Category Archives: Weekly Bible Studies

Keep Your Behavior in Line

                            Keep Your Behavior in Line

              Jer. 22:1–25:38 Jer. 22:13-21           July 17 2011

      

Upon occasion of the message sent in the foregoing chapter to the house of the king, we have here recorded some sermons which Jeremiah preached at court, in some preceding reigns, that it might appear they had had fair warning long before that fatal sentence was pronounced upon them, and were put in a way to prevent it. Here is, A message sent to the royal family, as it should seem in the reign of Jehoiakim, relating partly to Jehoahaz, who was carried away captive into Egypt, and partly to Jehoiakim, who succeeded him and was now upon the throne. The king and princes are exhorted to execute judgment, and are assured that, if they did so, the royal family should flourish, but otherwise it should be ruined . Jehoahaz, called here Shallum, is lamented . Jehoiakim is reproved and threatened . Another message sent them in the reign of Jehoiachin (alias, Jeconiah) the son of Jehoiakim. He is charged with an obstinate refusal to hear, and is threatened with destruction, and it is foretold that in him Solomon’s house should fail .

 

          Jer. 22:13 Woe to him who is building his house by unrighteousness,         And his upper chambers by injustice, On his neighbour he layeth service for nought,  And his wage he doth not give to him. 14 Who is saying, ‘I build for myself a large house, And airy upper chambers, And he hath cut out for himself its windows, Ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion.15 Dost thou reign, because thou art fretting thyself in  cedar? Thy father—did he not eat and drink? Yea, he did judgment and righteousness, Then it is well with him.

 

Another message on the theme of royal culpability shows how Jeremiah exhorted the kings to establish justice or expect desolation . He predicts that Shallum (Jehoahaz), taken captive to Babylon after a three-month rule, will never return . But his most scathing denunciation is reserved for Jehoiakim. That luxury-loving heretic son of godly King Josiah is destined to die a shameful death and be given a donkey’s burial with no mourning at his passing .

 

          Jer. 22:16 He decided the cause of the poor and needy, Then it

is well—is it not to know Me? An affirmation of Jehovah. 17 But thine eyes and thy heart are not, Except on thy dishonest gain, And on shedding of innocent blood And on oppression, and on doing of violence.18 Therefore, thus said Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah: They do not lament for him,Ah, my brother, and Ah, sister, They do not lament for him Ah, lord, and Ah, his honour.19 The burial of an ass—he is buried, Dragged and cast out thence to the gates of Jerusalem. 20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry And in Bashan give forth thy voice,And cry from Abarim, For destroyed have been all loving thee. 21 I have spoken unto thee in thine ease. Thou hast said, ‘I do not hearken,’ This is thy way from

thy youth For thou hast not hearkened to My voice.

 

 

Knowing God . The Lord compares godly Josiah to his wicked son Jehoiakim. Josiah did “what was right and just” and protected the poor. “Is that not what it means to know Me?” says the Lord. When the O.T. speaks of “knowing” God it uses yada’, which involves gaining knowledge of, developing an understanding of, and responding appropriately to, the Lord.

How does a king show that he “knows” God? Jeremiah says that it is by the way in which he administers justice, fulfilling his responsibility as God’s under shepherd.

We can never tell what goes on within another human being. But we can see what comes out of his or her life. Product is a better indicator of relationship with God than profession.While these verses give a criteria for measuring a king’s knowledge of God, Micah 6:8 provides similar criteria by which to measure ordinary people—and ourselves.

 

Summary

 

These chapters move us forward in time and relate the ministry of Jeremiah to the last few kings of Judah. First, Jeremiah relates an event that happened when the Babylonians were advancing against Jerusalem in 588 B.C. King Zedekiah sends to ask Jeremiah if there is any hope for God’s intervention . Jeremiah announces that God intends to fight for the enemy and that Judah is doomed . The prophet then urges the people to flee Jerusalem . On the same theme, Jeremiah inserts a message from an earlier time, addressed to the royal house, urging reform of the justice system and predicting judgment .

Another message on the theme of royal culpability shows how Jeremiah exhorted the kings to establish justice or expect desolation . He predicts that Shallum (Jehoahaz), taken captive to Babylon after a three-month rule, will never return . But his most scathing denunciation is reserved for Jehoiakim. That luxury-loving heretic son of godly King Josiah is destined to die a shameful death and be given a donkey’s burial with no mourning at his passing .

Exodus 13:17-15:21 Persevering Faith

Persevering Faith

Exodus 13:17-15:21 March 28 2010

In this chapter we have, The commands God gave to Israel, To sanctify all their firstborn to him. To be sure to remember their deliverance out of Egypt and, in remembrance of it, to keep the feast of unleavened bread. To transmit the knowledge of it with all possible care to their children. To set apart unto God the firstlings of their cattle and to explain that also to their children. The care God took of Israel, when he had brought them out of Egypt. Choosing their way for them. Guiding them in the way . Their care of Joseph’s bones

1. (Exodus 13:17-18) Joseph’s bones carried with the Israelites, They come to Etham.

Exod. 13:17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 13:18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.

There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan. One was only a few days’ journey; the other was much further about, through the wilderness, and that was the way in which God chose to lead his people Israel. The Egyptians were to be drowned in the Red sea; the Israelites were to be humbled and proved in the wilderness. God’s way is the right way, though it seems about. If we think he leads not his people the nearest way, yet we may be sure he leads them the best way, and so it will appear when we come to our journey’s end. The Philistines were powerful enemies; it was needful that the Israelites should be prepared for the wars of Canaan, by passing through the difficulties of the wilderness. Thus God proportions his people’s trials to their strength, 1 Corinthians 10:13. They went up in good order. They went up in five in a rank, some; in five bands, so others, which it seems rather to their faith and hope, that God would bring them to Canaan, in expectation of which they carried these bones with them while in the desert.

2. (Exodus 14: 9-14) The Israelites murmur, Moses comforts them.

Exod. 14:9 The Egyptians —all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops —pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 14:11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 14:12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 14:13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14:14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

There was no way open to Israel but upward, and thence their deliverance came. We may be in the way of duty, following God, and hastening toward heaven, yet may be troubled on every side. Some cried out unto the Lord; their fear led them to pray, and that was well. God brings us into straits, that he may bring us to our knees. Others cried out against Moses; fear set them murmuring as if God were not still able to work miracles. They quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt; and so were angry with God for the greatest kindness ever done them; thus gross are the absurdities of unbelief. Moses says, Fear ye not. It is always our duty and interest, when we cannot get out of troubles, yet to get above our fears; let them quicken our prayers and endeavours, but not silence our faith and hope. “Stand still,” think not to save yourselves either by fighting or flying; wait God’s orders, and observe them. Compose yourselves, by confidence in God, into peaceful thoughts of the great salvation God is about to work for you. If God brings his people into straits, he will find a way to bring them out.

3. (Exodus 14:15-18) God instructs Moses, The cloud between the Israelites and the Egyptians.

Exod. 14:15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 14:16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 14:17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 14:18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Moses’ silent prayers of faith prevailed more with God than Israel’s loud outcries of fear. The pillar of cloud and fire came behind them, where they needed a guard, and it was a wall between them and their enemies. The word and providence of God have a black and dark side toward sin and sinners, but a bright and pleasant side toward the people of the Lord. He, who divided between light and darkness, Genesis 1:4 , allotted darkness to the Egyptians, and light to the Israelites. Such a difference there will be between the inheritance of the saints in light, and that utter darkness which will be the portion of hypocrites for ever.

4. (Exodus 14:31) The Israelites pass through the Red sea, which drowns the Egyptians.

Exod. 14:31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

We have here the history of that work of wonder which is so often mentioned both in the Old and New Testament, the dividing of the Red Sea before the children of Israel. It was the terror of the Canaanites (Jos 2:9,10), the praise and triumph of the Israelites, Psalms 114:3 ; 106:9 ; 136:13,14. It was a type of baptism, 1 Co. 10:1, 2. Israel’s passage through it was typical of the conversion of souls (Isa. 11:15 ) and the Egyptians’ perdition in it was typical of the final ruin of all impenitent sinners, Rev. 20:14 . Here we have,

Summary:

The departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt (which was indeed the birth of the Jewish church) is made yet more memorable by further works of wonder, which were wrought immediately upon it. Witness the records of this chapter, the contents whereof, together with a key to it, we have, Heb. 11:29 . “They passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned;” and this they did by faith, which intimates that there was something typical and spiritual in it. Here is, The extreme distress and danger that Israel was in at the Red Sea. Notice was given of it to Moses before. The cause of it was Pharaoh’s violent pursuit of them. Israel was in a great consternation upon it. Moses endeavours to encourage them . The wonderful deliverance that God wrought for them out of this distress. Moses is instructed concerning it. Lines that could not be forced are set between the camp of Israel and Pharaoh’s camp . By the divine power the Red Sea is divided and is made, A lane to the Israelites, who marched safely through it But, To the Egyptians it was made, An ambush into which they were drawn And, A grave in which they were all buried. The impressions this made upon the Israelites

Mark 2:1-3:6 What Does Jesus ‘ Call Mean foe Me

   Family .jpeg                  What Does Jesus ‘ Call Mean for Me ?

Mark 2:1-3:6 Mark 2:15-28     December 13 2009

It was this man’s misery that he needed to be so carried, and shows the suffering state of human life; it was kind of those who so carried him, and teaches the compassion that should be in men, toward their fellow-creatures in distress. True faith and strong faith may work in various ways; but it shall be accepted and approved by Jesus Christ. Sin is the cause of all our pains and sicknesses. The way to remove the effect, is to take away the cause. Pardon of sin strikes at the root of all diseases. Christ proved his power to forgive sin, by showing his power to cure the man sick of the palsy. And his curing diseases was a figure of his pardoning sin, for sin is the disease of the soul; when it is pardoned, it is healed. When we see what Christ does in healing souls, we must own that we never saw the like. Most men think themselves whole; they feel no need of a physician, therefore despise or neglect Christ and his gospel. But the convinced, humbled sinner, who despairs of all help, excepting from the Saviour, will show his faith by applying to him without delay.

1.    Levi’s call, and the entertainment given to Jesus. ( Mark 2:15-17)

Mark 2:15And it came to pass, in his reclining (at meat) in his house, that many tax-gatherers and sinners were reclining (at meat) with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him. 16And the scribes and the Pharisees, having seen him eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners, said to his disciples, ‘Why—that with the tax-gatherers and sinners he doth eat and drink?’ 17And Jesus, having heard, saith to them, ‘They who are strong have no need of a physician, but they who are ill; I came not to call righteous men, but sinners to reformation.’

Matthew was not a good character, or else, being a Jew, he would never have been a publican, that is, a tax-gatherer for the Romans. However, Christ called this publican to follow him. With God, through Christ, there is mercy to pardon the greatest sins, and grace to change the greatest sinners, and make them holy. A faithful, fair-dealing publican was rare. And because the Jews had a particular hatred to an office which proved that they were subject to the Romans, they gave these tax-gatherers an ill name. But such as these our blessed Lord did not hesitate to converse with, when he appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh. And it is no new thing for that which is both well done and well designed, to be slandered, and turned to the reproach of the wisest and best of men. Christ would not withdraw, though the Pharisees were offended. If the world had been righteous, there had been no occasion for his coming, either to preach repentance, or to purchase forgiveness. We must not keep company with ungodly men out of love to their vain conversation; but we are to show love to their souls, remembering that our good Physician had the power of healing in himself, and was in no danger of taking the disease; but it is not so with us. In trying to do good to others, let us be careful we do not get harm to ourselves.

2. Why Christ’s disciples did not fast. (Mark 2:18-22)     

Marl 2:18And the disciples of John and those of the Pharisees were fasting, and they come and say to him, ‘Wherefore do the disciples of John and those of the Pharisees fast, and thy disciples do not fast?’ 19And Jesus said to them, ‘Are the sons of the bride-chamber able, while the bridegroom is with them, to fast? so long time as they have the bridegroom with them they are not able to fast; 20but days shall come when the bridegroom may be taken from them, and then they shall fast—in those days.21‘And no one a patch of undressed cloth doth sew on an old garment, and if not—the new filling it up doth take from the old and the rent doth become worse; 22and no one doth put new wine into old skins, and if not—the new wine doth burst the skins, and the wine is poured out, and the skins will be destroyed; but new wine into new skins is to be put.’

Strict professors are apt to blame all that do not fully come up to their own views. Christ did not escape slanders; we should be willing to bear them, as well as careful not to deserve them; but should attend to every part of our duty in its proper order and season.

3. He justifies his disciples for plucking corn on the Sabbath      (Mark 2:23-28) 

Mark 2:23And it came to pass—he is going along on the sabbaths through the corn-fields—and his disciples began to make a way, plucking the ears, 24and the Pharisees said to him, ‘Lo, why do they on the sabbaths that which is not lawful?’25And he said to them, ‘Did ye never read what David did, when he had need and was hungry, he and those with him? 26how he went into the house of God, (at ‘Abiathar the chief priest?’) and the loaves of the presentation did eat, which it is not lawful to eat, except to the priests, and he gave also to those who were with him?’27And he said to them, ‘The sabbath for man was made, not man for the sabbath, 28so that the son of man is lord also of the sabbath.’

The sabbath is a sacred and Divine institution; a privilege and benefit, not a task and drudgery. God never designed it to be a burden to us, therefore we must not make it so to ourselves. The sabbath was instituted for the good of mankind, as living in society, having many wants and troubles, preparing for a state of happiness or misery. Man was not made for the sabbath, as if his keeping it could be of service to God, nor was he commanded to keep it outward observances to his real hurt. Every observance respecting it, is to be interpreted by the rule of mercy.

         Summary :
In this chapter, we have, Christ’s healing a man that was sick of a palsy. His calling of Matthew from the receipt of custom, and his eating, upon that occasion, with publicans and sinners, and justifying himself in so doing. His justifying his disciples in not fasting so much as those plucking the ears of corn on the sabbath day . All which passages we had before, Matt.9 and 12.

 
       
 
 
God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver
deacon@ohaver.net
    ><((((°>

 

Psalm 112:1-10 Live Rightteously

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                                                              Live Righteously

Psalm 112 : 1-10    11/15/2009 

This psalm is composed alphabetically, as the former is, and is (like the former) entitled “Hallelujah,” though it treats of the happiness of the saints, because it redounds to the glory of God, and whatever we have the pleasure of he must have the praise of. It is a comment upon the last verse of the foregoing psalm, and fully shows how much it is our wisdom to fear God and do his commandments. We have here, The character of the righteous (Psalms 112:1). The blessedness of the righteous. There is a blessing entailed upon their posterity (Psalms 112:2). There is a blessing conferred upon themselves. (Prosperity outward and inward (Psalms 112:3). Comfort (Psalms 112: 4). Wisdom (Psalms 112: 5). Stability (Psalms 112: 6-8). Honour (Psalms 112: 6, 9). The misery of the wicked (Psalms 112: 10). So that good and evil are set before us, the blessing and the curse. In singing this psalm we must not only teach and admonish ourselves and one another to answer to the characters here given of the happy, but comfort and encourage ourselves and one another with the privileges and comforts here secured to the holy.

 

(Psalms 112: 1-5) The blessedness of the righteous.

 

Psalms 112: 1 Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments. 2 His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches will be in his house, And his righteousness endures forever. 4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5 A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.

 

 

 

       The psalmist begins with a call to us to praise God, but immediately applies himself to praise the people of God; for whatever glory is acknowledged to be on them it comes from God, and must return to him; as he is their praise, so they are his. We have reason to praise the Lord that there are a people in the world who fear him and serve him, and that they are a happy people, both which are owing entirely to the grace of God. Now here we have,

A description of those who are here pronounced blessed, and to whom these promises are made.

 

(Psalms 112:6-10)  Surely He shall not be moved

 

Psalms 112:6 Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. 7  He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is established; He will not be afraid, Until he sees his desire upon his enemies. 9 He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor. 10 The wicked will see it and be grieved; He will gnash his teeth and melt away. The desire of the wicked shall perish.

 

         It is the duty and interest of the people of God not to be afraid of evil tidings, not to be afraid of hearing bad news; and, when they do, not to be put into confusion by it and into an amazing expectation of worse and worse, but whatever happens, whatever threatens, to be able to say, with blessed Paul, None of these things move me, neither will I fear, though the earth be removed. (Ps 46:2 )

 

         Summary :

 

We have to praise the Lord that there are a people in the world, who fear him and serve him, and that they are a happy people; which is owing entirely to his grace. Their fear is not that which love casts out, but that which love brings in. It follows and flows from love. It is a fear to offend. This is both fear and trust. The heart touched by the Spirit of God, as the needle touched with the loadstone, turns direct and speedily to God, yet still with trembling, being filled with this holy fear. Blessings are laid up for the faithful and their children’s children; and true riches are bestowed on them, with as much of this world’s possessions as is profitable for them. In the darkest hours of affliction and trial, the light of hope and peace will spring up within them, and seasonable relief shall turn mourning into joy. From their Lord’s example they learn to be kind and full of compassion, as well as just in all their dealings; they use discretion, that they may be liberal in that manner which appears most likely to do good. Envy and slander may for a time hide their true characters here, but they shall be had in everlasting remembrance. They need not fear evil tidings. A good man shall have a settled spirit. And it is the endeavour of true believers to keep their minds stayed upon God, and so to keep them calm and undisturbed; and God has promised them both cause to do so, and grace to do so. Trusting in the Lord is the best and surest way of establishing the heart. The heart of man cannot fix any where with satisfaction, but in the truth of God, and there it finds firm footing. And those whose hearts are established by faith, will patiently wait till they gain their point. Compare all this with the vexation of sinners. The happiness of the saints is the envy of the wicked. The desire of the wicked shall perish; their desire was wholly to the world and the flesh, therefore when these perish, their joy is gone. But the blessings of the gospel are spiritual and eternal, and are conferred upon the members of the Christian church, through Christ their Head, who is the Pattern of all righteousness, and the Giver of all grace.

 

 

 

Psalms 51:1-19 When I Have Sinned

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        When I Have Sinned
 Psalms 51:1:19October112009
 
To the chief musician. A psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.

1. The psalmist prays for mercy, humbly confessing and lamenting his sins. (Psalms 51:1-6)

Ps. 51:1   Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2   Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3   For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4   Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5   Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6   Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
(Psalms 51:1-19) David’s humble prayer for forgiveness and cleansing. As the prayer of a contrite sinner, it represents a proper response to the Lord’s confrontation of his people in (Psalms 51:16 ;50:8-15). This psalm has many points of contact with (Psalms 25). In traditional Christian usage it is one of seven penitential psalms (Psalms 6). The psalm is constructed symmetrically: A two-verse introduction balances a two-verse conclusion, and the enclosed four stanzas in Hebrew consist of five lines, three lines, three lines and five lines respectively. The whole is framed by David’s prayer for himself (Psalms 51: 1-2) and for Zion (Psalms 51:18-19). The well-being of the king and the city stand and fall together (Psalms 28:8 ; 3:8). (Psalms 51:1-2) In mercy grant pardon (Luke 18:13). Note the piling up of synonyms: mercy, unfailing love, great compassion; blot out, wash, cleanse; transgressions, iniquity, sin (for this last triad Psalms 32:5). (Psalms 51:1) Unfailing Love. (Psalms 6:4). Blot out. (Psalms 51: 9). The image is that of a papyrus scroll (Psalms 9:5) on which God had recorded David’s deeds. The “blotting out” of sins pictures forgiveness (Jer 18:23; Isa 43:25). For the imagery of God’s keeping records of the events in his realm in the way that earthly kings do, (Psalms 56:8; 87:6; 130:3; 139:16; Ne 13:14; Da 7:10; Ex 32:32-33). (Psalms 51:7. Wash. As a filthy garment. Cleanse me. Make me clean in your sight (Lev 11:32). (Psalms 51:3-6) Confession of sin (Pr 28:13; 1John 1:9). (Psalms 51:3) Before me. On my mind.

    Against you. . . Only. David acknowledges that his sin was preeminently against God (2Sam 12:13; Gen 20:6; 39:9; Luke 15:18). He had violated specific covenant stipulations (Ex 20:13-14,17). When you speak. . . When you Judge. As the Lord did through Nathan the prophet (2Sam 12:7-12). For a NT application (Romans 3:4). He cannot plead that this sin was a rare aberration in his life; it sprang from what he is and has been (in his “inner parts,” Psalms 51:6) from birth (Psalms 58:3; Gen 8:21; John 9:34; Eph 2:3). The apparently similar statements in (Job 14:4; 15:14; 25:4-6) rise from a different motivation. The great contrast: He has acted absolutely contrary to what God desires and to what God has been teaching him “in the inmost place.” But it is just this “desire” of God and this “teaching” of God that are his hope —what he pleads for in (Psalms 51: 7,10). Truth. Moral integrity. Inner parts. (Psalms 139:13-16; Job 38:36). Wisdom. Whoever gives himself over to sin is a fool; he who has God’s law in his heart is wise (Psalms 37:30-31). Inmost place. The most secret place within.
David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. Whither should backsliding children return, but to the Lord their God, who alone can heal them? he drew up, by Divine teaching, an account of the workings of his heart toward God. Those that truly repent of their sins, will not be ashamed to own their repentance. Also, he instructs others what to do, and what to say. David had not only done much, but suffered much in the cause of God; yet he flees to God’s infinite mercy, and depends upon that alone for pardon and peace. He begs the pardon of sin. The blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, blots out the transgression, and, having reconciled us to God, reconciles us to ourselves. The believer longs to have the whole debt of his sins blotted out, and every stain cleansed; he would be thoroughly washed from all his sins; but the hypocrite always has some secret reserve, and would have some favorite lust spared. David had such a deep sense of his sin, that he was continually thinking of it, with sorrow and shame. His sin was committed against God, whose truth we deny by wilful sin; with him we deal deceitfully. And the truly penitent will ever trace back the streams of actual sin to the fountain of original depravity. He confesses his original corruption. This is that foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child, that proneness to evil, and that backwardness to good, which is the burden of the regenerate, and the ruin of the unregenerate. He is encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would graciously accept him. Thou desirest truth in the inward part; to this God looks, in a returning sinner. Where there is truth, God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavour to do their duty shall be taught their duty; but they will expect good only from Divine grace overcoming their corrupt nature.

2. He pleads for pardon, that he may promote the glory of God and the conversion of sinners. (Psalms 51:7-15)

Ps. 51:7   Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8   Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9   Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10   Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11   Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12   Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13   Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. 14   Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15   O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
 
          (Psalms 51:7-9) Renewed prayer for pardon. (Psalms 51:7) Cleanse me. Lit. “Un-sin me.” Hyssop. Used in ritual cleansing; see note on (Ex 12:22). Be clean. The Hebrew root for this phrase is the same as that for “cleanse” in (Psalms 51: 2). Whiter than snow. Like a filthy garment, he needs washing (Psalms 51: 2); but if God washes him, he will be so pure that there is no figurative word that can describe him (Isa 1:18; Da 7:9; Rev 7:14; 19:14). Let me hear joy. Let me be surrounded by joy (Psalms 32:7;35:27), or let me hear a prophetic oracle of forgiveness that will result in joy —from the assurance of sins forgiven (2Sam 12:13). Bones. (Psalms 6:2). Hide your face. From what is “always before me” (Psalms 51: 3). Blot out. (Psalms 51:1). (Psalms 51:10-12) Prayer for purity —for a pure heart, a steadfast spirit of faithfulness and a willing spirit of service. These can be his only if God does not reject him and take his Holy Spirit from him. If granted, the joy of God’s salvation will return to gladden his troubled soul. (Psalms 51:10) Create. As something new, which cannot emerge from what now is (Psalms 51: 5), and which only God can fashion (Gen 1:1; Isa 65:17; Jer 31:22). Heart. (Psalms 4:7. The two requests are essentially one (Psalms 139:7; Eze 39:29). David’s prayer recalls the rejection of Saul (1Sam 16:1,14; 2Sam 7:15) and pleads for God not to take away his Spirit, by which he had equipped and qualified him for his royal office (1Sam 16:13; 2Sam 23:1-2). Holy Spirit. The phrase is found elsewhere in the OT only in (Isa 63:10-11). By his Spirit, God effected his purposes in creation (Psalms  104:30; Gen 1:2; Job 33:4) and redemption (Isa 32:15; 44:3; 63:11,14; Hag 2:5), equipped his servants for their appointed tasks (Ex 31:3; Num 11:29; Jdg 3:10; 1Sam 10:6; 16:13; Isa 11:2; 42:1), inspired his prophets ( Num 24:2-3; 2Sam 23:2; Ne 9:30; Isa 59:21; 61:1; Eze 11:5; Mic 3:8; Zec 7:12) and directed their ministries (1Kings 18:12; 2Kings 2:16; Isa 48:16; Eze 2:2; 3:14). And it is by his Spirit that God gives his people a “new heart and. . . a new spirit” to live by his will (Eze 36:26-27; Jer 24:7; 32:39; Eze 11:19; 18:31). (Psalms 51:13-17) The vow to praise (Psalms 7:17). (Psalms 51:13) His praise for God’s forgiveness and purification will be accompanied by instruction for sinners (Psalms 51:34 ; 32:8-10). Your ways. (Psalms 25:4 ). If God will only forgive, praise will follow. Righteousness. (Psalms 4:1). Open my lips. By granting the forgiveness and cleansing I seek.
 
         Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Hebrews 12:24 . If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Hebrews 10:2 . He asks not to be comforted, till he is first cleansed; if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith, Let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun. And the believer desires renewal to holiness as much as the joy of salvation. David now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it; but he sees it is not in his own power to amend it, and therefore begs God would create in him a clean heart. When the sinner feels this change is necessary, and reads the promise of God to that purpose, he begins to ask it. He knew he had by his sin grieved the Holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw. This he dreads more than anything. He prays that Divine comforts may be restored to him. When we give ourselves cause to doubt our interest in salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? This had made him weak; he prays, I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, therefore uphold me with thy Spirit. Thy Spirit is a free Spirit, a free Agent himself, working freely. And the more cheerful we are in our duty, the more constant we shall be to it. What is this but the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, which is contrasted with the yoke of bondage? Galatians 5:1 . It is the Spirit of adoption spoken to the heart. Those to whom God is the God of salvation, he will deliver from guilt; for the salvation he is the God of, is salvation from sin. We may therefore plead with him, Lord, thou art the God of my salvation, therefore deliver me from the dominion of sin. And when the lips are opened, what should they speak but the praises of God for his forgiving mercy?
3. God is pleased with a contrite heart, A prayer for the prosperity of Zion. (Pslams 51:16-19)

Ps. 51:16   You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17   The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18   In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19   Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Broken Spirit; A broken and contrite heart. What pleases God more than sacrifices is a humble heart that looks to him when troubles crush and penitently pleads for mercy when sin has been committed (Psalms 50:7-15 ; 34:17-18). (Psalms 51:18-19) Prayer for Zion (Psalms 3:8). Righteous sacrifices. Such as are pleasing to God; here, sacrifices accompanied by praise for God’s mercies (Psalms 50:14-15).

Those who are thoroughly convinced of their misery and danger by sin, would spare no cost to obtain the remission of it. But as they cannot make satisfaction for sin, so God cannot take any satisfaction in them, otherwise than as expressing love and duty to him. The good work wrought in every true penitent, is a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, and sorrow for sin. It is a heart that is tender, and pliable to God’s word. Oh that there were such a heart in every one of us! God is graciously pleased to accept this; it is instead of all burnt-offering and sacrifice. The broken heart is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ; there is no true repentance without faith in him. Men despise that which is broken, but God will not. He will not overlook it, he will not refuse or reject it; though it makes God no satisfaction for the wrong done to him by sin. Those who have been in spiritual troubles, know how to pity and pray for others afflicted in like manner. David was afraid lest his sin should bring judgements upon the city and kingdom. No personal fears or troubles of conscience can make the soul, which has received grace, careless about the interests of the church of God. And let this be the continued joy of all the redeemed, that they have redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace.

          Summary :
Though David penned this psalm upon a very particular occasion, yet, it is of as general use as any of David’s psalms; it is the most eminent of the penitential psalms, and most expressive of the cares and desires of a repenting sinner. It is a pity indeed that in our devout addresses to God we should have any thing else to do than to praise God, for that is the work of heaven; but we make other work for ourselves by our own sins and follies: we must come to the throne of grace in the posture of penitents, to confess our sins and sue for the grace of God; and, if therein we would take with us words, we can nowhere find any more apposite than in this psalm, which is the record of David’s repentance for his sin in the matter of Uriah, which was the greatest blemish upon his character: all the rest of his faults were nothing to this; it is said of him (1Kings. 15:5), That "he turned not aside from the commandment of the Lord all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” In this psalm, He confesses his sin , He prays earnestly for the pardon of his sin. For peace of conscience . For grace to go and sin no more . For liberty of access to God . He promises to do what he could for the good of the souls of others and for the glory of God And, lastly, concludes with a prayer for Zion and Jerusalem Those whose consciences charge them with any gross sin should, with a believing regard to Jesus Christ, the Mediator, again and again pray over this psalm; nay, though we have not been guilty of adultery and murder, or any the like enormous crime, yet in singing it, and praying over it, we may very sensibly apply it all to ourselves, which if we do with suitable affections we shall, through Christ, find mercy to pardon and grace for seasonable help.

God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver
deacon@ohaver.net
    ><((((°>
 

Psalms 105:1-106:48 God Is Faithful

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                                  God is Faithful

                  Psalms  105:1-106:48                 September 20 2009 

Let us remember the Redeemer’s marvellous works, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. Though true Christians are few number, strangers and pilgrims upon earth, yet a far better inheritance than Canaan is made sure to them by the covenant of God; and if we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, none can do us any harm. Afflictions are among our mercies. They prove our faith and love, they humble our pride, they wean us from the world, and quicken our prayers. Bread is the staff which supports life; when that staff is broken, the body fails and sinks to the earth. The word of God is the staff of spiritual life, the food and support of the soul: the sorest judgment is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Such a famine was sore in all lands when Christ appeared in the flesh; whose coming, and the blessed effect of it, are shadowed forth in the history of Joseph. At the appointed time Christ was exalted as Mediator; all the treasures of grace and salvation are at his disposal, perishing sinners come to him, and are relieved by him.

         1. The Remembers His Covenant (Psalms 105:7-11)

Ps. 105:7   He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. 8   He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, 9   the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. 10   He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 11   “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”

     The Lord remembers his covenant with Abraham (Psalms 105 42-45). Covenant. The promissory covenant of (Gen 15:9-21). This verse and (Psalms 105:9) may be echoed in (Luke 1:72-73). Thousand Generations. (Ex 20:6; Dt 7:9; 1Ch 16:15). As a decree. As a fixed policy governing his future actions (Psalms 105: 45). God’s covenant with the patriarchs (Psalms 105:8-11)

    We are here taught, in praising God, to look a great way back, and to give him the glory of what he did for his church in former ages, especially when it was in the founding and forming, which those in its latter ages enjoy the benefit of and therefore should give thanks for. Doubtless we may fetch as proper matter for praise from the histories of the gospels, and the acts of the apostles, which relate the birth of the Christian church, as the psalmist here does from the histories of Genesis and Exodus, which relate the birth of the Jewish church; and our histories greatly outshine theirs. Two things are here made the subject of praise:-) 

God’s promise to the patriarchs, that great promise that he would give to their seed the land of Canaan for an inheritance, which was a type of the promise of eternal life made in Christ to all believers. In all the marvellous works which God did for Israel he remembered his covenant (Psalms105:8) and he will remember it for ever; it is the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. See here the power of the promise; it is the word which he commanded and which will take effect. See the perpetuity of the promise; it is commanded to a thousand generations, and the entail of it shall not be cut off. In the parallel place it is expressed as our duty (1Chr. 16:15), Be you mindful always of his covenant. God will not forget it and therefore we must not. The promise is here called a covenant, because there was something required on man’s part as the condition of the promise. Observe,

The persons with whom this covenant was made-with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, grandfather, father, and son, all eminent believers, Heb. 11:8, 9.

2. God’s afflicted people here own themselves guilty before God

(Psalms 106:6,7)

Ps. 106:6   We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. 7   When our fathers were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.

          (Psalms 106:6-43) Israel’s history of rebellion. A general confession of sin introducing the recital. WE. The author identifies himself with Israel in her rebellion even as he prays for inclusion in God’s mercies toward his people (Ezr 9:6-7). (Psalms 106:7,22) Miracles. For example, the plagues against Egypt (Psalms 9:1, “wonders”).

Here begins a penitential confession of sin, which was in a special manner seasonable now that the church was in distress; for thus we must justify God in all that he brings upon us, acknowledging that therefore he has done right, because we have done wickedly; and the remembrance of former sins, notwithstanding which God did not cast off his people, is an encouragement to us to hope that, though we are justly corrected for our sins, yet we shall not be utterly abandoned.

         3. Worshipping The Golden Calf (106:19-23)

Ps. 106:19   At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. 20   They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass.  21   They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, Horeb. ( Ex 3:1). GLORY. Glorious One (1Sam 15:29; Jer 2:11). Land of Ham. (Psalms 78:51.

         Those that will not wait for God’s counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts’ lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord’s mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.

         4. God’s Stern Measures Against His Rebellious People (Psalms 106:40-45)

Ps. 106:40   Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. 41   He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. 42   Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. 43   Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. 44   But he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; 45   for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.

(Pslams106:40-43) God’s stern measures against his rebellious people —a general description applicable from the days of the judges to the Babylonian exile and focusing particularly on God’s most severe form of covenant sanctions (Lev 26:25-26,33,38-39; Dt 28:25,36-37,48-57,64-68). (Psalms106:40) Angry. (Psalms 2:5). Abhorred. (Psalms 5:6).  (Psalms 106:44-46) God’s gracious remembering of his covenant —a general description applicable from the days of the judges to the Babylonian exile. (Psalms 106:44) Heard their cry. (Ex 2:23; 3:7-9; Nu 20:16; Jdg 3:9,15; 4:3; 6:6-7; 10:10; 1Sa 9:16; 2Ch 20:6-12; Ne 9:27-28). Remembered His Covenant. (Psalms 105:8,42; Ex 2:24; Lev 26:42,45). LOVE. (Psalms 6:4).  

The conduct of the Israelites in Canaan, and God’s dealings with them, show that the way of sin is down-hill; omissions make way for commissions: when they neglected to destroy the heathen, they learned their works. One sin led to many more, and brought the judgments of God on them. Their sin was, in part, their own punishment. Sinners often see themselves ruined by those who led them into evil. Satan, who is a tempter, will be a tormentor. At length, God showed pity to his people for his covenant’s sake. The unchangeableness of God’s merciful nature and love to his people, makes him change the course of justice into mercy; and no other change is meant by God’s repentance. Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God’s people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen. 

Summary : 

None of our sins or sufferings should prevent our ascribing glory and praise to the Lord. The more unworthy we are, the more is his kindness to be admired. And those who depend on the Redeemer’s righteousness will endeavour to copy his example, and by word and deed to show forth his praise. God’s people have reason to be cheerful people; and need not envy the children of men their pleasure or pride.

James 5:1-20 How To Live Confiderence

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HOW TO LIVE WITH CONFIDERENCE

James 5:1-20 August 30 2009

            In this chapter the apostle denounces the judgments of God upon those rich men who oppress the poor, showing them how great their sin and folly are in the sight of God, and how grievous the punishments would be which should fall upon themselves (James 5:1-6). Hereupon, all the faithful are exhorted to patience under their trials and sufferings (James 5:7-11). The sin of swearing is cautioned against (James 5:12).  We are directed how to act, both under affliction and in prosperity (James 5:13). Prayer for the sick, and anointing with oil, are prescribed (James 5:14,15). Christians are directed to acknowledge their faults one to another, and to pray one for another, and the efficacy of prayer is proved (James 5:16-18). And, lastly, it is recommended to us to do what we can for bringing back those that stray from the ways of truth.

            1. The apostle is here addressing first sinners and then saints. (James 5:1-6)

James 5:1   Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 5:2   Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 5:3   Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 5:4   Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.  5:5   You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.  5:6   You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

           Rich . These (James 2:2,6) are not Christians, for James warns them to repent and weep because of the coming misery. (James 5:1-6) are similar to OT declarations of judgment against pagan nations, interspersed in books otherwise addressed to God’s people (Isa 13-23; Jer 46-51; Eze 25-32; Am 1:3-2:16; Zep 2:4-15). Clothes . One of the main forms of wealth in the ancient world (Acts 20:33). Corrosion. The result of hoarding. It will both testify against and judge the selfish rich. Last days . (Acts 2:17; 1Tim 4:1; 2Ti 3:1; Heb 1:2; 1John 2:18). The Lord Almighty. See comments on “the LORD of hosts” in the Preface to the NIV; ( Gen 17:1; 1Sam 1:3).  Luxury and self- indulgence . (Luke 16:19-31). The day of slaughter . The day of judgment. The wicked rich are like cattle that continue to fatten themselves on the very day they are to be slaughtered, totally unaware of coming destruction.

             God foretels the judgments of God that should come upon them, (James 5:1-3). they should have miseries come upon them, and such dreadful miseries that the very apprehension of them was enough to make them weep and howl-misery that should arise from the very things in which they placed their happiness, and misery that should be completed by these things witnessing against them at the last, to their utter destruction; and they are now called to reason upon and thoroughly to weigh the matter, and to think how they will stand before God in judgment: Go to now, you rich men.

2. Hereupon ,all the faithful are exhorted to patience under their trials and suffering            (James 5:7-11)

James 5:7   Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 5:8   You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 5:9   Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 5:10   Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 5:11   As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

            Then . Refers back to (James 5:1-6). Since the believers are suffering at the hands of the wicked rich, they are to look forward patiently to the Lord’s return. AUTUMN AND SPRING RAINS. In Israel the autumn rain comes in October and November soon after the grain is sown, and the spring rain comes in March and April just prior to harvest (Dt 11:14; Jer 5:24; Hos 6:3; Joel 2:24). Don’t grumble . James calls for patience toward believers as well as unbelievers (James 5:7-8). The judge is standing at the door ! A reference to Christ’s second coming (James 5:7-8) and the judgment associated with it. The NT insistence on imminence (in Romans 13:12; Heb 10:25; 1Peter 4:7; Rev 22:20) arises from the teaching that the “last days” began with the incarnation. We have been living in the “last days” (James 5:3) ever since ( Heb 1:1). The next great event in redemptive history is Christ’s second coming. The NT does not say when it will take place, but its certainty is never questioned and believers are consistently admonished to watch for it. It was in this light that James expected the imminent return of Christ. Job’s perseverance . Not “patience.” Job was not patient (Job 3; 12:1-3; 16:1-3; 21:4), but he persevered (Job 1:20-22; 2:9-10; 13:15). This is the only place in the NT where Job is mentioned, though (Job 5:13 is quoted in 1Co 3:19)

            "Be patient-bear your afflictions without murmuring, your injuries without revenge; and, though God should not in any signal manner appear for you immediately, wait for him. The vision is for an appointed time; at the end it will speak, and will not lie; therefore wait for it. It is but a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Let your patience be lengthened out to long suffering;” so the word here used, makrothymeµsate, signifies. When we have done our work, we have need of patience to stay for our reward. This Christian patience is not a mere yielding to necessity, as the moral patience taught by some philosophers was, but it is a humble acquiescence in the wisdom and will of God, with an eye to a future glorious recompense: Be patient to the coming of the Lord. And because this is a lesson Christians must learn, though ever so hard or difficult to the, it is repeated in (James 5:8), Be you also patient.

            3. The sin of swearing is cautioned against (James 5:12)

James 5:12   Above all, my brothers, do not swear —not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

            Do not swear. James’s words are very close to Christ’s (Matt 5:33-37). James is not condemning the taking of solemn oaths, such as God’s before Abraham (Heb 6:13) or Jesus’ before Caiaphas (Matt 26:63-64) or Paul’s (Romans 1:9; 9:1) or a man’s before the Lord (Ex 22:11). Rather, he is condemning the flippant use of God’s name or a sacred object to guarantee the truth of what is spoken.

            This epistle now drawing to a close, the penman goes off very quickly from one thing to another: hence it is that matters so very different are insisted on in these few verses.

            4. We are directed how to act, both under affliction and in prosperity (James 5:13 

James 5:13   Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

            As Christians we are taught to suit ourselves to the dispensations of Providence (James 5:13): Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Our condition in this world is various; and our wisdom is to submit to its being so, and to behave as becomes us both in prosperity and under affliction. Sometimes we are in sadness, sometimes in mirth; God has set these one over against the other that we may the better observe the several duties he enjoins, and that the impressions made on our passions and affections may be rendered serviceable to our devotions. Afflictions should put us upon prayer, and prosperity should make us abound in praise. Not that prayer is to be confined to a time of trouble, nor singing to a time of mirth; but these several duties may be performed with special advantage, and to the happiest purposes, at such seasons.

            5. Prayer for the sick, and anointing with oil , are prescribed (James 5:14,15) 

James 5:14   Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 5:15   And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

            Elders . ( 1Tim 3:1; 5:17). Church .( Matt 16:18). oil. One of the best-known ancient medicines (referred to by Philo, Pliny and the physician Galen; ( Isa 1:6; Luke 10:34). Some believe that James may be using the term medicinally in this passage. Others, however, regard its use here as an aid to faith, an outward sign of the healing to be brought about by God in response to “prayer offered in faith” (James 5:15; Mark 6:13).

            We have particular directions given as to sick persons, and healing pardoning mercy promised upon the observance of those directions. If any be sick, they are required,

                        To send for the elders, presbyterous teµs ekkleµsias-the presbyters, pastors or ministers of the church, (James 5:14,15. It lies upon sick people as a duty to send for ministers, and to desire their assistance and their prayers.

            It is the duty of ministers to pray over the sick, when thus desired and called for. Let them pray over him; let their prayers be suited to his case, and their intercessions be as becomes those who are affected wit his calamities.

             Prayer over the sick must proceed from, and be accompanied with, a lively faith. There must be faith both in the person praying and in the person prayed for. In a time of sickness, it is not the cold and formal prayer that is effectual, but the prayer of faith.

            6. Christians are directed to acknowledge their faults one to another ,(James 5:16,17)

James 5:16   Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 5:17   Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 5:18   Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

ELIJAH. . . PRAYED. That Elijah prayed may be assumed from (1Kings 17:1; 18:41-46). The three and a half years ( Luke 4:25) are probably a round number (half of seven), based on (1Kings 18:1 ; Rev 11:1-6).

            The great advantage and efficacy of prayer are declared and proved: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, whether he pray for himself or for others: witness the example of Elias, (James 5:17,18). He who prays must be a righteous man; not righteous in an absolute sense (for this Elias was not, who is here made a pattern to us), but righteous in a gospel sense; not loving nor approving of any iniquity. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer, (Psalms. 66:18. Further, the prayer itself must be a fervent, in-wrought, well-wrought prayer. It must be a pouring out of the heart to God; and it must proceed from a faith unfeigned. Such prayer avails much. It is of great advantage to ourselves, it may be very beneficial to our friends, and we are assured of its being acceptable to God. It is good having those for friends whose prayers are available in the sight of God. The power of prayer is here proved from the success of Elijah. This may be encouraging to us even in common cases, if we consider that Elijah was a man of like passions with us. He was a zealous good man and a very great man, but he had his infirmities, and was subject to disorder in his passions as well as others. In prayer we must not look to the merit of man, but to the grace of God. Only in this we should copy after Elijah, that he prayed earnestly, or, as it is in the original, in prayer he prayed. It is not enough to say a prayer, but we must pray in prayer. Our thoughts must be fixed, our desires firm and ardent, and our graces in exercise; and, when we thus pray in prayer, we shall speed in prayer. Elijah prayed that it might not rain; and God heard him in his pleading against an idolatrous persecuting country, so that it rained not on the earth for the space of three years and six months. Again he prayed, and the heaven gave rain, etc. Thus you see prayer is the key which opens and shuts heaven. To this there is an allusion, Rev. 11:6, where the two witnesses are said to have power to shut heaven, that it rain not. This instance of the extraordinary efficacy of prayer is recorded for encouragement even to ordinary Christians to be instant and earnest in prayer. God never says to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek my face in vain. If Elijah by prayer could do such great and wonderful things, surely the prayers of no righteous man shall return void. Where there may not be so much of a miracle in God’s answering our prayers, yet there may be as much of grace.     

7.  This epistle concludes with an exhortation to do all we can in our places to promote the conversion and salvation of others, (James 5:19,20)

James 5:19   My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 5:20   remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

            Wander from the truth . The wanderer is either a professing Christian, whose faith is not genuine ( Heb 6:4-8; 2Peter 2:20-21), or a sinning Christian, who needs to be restored. For the former, the death spoken of in (James 5:20) is the “second death” (Rev 21:8); for the latter, it is physical death (1Co 11:30; 1John 5:16). Cover over a Multitude of sins . The sins of the wanderer will be forgiven by God.

            This epistle concludes with an exhortation to do all we can in our places to promote the conversion and salvation of others, (James19,20). Some interpret these verses as an apology which the apostle is making for himself that he should so plainly and sharply reprove the Jewish Christians for their many faults and errors. And certainly James gives a very good reason why he was so much concerned to reclaim them from their errors, because in thus doing he should save souls, and hide a multitude of sins. But we are not to restrain this place to the apostle’s converting such as erred from the truth; no, nor to other ministerial endeavours of the like nature, since it is said, "If any err, and one convert him, let him be who he will that does so good an office for another, he is therein an instrument of saving a soul from death.” Those whom the apostle here calls brethren, he yet supposes liable to err. It is no mark of a wise or a holy man to boast of his being free from error, or to refuse to acknowledge when he is in an error. But if any do err, be they ever so great, you must not be afraid to show them their error; and, be they ever so weak and little, you must not disdain to make them wiser and better. If they err from the truth, that is, from the gospel (the great rule and standard of truth), whether it be in opinion or practice, you must endeavour to bring them again to the rule. Errors in judgment and in life generally go together.

            Those that turn many to righteousness, and those who help to do so, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever                         Summary:

                         Let us consider the address to sinners; and here we find James seconding what his great Master had said: Woe unto you that are rich; for you have received your consolation, (Luke. 6:24). The rich people to whom this word of warning was sent were not such as professed the Christian religion, but the worldly and unbelieving Jews, such as are here said to condemn and kill the just, which the Christians had no power to do; and though this epistle was written for the sake of the faithful, and was sent principally to them, yet, by an apostrophe, the infidel Jews may be well supposed here spoken to. They would not hear the word, and therefore it is written, that they might read it. It is observable, in the very first inscription of this epistle, that it is not directed, as Paul’s epistles were, to the brethren in Christ, but, in general, to the twelve tribes; and the salutation is not, grace and peace from Christ, but, in general, greeting, (James1:1). The poor among the Jews received the gospel, and many of them believed; but the generality of the rich rejected Christianity, and were hardened in their unbelief, and hated and persecuted those who believed on Christ. To these oppressing, unbelieving, persecuting, rich people, the apostle addresses himself in the first six verses.

 

 

 

 

James 2:14-26 Show Me Your Faith

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           SHOW ME YOUR FAITH
        James 2:14-26            August 9 2009

    James directs Christians to govern and conduct themselves more especially by the law of Christ. So speak and so do as those that shall be judged by the law of liberty, v. 12. This will teach us, not only to be just and impartial, but very compassionate and merciful to the poor; and it will set us perfectly free from all sordid and undue regards to the rich. Observe here,
     It concerns us therefore so to speak and act now as become those who must shortly be judged by this law of liberty; that is, that we come up to gospel terms, that we make conscience of gospel duties, that we be of a gospel temper, and that our conversation be a gospel conversation, because by this rule we must be judged. The consideration of our being judged by the gospel should engage us more especially to be merciful in our regards to the poor (v. 13): For he shall have judgment without mercy that hath shown no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. Take notice here,

    1.The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of Faith.( James 2:14-19)

James 2:14   What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 2:15   Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 2:16   If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 2:17   In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 2:18   But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 2:19   You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.

    In (James 2:14-20,24,26) “faith” is not used in the sense of genuine, saving faith. Rather, it is demonic (James 2:19), useless (James 2:20) and dead (James 2: 26). It is a mere intellectual acceptance of certain truths without trust in Christ as Savior. James is also not saying that a person is saved by works and not by genuine faith. Rather, he is saying, to use Martin Luther’s words, that a man is justified (declared righteous before God) by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Genuine faith will produce good deeds, but only faith in Christ saves. (For more information on justification  Romans 3:24.)
(James 2:15-16) This illustration of false faith is parallel to the illustration of false love found in (1John 3:17). The latter passage calls for love in action; this one calls for faith in action. You have faith ; I have dees. The false claim is that there are “faith” Christians and “deeds” Christians, i.e., that faith and deeds can exist independently of each other. Show me faith without deeds . Irony; James denies the possibility of this. There is one God . A declaration of monotheism that reflects the well-known Jewish creed called in Hebrew the SHEMA, “Hear” (Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29).

2.Which other wise  will be of no more advantage than the Faith of devils . (James               2:20-26)

James 2:20   You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? 2:21   Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 2:22   You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 2:23   And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 2:24   You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 2:25   In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 2:26   As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    Apart from its context, this verse might seem to contradict the Biblical teaching that people are saved by faith and not by good deeds (Romans 3:28; Gal 2:15-16). But James means only that righteous action is evidence of genuine faith —not that it saves, for the verse (Gen 15:6) that he cites (James 2:23) to substantiate his point says, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it [faith, not works] to him as righteousness.” Furthermore, Abraham’s act of faith recorded in (Gen 15:6) occurred before he offered up Isaac, which was only a proof of the genuineness of his faith. As Paul wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal 5:6). Faith that saves produces deeds. God’s friend . This designation ( 2 Ch 20:7) further describes Abraham’s relationship to God as one of complete acceptance. Not by faith alone . Not by an intellectual assent to certain truths (James 2:14-26).  Rahab the prostitute . James does not approve Rahab’s occupation. He merely commends her for her faith ( Heb 11:31), which she demonstrated by helping the spies (Jos 2).

        Summary:

        And now, upon the whole matter, the apostle draws this conclusion, As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, v. 26. These words are read differently; some reading them, As the body without the breath is dead, so is faith without works: and then they show that works are the companions of faith, as breathing is of life. Others read them, As the body without the soul is dead, so faith without works is dead also: and then they show that as the body has no action, nor beauty, but becomes a loathsome carcass, when the soul is gone, so a bare profession without works is useless, yea, loathsome and offensive. Let us then take head of running into extremes in this case. For,
    The best works, without faith, are dead; they want their root and principle. It is by faith that any thing we do is really good, as done with an eye to God, in obedience to him, and so as to aim principally at his acceptance.
    The most plausible profession of faith, without works, is dead: as the root is dead when it produces nothing green, nothing of fruit. Faith is the root, good works are the fruits, and we must see to it that we have both. We must not think that either, without the other, will justify and save us. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it.

 

James 2:1-13 Lets Be Fair About It

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                LET’S BE FAIR ABOUT IT
        James 2:1-13        August 2 2009

    In this chapter the apostle condemns a sinful regarding of the rich, and despising the poor, which he imputes to partiality and injustice, and shows it to be an acting contrary to God, who has chosen the poor, and whose interest is often persecuted, and his name blasphemed, by the rich (v. 1-7). He shows that the whole law is to be fulfilled, and that mercy should be followed, as well as justice (v. 8-13). He exposes the error and folly of those who boast of faith without works, telling us that this is but a dead faith, and such a faith as devils have, not the faith of Abraham, or of Rahab (v. 11-26).

    1. CONDEMNS A SINFUL REGARDING OF THE RICH, AND DESPISING THE POOR, IMPUTED TO PARTIALITY AND INJUSTICE, AND TO BE AN ACTING CONTRARY TO GOD (2:1-7)

James 2:1   My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2:2   Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  2:3   If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 2:4   have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 2:5   Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?  2:6   But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?  2:7   Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

James 2:1   AS BELIEVERS. . . DON’T SHOW FAVORITISM. God does not show favoritism —nor should believers.
James 2:2   MEETING. The Greek for this term is the origin of the English word “synagogue.”
James 2:5   (2:5-13) James gives three arguments against showing favoritism to the rich: 1. The rich persecute the poor —the believers (vv. 5-7). 2. Favoritism violates the royal law of love and thus is sin (vv. 8-11). 3. Favoritism will be judged (vv. 12-13). (2:5) HAS NOT GOD CHOSEN THOSE WHO ARE POOR. . . ? See Lk 6:20; 1Co 1:26-31. THE KINGDOM. The kingdom that is entered by the new birth (Jn 3:3,5) and that will be consummated in the future (Mt 25:34,46).

    The apostle is here reproving a very corrupt practice. He shows how much mischief there is in the sin of prosoµpoleµpsia-respect of persons, which seemed to be a very growing evil in the churches of Christ even in those early ages, and which, in these after-times, has sadly corrupted and divided Christian nations and societies. Here we have,
     Christ’s being the Lord of glory should teach us not to respect Christians for any thing so much as their relation and conformity to Christ. You who profess to believe the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the poorest Christian shall partake of equally with the rich, and to which all worldly glory is but vanity, you should not make men’s outward and worldly advantages the measure of your respect. In professing the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should not show respect to men, so as to cloud or lessen the glory of our glorious Lord: how ever any may think of it, this is certainly a very heinous sin.

    2. HE SHOWS THAT THE WHOLE LAW IS TO BE FULFILLED, AND THAT MERCY SHOULD BE FOLLOWED, AS WELL AS JUSTICE (V. (2:8-13)

James 2:8   If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 2:9   But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 2:10   For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 2:11   For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 2:12   Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 2:13   because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

James 2:8   ROYAL LAW. The law of love (Lev 19:18) is called “royal” because it is the supreme law that is the source of all other laws governing human relationships. It is the summation of all such laws (Mt 22:36-40; Ro 13:8-10).
James 2:10   GUILTY OF BREAKING ALL. The law is the expression of the character and will of God; therefore to violate one part of the law is to violate God’s will and thus his whole law (cf. Mt 5:18-19; 23:23).
James 2:12   JUDGED. This judgment is not for determining eternal destiny, for James is speaking to believers (v. 1), whose destiny is already determined (Jn 5:24). Rather, it is for giving rewards to believers (1Co 3:12-15; 2Co 5:10; Rev 22:12).
James 2:13   MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT! If man is merciful, God will be merciful on the Day of Judgment (see Pr 21:13; Mt 5:7; 6:14-15; 18:21-35).

    The apostle, having condemned the sin of those who had an undue respect of persons, and having urged what was sufficient to convict them of the greatness of this evil, now proceeds to show how the matter may be mended; it is the work of a gospel ministry, not only to reprove and warn, but to teach and direct. Col. 1:28, Warning every man, and teaching every man. And here,
    We have the law that is to guide us in all our regards to men set down in general. If you fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, you do well, v. 8. Lest any should think James had been pleading for the poor so as to throw contempt on the rich, he now lets them know that he did not design to encourage improper conduct towards any; they must not hate nor be rude to the rich, any more than despise the poor; but as the scripture teaches us to love all our neighbours, be they rich or poor, as ourselves, so, in our having a steady regard to this rule, we shall do well. Observe hence,

        Summary:

         With reference to the case James has been upon: Do you plead for your respect to the rich, because you are to love your neighbour as yourselves? Why then show also an equitable and due regard to the poor, because you are to love your neighbour as yourself: or else your offending in one point will spoil your pretence of observing that law at all. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, if he offend in one point, wilfully, avowedly, and with continuance, and so as to think he shall be excused in some matters because of his obedience in others, he is guilty of all; that is, he incurs the same penalty, and is liable to the same punishment, by the sentence of the law, as if he had broken it in other points as well as that he stands chargeable with. Not that all sins are equal, but that all carry the same contempt of the authority of the Lawgiver, and so bind over to such punishment as is threatened on the breach of that law. This shows us what a vanity it is to think that our good deeds will atone for our bad deeds, and plainly puts us upon looking for some other atonement.

 

James 1:19-21 How Genuine Are You

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              HOW GENUINE ARE YOU ?
            James 1:19-27         July 26 2009

1. Receiving The Word Of God with Meekness .
( James 1:19-21)

James 1:19   My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 1:20   for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 1:21   Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

     Everyone should be . . . slow to speak (James 1:26) The Word Of God.

    Instead of blaming God under our trials, let us open our ears and hearts to learn what he teaches by them. And if men would govern their tongues, they must govern their passions. The worst thing we can bring to any dispute, is anger. Here is an exhortation to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment, all sinful practices. This must reach to sins of thought and affection, as well as of speech and practice; to every thing corrupt and sinful. We must yield ourselves to the word of God, with humble and teachable minds. Being willing to hear of our faults, taking it not only patiently, but thankfully. It is the design of the word of God to make us wise to salvation; and those who propose any mean or low ends in attending upon it, dishonour the gospel, and disappoint their own souls.

    2. Living According To The Word , There to . (James 1:22-25)

James 1:22   Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 1:23   Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror1:24   and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 1:25   But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it —he will be blessed in what he does.

    Perfect Law. The moral and ethical teaching of Christianity, which is based on the OT moral law, as embodied in the Ten Commandments (Psalms 19:7), but brought to completion (perfection) by Jesus Christ. Freedom . In contrast to the sinner, who is a slave to sin (John 8:34), obeying the moral law gives the Christian the joyous freedom to be what he was created for (James 2:12).

    If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ’s blood is the laver the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God’s word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer’s soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.

3. The difference between vain pretences and real religion. (James 1:26,27)

James 1:26   If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 1:27   Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Religious . Refers to the outward acts of religion: giving to the needy, fasting and public acts of praying and worshiping. ( Jer 22:16). World . Not the world of nature but the world of people in their rebellion against and alienation from God (1John 2:15).

When men take more pains to seem religious than really to be so, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridling the tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or to lessen their wisdom and piety, are signs of a vain religion. The man who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble, gracious heart. False religious may be known by their impurity and uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God. An unspotted life must go with unfeigned love and charity. Our true religion is equal to the measure in which these things have place in our hearts and conduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in Christ Jesus, but faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart, subdues carnal lusts, and obeys God’s commands.

        Summary:

        An unspotted life must accompany an unfeigned love and charity: To keep himself unspotted from the world. The world is apt to spot and blemish the soul, and it is hard to live in it, and have to do with it, and not be defiled; but this must be our constant endeavour. Herein consists pure and undefiled religion. The very things of the world too much taint our spirits, if we are much conversant with them; but the sins and lusts of the world deface and defile them very woefully indeed. John comprises all that is in the world, which we are not to love, under three heads: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; and to keep ourselves unspotted from all these is to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. May God by his grace keep both our hearts and lives clean from the love of the world, and from the temptations of wicked worldly men.