, and relationally. The apostle Paul writing to the newly converted saints at Philippi became aware of their un-Christ like behavior, and rather than berating or chastening them, he directed them to the Word and its precepts. In verse 13, he reminded them that God had chosen each of them and that He would work out His will and good pleasure in their lives.
The primary problem seemed hinged on leadership. As their leader, the apostle Paul felt responsible to counsel the administrators regarding their dealing with the new believers. He advised them to continue following God’s leading and the Holy Spirit’s direction because if they did, they were guaranteed success. With the Holy Spirit’s free access in their lives and in the management of the church, there would be no legitimacy for any murmuring or dispute among them. None would seek for the highest position or the right to be called leader or chief. Where the Spirit of God is present, there is freedom, peace, humility, love, common understanding, and an abundance of graciousness.
Rather than disputing for leadership, they were to study and meditate on God’s word in preparation for the challenging times the young flock would face. It is a known phenomenon that when a group of people chooses to follow Christ, persecution and opposition from the status quo follows. The enemy does not want to release anyone from his stronghold to join the family of God. That is why, in our small groups, gatherings, and assemblies, there is no place for strife, emulations, pretentiousness, or murmurings as to who should be in charge. All newly organized Christian fellowships are to work harmoniously with brotherly love under the Holy Spirit’s guidance so that God’s church can experience real Christian growth.
The problems that existed in the young Philippi church are commonly found in all new church plantings. Therefore, members must be watchful and not allow the enemy to come in and steal their joy. Though it was given more than 2,000 years ago, Paul’s counsel is just as appropriate for church leaders in the twenty-first century. In today’s world of increasing knowledge and education in and among the congregants, it is incumbent for church leaders to heed Paul’s counsel and serve the Lord with gladness, dignity, and integrity.
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 1:18
Man in his finite, sinful state cannot dwell in the presence of an infinite, sinless God. He is not able to see God for “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).God is divine and self-existent; He is the source and personification of all material and spiritual life. It is through Him that all things consist. God is eternal in relationship to time—that is why He is forever and ever and from everlasting to everlasting. He cannot be compared to anything or to anyone; He is God, the one and only Creator.
Before sin’s entry, God spoke to Adam face to face. Adam saw Him and communed openly with his Maker. Paul tells us that in the sin-free new earth, humanity will again commune with God face to face: “But then face to face … even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
Besides Adam, God revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, to Elijah in the cave through a still small voice, and to Joshua in his sojourn with ancient Israel, but none were able to see His face, for sinful men cannot behold the sinless, holy, and awesome God. Humankind, in their natural state, cannot behold God in his majesty, purity, and sublimity. He is described as a “consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24) to Moses at the bush, hence sinful humans cannot survive in God’s presence. Again, the men who bound the three Hebrew youth and threw them into Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace were killed by the fury and intensity of God’s presence in the fire.
Sinful humanity cannot see God and live. After Adam and Eve sinned, they went into hiding and could no longer face the righteous God. “I heard thy voice, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10). When God invited Moses to meet with Him on Mount Sinai to receive the Decalogue, he had to turn his back because he could not see the face of God.
That was then; this is now. Jesus came veiled in the Father’s glory, cleared the way, and opened the gate so that everyone can access eternal life. John said, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7). Jesus, our Elder Brother, is now interceding on our behalf to determine whether we qualify to face Him and the Father and live with them eternally. When this happens humanity will again enjoy the Edenic bliss and the communion they once had with the heavenly throng. We shall see God’s face and live in a sin-free environment. That will be insurmountable joy! We shall see God in His fullness and wholeness with no fear of His consuming power. Every saved person shall see Him face to face and be with Him forever. May we plan now to meet our Father, the holy angels, and most of all, our Beloved Brother, Jesus.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Matthew 6:9
This is the formal address Jesus told His disciples to use when they approach God through prayer. The “our” carries a very personal and intimate note. He is our Father, not anybody else’s. Like our earthly Dad, He claims us as His own and loves each of us dearly and equally. There is no room for jealous feelings because He is Father for all His children and treats everyone with favor and equanimity. Everyone can find their place under His arms. He can embrace and hug each of us because He has a place for each of His children. He is the great, great Father of all, and we are all His children. God has no grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or stepchild. Everyone is His child, so everyone has a Father. He is the greatest and grandest Father of all. No wonder He is called the everlasting Father
We can always approach our Dad without fear or anxiety. Whenever I approach Him, He says, “Yes, daughter, what do you want now?” His greeting has always touched me greatly because it draws me to Him and reminds me that He will listen to my request. Thus being assured, He and I can engage in one sweet Communion. He is my forever friend, and I keep an unceasing conversation with Him. He is my Papa, Dad, Daddy, and Father. He can be yours, too. Let Him be your Dad today.
Our Father loves and cares for us, so in return, we approach Him reverently and respectfully. It’s not the kind of fear or dread that some earthly fathers generate in their children causing them to tremble and shake. God is a loving and caring Father. Can you imagine one father engendering billions of children! Only He in whom eternity, omnipotence, and omniscience resides could make this possible. He is our Father, and He can do anything. He nurtures all the peoples of the world: red and yellow, black and white—all are precious in His sight. He provides for all His created beings. He arranges the cycles of nature so that everyone’s needs are bountifully supplied. There is no famine or dearth in this Father’s storehouse. This is our Father—yours and mine.
As His children we can walk the busy streets, lanes, and avenues or drive on multi-lane highways, sail on the great waterways in massive ocean liners, and soar the skies in jet planes without fear or tremor because our Father is at the helm guiding and directing us. He is always taking care of us. No other father has the capacity or capability of being at every place at the same time. That is the reason why we ascribe praise and honor, glory and reverence to Him for there is no other Father like our Father. He is personal and loving. He is always accessible. He not only provides guidance for us in our time of need but He also does all He can to protect our future inheritance. What a Father! Let us therefore bow down and worship this sensitive, caring, and loving Father of ours. He is all things to all humankind. What a great Dad!!
Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not … pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10
Jehovah God has put His reputation on the line to all believers. He is giving all humanity the chance to try Him out. It is like duel between two fencers—where you ask yourself which is better and who will be the one to give the deadly life threatening thrust. I imagine that God says to His believing people, “Call on Me; trust Me and see what happens to you.”
Everywhere you go, people are always asking for proof. We live in a society that is dedicated to evidence. “Show me; let me see” is their battle cry. “I have to see it to believe it!” They ask for proof of your identity, your capacity, ability, or skill to perform what you portend. God says, “I am dependable; I am not a man that I should prevaricate; I will never fail you nor reject you; I am a never-failing God; I will be with you even to the end of the age” (Num. 23:19, author paraphrase).
God invites us to taste and to try; it is a message artfully penned by David, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Ps. 34:8). And the senior prophet Malachi recalled the exact challenge the Lord himself gave out. “Prove me now, today; take a chance with me; expend your energy and verve on me and see what I will do for you; you will have an abundant supply-even an over abundance of whatever you need” (Mal. 3:10, author paraphrase).
Since God is the owner, manufacturer, developer, engineer, and Creator of all, there is no lacking in His farmsteads. He gives to all His children freely and according to their needs. He is, has been, and will be the only sustaining power and force in the universe, hence His children will always be abundantly satiated. All that God asks is that we trust and believe His promises. The apostle Paul affirmed God’s promise by saying, “But my God shall supply all your need … by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
Therefore, whatever you need, God, your Father, will supply you richly. He says that He will open the windows of heaven and pour out so many unimaginable blessings that you will not have enough storehouses to contain them. He will make you abundantly rich in good health, wisdom, intelligence, physical strength, spiritual stability, and economic resourcefulness. Whatever you need, try God and let Him prove Himself to be the God He really is—the Adon Kol HaAretz—the Lord of all the earth.
When the widow of Zarephath ministered to the prophet Elijah and made his meal before her family’s meal, she believed that was going to be her last meal before they died. The famine decimated everyone, but because of her obedience, faithfulness, and trust, God proved Himself to her and gave her sustenance for all the remaining days of the famine. God did it for her, and He will do it again and again for all those who request it of Him.
Quench not the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Before our Lord Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised His disciples to send them the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to equip and empower them for ministry. He assured them that through the Holy Spirit, they would do greater works than they could imagine.
On the Day of Pentecost—only forty days after Jesus left them—that promise was realized, and the Holy Spirit came down in copious showers on the 120 gathered in the upper room; they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and onlookers chastised them as early morning drunks.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is to empower as John says, “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). Jesus also told them that the Holy Ghost will “guide them into all truth” (John 16:13). This comforting message was not only for His first disciples, but to all who should come after them, believe in His name, and accept Him as their Lord. Peter says, “To all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). That includes us.
Information is available to those who lack knowledge about the Holy Spirit’s operation. The Holy Spirit will enlighten and lead you to the discovery of truth. This is the third person of the Godhead, who is an active, vibrant, energizing, life-giving being. We see its active role at the creation of the world, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).
While Jesus was here among men, the Holy Spirit was not as visibly engaged, but when He returned to His Father, He authorized the Holy Spirit to replace Him and be a constant presence with the disciples. Its presence is Jesus’ fulfillment of the promise that He would never leave them alone. Jesus affirmed, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). They needed that assurance.
The Holy Spirit is a very active, engaging agent of the Godhead touching men and women’s hearts everywhere so that they can respond to God’s call of mercy. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts men of their sin. The Holy Spirit has a personality—it can be grieved and feel rejection just as we do. Paul advises Christians, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). It can be lied to such as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira who tried to deceive the apostolic community but the Holy Spirit struck them down and eliminated their hypocrisy from stifling the growth of the young church.
We cannot and should not quench the Holy Spirit’s nudging; it is God’s presence among humanity. He speaks to all and urges us to yield to its promptings, and when we do not respond, the Holy Spirit will turn away. Paul admonishes all Christians to be on constant alert for the promptings of the Spirit as it convicts us of sins and urges repentance. May we give this Holy Agent free access in all our interactions for it is God’s voice to us.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. Psalm 51:12
This is the core of David’s reconciliatory prayer. After he had committed the double sin of adultery and murder, he felt that God had rejected him. In deep anguish he acknowledged his gruesome act and engaged in one long contrite prayer for cleansing.
Recognizing how scrofulous and hideous his act was, he asked God to wash him thoroughly from that iniquity. He wanted God to purge him with hyssop and make him clean and to neither hide His face from him nor remove the Holy Spirit from his life. Then David finally cried out, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (author paraphrase). He wanted God to give back that which he had lost. He knew he had lost fellowship and communion with God and was overcome with a sense of desperation, isolation, alienation, and loss.
In his despair and seeming separation, a deep sense of loneliness overwhelmed him. In his plea for reconnection, he confessed his wrong, surrendered, and entreated God to let the fellowship and sweet communion he once had with Him be returned; hence the word restore. David wanted the assurance that some of God’s joy was still available to him.
Our God is a God of restoration. He promises that He will “restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25). God will restore to each of us the loose connection that has separated us from Him. He is waiting to restore in all His children the perfect righteous character of His Son. He is eager to give us His image because ours is so deeply marred and obscured by sin. When His image is perfectly restored in us, we shall rejoice greatly in the Lord because we will be one with Him. David craved reunion with his heavenly Father; he did not want to be a castaway. He genuinely repented and God heard and answered his plea. God will do the same for every sinner who genuinely repents and forsakes their sins.
David’s prayer is every sinner’s prayer. It is the prayer of contrition, repentance, and surrender. All who have wondered from God’s precepts and have confronted their error must seek God’s favor for restoration. Confession, genuine repentance, godly sorrow, and surrender must prevail in order for the sinner to be reinstated to their rightful place and again enjoy fellowship with the triune God and the heavenly hosts. Joy and rejoicing will then be restored.
At this very moment, God is waiting to grant you full restoration, so please do not keep Him waiting. Yield to Him now, and let the great compassionate God restore His image in you. May you pray this prayer: “Lord, I have sinned. I want to reconnect with You right now; will You please accept me? Amen.”
Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. Genesis 28:16
Jacob had an encounter with God at Bethel. Moses had one with Him at the burning bush, and Gideon had one with Him when the figure with the drawn sword greeted him with “the Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” (Judges 6:12). Now Jacob, because of his odd and indiscrete behaviors, needed to meet God. Have you had an encounter with God through a dream or a vision? It must be a wonderful experience to have a meeting with God, the Majesty of heaven.
When an individual meets God, several things can happen. They can either be consumed by God’s awesomeness, sinlessness, purity, and majesty or they can be exalted and given direction. God does not meet someone without a reason. There is always something special He wants that person to do—some specific task to accomplish or some specific message to communicate. For Jacob, it was the message to assure him that despite his foibles and misgivings, the God of his fathers was still with him.
God reiterated the promise, “Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land” (Gen. 28:15). What an assuring promise! The very God Himself gives such certitude to deceitful Jacob.
With such an encounter, Jacob awoke from his sleep astonished by the experience. He acknowledged and extolled God’s name by saying, “How dreadful (meaning sacred or holy) is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (verse 17).
Whenever sinners come in contact with God’s presence, something very spectacular and different happens to them. They are permanently changed. One example of this is the case of King David when he acknowledged his sins saying, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned” (Ps. 51:4). God heard and accepted David’s confession and surrender, erased his sins, and reinstated him to His favor. But another case is that of Uzzah, who touched the ark of God to stabilize it and was consumed instantly.
God knows our motives, our hearts, and our desires toward earthly and spiritual things. He waits to receive us and longs to have an encounter with us. There are many things He wants to communicate to us, and we must make ourselves available to Him. God wants us to feel His presence near. His promise is sure: “He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee” (Deut. 31:8). God is in every place wherever we go, and we must always make room for Him in all our activities. May we seek to develop a love relationship with Him, so we will always be assured that His presence surrounds us.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
Humanity is so confident, self-assured, and independent that we are always asserting “I can do it; I do not need your help.” Our brain power, skill, intellectual exploits, and physical prowess give us a sense of invulnerability. We feel all sufficient and capable. And that is rightly so, because God made us all in His own image and vested us with power, intellect, and a will to do what we please.
Because of that embedded creative genius, humans feel that there are no insurmountable challenges. To a large degree, we are right because we have not only attempted but have conquered the unconquerable. Historical, geographical, and scientific records attest to the exploits, bravery, and triumphs of the human race. We have conquered Mt. Everest, Antarctica, and we have even seen a man on the moon! We have cloned a sheep and are in the process of making other humans through in vitro fertilization. Is it any wonder that we feel self-fulfilled? It seems as though there is no need for trust in the Divine. Humans can do all things—anything we want to do … or so we think.
Even though we may feel self-actualized, the wisest man that ever lived gives this counsel from which today’s erudite scholars could profit: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.” All one’s wisdom, skill, knowledge, insight, and discernment are gifts from the Creator who gives to everyone—men, women, and children—impartially (see James 1:5).
Any human accomplishment is a gift from God. It is God who gives man the ability to grasp, to learn, to interpret, to experiment, and to execute. A thinking individual must put God first because without Him in their life, their mind remains inane and mushy. Without God’s Spirit, man can comprehend nothing; he doesn’t have the capacity or capability to self-infuse. Man needs to know his position in the universe of things and that he ought to trust the Great God and Creator of the universe.
The more intellectually endowed need not feel superior. God distributes equally, and there is no giftless person. Humanity must depend on God for every facet of their interaction, for all wisdom resides in God’s bosom, and He gives understanding to all. Men and women both must desist from boasting about their exploits and native instincts and instead come to completely rely on God. All humanity is able to literally and symbolically move mountains through God. God alone dispenses power, wisdom, and understanding, so we must first acknowledge God and have fellowship and intimacy with Him. May everyone seek God’s direction and develop more trust in God.
Understandest thou what thou readest? Acts 8:30
Do you understand what you are reading? This is a fundamental question that is asked of everyone who seeks to learn something by reading. For example, if you are learning a foreign language or doing a math problem and are given a passage and it says, translate, the first question the instructor asks is, “Do you understand what the article is about and what is required of you?” In order for any kind of learning to take place, the learner must understand the substance of the text.
The need to understand is basic. One cannot act if he or she does not understand what to do. Whatever the task is, understanding the instructions is primary. The first request for understanding comes from the young King Solomon who was thrust into office unprepared. Knowing his limitations, he prayed to God: “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people. . . for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (1 Kings 3:9). With understanding, you have knowledge; without it, you are ignorant.
The case of the Ethiopian administrator cited above focuses on the need for understanding. Returning to his palace duties from his business trip and reading Isaiah 53, he was deeply touched by the content. He did not know to whom or what they referred; he was simply reading words. It was then that the Holy Spirit moved upon Phillip and urged him to take a south bound detour toward Gaza. Thereupon, Phillip met up with this lone traveler and seeker after truth. He then approached him and asked the very potent question, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (author paraphrase).
The Ethiopian administrator’s response was trenchant: “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:31). His answer validates the fact that learners need teachers and instructors. That teacher may be a mom, a friend, a trained professional, a pastor or a rabbi. It may even be the Holy Spirit. Speaking through King David, God assures us of understanding. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go” (Ps. 32:8).When the Holy Spirit teaches, we are sure to understand.
The apostle James advises those seeking understanding to consult God, who gives to all men freely. King Solomon also counsels that the person who has understanding is happy (see Prov. 3:13). A person devoid of understanding is like a mule driven with the whip. He or she does not know whether to turn to the right or to the left. Above all, let us heed the wise man’s counsel: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Prov. 4:7).
May we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us so that we may understand God’s statutes and His laws.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more Value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31
An individual’s worth is of inestimable value to God, but most people become filled with angst when trying to determine their self-worth. The striving for self-recognition dictates the social stratification permeating some societies. Once you belong to a certain social stratum, the position that you and your family gain is fixed for generations. Some elite persons often times become crass and emit sound bites like “Do you know to whom you are speaking? No one addresses me thus”
It is very easy for someone to overrate their sense of self and value. Some go to great heights to self-exalt and bask in a sense of superiority. Others drag along a self-defeatist path with a sense of inferiority and pessimism. There is always a hypothetical dark cloud hovering over these kinds of people, and they seem unable to extricate themselves. Life’s multifaceted challenges can have a tendency to overwhelm the faint-hearted, and many succumb to its forces.
However, none need be caught in that dragnet of self-pity, low self-esteem, and despair because there is hope. There has always been Hope. More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus responded to the same self-defeatist syndrome by telling His hearers not to lose heart or their sense of self. He wanted them to keep their spiritual foundation and beliefs and remain encouraged because even the tiniest bird is very important to God. There is not a bird that goes without food, a nest, or a resting place. Then He said to them, “Just think about this: you are made in My image; you bear My imprimatur; inscribed on your forehead is the insignia: ‘Made by God.’ You are valued; you are worthy. You are more valuable to God than the sparrows; He sent Me to die for you” (author paraphrase; see John 3:16). Because God places such value on you, you are never to fear personal threats or trials. God’s care for all these tiny creatures cannot shake His love or dislodge His tender and loving care over you. You are highly favored and richly blessed. You are covered by His blood! Christ’s blood was shed for every sinner, and each person is very precious and valuable.
In God’s sight, we are of significant value. Angels are constantly watching over us; we are God’s because He created and redeemed us. How much more valuable can that be! The Father has said, “Relax my children; I have you under my wings, very near to my heart” (author paraphrase). May you appreciate the care and value thus accorded.
Wherewithall shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Psalm 119:9
The mammoth question is always how can it be done? This is one of the six rhetorical questions that an investigator always asks when he or she wants to clarify an issue. Other companion questions are: who, what, when, where, and why? As the answers to these interrogations are fleshed out, some degree of stasis is achieved, and the seeker gets the answers to their inquiry.
Here David is asking a very poignant question: How shall the youth—the young men and women—clean up their acts? The question begs the answer: the direction the youth are taking is not clean, but filthy and murky. The many distractions facing them have made it impossible for the youth to maintain purity, uprightness, and integrity amid a sea of impurity.
David identifies with the youth’s dilemma having been a victim of licentiousness and other self-defeating practices. His is a plaintive plea for the youth, who face the alluring and enticing temptations of the world, to bring God into their lives. How to preserve their innocence and maintain their integrity is the daunting question and magnificent challenge!
This self-evaluative text has overtones of the lost son in Luke 15. He left home and squandered his inheritance living the supposedly good life only to realize that he was lost in the quagmire of decadence. He no doubt asked the same question: how can I regain my integrity, my purity, and my innocence?
Pondering over the question: HOW? The Holy Spirit answered, “By taking heed thereto according to thy word,” the youth will achieve insight or self-realization. The youth will hopefully come to recognize that their spiritual and moral life is on a downward spiral, and see that they must halt the course. But how will they get to this point? The Word of God gives the only safe answer: they must live according to the Word and hide God’s word in their heart that they might not sin against Him (see verse 11). It is only by studying the Word and praying daily that the youth will be able to resist the charms of the world. Studying God’s Word is the only failsafe proof they have against a sinful life.
This question challenges every human being; each of us must confront self and answer three questions: who am I? How did I get here? What must I do to turn around? Self-realization is the first sign of a conscious need for change. The second half of the text states the need for strong, vigorous, and positive action provided only by the Holy Spirit. Each person must engage in self-analysis to ascertain his or her spiritual and moral status. We must study the Word, apply its principles to our lives, watch unto prayer incessantly, and focus on Jesus who alone has the power to keep us unsullied amid the onslaughts of the present world.
May the youth seek for a daily anointing of the Holy Spirit to keep them pure and chaste.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm 127:1
This is a great text about relying on God. It shows humanity’s utter futility of trying to do everything based on their strength, so-called might, ingenuity, and wisdom. Whatever structures humankind erects, whether it be physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, economic, mental, or emotional, they cannot expect a strong building unless the foundational principles are based on God’s Word.
Families establish homes and watchmen guard cities, but all of these activities are futile unless God is the foundation of all their plans. A family without God can never experience and enjoy the spiritual bond that happens when God is a part of the relationships. And a city without God’s leading and direction will soon crumble from the inside out. There will be no moral principles to be upheld so there will be chaos in the city chambers and halls of assembly. Corruption in all areas of government will prevail, and everyone will be their own boss, doing what is right in their own eyes. Rulers of cities need to let God guide their operation. If God is left out of our lives and any operational event, then all that we do is wrapped up in futility.
God oversees and directs every activity, but humanity feels capable to direct their own lives and do not desire God’s intervention. David deflates that idea, stating, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way” (Ps. 37:23). King Solomon adds, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9).
It is God who brings all of humanity’s plans into fruition. He is everywhere directing the courses of our lives, the affairs of nations and of society. We cannot do anything without God’s approval, so whatever your challenge is, whether it’s to establish a family, to purchase a house, to pursue a certain course of study, to travel, to lead a country, all humankind must seek God first. His counsel is just, and He will lead us into paths of peace.
Engage in no act, small or great, without first consulting your omniscient, heavenly Father. People and nations survive at God’s bidding. May we engage Him in all our building activities—whether structures or families, states or unions, kingdoms or palaces. Except God lays the foundation, the structure is sure to topple and fall.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
This is a text that speaks belief, offers hope, and engenders faith. It disannuls fear and dread because it exudes assurance and confidence. I am not afraid of anything or anyone because the Lord is with me. It speaks to the Lord’s continuous watch over His creatures both as our Protector and Provider.
We bask in this confidence and surety because the True Shepherd is always at our side. Despite the severe challenges of illness, insurrection, strife, loss, betrayal, rejection, alienation, or even death, I am comforted that the Lord is always there walking by my side, holding out His mighty arms, and enfolding me to His bosom. What joy and peace and heavenly calm to just rest your head upon His gentle breast! The joy that attends it is that despite these life challenges, you are not alone on this journey; there is always Someone who is walking beside you.
The “yea,” or in other words, “even though,” suggests that certain conditions may be present, but we can take heart because it is going to be OK. Other trials, troubles, and tribulations may come, but the sword—the Word of God—and the shield—His holy presence—will see us through the deep shadows of illness and through the dark valley of death. Jesus conquered death, so it shall not have supremacy over our mortal body. Jesus has the last word on death, and in all our shades of grief, He will always be with us. God’s Word provides stability, comfort, and confidence. Let us be comforted in this one thing: our God is able, and He will be there when needed.
Amidst the many challenges we face, be encouraged that God is always with us enabling us to carry on. Just like the shepherd goes to the field fully armed to protect his sheep from attackers and marauders, so the Lord, our True Shepherd, protects us from all potential harm. It is a very comforting and consoling thought that this Shepherd is with us all the time. There is no need for fear because He is more than capable; we are well protected.
God is always beside us providing the solace and security we need. Therefore, each of His children can go through life knowing full well that they have a True Shepherd, Guide, and Protector who is filled with love and compassion for His creation. As a result we can go on any journey confidently and boldly. May we come to recognize that even though the enemy tries to intercept the sheep’s pathway, the True Shepherd has gone on ahead of us and cleared the path. With God leading the way, we need to trust Him and follow His steps. Jesus has had the last word on death, so there is no need to be afraid. Praise God, for He is life!
For the Zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. Psalm 69:9
In this dialogue with the Lord, David feels that he has been God’s fall guy. He is referring to his sufferings and the insults he has received for standing up for the Lord. His enemies have threatened him, and he thinks it is all because he stood up for what was right. They have not let him forget his past sin with Bathsheba. He has become an alien to his own family, and once again, he has been thrust into a state of despair and isolation. But he still treasures the relationship he has with God, so he decides to go out on the limb to protect God’s name.
David had cultivated sensitivity toward the Lord and was overjoyed to meet Him in the temple. While there, he encountered some ridicule from those who were disrespecting the Lord. This enraged David. In another situation Elijah, when confronted with Jezebel’s threat, blamed his zeal for the Lord as his reason for fleeing. God wants us to cultivate a zeal to communicate with Him, to meet with Him in His temple, and to enjoy sweet communion with Him.
David seemed to have been overly passionate in his worship, especially since God had granted him a reprieve for his sin with Bathsheba. He had now become God’s defender. David complained to God that those who reproached God were also insulting him, but he was happy to be the one to bear the brunt of the reproaches they were heaping upon God. However, David was overjoyed that God had reinstated him into His fellowship. The passion to be in the presence of God was like a consuming fire, and David was overwhelmed by the second chance given him. He would spend a lot of time in God’s presence singing, shouting, and praising God for all His great mercies. David was passionately at one with God again.
Like David, may we cultivate a zeal for God, His Word, and all the wonderful things He represents.
End of preview.
Here is the Table of Contents of the complete book:
New Every Morning
Abide With Us Today
This Is the Day the Lord Has Given
Listen to His Voice
Your Holiest Is My Utmost
Intimacy With Jesus
Avoid Careless Chatter
Fix Your Eyes on the Holy
The Power of God’s Name
Sent by God
Study to Meet God’s Approval
We Are More Than Conquerors
My Own ABC’s of Assurance
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White, Ellen G. The Desire of Ages. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898.
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