What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 4

4. What It Cost God

Burning Garbage2

My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You lay me in the dust of death. (Psalm 22:15)

This last phrase is not simply laying someone down in the dust; it literally has to do being laid in a fire. The word dust can mean ashes, powder, debris and rubbish. But this is a death that is fiery and debasing, perhaps like being laid out in a burning garbage dump.

There’s a place just south of Jerusalem called the Valley of Hinnom, where Old Testament Israel sacrificed their children in fires to Molech and Baal. It eventually became a collection place for all the city’s refuse, and its fires were always kept burning. This became the New Testament picture for hell.

Note Who it was that has placed Christ in this situation: The LORD Himself—You lay me in the dust of death. How great the Father’s sorrow must have been to place the sins of the world upon His Son, then put Him to death, so that He would be the sacrifice offered for those same sins. Yet as great as the Father’s sorrow, how much greater is His love for us. And it was this same love that Christ Himself exhibited as He willingly went to the cross.

This love should stop us in our tracks. Just because The LORD is the Sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of All, we must never think that His love for us cost Him nothing. It’s not like the federal government, where you simply print more to pay your debts. Our salvation cost God dearly, personally and intimately.

One more thought. The depravity of man can reach such depths. Consider what God said to Jeremiah, concerning this Valley of Hinnom: “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.” (Jeremiah 7:32)

Although there are some things that do not come into the mind (or heart) of God, embrace the wonder knowing you were on His heart and mind even before He created the foundations of the world.

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What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 3

3. In Whose Image

Bull

Many bulls have surrounded me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring lion. (Psalm 22:12-13)

The bulls represent those who have power and wealth that have surrounded Christ. They come before Him in their robes and fineries, with their rings, bracelets, and crowns, wagging and pointing, while the King of Glory is nailed to the cross stripped bare. Is it any wonder how easily wealth blinds us to the truth.

Why were bulls now become a ravening and roaring lion? Ravening means to tear to pieces. This shows the hatred and animosity the enemies of Christ have toward Him, seeking to devour Him so there would be no trace. Although their tactics have changed, this is still the goal of the enemies of Christ two millennia later.  False religions, cults, liberal and tolerant theologies seek to confiscate from history and memory the authentic and Biblical Christ. They seek to cast off the authority and sovereignty that only the King of kings and Lord of lords can wield, and none can take it from Him. So now, today, they have an easier target, they attack the Church; seeking to discredit us; render us irrelevant and impotent. And unfortunately, they have often been successful at this.

There’s irony within this imagery. Bulls, start out as calves; and this was the image the sons of Israel conjured up in the wilderness when they needed an image to worship ( Ex 32). Before Moses could deliver the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, man was trying to define God. For how many days and nights had they seen the power, guidance and care of God manifest as a pillar of fire by night, and a pillar of cloud by day? But it’s tough to create and worship such a manifestation. Yet even with their limited exposure to Him, they felt there was not enough of a deterrent to not create their image of The Most High; and soon all sorts of false theology followed.

Even now, in the 21st century, we still try to make God in our own image (or some other sort of image—pick one). And as such he, she, or it, is easily put aside, and only brought out and dusted off when needed. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. ( Rom 1:20-23)

Somewhere, somehow we need to remind humanity of what they already know: His [God’s] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature; and in such a way that is not so easily set aside. But how do we do that?

Christ is known as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah: I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” ( Rev 5:1-5).

We see from the above narrative, that in all of creation, there is none who is worthy to open the seals other than Christ. But man in his arrogance and pride, sees himself as one with power and authority. And even though he may convince himself and others of such a claim for a season, there is only One who is worthy and has such authority. Will you accept your true place before God now, humbly accept Him as Lord? Otherwise you will be constrained to do so later, at the judgment.

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What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 2

2. Forsaken

Alone3

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. (Psalm 22:1)

This Psalm begins with perhaps the most famous words Christ uttered from the cross: About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:46) Don’t think for a moment that Christ did not know that He would be forsaken. This is a potent word. Other translations are: abandon, fail, leave alone, leave behind, and deserted. Christ was willing to be abandoned for you, to be left behind for you; to be deserted for you.

But actually, this question really is rhetorical. Christ knew why there was no answer, why He had been forsaken. He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus the Son] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (1 Cor 5:21) This was not to be a time where the Son was to be delivered. Rather, it was a time where He was cursed, and suffered and died…forsaken—for your deliverance (cf. Deut 21:22)

As Christ cried out, how it must have broken the Father’s heart to not answer, to not even hear. What did it do to the Son’s heart?

Far from my deliverance. Isolated and removed, and indeed, unknown. Christ never needed deliverance before; and yet, when He needed it most, it was not for Him to have.

Are the words of my groaning. The Hebrew word for groaning is more often translated as roaring. Whereas we would think that groaning is a more muted and personal expression, it is actually loud, and should cause a reaction in anyone who would hear it. But God the Father did not listen. And the people at the foot of the cross? They mocked and ridiculed Him for it.

We know that Christ endured all this because of the joy that was before Him (Heb 12:2), but being in the midst of all this was overwhelming. Take a few minutes to read more of Psalm 22, especially verses 1-21, and experience what God gave up for Lent, and what Christ went through for you.

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What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 1

1. It all Starts Here

Fine GoldKnowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. (1 Peter 1:18-20)

There are not many passages in Scripture which allow us to peer into eternity. And not just eternity, but what was going on in the very heart and mind of the Godhead. To gaze upon the very event when the Triune God determined the method of your salvation should stop you in your tracks. Before the world was hung in space, long before you had been born, the Lord knew you, and resolved that His Son would die for you.

Four things we should take away from this passage: Price, Payment, Person and Period.

First consider the Price: You were not redeemed, you were not purchased out of the slave market of sin, by things as common and transient as silver and gold. Another word for perishable is corruptible. In other words something like gold and silver does not last. Aren’t you thankful that your salvation is not based upon something which is temporary, and is destined to rot (or rust) away?

Next Consider the Payment: You were redeemed with the precious—very dear and very costly—blood of Jesus Christ. Your salvation cost Christ His very life. All blood is precious—at least your blood is precious to you, and it is precious to God. Imagine how precious the blood of Jesus was to His Father. A commandment to the Israelites explains this: ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ ( Lev 17:11) But we learn in Hebrews 10:4 the blood of bulls and goats was not sufficient: For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. So Christ gave His life, and shed His blood for you, for your atonement.

Next consider the Person: For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. ( Isa 9:6-7)

¨In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. ( John 1:14-15)

¨And He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. ( Col 1:15-20)

We could say much more about the Person of Christ: His oneness with the Father; His willingness to do the Father’s will. But, all we need to understand is Jesus was willing to lay aside His deity, and took on flesh, so He could secure your eternal salvation. And He did so by becoming the Lamb of God. When the Triune God determined the price to be paid for our sins and our redemption was to be the Son Himself, is it any wonder the payment of salvation could only be made with His own blood?

¨He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (1 Cor 5:21)

¨Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

¨And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

 Finally, Consider the Period: Before the foundation of the world, it was determined that Christ the Son of God would become the Lamb of God. After the end of time, and throughout all eternity, Christ is still the Lamb:

 “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev 5:12-14)

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Rev 21:22-23)

Before the universe was set in place, God knew you, and set His love upon you. Before anything was created, Jesus chose to be your Savior and sacrifice. Your salvation was set in place before time began, so that you would live with Him, after time ends.

I promise this will be the only study that is this long. But I wanted you to know the unique, awesome and special privilege you own as a Child of God, for whom the Son of God Himself died. May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ be the greatest impact in your life, as you consider What God Gave Up for Lent.

 

 

 

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Singing with the King (104) – Freedom (2)

Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. (Psalm 19:13)

Last time we talked about temptation and how it comes from our own desires. But, temptation could also come from external sources (although I believe we all carry enough baggage on our own). Things we see, hear, taste and touch:

Don’t be tempted by their beauty; don’t be trapped by their flirting eyes. (Proverbs 6:25)

So she tempted him with her charms, and he gave in to her smooth talk. (Proverbs 7:21)

Don’t let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, and it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. (Proverbs 23:31)

So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. (Proverbs 6:29)

Things of power, relationships, and money.

But I almost stumbled and fell, because it made me jealous to see proud and evil people and to watch them prosper. (Psalm 73:2-3)

The wicked will not rule the land of the godly, for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong. (Psalm 125:3)

My child, when sinners tempt you, don’t give in. (Proverbs 1:10)

Have I put my trust in money or felt secure because of my gold? (Job 31:24)

Now the things that can tempt us are legion, but not all of us are tempted by the same thing. In fact what tempts one, is no big deal for another. But understand, you can follow the temptation or you can escape it:

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

I suppose this passage is the NT support for this Psalm. I asked two questions at the top, dealing with the words deliberate and control. But there’s one more important question to ask: What is freedom? That’s next time.

Singing with the King (103) – Praying for Peace

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)

I’ve never posted an article based on current events (at least not one I can remember) but this needs to be said, and if I may be so bold, you need to answer this call.

I’ve always thought it was both good and necessary to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, something all Christians should do. Why? Because Jesus Himself grieved over Jerusalem, just hours before He was crucified:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. (Matthew 23:37)

There was a brilliant but perhaps misunderstood prophecy made by the Caiaphas, the High Priest, regarding Jesus:

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”  He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation. (John 11:49-51)

Jesus didn’t die to prevent the Romans from destroying Israel. He died for their sins. And He died for you and me: “For God so loved the world…” And I think that’s why it’s necessary to expand beyond Jerusalem. We need to pray for all of Israel. We need to pray for the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. We need to pray for the peace of God’s Chosen People everywhere, not just in Jerusalem.

Paul in his book to the Romans reminds us Gentiles:

I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.”  Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. (Romans 11:25-29)

So let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and all Israel everywhere, because one day they will find peace, in the Prince of Peace.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Singing with the King (102) – Freedom (1)

Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. (Psalm 19:13)

I’ve always found hope in this passage. My kind of sin is not the kind that accidentally happens, or sneaks up on me, or the “Devil made me do it.” My kind of sins are accomplished by my own choice.

So what is a deliberate sin?

Some of the other definitions for deliberate are presumptuous, arrogant, and proud.

This sort of sin proceeds from an attitude self-confidence, or reliance on one’s own strength. Have we fallen into that trap? To prop up my rep; to advance my career? Choosing comfort over obedience, disinterest over compassion, arrogance over service? Where we think we can do it on our own? Or in a more accurate context, where we think we can do it on our own— without God? That’s a scary place to be, and if these sorts of sins become our practice, then we shall be far from God.

What does it mean to be controlled?

The Hebrew word for control also means to have dominion, or rule, or authority. Do you really want your sin to rule your life? Is that not the rightful place for God?

The word that gives us hope in this verse, is the first word: keep. Other definitions are: to restrain, to hold back, to keep in check. Having God doing the keeping is the only way we can keep our lives from being ruled by our sins— which by the way, are the very sins that have been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus not only has paid the penalty of our sins, but He has taken away its power. So why would we kneel before a defeated foe? We ought not.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:12-15)

Another word for patiently endure is persevere. Now there’s a point to persevering or enduring, and Jesus stated plainly: You’ll be hated by all because of My name; but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. (Mark 13:13) In James you endure the testing and the temptation because you will receive the crown of life. With Jesus we endure the hatred and the persecution to be saved.

Two things we can learn from these passages. First, we will have to face testing and temptation, hatred and persecution. Second, we can endure them, and win! In fact, the purpose of the things we must endure is to growth in the faith.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

 

Singing with the King (101) – Accept No Substitutes

My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sun-baked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones.  My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing. (Psalm 22:14-18)

When you read those lines from Psalm 22, what do you see? If nothing comes to mind, let me give you another passage from the same Psalm: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Yes, those are the words of Jesus hanging on the cross. Now you can see how the above five verses describe the events surrounding the crucifixion. King David wrote these words about a 1000 years before Christ hung on the cross. You and I see it, but why didn’t the Old Testament scholars of the day (i.e. – Sadducees and Pharisees) see it? Well their authority was challenged, their way of life threatened, and they kinda got distracted.

I did a study a few years back on distractions. I talked about how life is filled with interruptions, and there’s nothing really we can do about that. The question was, do we let interruptions become distractions? Then do distractions become detours? Then do detours become dead ends? And by the time we get to a dead-end, it’s pretty tough to get out. And all along that downward-spiraling path, we miss what God is doing.

I don’t know who we can blame for these holiday distractions, but it’s really not so much about the blame as it is the effect. For instance, holiday used to really be holy day, as it was tied only to religious holy days, like Christmas and Easter. But then these distractions came along: Santa Claus, snowmen, reindeer, trees, lights, and presents. But Christmas—that holy day— is about the birth of Jesus, God becoming man. And more distractions came along: bunnies and eggs… and chocolate! What’s not to like about chocolate? But Easter— that holy day— is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

With all the marketing and media blitz focusing on these distractions, it’s tough to remember the truth behind these holy days.

But then there’s Good Friday. As far as I know, nobody has been able to come up with a substitute or a distraction for that. But it’s kinda tough to come up with a distraction for something that deals with death and dying, torture and blood and sacrifice. And then you got that whole sin thing. What kind of cute things can cover up stuff like that? You can’t. So the next best thing? You ignore it. But you can’t do that either, because even though most Christians would prefer to fast forward to the resurrection of Christ, you can’t have the resurrection without the crucifixion.

After Jesus had risen, he spent some time walking along the road to Emmaus with some disciples. And he asked the question: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26) It was necessary.

“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Heb 9:22)

Did Jesus Christ die for you? Are you forgiven? That’s what the crucifixion is all about. That’s what Good Friday is all about. There ARE no substitutes. Only…

He died for your sins.

Singing with the King (100) – Death

The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.  The cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. (Psalm 18:4-5)

I don’t pretend to know the kind of peril David was facing here. I have not been in any life-threatening conflicts. I have not been the ruler of a kingdom that seemed to be as often in war as not. My brush with death would include a motorcycle accident some 40 years ago where I ended up in the Emergency Room at a hospital in Camden, New Jersey. And a heart attack last year.

Two major things I learned from those incidents. From the first, don’t waste time. From the second, “Father, my life is in Your hands, and I will rejoice in whatever You choose to do.”

Back to David. These cords and snares could have been wrapped around him personally, or they could have been entwined around friends and fellow servants of the Most High. And to that I can definitely relate.

I have four friends that have been entangled and entwined by cancer; three of them lost that battle. One was an audio engineer, the next a small business owner, and the third, a mechanical engineer. One was a long and drawn out battle, the other two were brief.

My last friend was a brilliant molecular biologist, with some ground-breaking research; and currently is a consultant to rather large corporations, freeing them from entanglements that could have destroyed their businesses. He continues to suffer much, with this entangling affliction, but he has learned to deal with this “new normal”. How long this battle endures, only God knows.

The Apostle Paul understood this battle: We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-17)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

The one thing my four friends have in common is Jesus. Now they may not have had the understanding of Paul, but three have achieved the same goal and the fourth will as well.

So where does that leave us who are witnessing these entanglements up close and personal? Back to King David: In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. (Psalm 18:6)

In the midst of our tears, it’s up to us to cry out unto the LORD, that He may rescue. That He may heal. In an email I sent out to my work family, I told them I have been asking the LORD to heal him everyday, for five years; and will continue to plead that the LORD would heal him, even up to his dying breath. And I have written this to put my friend’s struggle into context—God’s eternal context. And to ask you to pray for healing as well. And pray for his son and daughter.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 4:15)

Please pray.

Singing with the King (99) – One Stop Shop

You alone are God. (Psalm 86:10)

Last time we looked at this Psalm with a more or less theological approach. We considered this verse the way David was seeing it, the way he was seeing and knowing the LORD. But then we continued on with more verses from this Psalm to understand why David knew this to be.

Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.  But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (vs. 2-5, 15)

Notice the couplets:

Protect me— I am devoted to you.

Save me— I serve and trust you.

Be merciful to me— for I am calling on you.

Give me happiness— I give myself to you.

Then David lists off a string of characteristics about his God, who alone is God: good, ready to forgive, full of unfailing love, compassionate, merciful, slow to get angry, filled with unfailing love, and faithfulness. Who wouldn’t want to come to a God like that?

I mention all this again because God being the “one and only” is more than just a theological truth, it’s a relational truth. What I mean by that? Not only is He God alone, He’s all you need. Consider these following verses:

In heaven I have only you, and on this earth you are all I want. (Ps 73:25)

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Ps 23:1)

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:4)

The apostle Paul picks up on this theme in in his letter to the Philippians: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (4:19)

So now we have in effect, a double-edged sword. The LORD, he is God alone. And he’s all that you need. God does not call you into an exclusive relationship, just to exclude you from all else. Your salvation need and you relational need are one.

Your salvation is both eternal (John 6:40), and to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

Your heart has more than you can ever ask or imagine:

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

The greatest need for your heart? The greatest need for your soul? Jesus Christ… Only.