Habakkuk:A Message of Faith

Habakkuk: A Message of Faith                  

Habakkuk 1:1-3,5-6,13;2:1,4-6;3: 2,17-19            January 13 2013

Habakkuk

    The subject of this prophecy is the destruction of Judea and Jerusalem for the sins of the people, and the consolation of the faithful under national calamities.

    1.The wickedness of the land. The fearful vengeance to be executed. (Habakkuk 1:1-3,13;Habakkuk 2:1)

Habakkuk 1:1 The  burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. 2 O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. 3 Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises.13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he?

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand my watch. And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected. The Heb. concept of “listen” means more than simply hear. There “to listen” implies “to respond.” Habakkuk knows that God hears his complaint. What he cannot understand is why God does not act in response to his plea.

        In this case God explains to the prophet—for our instruction. You and I typically will not know just why when there seems to be no answer to our prayers. But we can be sure that God does hear and has reasons for any apparent delay.When these terms are used in the O.T. without reference to some specific foreign enemy, they typically characterize conditions among God’s people. Despite Josiah’s religious reforms, there had been no moral and social transformation. Habakkuk has been driven to a conclusion that we should remember: Conversion with transformation is imitation.Habakkuk determines to wait until God answers his second complaint . And answer God does!

     2. Habakkuk must wait in faith.(Habakkuk:1:5-6;2:4-6)

Habakkuk 1: 5 “Look among the nations and watch— Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days  Which you would not believe, though it were told you. 6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation. Which marches through the breadth of the earth,To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.

Habakkuk 2: 4 “Behold the proud,  His soul is not upright in him;  But the just shall live by his faith. 5 “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine,He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as  hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations. And heaps up for himself all peoples. 6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases.What is not his—how long? And to him who loads himself with  many pledges’?

When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case. God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God’s word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting. The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God’s all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.

  3.His firm trust in the Divine mercy.(Habakkuk 3:2,17-19)

    Habakkuk 3:2 O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy. in the stalls—

    Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,  Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail,  And the fields yield no food;  Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength;  He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

    When we see a day of trouble approach, it concerns us to prepare. A good hope through grace is founded in holy fear. The prophet looked back upon the experiences of the church in former ages, and observed what great things God had done for them, and so was not only recovered, but filled with holy joy. He resolved to delight and triumph in the Lord; for when all is gone, his God is not gone. Destroy the vines and the fig-trees, and you make all the mirth of a carnal heart to cease. But those who, when full, enjoyed God in all, when emptied and poor, can enjoy all in God. They can sit down upon the heap of the ruins of their creature-comforts, and even then praise the Lord, as the God of their salvation, the salvation of the soul, and rejoice in him as such, in their greatest distresses. Joy in the Lord is especially seasonable when we meet with losses and crosses in the world. Even when provisions are cut off, to make it appear that man lives not by bread alone, we may be supplied by the graces and comforts of God’s Spirit. Then we shall be strong for spiritual warfare and work, and with enlargement of heart may run the way of his commandments, and outrun our troubles. And we shall be successful in spiritual undertakings. Thus the prophet, who began his prayer with fear and trembling, ends it with joy and triumph. And thus faith in Christ prepares for every event. The name of Jesus, when we can speak of Him as ours, is balm for every wound, a cordial for every care. It is as ointment poured forth, shedding fragrance through the whole soul. In the hope of a heavenly crown, let us sit loose to earthly possessions and comforts, and cheerfully bear up under crosses. Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry; and where he is, we shall be also

Summary:

Habakkuk, who calls himself “the prophet,” may also have been a Levite who eagerly participated in Josiah’s reforms, but was troubled by the moral laxity that he continued to observe. While his work is not dated, his reference to the unexpected emergence of Babylon as a great power even then taking place persuasively suggests he ministered during Josiah’s reign. Habakkuk retreated to one of the mountaintop stations from which guards watched for the approach of enemy armies. But Habakkuk looked back over his own nation’s countryside, determined to explore the reasons why God permitted the injustice that was rife in Judah’s society. We too need to take time out to meditate and to struggle with life’s important issues.

Robert G OHaver
deacon@ohaver.net
cudeacon@gmail.com
deaconrob33@earthlink.net
    ><((((°>

A Message of God’s Judgment

"Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy."
Nahum:

                                           A Message of God’s Judgment

Nahum 1:7-9, 12-13; 2:8-13;3:18-19                              January 6 2013

This prophet denounces the certain and approaching destruction of the Assyrian empire, particularly of Nineveh, which is described very minutely. Together with this is consolation for his countrymen, encouraging them to trust in God.

  1.The overthrow of the Assyrians.(Nahum 1:7-13)

Nahum 7 The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. 8 But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies. 9 What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it.  Affliction will not rise up a second time. 10 For while tangled like thorns, And while drunken like drunkards, They shall be devoured like stubble fully dried. 11 From you comes forth one. Who plots evil against the Lord, A wicked counselor. 12Thus says the Lord:  “Though they are safe, and likewise many,  Yet in this manner they will be cut down  When he passes through. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more; 13 For now I will break off his yoke from you,And burst your bonds apart.”

Nahum’s first chapter focuses not on Nineveh but on God. He describes Israel’s “jealous and avenging God” , and then pictures Him as a warrior striding over the land, terrorizing His enemies but bringing relief to those who trust Him . Only now does Nahum introduce the Assyrians, portraying them as plotting evil against the Lord . God will destroy this nation which has afflicted His people ; a destruction which will be celebrated in Judah as a harbinger of peace .

2. The true cause, their sinning against God, and his appearing against them. (Nahum 2:8-13)

Nahum 2:8 Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, Now they flee away. “Halt! Halt!” they cry;  But no one turns back. 9 Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, Or wealth of every desirable prize. 10  She is empty, desolate, and waste!      The heart melts, and the knees shake; Much pain is in every side,      And all their faces are drained of color. 11 Where is the dwelling of the lions, And the feeding place of the young lions,  Where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub, And no one made them afraid? 12 The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, Killed for his lionesses,  Filled his caves with prey, And his dens with flesh. 13“Behold, I am against you,” says the Lord of hosts, “I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.”

The kings of Assyria had long been terrible and cruel to their neighbours, but the Lord would destroy their power. Many plead as an excuse for rapine and fraud, that they have families to provide for; but what is thus obtained will never do them any good. Those that fear the Lord, and get honestly what they have, shall not want for themselves and theirs. It is just with God to deprive those of children, or of comfort in them, who take sinful courses to enrich them. Those are not worthy to be heard again, that have spoken reproachfully of God. Let us then come to God upon his mercy-seat, that having peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ, we may know that he is for us, and that all things shall work together for our everlasting good.

  3. Its utter destruction. (Nahum 3:18-19)

Nahum 3:18 Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust.Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.19 Your injury has no healing, Your wound is severe. All who hear news of you Will clap their hands over you, For upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?                   

        Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered “merchants.” Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.

Summary

Little is known of the Prophet Nahum, or of his home. Most believe it was located in Galilee, which experienced the brunt of the initial Assyrian invasions. We can place his writing with some accuracy: He wrote before the collapse of the Assyrian Empire in 612 B.C. and after the destruction of Thebes, which took place in 663 B.C. . It is not unreasonable to assume that the book was written shortly after the overthrow of the Northern Kingdom and the exile of its population.

Robert G OHaver
deacon@ohaver.net
cudeacon@gmail.com
deaconrob33@earthlink.net
    ><((((°>

Jesus Our Shepherd

 


Jesus Our Shepherd

John 10:7-16                                            December 30 2012                 

          He that entereth not by the door—Christ assures us, John10:7 , that he is the door; whoever, therefore,  enters not by Jesus Christ into the pastoral office, is no other than a thief and a robber in the sheepfold. And he enters not by Jesus Christ who enters with a prospect of any other interest besides that of Christ and his people. Ambition, avarice, love of ease, a desire to enjoy the conveniences of life, to be distinguished from the crowd, to promote the interests of one’s family, and even the sole design of providing against want—these are all ways by which thieves and robbers enter into the Church. And whoever enters by any of these ways, or by simony, craft, solicitation, etc. deserves no better name. Acting through motives of self-interest, and with the desire of providing for himself and his family, are innocent, yea, laudable, in a secular business; but to enter into the ministerial office through motives of this kind is highly criminal before God.

1. Christ the Door.  (John 10:7-10)      

John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came  before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Many who hear the word of Christ, do not understand it, because they will not. But we shall find one scripture expounding another, and the blessed Spirit making known the blessed Jesus. Christ is the Door. And what greater security has the church of God than that the Lord Jesus is between it and all its enemies? He is a door open for passage and communication. Here are plain directions how to come into the fold; we must come in by Jesus Christ as the Door. By faith in him as the great Mediator between God and man. Also, we have precious promises to those that observe this direction. Christ has all that care of his church, and every believer, which a good shepherd has of his flock; and he expects the church, and every believer, to wait on him, and to keep in his pasture.

2.Christ the good Shepherd.  (John 10:11-16)      

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Christ is a good Shepherd; many who were not thieves, yet were careless in their duty, and by their neglect the flock was much hurt. Bad principles are the root of bad practices. The Lord Jesus knows whom he has chosen, and is sure of them; they also know whom they have trusted, and are sure of Him. See here the grace of Christ; since none could demand his life of him, he laid it down of himself for our redemption. He offered himself to be the Saviour; Lo, I come. And the necessity of our case calling for it, he offered himself for the Sacrifice. He was both the offerer and the offering, so that his laying down his life was his offering up himself. From hence it is plain, that he died in the place and stead of men; to obtain their being set free from the punishment of sin, to obtain the pardon of their sin; and that his death should obtain that pardon. Our Lord laid not his life down for his doctrine, but for his sheep.

Summary

Jesus speaks of familiar things as He describes Himself as the Good Shepherd, willing to give His life for the sheep . The leaders again express frustration: How can they explain Jesus and His words away?  When they insist Jesus tell them plainly if He is the Christ , Jesus tells them, “I did tell you!” Jesus again restates His claims. Rather than believe, the furious leaders intend to stone Him for blasphemy!  In view of the leaders’ utter hostility, Jesus goes back across the Jordan, and many follow to hear His teaching .

 

 

 

Yahweh Our Righteousness

 

                               Yahweh Our Righteousness

Jeremiah 23:5-6;Romans  3;21-25;10:1-4,9-19   December 16 2012

            In these chapter the prophet, in God’s name, is dealing his reproofs and threatenings,  Among the careless princes, or pastors of the people , yet promising to take care of the flock, which they had been wanting in their duty to . Among the wicked prophets and priests, whose bad character is here given at large in divers instances, especially their imposing upon the people with their pretended inspirations, at which the prophet is astonished, and for which they must expect to be punished . Among the profane people, who ridiculed God’s prophets and bantered them . When all have thus corrupted their way they must all expect to be told faithfully of it.

1.The restoration of the Jews to their own land. (Jer.23:5-6)

Jer.23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness. A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved,  And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called:

Woe be to those who are set to feed God’s people, but take no concern to do them good! Here is a word of comfort to the neglected sheep. Though only a remnant of God’s flock is left, he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their former habitations. Christ is spoken of as a branch from David’s family. He is righteous himself, and through him all his people are made righteous. Christ shall break the usurped power of Satan. All the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying Jacob shall be protected, and shall be saved from the guilt and dominion of sin. In the days of Christ’s government in the soul, the soul dwells at ease. He is here spoken of as “the Lord our Righteousness.” He is so our Righteousness as no creature could be. His obedience unto death is the justifying righteousness of believers, and their title to heavenly happiness. And their sanctification, as the source of all their personal obedience is the effect of their union with him, and of the supply of this Spirit. By this name every true believer shall call him, and call upon him. We have nothing to plead but this, Christ has died, yea, rather is risen again; and we have taken him for our Lord. This righteousness which he has wrought out to the satisfaction of law and justice, becomes ours; being a free gift given to us, through the Spirit of God, who puts it upon us, clothes us with it, enables us to lay hold upon it, and claim an interest in it. “The Lord our Righteousness” is a sweet name to a convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of sin in his conscience; seen his need of that righteousness, and the worth of it. This great salvation is far more glorious than all former deliverances of his church. May our souls be gathered to Him, and be found in him.

2. It is owing to the free grace of God, through faith in the righteousness of Christ, yet the law is not done away. (Rom.3:21-25)     

Rom.3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all  and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Saviour, so Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a Saviour, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favours. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement. God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.

3.The apostle’s earnest desire for the salvation of the Jews. (Rom.10:1-4) 

Rom.10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The Jews built on a false foundation, and refused to come to Christ for free salvation by faith, and numbers in every age do the same in various ways. The strictness of the law showed men their need of salvation by grace, through faith. And the ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the righteousness, and bearing the curse of the law. So that even under the law, all who were justified before God, obtained that blessing by faith, whereby they were made partakers of the perfect righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The law is not destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but full satisfaction being made by the death of Christ for our breach of the law, the end is gained. That is, Christ has fulfilled the whole law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the whole law himself. Sinners never could go on in vain fancies of their own righteousness, if they knew the justice of God as a Governor, or his righteousness as a Saviour.

4: The Gentiles stand on a level with the Jews, in justification and salvation.          (Rom.10: 9-19)     

Rom.10:9 if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who  preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,  I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”

There is not one God to the Jews, more kind, and another to the Gentiles, who is less kind; the Lord is a Father to all men. The promise is the same to all, who call on the name of the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, as God manifest in the flesh. All believers thus call upon the Lord Jesus, and none else will do so humbly or sincerely. But how should any call on the Lord Jesus, the Divine Saviour, who had not heard of him? And what is the life of a Christian but a life of prayer? It shows that we feel our dependence on him, and are ready to give up ourselves to him, and have a believing expectation of our all from him. It was necessary that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles. Somebody must show them what they are to believe. How welcome the gospel ought to be to those to whom it was preached! The gospel is given, not only to be known and believed, but to be obeyed. It is not a system of notions, but a rule of practice. The beginning, progress, and strength of faith is by hearing. But it is only hearing the word, as the word of God that will strengthen faith.

Summary

The apostle, in this chapter, carries on his discourse concerning justification. He had already proved the guilt both of Gentiles and Jews. Now in this chapter,  He answers some objections that might be made against what he had said about the Jews . He asserts the guilt and corruption of mankind in common, both Jews and Gentiles . He argues thence that justification must needs be by faith, and not by the law, which he gives several reasons . The many digressions in his writings render his discourse sometimes a little difficult, but his scope is evident.

Paul has shown righteousness has always been a gracious gift, sovereignly bestowed by God on those who have faith . Now he argues that God has not rejected His covenant people. They have rejected Him.

Paul cares passionately for his own race. He admits their religious zeal . But he knows their problem well: they “disregarded” God’s righteousness and tried to establish their own, even though the two are totally different in nature . Whether Jew or Gentile, one must be saved by faith .

But now we sense another objection. How can the Jewish race believe, not having heard this stunning message? But, Paul says, the Good News was preached. Israel simply did not believe. “Hearing,” which in biblical thought implies responding appropriately, requires first a message, but then requires understanding and acceptance by those to whom the message is given. Even in Old Testament times Israel did not understand and refused to accept what God cried out to them through Moses and the prophets . The message of salvation by faith has echoed throughout history—and been ignored.

Robert G OHaver
deacon@ohaver.net
cudeacon@gmail.com
deaconrob33@earthlink.net
    ><((((°>

Yahweh our Father

 

Yahweh our Father

Psalm  103:2-6,8-13,17-18                         December 9 2012

       This psalm calls more for devotion than exposition; it is a most excellent psalm of praise, and of general use. The psalmist, Stirs up himself and his own soul to praise God for his favour to him in particular , to the church in general, and to all good men, to whom he is, and will be, just, and kind, and constant , and for his government of the world . He desires the assistance of the holy angels, and all the works of God, in praising him . In singing this psalm we must in a special manner get our hearts affected with the goodness of God and enlarged in love and thankfulness.

A psalm of David.

1.    1.An exhortation to bless God for his mercy. (Psalm 103:2-6)  

Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,  So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord executes righteousness . And justice for all who are oppressed.

By the pardon of sin, that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think of the provocation; it was sin, and yet pardoned: how many the provocations, yet all pardoned! God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam’s offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins; it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth, Job 33:25 .

2. And to the church and to all men. (Psalm 103:8-12)      

Psalm 103:8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.11For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

Trul         God is good to all: he is in a special manner good to Israel. He has revealed himself and his grace to them. By his ways we may understand his precepts, the ways he requires us to walk in; and his promises and purposes. He always has been full of compassion. How unlike are those to God, who take every occasion to chide, and never know when to cease! What would become of us, if God should deal so with us? The Scripture says a great deal of the mercy of God, and we all have experienced it. The father pities his children that are weak in knowledge, and teaches them; pities them when they are froward, and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; pities them when they are fallen, and helps them to rise; pities them when they have offended, and, upon their submission, forgives them; pities them when wronged, and rights them: thus the Lord pities those that fear him. See why he pities. He considers the frailty of our bodies, and the folly of our souls, how little we can do, how little we can bear; in all which his compassion appears.

           3. For the constancy of his mercy. (Psalm 103:17-18)      

Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting  On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,18 To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

How short is man’s life, and uncertain! The flower of the garden is commonly more choice, and will last the longer, for being sheltered by the garden-wall, and the gardener’s care; but the flower of the field, to which life is here compared, is not only withering in itself, but exposed to the cold blasts, and liable to be cropped and trod on by the beasts of the field. Such is man. God considers this, and pities him; let him consider it himself. God’s mercy is better than life, for it will outlive it. His righteousness, the truth of his promise, shall be unto children’s children, who tread in the footsteps of their forefathers’ piety. Then shall mercy be preserved to them.

Summary:

Celebration of Deliverance

David praises God for the many mercies  that unveil the compassion of Him and lead all beings everywhere to praise the Lord .

Forgiveness is the prime expression of God’s compassion for a needy humanity. These verses explain the nature of the forgiveness we enjoy as well as any passage in the O.T. or N.T.

God’s greatness is displayed in the Creation He shaped and sustains. This powerful psalm weaves praise for God through its graphic description of majestic elements of creation which show God’s power and the compassionate elements which show His concern for living creatures . No wonder the psalmist’s heart, and ours, are filled with wonder and praise .

 

Yahweh Our God


Yahweh Our God

Exodus 6:2-8;15:1-3,11-13                         December 2 2012

Much ado there was to bring Moses to his work, and when the ice was broken, some difficulty having occurred in carrying it on, there was no less ado to put him forward in it. Witness this chapter, in which,  God satisfies Moses himself in an answer to his complaints in the close of the foregoing chapter . He gives him fuller instructions than had yet been given him what to say to the children of Israel, for their satisfaction , but to little purpose .

(Exodus 6: 2-8)      God renews his promise.

Ex.6:2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. 4I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. 5And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 6Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.’”

We are most likely to prosper in attempts to glorify God, and to be useful to men, when we learn by experience that we can do nothing of ourselves; when our whole dependence is placed on him, and our only expectation is from him. Moses had been expecting what God would do; but now he shall see what he will do. God would now be known by his name Jehovah, that is, a God performing what he had promised, and finishing his own work. God intended their happiness: I will take you to me for a people, a peculiar people, and I will be to you a God. More than this we need not ask, we cannot have, to make us happy. He intended his own glory: Ye shall know that I am the Lord. These good words, and comfortable words, should have revived the drooping Israelites, and have made them forget their misery; but they were so taken up with their troubles, that they did not heed God’s promises. By indulging discontent and fretfulness, we deprive ourselves of the comfort we might have, both from God’s word and from his providence, and go comfortless.

(Ex. 15:1-3;11-13) The song of Moses for the deliverance of Israel.

1Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! 2 The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name.

Ex. 15:11 “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?

       Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?You stretched out Your right hand; The earth swallowed them. 13 You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation.

This song is the most ancient we know of. It is a holy song, to the honour of God, to exalt his name, and celebrate his praise, and his only, not in the least to magnify any man. Holiness to the Lord is in every part of it. It may be considered as typical, and prophetical of the final destruction of the enemies of the church. Happy the people whose God is the Lord. They have work to do, temptations to grapple with, and afflictions to bear, and are weak in themselves; but his grace is their strength. They are often in sorrow, but in him they have comfort; he is their song. Sin, and death, and hell threaten them, but he is, and will be their salvation. The Lord is a God of almighty power, and woe to those that strive with their Maker! He is a God of matchless perfection; he is glorious in holiness; his holiness is his glory. His holiness appears in the hatred of sin, and his wrath against obstinate sinners. It appears in the deliverance of Israel, and his faithfulness to his own promise. He is fearful in praises; that which is matter of praise to the servants of God, is very dreadful to his enemies. He is doing wonders, things out of the common course of nature; wondrous to those in whose favour they are wrought, who are so unworthy, that they had no reason to expect them. There were wonders of power and wonders of grace; in both, God was to be humbly adored.

Summary:

This is a key chapter in the history of salvation. A childless, aged Abram believes God’s promise that a son of his own will be his heir. God credits Abram’s faith as the righteousness no human being has . So a trusting Abram will know his descendants will one day own all of Canaan , God enters into the most binding of ancient legal contracts, a “covenant of blood” .

Hit the Street

       Hit the Streets

      Acts17:16-31                                      Nov. 25 2012

The Berean Jews were “more noble” because they valued truth and so daily tested Paul’s teaching against their standard of truth, the O.T. The Thessalonian Jews had been more concerned with the number of Greeks who showed respect for Judaism! than with truth.You and I are “more noble” when we too set aside personal considerations in order to discern, and do, God’s will.Paul’s address was before Athens’ “Council of Ares,” the government of this Gk. city-state. His strategy was: (1) seek a point of contact, which here was an altar dedicated to an “unknown god,” (2) discuss the nature of God and His relationship to the creation, showing that even poets and philosophers have glimpsed the truths Paul now presents, and (3) affirm that God, who calls on all to reject idolatry and repent, has not only appointed a day of judgment but has proven His intervention in human affairs by the resurrection of Jesus. While the form of Paul’s sermon is philosophical and ideally suited for its context, the content remains totally biblical. We can change approach to suit an audience. We can never change the message itself.

   1. Paul at Athens.  ( Acts 17:16-21)      

Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. 17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. 18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?”Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? 20 For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” 21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

Athens was then famed for polite learning, philosophy, and the fine arts; but none are more childish and superstitious, more impious, or more credulous, than some persons, deemed eminent for learning and ability. It was wholly given to idolatry. The zealous advocate for the cause of Christ will be ready to plead for it in all companies, as occasion offers. Most of these learned men took no notice of Paul; but some, whose principles were the most directly contrary to Christianity, made remarks upon him. The apostle ever dwelt upon two points, which are indeed the principal doctrines of Christianity, Christ and a future state; Christ our way, and heaven our end. They looked on this as very different from the knowledge for many ages taught and professed at Athens; they desire to know more of it, but only because it was new and strange. They led him to the place where judges sat who inquired into such matters. They asked about Paul’s doctrine, not because it was good, but because it was new. Great talkers are always busy-bodies. They spend their time in nothing else, and a very uncomfortable account they have to give of their time who thus spend it. Time is precious, and we are concerned to employ it well, because eternity depends upon it, but much is wasted in unprofitable conversation.

2. He preaches there.  (Acts 17: 22-31)      

Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one  blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

Here we have a sermon to heathens, who worshipped false gods, and were without the true God in the world; and to them the scope of the discourse was different from what the apostle preached to the Jews. In the latter case, his business was to lead his hearers by prophecies and miracles to the knowledge of the Redeemer, and faith in him; in the former, it was to lead them, by the common works of providence, to know the Creator, and worship Him. The apostle spoke of an altar he had seen, with the inscription, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” This fact is stated by many writers. After multiplying their idols to the utmost, some at Athens thought there was another god of whom they had no knowledge. And are there not many now called Christians, who are zealous in their devotions, yet the great object of their worship is to them an unknown God? Observe what glorious things Paul here says of that God whom he served, and would have them to serve. The Lord had long borne with idolatry, but the times of this ignorance were now ending, and by his servants he now commanded all men every where to repent of their idolatry. Each sect of the learned men would feel themselves powerfully affected by the apostle’s discourse, which tended to show the emptiness or falsity of their doctrines.

Summary:

Paul’s party continues to Thessalonica, where again an enthusiastic response from Gentiles arouses the fierce jealousy of the Jews. These create so much disturbance that the apostle is urged to leave the city . But in nearby Berea the Jewish population is enthusiastic and responsive to the Gospel. Then hostile Jews from Thessalonica arrive and again stir up a riot . Paul is the focus of the hostility, so while the others stay on in Berea the apostle travels to Athens. There Paul cannot keep silent and soon finds himself preaching a unique sermon on that city’s Mars Hill. This carefully crafted evangelistic sermon does not quote an Old Testament unfamiliar to pagan Greeks, but uses a philosopher’s approach to lead hearers to the central truth of Paul’s message: the resurrection of Jesus . The idea of resurrection, totally foreign to his audience, brings ridicule. But, as always, some believe .

H

Engage in Kingdom Building


Engage in Kingdom Building

Acts 13:1-4;14:21-28                 Nov.18 2012        

         Following the leading of the Holy Spirit, the church at Antioch commissions Barnabas and Paul as history’s first official Christian missionaries . Their first adventure takes place on the Island of Cyprus, where Paul curses a sorcerer with blindness and witnesses the conversion of the Roman proconsul . In Pisidian Antioch Paul preaches first in the Jewish synagogue, stimulating great interest in his message about Jesus . But when great numbers of Gentiles turn out the next Sabbath to hear him, the Jewish elders are jealous and hostile. Paul then declares his intention to go directly to the Gentile community with his message of salvation, and a great revival sweeps the countryside . The Jews, however, incite persecution of the missionaries. Paul and Barnabas are forced to leave. But they leave behind a vital, joy-filled young church .

1. The mission of Paul and Barnabas. (Acts 13:1-4)      

Acts 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

What an assemblage was here! In these names we see that the Lord raises up instruments for his work, from various places and stations in life; and zeal for his glory induces men to give up flattering connexions and prospects to promote his cause. It is by the Spirit of Christ that his ministers are made both able and willing for his service, and taken from other cares that would hinder in it. Christ’s ministers are to be employed in Christ’s work, and, under the Spirit’s guidance, to act for the glory of God the Father. They are separated to take pains, and not to take state. A blessing upon Barnabas and Saul in their present undertaking was sought for, and that they might be filled with the Holy Ghost in their work. Whatever means are used, or rules observed, the Holy Ghost alone can fit ministers for their important work, and call them to it.

         2. Paul stoned at Lystra, The churches visited again.

         (Acts 14:21-28)      

Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

         See how restless the rage of the Jews was against the gospel of Christ. The people stoned Paul, in a popular tumult. So strong is the bent of the corrupt and carnal heart, that as it is with great difficulty that men are kept back from evil on one side, so it is with great ease they are persuaded to evil on the other side. If Paul would have been Mercury, he might have been worshipped; but if he will be a faithful minister of Christ, he shall be stoned, and thrown out of the city. Thus men who easily submit to strong delusions, hate to receive the truth in the love of it. All who are converted need to be confirmed in the faith; all who are planted need to be rooted. Ministers’ work is to establish saints as well as to awaken sinners. The grace of God, and nothing less, effectually establishes the souls of the disciples. It is true, we must count upon much tribulation, but it is encouragement that we shall not be lost and perish in it. The Person to whose power and grace the converts and the newly-established churches are commended, clearly was the Lord Jesus, “on whom they had believed.” It was an act of worship. The praise of all the little good we do at any time, must be ascribed to God; for it is He who not only worketh in us both to will and to do, but also worketh with us to make what we do successful. All who love the Lord Jesus, will rejoice to hear that he has opened the door of faith wide, to those who were strangers to him and to his salvation. And let us, like the apostles, abide with those who know and love the Lord.

Summary:

The missionaries continue on their swing through Asia Minor. They visit Iconium, where the Gospel message again creates such dissension that Paul and Barnabas are forced to flee . In Lystra and Derbe the two missionaries are mistaken for pagan gods. They barely succeed in keeping an enthusiastic crowd from offering sacrifices to them. But some Jews, who have followed them from Antioch and Iconium just to hinder their work, succeed in turning the crowd against them. Paul is stoned and left for dead, but revives and continues preaching . Despite the hazards, the missionaries win a “large number of disciples.” Finally they return to their home church and report how God has opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles .

 

Do Life Together

                       Do Life Together

Acts 4:32-35;5:1-6;6:1-7                            Nov.11 2012

This passage has been used to support “Christian communism.” Instead it is a clear example of the concept of giving taught in the N.T. No one lost control of his or her own possessions (communism). But each Christian cared more about other persons than material possessions (Christianity).May the values displayed in the early Jerusalem church shape all our attitudes toward wealth and others.     

         1.The holy charity of the Christians. (Acts 4:32-35)

Acts4:32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

The disciples loved one another. This was the blessed fruit of Christ’s dying precept to his disciples, and his dying prayer for them. Thus it was then, and it will be so again, when the Spirit shall be poured upon us from on high. The doctrine preached was the resurrection of Christ; a matter of fact, which being duly explained, was a summary of all the duties, privileges, and comforts of Christians. There were evident fruits of Christ’s grace in all they said and did. They were dead to this world. This was a great evidence of the grace of God in them. They did not take away others’ property, but they were indifferent to it. They did not call it their own; because they had, in affection, forsaken all for Christ, and were expecting to be stripped of all for cleaving to him. No marvel that they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so loose to the wealth of this world. In effect, they had all things common; for there was not any among them who lacked, care was taken for their supply. The money was laid at the apostles’ feet. Great care ought to be taken in the distribution of public charity, that it be given to such as have need, such as are not able to procure a maintenance for themselves; those who are reduced to want for well-doing, and for the testimony of a good conscience, ought to be provided for. Here is one in particular mentioned, remarkable for this generous charity; it was Barnabas. As one designed to be a preacher of the gospel, he disentangled himself from the affairs of this life. When such dispositions prevail, and are exercised according to the circumstances of the times, the testimony will have very great power upon others.

2.The death of Ananias and Sapphira. (Acts 5:1-6)     

Acts5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

         The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was, that they were ambitious of being thought eminent disciples, when they were not true disciples. Hypocrites may deny themselves, may forego their worldly advantage in one instance, with a prospect of finding their account in something else. They were covetous of the wealth of the world, and distrustful of God and his providence. They thought they might serve both God and mammon. They thought to deceive the apostles. The Spirit of God in Peter discerned the principle of unbelief reigning in the heart of Ananias. But whatever Satan might suggest, he could not have filled the heart of Ananias with this wickedness had he not been consenting. The falsehood was an attempt to deceive the Spirit of truth, who so manifestly spoke and acted by the apostles. The crime of Ananias was not his retaining part of the price of the land; he might have kept it all, had he pleased; but his endeavouring to impose upon the apostles with an awful lie, from a desire to make a vain show, joined with covetousness. But if we think to put a cheat upon God, we shall put a fatal cheat upon our own souls. How sad to see those relations who should quicken one another to that which is good, hardening one another in that which is evil! And this punishment was in reality mercy to vast numbers. It would cause strict self-examination, prayer, and dread of hypocrisy, covetousness, and vain-glory, and it should still do so. It would prevent the increase of false professors. Let us learn hence how hateful falsehood is to the God of truth, and not only shun a direct lie, but all advantages from the use of doubtful expressions, and double meaning in our speech.

3.The appointment of deacons (Acts 6:1-7)      

Acts 6:1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Hitherto the disciples had been of one accord; this often had been noticed to their honour; but now they were multiplied, they began to murmur. The word of God was enough to take up all the thoughts, cares, and time of the apostles. The persons chosen to serve tables must be duly qualified. They must be filled with gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, necessary to rightly managing this trust; men of truth, and hating covetousness. All who are employed in the service of the church, ought to be commended to the Divine grace by the prayers of the church. They blessed them in the name of the Lord. The word and grace of God are greatly magnified, when those are wrought upon by it, who were least likely.

Summary:

In this chapter we have, The discontent that was among the disciples about the distribution of the public charity . The election and ordination of seven men, who should take care of that matter, and ease the apostles of the burden .  The increase of the church, by the addition of many to it . A particular account of Stephen, one of the seven. 1. His great activity for Christ . 2. The opposition he met with from the enemies of Christianity, and his disputes with them . 3. The convening of him before the great sanhedrim, and the crimes laid to his charge . 4. God’s owning him upon his trial .

 

Pray with Dependency

                                 Pray with Dependency

             Acts 4:23-31                                    Nov. 4 2012

          When released, they gather the church for a prayer which serves us well as a model today. It is filled with praise and expressions of confidence in God, which leads to a request which, when fulfilled, will truly glorify God . That prayer is answered and the church, united in faith in love, continues to witness powerfully to God’s grace .

1. The believers unite in prayer and praise. (Acts 4:23-31)     

          Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

         Christ’s followers do best in company, provided it is their own company. It encourages God’s servants, both in doing work, and suffering work, that they serve the God who made all things, and therefore has the disposal of all events; and the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Jesus was anointed to be a Saviour, therefore it was determined he should be a sacrifice, to make atonement for sin. But sin is not the less evil for God’s bringing good out of it. In threatening times, our care should not be so much that troubles may be prevented, as that we may go on with cheerfulness and courage in our work and duty. They do not pray, Lord let us go away from our work, now that it is become dangerous, but, Lord, give us thy grace to go on stedfastly in our work, and not to fear the face of man. Those who desire Divine aid and encouragement, may depend upon having them, and they ought to go forth, and go on, in the strength of the Lord God. God gave a sign of acceptance of their prayers. The place was shaken, that their faith might be established and unshaken. God gave them greater degrees of his Spirit; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than ever; by which they were not only encouraged, but enabled to speak the word of God with boldness. When they find the Lord God help them by his Spirit, they know they shall not be confounded, Isaiah 1 .7.

           Summary:

          The prayer is a model in several respects. (1) It recognizes God as sovereign . He is in charge. (2) It affirms God’s Word as relevant . It applies Ps. 2 to the present situation. (3) It asks for enablement, not relief . Christians can expect to share Christ’s sufferings as they carry on His mission. (4) It asks for God to act . God is able to work in our world, through miracles hidden as well as visible.

          God’s will has several different meanings in the N.T. It may refer to God’s revealed standards of moral behavior. It may refer to His guidance of an individual to perform a specific act, or His shaping of an individual life. But God’s will may also refer to God’s fixed and unalterable purpose: that which God has determined must happen, and shall happen. God’s will is used in this last sense here. Other passages using God’s will in the same sense include John 6:38-40 , Gal. 1:4 , and Eph. 1:5-11

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