Tag Archives: Power

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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Singing with the King (48) – Lifted Up

And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. (Psalm 27:6)

Alone on mountain7We now see the result of being lifted up—in plain sight—on a rock. It’s not a matter of sight; rather it is a matter of power. He has been exalted, set on high, over his enemies. Yes they do indeed surround David, but it is of no consequence, because He is the one with power and authority, not they. And David knows full well where that power and authority come from.

So here’s David, being set upon a rock by the Most High, given power and authority over his enemies. And what does he do? Worship. This is huge.

There were at least two distractions here, but David fixes his eyes upon the LORD.

He could have been caught up in his position.

He could have been caught up in being surrounded.

But his enemies we not an issue, not a concern. Rather he worshiped the LORD.

So he turned his back upon the circumstances and turned his attention upon the LORD.

There were three things David did in worship:

Offer sacrifices.

This is the literal act of offering sacrifices. I suppose these sacrifices could have been either the Burnt Offering or the Peace Offering. The former for commemoration or celebration; the latter as a means of thanksgiving.

Shouts of joy.

These shouts could actually be a cry for help, or a battle cry, a trumpet blast. And it is quite likely the surrounding enemies could have confused these cries. But only at the outset, not at the outcome. David wasn’t signaling his troops, he was offering sacrifices. He wasn’t pointing his troops for attack, he was looking unto his God. There were no war cries, and if they listened carefully, even his enemies would have heard the joy.

Sing praises.

This could be translated as to make music. Did David pull out his harp? Did he compose a new song on the spot? Maybe this Psalm? Did some of his warriors join in a male chorus? Or was he alone, singing a solo song of worship to the LORD? I suspect it was simpler rather than more elaborate. Just the king worshiping the King of kings.

Imagine the impact this should have had on his observers.

They had lost their advantage, had lost their power.

They see they are of no concern for David.

They see worship of the One True God.

They see the relationship that David had with the LORD.

They see the power of God.

What do you think their response might be? How many would understand, and how many would walk away in frustration?

Now, here’s the application for you and me. When you’re in the midst of a crisis, what do you do? Are you distracted by the disaster? Are you preoccupied by the predicament? Are you overwhelmed by the by the onslaught? Do not be. Intentionally choose to worship. Follow David’s example: turn away from the tribulation, and turn to worship. The following verse reveals that we too have been given the ability to turn away and also shows to Whom we should turn:

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”. (Isaiah 43:1-3a)

Singing with the King (17) – Power & Beauty

Give honor and praise  to the Lord, whose power and beauty fill His holy temple. (Psalm 96:6 CEV)

Sunrise Road1What does it look like for the Lord to fill His holy temple with power and beauty? Power is most often translated as strength, and in Hebrew, refers not only to strength in force, but character, security, and is praiseworthy. Beauty is that which is beautiful and fair; and is also translated as glorious and honor. Since these words are referring to characteristics belonging to the LORD, then they are of divine and supernatural extremes, perhaps so strong and so glorious, it is beyond our comprehension and perception.

As soon as Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and burned up the offerings. The Lord’s dazzling glory then filled the temple, and the priests could not go in. When the crowd of people saw the fire and the Lord’s glory, they knelt down and worshiped the Lord. They prayed: “The Lord is good, and His love never ends.” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3)

On the day Solomon dedicated the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, there was a tangible, palpable manifestation of the Lord filling His temple with His power and beauty. So much so, the priests could not fulfill their ordained tasks.

So what does this have to do with you? I’m glad you asked. Here’s what the Temple is, starting in the New Covenant : Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

May the LORD so fill you with His power and beauty, that He may be tangibly seen and felt by those around you. Amen.

Singing with the King (4) – Acts & Attributes

Praise Him for His mighty deeds, praise Him according to His excellent greatness. (Psalm 150:2)

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Several years back, I led a chapel at the Intentional Living Center, and we focused on the above verse from Psalm 150. This verse focuses on two things: Praise Him for His mighty deeds—WHAT God does; and Praise Him according to His excellent greatnessWHO God is.

We started with WHAT God does first. It’s relatively easy to recite the works of God, either those you have seen for yourself, or have heard about from others, or have seen in Scripture. And whether you know it or not, we have all been recipients of mighty deeds. As such, we were able to fill up an entire side of whiteboard in a short time.

But when I flipped the whiteboard and asked them to recount WHO He is, it took significantly longer, and we came up with maybe only a third the number of examples.

Why was that? Many of the works of God are tangible; they can be seen, touched, heard, tasted and smelled. His attributes however may not fall within the physical realm, and require a bit more study on our part. The good news is His acts are entirely consistent with His nature; so if you have to start with WHAT He has done in your life—if you look—you will find a divine attribute behind that act.

Mighty deeds – most often, this Hebrew word is translated as power or strength, and what we can learn from its various definitions is, God’s power not only proclaims who He is, but what He has done. And when He empowers us, it reveals who He is, and what He has done—in us:

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Excellent in excellent greatness is most often translated as abundance, and can also be translated as greatness; so verse two could say: Praise Him according to His great greatness. But the psalmist was seeking to convey a “better” superlative; sort of a super superlative. That makes sense when you’re talking about the Lord. Language tends to fail us when we describe Him. Which only points us back to my introductory post: Be still and know that I am God.

Get caught up in WHAT He has done… This Is My Father’s World by GLAD