Monthly Archives: November 2015

Singing with the King (63) – Too Late

O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord. Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth. (Psalm 83:13-18)

Normally I don’t quote so many verses in a single study—at least not in one place. I may angry mobspread them out over a number of days, pull Scripture from all over the Bible to show how consistent and clear God’s Word is. But in the above six verses, which are the last verses of this Psalm, there is just one simple thing to learn.

Sound familiar? 2700 years later you still have people making the same threats. But they forget about the same God, who loves His people Israel.

So the psalmist asks for God to scatter them, burn them, chase them, terrify them, and disgrace them, until they submit to His name. The apostle Paul makes a similar statement in Philippians chapter 2: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (vs. 9-11) Paul makes it clear that every knee shall bow and every tongue declare, regardless of your opinion of the LORD.

Asaph continues in his request to his God: “Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace.” And then we learn the point of his request: “Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.”

reject JesusFor those in Philippians 2 who must bow and confess, so it will be for the enemies of God in Psalm 83. It’s too late; they will be dead, but they will know who the LORD is. No chance to repent. No chance to believe and confess. No chance to find forgiveness.

For those of you who may have a similar attitude towards God the way His enemies do, please heed the following passage: “Behold, now is ‘The acceptable time,” behold, now is ‘The day of salvation’.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) Don’t become an enemy of God. Learn who the LORD is, while you still have breath, and then make today, right now, your day of salvation.

Singing with the King (62) – Every Bone

Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me. With every bone in my body I will praise him: “Lord, who can compare with you? (Psalm 35:9-10)

Woman healedWith every bone in my body. When I looked up the word for bone in the Hebrew, it meant…bone. But it also means (as secondary translations) body, limbs, self and strength. That’s a pretty significant commitment for praise. And when you add the word every, which is also translated as whole, all, completely, anything, whatever and whenever, the praise become totally consuming.

When’s the last time you praised the LORD with every bone in your body? With all that you are? David did so after the Lord delivered him. That’s a good reason to be “all in.” Being saved is another. And thinking about how God saved us, is there ever a time when praise for that gets old? I hope not.

Another question is: is that kind of depth and commitment of praise beyond you? Well it’s not that the Lord isn’t deserving of such praise, whether it is a result of what He has done for us, or just because He is who He is. So when it comes to praising God with every bone in my body, the problem lies completely within us. What can we do?

The Apostle Paul has some counsel which should help: Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Did you catch those sweeping generalities? Always… never…all circumstances. In order to do that requires we spend serious time in His presence. Did I say serious? I meant ALL time. Now that’s no big deal for God. He is, after all, omnipresent and omniscient. But imagine how your life would change if you lived your life always in His proximity, always in His Presence, and always with His perspective. You’d certainly be more practiced with your praise. But showing up once a week ain’t gonna do it. However, the more you praise, will help you to praise with more—even with every bone.

Keeping your life within God’s context will help you to praise Him even in the unexpected, and the overwhelming. And being thankful in all things may even get all you bones involved.

Singing with the King (61) – True & Trust

For the Word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does. (Psalm 33:4)

bible lampThere are two words in this verse which are either lost, or come at a premium, depending on your worldview. They are true and trust. And trust cannot exist without truth. So let’s tackle true first.

The Hebrew word for true is most often translated as right and upright. Now, it only makes sense the Word of God is true (right and upright) because God is true.

Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth. (Psalm 25:5)

But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. (Psalm 86:15)

This is not, however, an unknowable attribute. Why? First because He has given us His Word, and it can be learned:

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:5)

And it causes us to worship:

I will also praise You with a harp, even Your truth, O my God; to You I will sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. (Psalm 71:22)

Sun on PlainsWhat does it mean that the Word of the Lord holds true? Some of the definitions of true are straight and level. God will go great lengths to speak to us: A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.   Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:3-5) It should be noted these were the words quoted by John the Baptist as he began his ministry, soon to proclaim the coming of Christ. Things would be level, straight and plain; then glory of the Lord would be revealed—Jesus would be revealed.

Next comes the trust. We can trust Him because He is faithful:

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9)

How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. (Psalm 40:4)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Faithfulness is used often to describe God’s character and His acts. But faithfulness in Hebrew has a secondary translation: truth (also a character trait). We as a society have pretty much given up on truth. It has been relegated to a matter of personal preference and opinion. But are we willing to give up on faithfulness? With God it is both, as proclaimed in His character, His Word, and His acts. You cannot separate one from another. God is true. God is faithful. And because of that, you can trust everything He does.