to Archived Meditations
7:2 . . .I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace,
charge over Jerusalem: for he [was] a faithful man, and feared God above
worship of God is often presented in two different ways in the Bible.
One way is to “fear God.” The other way is to “call upon God.”
Fear is often defined as reverential trust and we often hear that fear
does not carry the idea of being afraid. However, in my studies I have
found fear to involve terror and trembling at times. Since a Christian
is “in Christ” we certainly do not fear the judgment of God. So when
new or old testament saints feared God, they apparently understood their
accountability to Him. They also understood that since He was in
control, there were consequences if they disobeyed Him. Some men fear
idols, but a Christian fears God as revealed in Christ. Our fear should
include concern about not living a thankful life in view of His
expression of love for us at the cross.
who calls upon God is one who prays to God. Again, some pray to idols. A
Christian prays to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
our passage, dependability is linked to the fear of God. Apparently,
there are different levels of “fear” and those different levels of
fear lead to different levels of “dependability”. We see some in our
day who say that they are saved or are born again but who do not live a
devoted life to the Lord and, in spiritual things, they are completely
undependable. Their word is not good, their business practices are
questionable, their commitment to the corporate worship of the Lord
comes right after the ball games, their family commitments and
vacations, their camping trips, their need to “sleep in” and so on.
I have asked myself, “If the fear of the Lord is seen by my
dependability, where do I rank? Can I be entrusted with spiritual
responsibility by the Lord and will He know that I will faithfully carry
it out?” If the corporate world is looking for loyalty and
dependability, should the Lord expect less?
only truly faithful person who ever lived on this earth of course was
the Lord Himself. He “finished the work” that He was given to do
(John 17:4). While we don’t live up to that standard, wouldn’t it be
nice to hear the Lord say to others (and perhaps through others), “I
could depend on him (or her)? When I give them something to do, they do
it faithfully. Their love and devotion is obvious by the way that they
serve me. When I ask them to do something, I have never heard them say,
‘Do I have to?’ They always seem to want to!”
of August 1, 2004
12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil
days (days of adversity) come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou
shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I
will fear no evil (adversity): for thou art with me; thy rod and thy
staff they comfort me.
of adversity are a part of life. When things are going well, it is hard
to believe that there might be difficult days ahead. God says, “Plan
for the days of adversity so that when they come you will have Me with
you in them.” Insurance companies get us to buy insurance against the
“evil day” but most people forget about their souls when they are
planning ahead. The Lord does not sell life insurance but He will
provide eternal life assurance for those who want it. Scripture is clear
that we are not ready live until we are ready to die.
mother-in-law has been a hard worker all of her life and has enjoyed
reasonably good health. She lost her husband twenty years ago and has
lived independently since then. Today she is in a beautiful room
provided by Hospice because the days of adversity have come. At 88 years
of age she has cancer and is no longer able to care for herself. We
moved her into our home a week ago but she is now so weak that Hospice
care is a real blessing for her and for us.
a teenager, she made preparation for this day. She found eternal life
assurance by believing God when He made the promise in Isaiah 53:6 that
although we had all sinned and gone astray turning to our own way, “the
LORD hath laid on him (Christ) the iniquity of us all.” Because this
was written 700 years before the events occurred, we who read the
promise today can be sure that the Lord Jesus has borne the punishment
that we deserve because of our sin. Her trust in this promise is what
has given my mother-in-law and her family peace in the “day of
valley in Psalm 23 may have been the valley of Elah where he fought the
giant Goliath. He was the uncircumcised Philistine who defied the armies
of the living God in 1 Samuel 17. David went down into the valley and
met the enemy. He came out victorious because of His confidence in the
living God. We often apply his experience in Psalm 23 to the last enemy
that we face which is death (1 Corinthians 15:26). When the “evil days
come” preparation needs to have been before engaging the enemy. We can
be so occupied with fighting the last battle that our minds may not be
able to think clearly about spiritual issues at that time.
am glad my mother-in-law prepared for this day when her mind was clear.
She has nothing to look forward to down here, but she can look forward
to being with the Lord and she is going to enjoy the glories of being
part of His bride for ever.
of August 8, 2004
Samuel 24:24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy
[it] of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto
the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought
the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
week I had a friend help me move some things from one storage building
to another. In order to thank him, I offered him a lawn trimmer that I
no longer wanted and that had been given to me. When he didn’t want
that, I offered him some unbroken bags of sand that had been left in the
storage unit. He politely refused that gift as well. I jokingly told him
later, “I want to give you something to thank you, but I don’t want
it to cost me anything.” Sometimes I wonder if I show my thanksgiving
to God in the same way. Many of us give to the Lord that which we no
longer want or can no longer use. If the Lord spoke directly to us
today, He might politely refuse some of our “gifts” just as my
friend refused mine.
David was a true worshipper of God. He obviously wanted to please God
and yet he made the mistake of counting the people in Israel who were
able to fight in his army. Instead of depending on God, he was depending
on numbers. God held him accountable for what he had done and because of
this sin, 70,000 men in Israel died from disease. The angel stopped his
destruction at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and David was
told by Gad the prophet to offer a sacrifice there. Araunah wanted to
give David the threshing floor and the necessary oxen but David would
not offer something which did not cost him. So he bought the threshing
floor and the oxen and later this became the place where the temple was
the resources that David had, the price of the threshing floor and the
oxen likely weren’t a major sacrifice for him, and I do take comfort
in that. But he wanted to pay so that His sacrifice would be meaningful.
I think we need to think about that the next time the Lord asks us to do
something that is inconvenient, or perhaps more costly than our usual
ten percent or perhaps just doesn’t fit in with what we want to do.
Maybe this should start with us presenting our bodies “a living
sacrifice” and having our minds transformed as we are admonished in
Romans 12:1-2. We need to give ourselves to the Lord and not just give
of ourselves. While salvation is a free gift, saying thanks with
something that has cost us gives reality to our worship.
of August 15, 2004
30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
is associated with Satan and evil in the Bible. John tells us that “men
loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil (John
3:19).” Paul reminds us in Romans 13:12 that, “the night is far
spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of
darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” The church age seems
to be the dark part of this current dispensational day when the god of
this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) is working overtime to keep men and women
from the True Light. The day is about to dawn when Christ will come and
set up His kingdom and then the Son who is represented by the sun will
shine in all His splendor. There will be joy for those who have
presently been delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13).
is a lot of sorrow in the darkness. Remember Mary Magdalene at the tomb
of the Lord Jesus in John 20? She was weeping because the Lord had not
only died a most cruel death but now it appeared that someone had stolen
the body. What joy she must have had when she realized that the One who
spoke her name was not the gardener but the resurrected Lord. Weeping
was for the night when men had their way and the Lord was crucified. Joy
came in the morning when the Lord was raised from the dead.
always seems rather dark before we are able to trust the Lord for
salvation. We find that our sins bother us and we can’t seem to
understand how to be sure we are saved. Then the true light of the Word
of God opens our eyes as we realize that Christ did indeed die to save
us. True joy comes at the beginning of a new day spiritually as we are
born again by trusting the Lord (John 1:12-13).
is no joy associated with lowering someone into a freshly dug grave but
there is joy in knowing that the resurrection morning is coming when the
grave will be powerless to keep the body committed to it. When we seem
to be traveling uphill and the wind is in our faces in stead of at our
backs, when we think Murphy’s law is operating overtime (which says
that if anything can go wrong it will), then is when we who are saved
need to remember that things are going to get better. Weeping may endure
for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
of August 22, 2004
Samuel 23:11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And
the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece
of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.
Samuel 23:12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it,
and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
David’s mighty men proved their loyalty, devotion and faithfulness
while David was rejected and fleeing from Saul. They became his “mighty
men” and were the leaders that he depended on when he finally became
King. The Lord Jesus is presently rejected by the world at large and the
Lord is looking for those who are loyal, devoted and faithful now to
help Him administer His future Kingdom. I believe this is one way that
the Lord rewards the faithful when He comes the second time to reign.
(See Matthew 16:27, Mark 9:41, 1 Corinthians 3:14). This passage
pictures a new testament Christian who faithfully defends a small
portion of the Truth that has been committed to us.
many churches say that they won’t deal with doctrine because it is
divisive. But the new testament saints continued steadfastly in the
apostle’s doctrine according to Acts 2:42. The Gospel involves the
doctrines of sin, salvation, sanctification, justification, and
resurrection along with other teachings. I sometimes wonder how much of
the Truth of Scripture we are willing to defend today. Churches have
differing views on what faith in Christ means and how to obtain it. They
have differing views on baptism, on the early new testament gifts (or
graces), on church doctrine and on eternal security. This must be
confusing to those who are uninstructed in Spiritual things because it
is confusing to me. The One Spirit who wants unified Christians with one
faith, one Lord and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5) surely can’t be
leading us to differing conclusions. So I have to ask myself, what do I
really believe and am I willing to defend that even if I have to do it
alone? It appears Shammah was alone in his defense of the patch of
lentils since the people were fleeing from the enemy.
of us have spiritual preferences rather than Biblical convictions
because it is considered intolerant to be definite about Biblical Truth
today. Rather than trying to get a Biblical understanding of Truth, most
of us have thrown up our hands and said that we just won’t deal with
those things where Christians differ. This has left the church at large
giving up ground or Truth and starving its people because anything that
is taught that might be controversial is considered “off limits”.
Instead of reading the Bible, we have started reading popular books
about the Bible which are often aimed at what people want instead of
telling people what they need. We have resorted to what “I think”
rather than depending on what “God said”. I realize that we need to
rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15) and that is a subject
that needs to be taught. However, we are called to be witnesses in Acts
1 and a witness only tells what he or she knows. Witnesses are not
responsible for what they don‘t know. While we shouldn’t live in
ignorance and hope that solves the problem, we should be willing to
defend the Truth that we do understand, even if we have to do it alone.
Otherwise, the enemy wins in this day when Biblical Christianity is
being attacked even by those who claim to be Christians.
of August 29, 2004