Divine Sugar Sticks for October 2001
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Monday, October 1, 2001
The Apostle Paul Declares the Promise of Ultimate Peace in This World
“The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly,” Rom 16:20.
“Think Not That I Am to Send Peace on Earth,” Matthew 10:34
Universal peace on Earth will only come when the Lord Jesus Christ ushers in
His kingdom of peace and when He reigns supremely as King of kings.
Promised and possessed peace can be fully enjoyed as we live in the will of God. ”The fruit of the Spirit is peace.” As He speaks peace to His saints, He warns them not to turn again to folly.
If we are His children, then loving His Word and having the mind stayed on
Him, we can experience peace, a perfect peace, a peace passing all
understanding, and misunderstanding as well.
“The Meek Shall Delight Themselves in the Abundance of Peace,” Psalm 37:11
Have you read the story of the old woman whose life had been a constant
struggle against poverty? And who had never seen the sea? On being taken to the
seaside for the first time, she exclaimed, “Thank God there is something that
there is enough of.”
The Benediction of Peace!
In Paul’s beautiful benediction, he dwells upon four different aspects of peace.
In Jesus Christ for peace I abide,
“Follow Peace With All Men,” Hebrews 12:14
There are peace Promises that bring us to the outward manifestation in our
lives of the Divine and inner peace we possess to have as the Lord’s..
“Follow peace as a hound does the hare.” It is to be feared that we do
not have the same enthusiasm for peace among ourselves as hounds have for hares.
As a God of peace, He is consumed with a passion to make all men the
recipients of His bounty. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He is
all for peace and has peace for all – reconciliation.
“There is No Peace, Saith the Lord, Unto the Wicked,” Isaiah 48:20-22
What a graphic picture the prophet gives of the turmoil and conflict raging
within the breast of the godless.
“Acquaint Thyself With Him and be at Peace,” Job 22:21
What a gracious Promise this is!
Because peace was secured at Calvary, all that one with a troubled conscience can do is to acquaint himself with Him who is the Prince of Peace.
When at peace with God, then, as Job promises, “Good shall come unto
Promises for Believing! Faith is Believing!
There is a saving faith. “For by Grace are ye saved through faith.”
Faith is a Divine Product
“The fruit of the Spirit is...faith,” Gal 5:22.
“There Are Diversities of Gifts...Faith by the Same Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 12:4, 9
“Saved through faith – it is the gift of God,” Eph 2:8.
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
Our Belief Influences Our Behavior
“Whether ye be in faith,” 2 Corinthians 13:5
We must distinguish between faith as a principle in life and as a body of revealed Truth. When we speak of one “denying the faith,” we mean that he rejects the revealed Truth of God as found in the Bible. This is “the faith we are earnestly to contend for.”
To be “in faith” one must have faith born of God. The modernist attacking
and rejecting the fundamental facts of the faith is not conspicuous for his
personal faith and confidence in God. He is usually self-centered and
“God Hath Dealt to Every Man the Measure of Faith,” Romans 12:3
This faith is God’s gift. All believers have faith, otherwise they
would not be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Some exercise their faith
more than others.
“Strong in Faith Giving Glory to God,” Romans 4:20
Under hopeless circumstances we hopefully believe. “He staggered not.” Abraham
believed that God could cause the impossible to happen.
“The Trial of Your Faith Being Much More Precious Than of Gold That Perisheth,” 1 Peter 1:7
Such a trial is exemplified in the lives of Abraham, Joseph, the prophets,
the apostle Paul, and the apostles. See Gen 22:1-2, Gen 40:14, 15, Psa 105:17,
19, 2 Cor 11:24-28, and Hebrews 11.
Is your faith being sorely tried? Keep believing. God is near no matter
how dark the night. Faith will triumph. Faith always triumphs.
“Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For,” Hebrews 11:1
This is more than a definition of faith. It is a declaration of its action.
Faith is certain that the ship is coming home to port, although it cannot be
“Faith is the Victory That Overcometh the World,” 1 John 5:4
Faith’s triumphant answers to every accusation, every doubt, and every fear
The troubled sinner aroused to see that his body is but food for the worms and his soul is fuel for the flames, has heard the Promises, the precious Word.
He is led by God the Holy Spirit to accept as true, and true for himself, the
Promises of the Gospel and he knows by the testimony of his Saviour, Who cannot
lie, that he has passed out of death into life.
Biblical Reasons for Going to War Against the Terrorists!
”And I looked and rose up”
I am sure this is one of your memory verses, right?
A Biblical Promise for a Terrorist Attack!
“Thou shalt not be afraid
That is a Promise from the Lord!
What Instructions Does the Lord Give the Believer When the Believer Finds Himself or Herself Under a Terrorist Attack?
“But if ye suffer for righteousness sake
What if This is the “Terror of the Lord?”
“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord
The Doctrine of Prayer!
What a marvelous array of prayer promises the Bible spreads before us. No
matter where we look, God is presented as the One who hears and answers
More prayer pointers to come!
More to come…
Wednesday, October 3, 2001
The Bible is predominately a Book of prayer. It does not prove the reality of
prayer. It takes it for granted that prayer does not need proof, but
And many, many more.
Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are encouraged to add to their list of prayer Promises the gems of their own search which, with eyes open, they will discover in the most unlikely places.
You must have some of your aspects as to what prayer is like to you.
There is a Place!
There is a place where you can touch the eyes
“He That Cometh to God... A Rewarder of Them That Diligently Seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6
Here we have two general principles regarding prayer.
Contact depends upon conception. It is only as we know Him that we can
Is God real to you? Is yours the reward of seeking Him?
“Lord, Teach Us to Pray,” Luke 11:1
While it is true that men, even godless men, cry out to God in the deep
crisis of life, the fact still remains that prayer is not natural to the
“Praying Always With All Prayer,” Ephesians 6:18
When your knees knock, kneel on them!
“We Know Not What We Should Pray For,” Romans 8:26
How helpless we are without the indwelling intercessor, God the Holy
Spirit, our Instructor in prayer. At best we are only infants crying in the
night, with no language but a cry.
“God Forbid That I Should Sin Against the Lord in Ceasing to Pray for You,” 1 Samuel 12:23
We seldom catalog praylessness as a sin, grievous in God’s sight.
“Whatsoever Ye Ask in Prayer Believing,” Matthew 21:22
Here is the Lord Jesus Christ’s blank check for all who pray. ”Whatsoever”
– surely this covers all our needs.
Thou art coming to a King,
The Bible offers abundant evidence that God not only hears, but also promises to answer those prayers offered in accordance with His sweet, beloved will.
”The Lord is nigh unto all them call upon Him in Truth,” Psa 145:18.
“He Shall Pray God and He Shall be Favorable Unto Him,” Job 33:26
If we draw nigh to God in all reverence, adoration, and faith, He then has
delight in responding to our petitions. God never withholds anything good thing
from those who seek Him, Psa 84:10-11.
“Lord, Thou Hast Heard the Desire of the Humble: Thou Wilt Prepare Their Heart, Thou Wilt Cause Thine Ear to Hear,” Proverbs 10:19
In this gracious Promise, three Divine actions are indicated.
The necessary preparation of the heart, in order to approach to God in a way
agreeable to Him, is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Thursday, October 4, 2001
“By a Riverside Where Prayer Was Wont to be Made,” Acts 16:13
Wherever we pray, God is present, omnipresent!
If the Spirit of prayer is sincere, the sphere makes little difference. Yet
if at all possible, it is so helpful to have a sanctum, a trusting place, where
God and the soul can meet.
“Evening and Morning and at Noon Will I Pray,” Psalm 55:17
Set times as well as set places contribute to the
value of our prayer life. How often do you pray?
“Make Thy Prayer... Pay Thy Vows,” Job 22:27
To pray then means to pay, but how slow we are to learn that He who prays,
The Vital Connection Between Prayer and the Promises
The latter should always be the basis of our prayers. For the Promises as a
whole are our warrant for asking and our security for receiving what we ask for.
“Put Me in Remembrance: Let Us Plead Together,” Isaiah 43:26
When praying for deliverance from Esau, Jacob reminded God of His Promise at Bethel and in Padanaram. Gen 32:9-12.
Twice over, Moses pleaded God’s Promises in his intercession for his
people. Exodus 32:13, Num 14:17, 19.
Once we are persuaded of the Promises and embrace them by believing
prayer, we claim their fulfillment. How our prayer life is enriched when we come
before God with some gracious Word of His own in our souls, and on our lips.
Friday, October 5, 2001
Promises for Christians Only!
The term “Christian,” which came into vogue with the establishment of
Christianity in the world was originally coined as a nickname. The people of
Antioch watching the Lord Jesus Christ’s followers and observing how like their Lord
they were, called them “Christ-ians,” meaning followers of the Lord Jesus
When the Lord Jesus Christ was on this Earth, those who received Him and His
teachings became know as “disciples,” or “learners,” or “taught
ones,” and as such formed His Church in representation.
Promises for Saints!
The personal application of the Promises of God are written for all
saints and they are likewise written for each of the saints.
How Single Texts Shine Out Before the Soul in Its Hour of Darkness Like a Light to Each Belated Traveler
The lonely widow, the helpless sick, the pining exile, the friendless poor,
the feeble old, the fainting and the dying lift up their eyes and forget
their misery when they think about how their God has said, “Fear not: for I
have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; Thou art Mine. When thou
passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they
shall not overflow thee,” Isa 43:1, 2.
The Worth of Any Promise You May Plead Gathers an Additional Glory as You Bear in Mind “That Heaven and Earth May Pass Away, But Not One Word of Your Heavenly Father Will Fail til All is Fulfilled”
Further, you must remember that any Promise, or all of them, are not lent
to be recalled at any time, but they are given. They are not given of
favor, nor of any merit, but are earnests of Grace, words of love, not
reward for service.
Given equally, with royal fullness, to all believers, not to a happy selected
few, the elder sons or favorites of God’s great family, but to all alike
with an impartial hand, as they have shown themselves fitted to receive.
The Promises of God are Exceeding Great and Precious in Their Boundless Diversity and Scope. Human Promises Can Meet Just a Few Needs.
Divine Promises cover all our needs, as their abundance clearly proves. Here are the classifications of some of the Promises:
I have broken them down and put them into categories, if you are interested.
Saturday, October 6, 2001
There Are General Promises Which Blanket All That We May Require When it Comes to Temporal, Physical, and Spiritual Blessings
Daily the Lord loads us with His benefits. ”What shall I render unto the
Lord for all His benefits toward me?” Psa 103:2, 116:10.
Centuries Have Passed Since God Gave Noah the Promise That:
“While the Earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and
summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease,” Gen 8:22.
“The Lord is My Shepherd. I Shall Not Want,” Psalm 23:1
This shepherd Psalm as a whole reveals the Shepherd’s ability to care
for us in every way.
“They That Seek the Lord Shall Not Want Any Good Thing,” Psalm 34:10
This is another comfortable Promise to cheer our souls and to strengthen our
“All Things Come of Thee,” 1 Chronicles 29:14
“Shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32
God is the Source of every good gift and every perfect gift. Temporal mercies
and spiritual blessings are from Him.
“The Lord Hath Blessed Me Hitherto,” Joshua 17:14
“Hitherto hath the Lord blessed us,” 1 Samuel 7:12
Each of us can raise one stone of Eben-ezer and be confident that
all the Lord has been, and is, He will be.
“God, Even Our God, Shall Bless Us,” Psalm 67:6
“My God shall supply all your need,” Philippians 4:19
Our wants should remind us of God’s Promises. And the promises should be
used to quell our fears and comfort our souls.
“Consider How Great Things the Lord Hath Done for You,” 1 Samuel 12:24
Too often we dwell upon the miseries of the past and forget our mercies. But
as He supplied us through all the yesterdays, and satisfied us with His Grace,
He will not withhold any good thing from us in the days to come.
“He Will Bless Them That Fear Him Both Small and Great,” Psalm 115:13
How full of cheer is this Promise for those of humble estate and whose fare
is frugal. God cares for the small things in His creation, even the
“No Good Thing Will He Withhold From Them Who Walk Uprightly,” Psalm
|”Trust in the Lord and verily thou shalt be fed,” Psa 37:3.|
|”Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things,” Psa 103:5.|
|”He satisfieth them with the bread of Heaven,” Psa 105:5, 40.|
|”That Thou givest them they gather: Thou openest Thine hand, they are
filled with good,” Psa 104:27-28.|
|”I will satisfy the poor with bread,” Psa 132:15.|
|”Thou openest Thine hand and satisfieth the desire of every living
thing,” Psa 145:16.|
|”The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul,” Prov 13:25.|
|”Ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,” Joel 2:26.|
|”Bread shall be given unto him; his water shall be sure,” Isa 33:16.|
|”The Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place,” Hosea 4:16.|
If you need more, there are more!
What a small petition this is – bread sufficient for a day! Why did
the Lord Jesus Christ not teach us to pray for bread enough to last a week? A
month? A year?
By this request we are taught a two-fold lesson.
|First of all, we must learn the lesson of continual dependence upon our
heavenly Father, coming to Him each morning asking for the day’s food, that
we might never feel that we can get along without Him.|
|In the second place, the Lord Jesus Christ teaches us the true way to live is day by day, one day at a time. We are not to be anxious about tomorrow’s needs. Did not the manna have to be gathered a day’s portion at a time?|
The grasses are clothed,
The ravens are fed,
From His store.
But you, who are loved
And guarded and led,
How much more
Will He clothe and feed you
And give you His care?
Then leave it with Him. He has everywhere ample store.
Is not famine mentioned as one His four sore judgments? Yet even in days when food is scarce, God is able to preserve His own.
|”Them that fear Him to keep alive in famine,” Psa 33:18-19.|
|”Verily thou shalt be fed,” Psa 37:3.|
|”I have not seen His seed begging bread,” Psa 37:25.|
|”In famine He shall redeem thee from death,” Job 5:20-21.|
|”In days of famine, they shall be satisfied,” Psa 37:19.|
|”The Lord his God which giveth food to the hungry,” Psa 146:7.|
|”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … shall famine,” Rom
|”At famine thou shalt laugh,” Job 5:20-22.|
Elimelech should have remained in Bethlehem, meaning “the house of
bread,” in spite of the famine. As a Jew, he should not have gone down to Moab
for bread. Ruth 1:1-3.
Had not his covenant-keeping God promised to care for him? No matter what scarcity may prevail, God can provide for His own.
One of the secrets of life Isaiah suggested in his chapter on liberality in which he recommends that we, “Deal our bread to the hungry,” Isa 58:7. Also look at 2 Kings 4:1-7.
Is thy cruse of comfort failing?
Rise and share it with a friend.
And through all the years of famine,
It shall serve thee to the end.
Love Divine will fill thy storehouse
Or thy handful still renew.
Scanty fare for one will often
Make a royal feast for two.
“All Americans are sinners.” Yes! “All have sinned and come short of
the glory of God.” But “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus
I didn’t think he knew that passage. Is that in the Koran?
We worship the Son of God. Worthy is the
Lamb to be worshipped.
And they worship Allah...the sun-god.
“My soul thirsteth for God, the living God,” Psa 42:2.
Did not our Lord remind us that while food is so necessary for our mortal life, we “cannot live by bread alone,” Matt 4:4. If God so willed it, we could live without bread, even as Moses and the Lord Jesus Christ did for 40 days. But we could not live without Him, the Bread of life.
Bread is a second cause. The Lord Himself is the first Source of our sustenance. We can work without the second cause as well as with it, and we must not tie Him down to one mode of operation.
Let us not be too eager after the visible, but let us look to the invisible God.
God is referred to as “filling the appetite of the young lions,” Job
Overeating is condemned by Solomon, who certainly knew what he wrote about. “Put a knife to thy throat, if thou be given to appetite,” Prov 23:2. Now there is a unique diet!
|”Yet the appetite is not filled,” Ecc 6:7.|
|”Greedy dogs which can never have enough,” Isa 56:11.|
A normal appetite supposes life and is regulated by nature. A carnal
appetite is satisfied with carnal things.
In the spiritual realm a Christian can only be satisfied with spiritual things. His appetite is fixed on his object and it is only as he feeds upon the Lord that he enjoys satisfaction. Psa 107:9.
They did not live to eat, but ate to live. “Let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink,: Dan 1:12.
They proved to those around them in the court that plain living was the ladder up which they mounted to high thinking. Likewise was John the Baptist.
These young men set themselves against undue indulgence of the body in eating and drinking, and so must we if we would be spared from indulgences unfitting the soul for the lofty and sublime delight of fellowship with Heaven.
|“Take no thought ... for your body...what ye shall put on.”|
|”Take no thought, saying...wherefore shall we be clothed?”|
|”Shall He not much more clothe you?” Matt 6:30.|
|”Their raiment waxed not old,” Deut 8:4, 29:5.|
|”If God will give me...raiment to put on,” Gen 28:20.|
|”I will clothe thee with raiment,” Zech 3:4.|
|”Having food and raiment,” 1 Tim 6:8.|
|”Buy of Me white raiment that thou mayest be clothed,” Rev 3:18.|
Good clothes are expensive these days and those saints who are materially
poor may have a little anxiety as to where new clothes are to come from.
Well, there is this Promise that as God clothes the field with grass, He will surely care for the bodily covering of His children.
He who made man so that when He sinned He needed garments, also in mercy supplied him with them. If He clothed Adam and Eve, He will clothe you.
Some one came to the door and said, “What do you do with your old clothes?” I said, “I am wearing them.”
The health and holiness of the body are of greater
importance than its habiliments.
As a child of God, your body has become a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Holy of Holies, which means that you have to be more anxious over your body functioning as a medium of blessing than as a mere model displaying the latest creations.
To spend more money on clothes than we do for nutritious food whereby the body can be kept healthy and thereby able to render the utmost service for the Lord, is surely unworthy of one redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Promise is that if God is able to feed the birds, and our bodies, He also has the power to provide the raiment the body needs, if He clothes the birds with such lovely plumage.
He will not be indifferent regarding what His children should wear. He knows what things we have need of.
He gives a coat of feathers,
It is very plain, I know,
With never a speck of crimson
For it was not made for show.
God, then, was man’s first Tailor. Adam and Eve, conscious of their
nakedness, sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons, or loin
But such aprons afforded no efficient and permanent covering. Therefore God made them – coats of skin, longer than aprons and more durable than leaves.
Man’s first bodily covering was made of skins and skins imply the death of animals. God condemned the leaves Adam provided by his own effort. Our self-righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight, Isa 64:6. Apart from the sacrificial covering of Divine righteousness, we are naked before God.
Naked – come to Thee for dress.
“For God maketh my heart soft,” Job 23:16. This is why the hearlessness
of those he condemns weighed upon Job’s soul.
”They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold,” Job 24:7.
When old man winter comes around, are our souls pained as we think of the very many who lack sufficient clothing to keep them warm?
How grateful we should be if we have sufficient clothing to keep out the cold. Are there those living near you whose raiment is scanty, who are poor and unable to provide what they sorely need as the cold, wintry days approach?
As you count your blessings, are you also sharing them with others?
“Buy of Me white raiment that thou mayest be clothed,” Rev 3:18.
A study of raiment verses in the Bible reveals that God is in the clothing business in a large way. He Himself is described as being clothed with light, with honor, with majesty, with garments of vengeance, in vesture dipped in blood, in a cloak of zeal.
As for ourselves, we are to be clad in garments of salvation, humility, and righteousness, fine linen, clean and white – all promised and provided by God, which should be our daily garb. 1 Pet 3:3-4.
It is true that clothes make the man. We have the right kind of clothes to make us the Christ-man. “Clothed in righteousness.”
White frequently denotes victory and the favor of God. If, however, we
magnify ourselves against the Lord, He will clothe us with shame and dishonor.
We are urged to “buy of Christ” the spiritual raiment we need. And such a purchase is not made with silver, but surrender.
Abandonment to His claims is the only currency He will receive for the performance of any of His Promises.
Behold the lilies as they grow
They neither toil nor spin.
Yet humans never wore robes so fine
As God hath clothed them in.
Could He who clothes the fragile flower
Forget to clothe His own?
In faith lay hold upon His power
To Him thy cares make known.
There is that old spiritual song about all God’s children having shoes. Many of His children have shoes the soles of which are thin, and who wonder where their next pair will come from.
|”Thy shoes shall be iron and brass,” Deut 33:25.|
|”Thy shoe is not waxed old upon thy foot,” Deut 29:5.|
|”He will keep the feet of His saints,” 1 Sam 2:9.|
|”Their feet swelled not,” Neh 9:21.|
|”Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,” Eph 6:15.|
God promised and provided shoes for His pilgrim people. They are very needful
for traveling along rough ways and for trampling upon deadly foes. We shall not
go barefoot. This would be unsuitable for princes of royal blood.
Our shoes shall not be at all the common sort, for they shall have soles of durable metal, which will not wear out even though the journey be long and difficult.
We shall have protection proportionate to the necessities of the road and the battle. Wherefore let us march boldly on, fearing no harm even though we tread on serpents, or set our foot upon the dragon himself.
|“The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,”
|”Thou shalt have plenty of silver,” Job 22:25.|
|”From brass I will bring gold, and from iron I will bring silver,” Isa
|”Wealth and riches shall be in thy house,” Psa 112:3.|
|”By humility and fear of the Lord are riches,” Prov 22:4.|
|”Give me neither poverty nor riches,” Prov 30:8.|
Plantus, the Latin philosopher, is credited with having said, “By Heaven,
money is a beautiful gift.” But it is a beautiful gift only when it is
received as a trust from Heaven and used in ways pleasing to Him to whom the
silver and the gold belong.
This world with all its mines of wealth
Is Thine, O Lord, alone.
We thank Thee for Thy riches here
For they are not our own.
The problem most people have with money is that they don’t consider it as a trust from the Lord.
The patriarch confessed that gold, and not God, had been his confidence. His
hope had been in his gift and not in his Giver, like Solomon.
If it had been true that money talks, then with a loud commanding voice it demands worship. And gold-greedy souls bow in allegiance in that which makes them as hard as the metal they worship. You become what you worship.
Worshipping the “golden calf,” they too perish in the wilderness. The Laodiceans are described as being “rich and increased with goods,” but the Lord saw them as “poor and miserable” and urged them to turn from gold to Grace.
The richest man is the poorest, if his soul is destitute of Him whose price is above rubies. Heaven’s millionaires are those who revel in the riches of His Grace.
Because gold is the most valuable of all the metals, it is used to typify God’s
Word, tried saints, sound doctrine, and the New Jerusalem.
In the Promise before us, Isaiah reminds us that a man is worth more than money. But wherein is a man more precious than gold, even than a “golden wedge of Ophir.”
What the prophet is here condemning is the expenditure of money on useless
things. As a nation we spend more money on cosmetics than Christian missions.
More on crime than on education.
A good many Church-going people spend more on amusements and sports and personal pleasure and non-essentials than they do for the furtherance of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Money prayerfully and wisely spent produces bread upon which God, ourselves, and others can feed.
”Bread” represents that which is sustaining and satisfying and is therefore a fitting type of the good our gold can accomplish when it is used as a trust from the Lord.
Isaiah likewise has a paradox about buying without money. Faith and obedience form Heaven’s purchase price for all its spiritual commodities.
There are some valuable possessions money can’t buy. Money may “speak,”
but it can’t save. (Money speaks – It says goodbye.)
Gold can purchase a great deal, but when it comes to the redemption of the soul which is more precious, all the money in the world would not be sufficient for such a transaction.
”Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious love of the Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Pet 1:18-19.
Whether rich or poor, God’s priceless salvation is offered to all as a gift.
As my Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ paid the atonement money, paid
it in the currency of Heaven – His true body and reasonable soul.
We do not have to bring to the temple even half a shekel in our hands. The Lord Jesus Christ paid the whole shekel.
While it is true that money cannot buy us back from sin’s bondage, once we become the Lord’s, our substance must be dedicated to Him. Although saved from sin and hell without money and without price, we can serve our Saviour with our money.
The Scripture says we dare not offer Him that which costs us nothing.
It would seem that the more the natural man has, the more he wants. Thus,
the love of money and not
the money itself, becomes the root of evil.
It is always dissatisfying to love money for money’s sake. Whether we have much or little, may the Grace of satisfaction be ours.
An ever-deepening love for the Lord Jesus Christ will deal more effectively with any love in our souls for the passing possessions of this world. 2 Tim 4:8-10.
Paul speaks of those coveting money. “Err from the faith and pierced
themselves through with many sorrows.”
There are times when the lure of money ruins the influence of God’s servants. Micah asks, “Can the Lord work among us, if we judge for reward, and teach for hire, and preach for money?”
Those who are called to minister the Word of God are under the solemn obligation of ministering to all without undue concern of the cash value of opportunities, knowing since “the laborer is worthy of his hire,” the Lord will provide all necessary remuneration.
Have we not the Promise that our every need will be supplied?
There are those who have said, “as I face an audience I find myself weighing it and saying to myself, I wonder what I can get out of this crowd?”
It should be the sincere desire of a prophet or pastor to give and not to get, all he can, and rest in the assurance that God is ever a good Paymaster.
In these days of heavy taxation when various taxes claim a large part of our income, it is somewhat consoling to learn that the Lord Himself willingly paid His annual tribute.
He met every required demand. Rather than evade the tax collector, He
performed a miracle to provide sufficient tribute money for Himself and Peter.
The apostle found the silver piece in the fish’s mouth.
Have you ever prayed that the Lord would perform another miracle when it came time for you to pay your taxes? April 15?
Money is found in other ways to meet Church obligations. Schemes, many of which are unworthy of our high and holy calling, are undertaken to raise money. A strong Church under the influence of Grace giving, not gimmick giving, does not have any financial problems.
|”As the Lord prospereth you, so give.”|
|”Purpose in your mind what ye shall give.”|
Giving is a mental attitude. It must be willing.
Judas is a tragic illustration of the love of money being the root of evil.
As the treasurer of the Lord’s band of disciples, Judas betrayed His trust,
for he kept what was in the bag. The bag-man. Evidently he was chosen to handle
the money matters because of his administrative ability. But his gift was his
Disgusted over Mary’s expensive expression of love, Judas thought only of her love-gift in terms of money. And he expressed pity for the poor and said that the 300 pence Mary spent on her alabaster box of ointment was wasted. Something like $50 seemed too much to waste in such a way, yet how inconsistent Judas was.
He grumbled at Mary sacrificing $50 to anoint the Lord Jesus Christ for His burial and yet sold the Lord for $19.
It is the abuse, not the right use of money, which the Bible condemns.
Is there not something fascinating about the pentecostal commonism of the
early Church? ”Neither said any of them that ought of the things which he
possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”
Lands and houses were sold and the money put in a common purse for distribution as each person had need.
Ananias and Sapphira were smitten with sudden death because of an acted lie on their partial surrender. Professing their all was on the altar, they kept back part of the price. Are we all not guilty of the same dark sin when lustily we sing,
“All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give.”
But yet withholding many of our coveted treasures?
The sorcerer being accustomed to receiving payment for his sorceries and
enchantments evidently thought Peter was a dealer in the peculiar power of the
Holy Spirit, and that a gratuity was necessary for the transfer of such.
But whatever faults Peter may have had, making a fast dollar in any was not one of them. Neither Peter nor what he had could be bought.
Judas was tempted to sell the Lord, but Peter had no temptation to dispose of spiritual power on a cash basis. The incident of the silver piece in the fish’s mouth had taught him that the Lord Jesus Christ could supply all necessary money.
The lesson of the narrative is evident. Spiritual treasures cannot be bought with material means. Nothing is sold over Heaven’s counter. A pauper can enjoy as much sunshine as a prince.
God’s provision is of Grace and can only be received by faith.
Compassion should prompt our giving. And our giving must not be applauded
much less to get influence over others. Neither must the poor be helped with
expectation of return, whether in kind or gratitude.
What we give is a loan, a loan to the Lord, and His Promise to repay is better than gold or silver. ”He will pay him again,” means that He will double what you give.
Whatever we do, we do as unto the Lord, our giving should be as unto the Lord, not as unto men, or to be seen of men.
There are times when our right hand would be ashamed if it did know that the
left hand gave to the needy.
This is no Promise for those who give to the poor in order to be seen of men.
Those who desire recognition have their reward at once, when their giver whispers to himself, “How generous I am.” It is fatal to reward ourselves for giving.
Both here and hereafter, the Lord Jesus Christ, from Whom nothing is hid, will personally see to the rewarding of the secret giver of alms.
Unworthy debt is as much a breach of the Divine precept as robbery or murder.
All of us, especially if Christians, should live within our income and not disgrace the Lord’s Name by contracting debts we cannot pay. Rash speculations are inconsistent with our Christian testimony.
We are exhorted to adorn the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. But if in debt and not grieved by it, humbled under it, and striving to extricate ourselves from it, we blacken our profession.
As Christians, payments should be prompt and punctual. Our Promise should be as firm as a bond. We prove the Lord Jesus Christ’s blessing “which maketh rich without sorrow,” Prov 10:22.
”Owe no man anything but love,” means the Spirit-filled life. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” We owe them that!
A vow of poverty is not the Christian way of life. The Bible has much
to say about riches. As in human society, so in the Bible, which is a true
mirror of society, the extremes of riches and poverty are met.
Many children’s hymns are weak and sentimental and also distort the Truth. For instance, there is one hymn a verse which reads,
“The rich man in his castle
The poor man at the gate;
God made them high and lowly
And ordered their estate.”
Such sentiment is not true of the Divine character. God cannot be blamed for
the feudal system that produced such extremes. Some men become rich through
their own industrious efforts while other men become poor because of their
The Bible certainly teaches that God permits wealth for some and poverty for others.
We see in Scripture everywhere the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have seen how that He is unique in that He can lay down His life and take it up again and that no one can take it from Him.
|We also see His uniqueness in His ascension into Heaven. He said “no man
|When it came to Enoch, it says, “God took him.”|
|When it came to Elijah, he was “taken up in a fiery chariot.”|
|But when it comes to the Lord Jesus Christ, He says “He ascendeth” and that “He went to my Father and your Father.”|
He didn’t need any outside instrument or outside force like other men did, but
by His own free will and power He ascended.
We as believers in the Rapture also will be taken up. We cannot ascend in our own power. We need an outside Source.
But when it comes to the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ, He says, He ascended of His own free will and power.
”And He was caught up in a cloud,” identifying Himself with the Shekinah glory over the mercy seat and the cloud that shadowed the Mount of Transfiguration. He ascended into Himself. Truly this is our unique Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of God’s saints are poor in respect to this world’s goods, yet rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which God has promised to them that love Him.
”The poor of this world, rich in faith,” James 2:5.
”Poor...thou mayest be rich,” Rev 3:17.
“Poor, yet making many rich,” 1 Cor 6:10, 8:9.
”I know thy poverty…But thou art rich,” Rev 2:9.
The saints in Smyrna were plundered and persecuted,
tried and tortured, but the Lord Jesus Christ said of them, “Thou art rich.”
So are all believers “rich,” even if our pockets are empty.
We are rich in our blessed relation to the Trinity.
Rich by donation because unsearchable riches have been bequeathed us.
Rich by faith.
Rich in expectation of a city where the Builder and Maker is God.
Rich though sunk in poverty,
Rich in Grace which God hath given,
I am a legal heir of Heaven.
|“Them that honour Me, will I honour,” 1 Sam 2:30|
|“I will set him on high…and honour him,” Psa 9:14-15|
|“His horn shall be exalted with honor,” Psa 112:6, 9|
|“In her left hand riches and honour,” Prov 3:18, 4:8, 10:22|
|“By the fear of the Lord are riches, honour, and life,” Prov 22:4|
|”If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour,” John 12:26|
Prosperity and honour are among other Promises associated with the material
realm which the Bible takes cognizance of.
”The Lord shall make thee the head, not the tail,” Deut 28:2, 8, 13
Israel was made plenteous in goods that, as a nation, she might be able
to lend to all nations and borrow from none.
The work of Israel was blessed, not only because God delighted in her, but in order that she might become the medium of blessing to others. Prosperity was not hers to retain but to scatter.
The Lord pours in what we seek to pour out!
We have struck a partnership with God and we promise to dispense whatever the Lord provides. This was the way in which Israel functioned.
Here we learn the lesson of sharing what we receive.
Asaph was somewhat disturbed over the prosperity of the wicked.
|Profane, yet they were prosperous.|
|Defiant, ye they were affluent.|
|Godless, yet they escaped the trials and affliction of life.|
”I saw the prosperity of the wicked,” Psa 73:3, 37:7.
Asaph himself was pure in heart, yet poor. Righteousness had failed to bring him any of the riches fools enjoyed. Consistent, yet he was chastened every morning. Such seemingly inequality was too much for him.
Then something happened. Asaph went into the sanctuary, and looking at the prosperity of the wicked from the Divine Viewpoint, he understood how transient their vaunted treasures were. Psa 73:17-19.
Does not experience teach us that the gains of the godless often result in grief? Their wealth, which is often secured in dishonorable ways, produces misery.
Opulence ends in a tragic overthrow.
In so many ways Israel had been honored of the Lord. As a nation, however, she
committed the folly of glorying in her prosperity rather than in the Lord who
This was Solomon’s problem. It may be America’s problem.
Divine warnings passed unheeded. The Grace of God should have begotten humility and confession, but the nation, Israel, puffed up with conceit over their Divinely bestowed possessions, lived to see their treasures plundered by ruthless hands.
Is this possibly the reason for the recent terrorist attacks?
Is Israel’s tragedy that of many a Christian? God was good in sending prosperity their way. But a more affluent position, instead of being used of God, gradually withered up their spirituality.
Gains were not dedicated to the Lord Who sent them, but used on the gratification of selfish desires. God lovingly warned them. but their ears were deliberately closed to the Divine appeal.
Prosperity became their God. And the God of their prosperity was forgotten. Like Jeshurun, “they waxed fat and forsook the Rock of their salvation.”
A commentary on our country? Wealth shuts your ears.
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according
to all the Law which Moses Thy servant commanded you. Turn not from It to the
right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever
”This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night that ye may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then shall ye make your way prosperous and then you shall have good success.”
”Have I not commanded you to be strong and of courage, be not frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Formula when under a terrorist attack!
One of the tactics of the terrorists is to terrorize Americans. When
people are frightened, they are neutralized.
”As a man thinketh in his mind so is he.” Fear is a snare, a trap. You are like an animal caught in a trap and the enemy has won.
”The fear of man bringeth a snare,” like an animal caught in a trap. “But,” conjunction of contrast, “whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” Prov 29:25. Mental attitude of trust.
|”What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”|
|“In God will I praise His Word. In God I have put my trust.”|
|“I will not fear what flesh can do unto me,” Psa 56:3-4.|
|”In God have I put my trust. I will not be afraid what man can do unto me,” Psa 56:11.|
|”And fear not him which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul,” the real you, ”But rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” Matt 10:28.|
And this Promise is the one that my wife quoted to me while she was dying of
”Fear thou not, for I am with thee.
”Be not dismayed, for I am thy God.
”I will strenghten thee, yea,
”I will help thee, yea,
”I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness,” Isa 41:10.
”Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee,” Isa 41:12-13.
“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the Strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my mind shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” Psa 27:1-3.
Keep these Promises on your refrigerator or in your purse or wallet to remind you that the terrorists want to terrorize you and thereby neutralize you. Don’t let them.
Regardless of what you call any religion, the Lord Jesus Christ has this to
say, “He who is not with Me is against Me.”
There is no middle ground. There is no neutrality. You are either with Him or you are against Him. You either gather with Him or you scatter.
”Choose this day whom you will serve. But for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
And we are breaking them down into different categories like Promises in the
physical realm and Promises in the spiritual realm.
Ever since the terrorists hit New York and Washington D.C., our leaders have avoided quoting correctly any Bible Promises, but they are reading now from the Koran. The Bible, the Mind of Christ, the Word of God, and the Voice of the Holy Spirit have been silenced. That troubles me more than the stock market.
Here are some principles you won’t find in the Koran, no matter how wonderful you think that book is.
If you would like to challenge me, I have many, many more.
You won’t find the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour in the Koran.
What a heartening Promise this is! All God's Promises raise the expectation!
What the Promise has engaged to give, providence seems loath to bestow. But no good Word of His can possibly fail.
If in straitened circumstances, God knows your need. Therefore, you expect Him to support you under all trials and supply you with all necessary good, if you are striving to make Him your daily portion.
Poverty is a hard heritage, but those that trust in the Lord are never forgotten of Him, even though it looks as though they have been over looked in His providential distribution of good things.
Those who appear to be among the poorest are yet rich in faith and are
blessedly content, even though frugality is theirs.
They may also appear to be the most friendless, yet theirs is the “truest Friend who has promised never to forsake them.”
They have committed themselves to Him, and have the assurance that He knows all about their struggles.
They have committed themselves:
Paul knew what it was to suffer penury for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At times he existed upon the gifts of fellow believers. If help was not
forthcoming, he turned to his trade as a tentmaker to make ends meet.
Because God was his Inheritance, he was never downcast when he had nothing. His bare necessities were usually met. And having learned “to rejoice in the Lord always,” he was content.
He lived not only for the Lord, but he lived upon Him.
Why should our souls be charged with temporal cares when we know that:
No wonder Paul could say, although destitute of those material possessions calculated to make other people happy, that he possessed all things.
The Lord Jesus Christ affirmed “the poor you have with you always” and
they are “near to us for us to consider.”
This precious Promise is for those who think about the poor and consider them a Christian duty. To throw a coin as we pass to a poor person is not to look into their case and devise means for their relief, as this Promise suggests that we should.
We receive singular, personal, providential help as the Lord sees how desirous we are of trying to bring the needy out of trouble. As we do unto others, so will the Lord do unto us.
“The needy cries, what else can he do?” His cry is heard of God, what
else need he do?
Let the needy take to crying at once, for this will be his wisdom. Do not cry in the eyes of friends, for even if they can help, it is only because the Lord enables them to help you.
The nearest way is to go straight to the Lord and let your cry come up before Him. Straightforwardness makes the best runner. Run to the Lord and not to secondary causes.
No saint, no matter how poor, can say, he has “no helper.” If without material supplies and even human friends, the Lord can undertake in both capacities.
”He is the Helper of the helpless” and able to supply all temporal mercies. The advice of Solomon, who never knew what poverty was, is well worthy of our recognition.
”Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right,” Prov 16:8.
Poor? Of course not! Why, how could I be when Christ my Lord is
taking care of me.
Worthy? Oh, no! The marvel of it is that I should know such boundless love as His.
And so, I am rich with Jesus Christ. I am a joint-heir since once He stooped my poverty to share.
”Though He was rich, yet He became poor, that we may be rich in His Grace.”
What do you do if you are a conservative??
If we desire to flourish spiritually and materially, then we must not hoard up our possessions, but share them with the more needy.
Nigardliness may be the world’s way to prosperity, but it is not God’s way. Does not the Bible say, “There is he that scattereth and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet and it tendeth to poverty?”
The more we give, the more we receive. If we hoard up what we receive and do not have bowels of mercy, then, too, great riches may make me as unwieldy as corpulent persons usually are, and cause me the dyspepsia of worldliness, and perhaps bring me a fatty degeneration of the heart.
The psalmist confesses that he fell into hidden envy when he saw the
prosperity of the wicked, and he probably wasn’t the last!
Nothing vexes a man so sorely as his bitter sense of unfairness in the ordering of things. But the wealth of Heaven has no canker staining it and is far more precious than money.
The prosperity of the wicked is of short duration. But the saint’s prosperity is eternal.
|”Yet a little while and the wicked shall not be.”|
|”He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”|
If we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ in whom alone is sweet contentment, then
may He save us from all discontentment, envy, and fret.
The poorest of His saints is loftier in rank and riches and treasure than the world’s millionaires and princes.
”If any man would not work, neither shall he eat,” 2 Thes 3:10
Whether our labor is manual or mental, or both, we can find some practical
advice in what the Bible has to say about the day’s labor.
”Blessed shall thou be in the field....blessed shall be thy basket and thy store,” Deut 28:35.
The underlying principles in these Promises are the same whether work is in a field or in a factory.
Obedience to God brings a blessing on our industry and also upon all the provisions our industry earns for us.
If our work provides just enough for our needs with very little to put up for a rainy day, we have the Lord’s Promise that His blessing will be ours, even if we do live from hand to mouth, getting each day’s supply in the day.
As long as it is from His hand to our mouth, what else matters?
”Be ye strong, and let not your hands be weak, for your work will be rewarded,” 2 Chr 15:7.
“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work will be rewarded,” 2 Chr 15:7.
The God Who accomplished great things for King Asa and Judah when they were
feeble is able to strengthen us for life’s responsibilities.
Whether we think of our labor to live or service for God, the promised reward is the same. Our labor, as the Lord’s, is never in vain. Our present best reward is to go through our work with determined diligence.
”The Lord thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest,” Deut 15:18.
There are hardly any translations that include in their translation the
uniqueness of the New Testament Greek.
One principle is the “law of conjunctions.” The word that you find is the word “and,” which is “KAI” in the Greek.
A conjunction is that part of speech which connects two parts. If we don’t mind our conjunctions, we will lose our associations, which a man found when he got to the railway station and found that his car was not connected with the train and was therefore left behind.
”We are told to be looking for “and,” “KAI,” the glorious appearing of the blessed God our Saviour,” Titus 2:13.
We may never have the honor of standing in the presence of earthly
potentates, even though we labor hard and long at the work of our hands.
But of this we are confident, that if we labor for the Lord from the dawn to the setting sun, the blessed privilege will be ours of standing before the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Salvation will bring us unto His royal presence, and service will determine our reward from His hand.
For approximately 15 years the Lord Jesus Christ labored at His bench. He
worked at His trade proving that an honest trade is no discredit to any man.
He who spends his time in idleness is fit for any business in which Satan chooses to employ him.
Of this we are confident that nothing shoddy ever left that carpenter’s
shop. The hands of the Lord Jesus Christ could not make anything unless it
was perfect. As He worked with wood and nails, others around Him probably
witnessed the toil of the Divinity revealing the Divinity of toil.
And as the majority of us have to labor hard and long, it is comforting to know that in the Lord Jesus Christ we have One who understands. He knew what it was to “earn His own bread by the sweat of His brow” and the strength of His arms.
This is just one of the many respects in which the Lord Jesus Christ “was made like unto His brethren,” took on flesh.
We are not saved by any works of our own, Eph 2:8-9. But in being
saved by Grace, we are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” Eph 2:10.
These are all manner of duties, as well as thoughts, words, and actions, toward God or man, which are commanded in the Law of God and produced from “a pure heart and faith unfeigned,” and are referred unto God’s glory.
Further, these works are not the cause of our entrance into the kingdom, but the foundation of our reward within it.
While we cannot work for our salvation, Rom 4:5, we can work as servants for our position in the coming glory. Faithfulness to the Lord, His Truth, and His cause form the basis of reward in eternity.
The word Paul uses here for “workmanship” suggests a unique creation, a masterpiece.
”We are His poem,” which is given as a translation of the phrase “we are His workmanship.” Re-creation, then, nullifies fleshly works and produces good works.
How untiring the Father and the Son and likewise God the Holy Spirit work for
the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls. While it may appear as if Truth is
on the scaffold and wrong is on the throne, the Father and the Son are
tireless in Their united effort to take the prey from the mighty foe.
Divine forces are silently operating and will one day emerge victorious over all the dark, satanic powers arrayed against the Lord and His own.
Often we hear the question “Why doesn’t God do something about war?” We must remember that God is not a detached Spectator of world travail and anguish. While it is true that Satan is still the god of this world, God overrules even the machinations of our arch-enemy. God is not inactive, indifferent, or ignorant.
As the omnipotent One, He reigns. And along with His Son He is working out the best for His own.
“Study to show thyself approved, a workman…”
Study and work were favorite words in Paul’s vocabulary. Here he is found using them to enforce our double relationship.
Continuous study must be ours if we have lives approved of God. Then, as diligent workmen, we must “rightly divide His Word.”
All who handle the Word are spoken of as “workmen.” The Books of the Bible are our tools and with them we have to work until we able to rightly divide the Word of Truth. All preachers should be specialists in the Scriptures.
Observation, however, compels us to admit that the Bible is the one Book a great many preachers know least about. One has only to listen to them to discover that they wrongly divide the Word of Truth. They are peddlers in small wares, instead of skilful workmen, well able to handle the august themes of the His Holy Word.
Paul was spiritually practical. He knew how to harmonize work and worship.
Thus sandwiched in between a solemn injunction regarding sanctity of life and
the revelation of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, he has this matter-a-fact
note about “studying to be quiet,” “doing our own business,” and
“working with our own hands.”
Evidently Paul had met those who made plenty of noise, and who knew a great deal about other people’s business, but who did little with their own hands. They could talk a lot, but toil little.
Paul was likewise a man who practiced what he preached. A prince of preachers, an astute theologian, and a gifted writer, he yet worked with his own hands at tent making in order to live.
”Declaring that they who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel,” Paul saw to it that he was not dependent on others.
”There was a laborer who was worthy of his hire,” yet made his trade support him.
|When Enoch was translated without seeing death it is said that, “God took him.”|
|When Elijah was translated, it is stated that he, “was taken up in a fiery chariot.”|
|When the Rapture occurs, we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will be, “caught up to meet Him in the air.”|
But notice the uniqueness once again of the Lord Jesus Christ – “He
By His own will and power He ascended. He needed no outside vehicle or power. It was all accomplished within Him.
We can’t ascend. We have to be taken or caught up.
Take me! I am all Yours!
|“The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word,” Matt 13:22.|
|”Be not overcharged with the cares of this life,” Luke 8:34, 21:34.|
|”Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you,” 1 Pet 5:7.|
A fixed and constant attention to the Promises and a firm faith in them and the audacious claiming of them delivers us from fear, doubt, and anxiety associated with the cares of this world.
The acceptance, the reality of the Promises quiets the mind and fosters
composure amid the crises and changes of life and prevents our souls from
sinking when faced with the severe and several troubles the flesh is heir to.
”In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Thy comforts delight my soul,” Psa 94:19.
When we fail to appropriate the Promises of God, we deprive ourselves of
their solid comfort.
And when we do, we give way to unbelief or to the forgetfulness of “the Promiser Himself.”
We must never forget that there is no extremity no matter how great, but that there is a Promise suitable to it and through it sufficient relief.
How do you spell relief?
With such an all-powerful Creator, whose wonders are displayed in the
universe and who is also our loving Lord, we should be content to leave our
cares and causes to Him.
The marvels of His created world will be matched by the gracious provisions of His kindly providence for those who rest in His will.
Consider the little bee that organizes a city that builds 10,000 cells for honey, 12,000 cells for larvae, and finally a very spacious cell for the mother-queen. A little bee that observes the increasing heat and when the wax may melt and the honey be lost, organizes the swarm into squads and puts sentinels at the entrance and glues the feet down. And then with flying wings, makes an electric fan seem tawdry. A little honeybee that will include 20 square miles in the field over whose flowers it has oversight.
If a tiny brain in a bee performs such wonders, who are we that we should question the guidance of the Lord?
Lift up your eyes and behold the Hand that supports the stars without pillars, the Lord Who guides the planets without collision.
He it is Who cares for you.
To bee or not to bee!
It primarily means the management of a household or of household affairs. It
is a Greek word made up of two words “OIKOS,” house; “NOMOS,” a law.
Then the management or administration of the property of others, and as a
“stewardship,” Luke 16:2, 3, 4.
Elsewhere only in the epistles of Paul who applies it:
It was used of the Jews who from time to time had been scattered among the
Gentiles, John 7:35. Later with reference to the Jews, so scattered who had
professed or actually embraced the Christian faith. ”The dispersion,” James
And especially of believers who were converts from Judaism and scattered throughout certain districts, “sojourners of the dispensation,” 1 Pet 1:1, R.V. And in the Septuagint, of Israelites scattered and exiled, Deut 28:25, Deut 30:4, Neh 1:9.
The Jews are still scattered and will not be regathered till the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In English it is “python.” In Greek mythology it was the name of the
python serpent or dragon, dwelling in Pytho, at the foot of Mount
Parnassus, guarding the oracle of Delphi and slain by Apollo. Then the name was
transferred to Apollo himself.
Later the word was applied to diviners or soothsayers regarded as inspired by Apollo.
Since demons are the agents inspiring idolatry, 1 Cor 10:20, the young woman in Acts 16:16 was possessed by a demon instigating the cult of Apollo, and thus had a “spirit of divination.”
This will give you some insight into this passage.
It is used of the power of God, 2 Peter 1:3 and of His nature, verse 4 in
each place, as that which proceeds from Himself.
In Acts 17:29 it is used as a noun with a definite article to denote the Godhead, the Deity, the true God.
This word instead of “THEOS” was purposely used by the apostle in speaking to Greeks on Mars Hill, as in accordance with Greek usage, Divinity.
The noun is “LATREIA” which is akin to “LATREUO,” to serve, primarily any service for hire. It denotes in Scripture the service of God according to the requirements of the Levitical Law, Rom 9:4, Heb 9:1, 6, “Divine service.”
It is used in the more general sense of service to God. John 16:2, Rom 12:1.
Martha was cumbered about many things. The Lord Jesus Christ did not upbraid her for being solicitous about home responsibilities, but their encroachment upon the more needful and the good part, namely, meditation upon Him and His Word.
The many trifles of time must not effect, distract, and bewilder us, robbing us therefore of precious fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In our birth we enter a world with all its sin, suffering, and sorrow along its separations. But at our death, if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we say farewell to all that the flesh is heir to.
It is in this respect “to die is gain.” For life is nearer every day to death.
If, however, we die in Christ, then death is the commencement of life for evermore.
Zacharias and Elizabeth were assured that the birth of their Divinely-promised and provided son, John, would result in much joy. He came as the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ Whose birth was also to be accomplished with much joy.
The birth of a child usually produces happiness. Unwanted children are not joyfully welcomed, much to the detriment to the babies themselves.
Are you still a joy to those who gave you birth?
Well, what about the second birth?
We should never forget what it cost the mother that who bore us. Many a mother had to forfeit her life in the birth of her child.
She dies that it may live. But if spared, the agony and travail are soon forgotten in the joys of radiant motherhood.
And as she faces the future with the promise of happy companionship, “the children which God hath graciously given thy servant,” Gen 33:5. “He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children,” Psa 113:9.
“Children are a heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is His reward,” Psa 127:3.
Your children have the right to the 7,000 Promises of God when they are able to understand and appropriate them. How many of the 7,000 Promises of God have you given your children?
Promise them everything, but give them the Promises of God found in the Word of God
In this renowned chapter it is full of Promises of redemption and regeneration. The Lord Jesus Christ emphasizes the necessity for a second birthday. Happy Birthday!
If we are to carry with us the Promises of eternal life, we must be born again – literally, born from above.
Our physical birth by natural generation enters us into an earthly family. The second birth by generation brings us into the heavenly family and makes us children of God. Gal 3:26.
Our natural birth is necessary to the spiritual birth. But it matters little where, or of whom, we were born naturally.
The question of permanent importance is have we been born again by God the Holy Spirit?
Do you have two birthdays? Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!
Birthdays, whether natural or spiritual, should always be associated with gratitude. As we reach each milestone, we should be found reviewing the past with gratitude for God’s unfailing Grace, and stepping out into the future with new dedication to His service.
Here are two Bible birthdays observed in different ways. Joseph interpreted to the butler and the baker what would happen to them as soon as Pharaoh’s birthday came around. As prophesied, the butler was released from prison, but the baker died. It was a good day for the butler, as with wine he added to the merriment on the anniversary of Pharaoh’s birthday.
What a good opportunity it was to speak a kind word in Joseph’s favor. But the story reads, “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him.”
May no birthday of ours be marred by forgetfulness and ingratitude!
A terrible tragedy was enacted when Herod’s birthday was kept. John the baptist was beheaded.
Yet for John himself, that orgy of a happy birthday was a happy occasion since it witnessed his liberation from the toils, tears, and trials of Earth. “Absent from the body and face to face with the Lord.”
“No more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain, no more death.” Heaven is the land of no more.
The moral is that when birthdays are misspent, they usually bring sorrow in their trail.
This momentous birth changed the calendar of the world. This is why we have B.C. and A.D. and recognize this as the year 2001. In the fullness of time Jesus Christ came as the promised Saviour.
What a dark, sad world ours would have been if He had not been born of a virgin as prophesied and promised. The first birthday of His caused Heaven to rejoice and hell to rage.
The Christmas carol tells us that Jesus Christ was born to give us second birth.
Do you celebrate two birthdays in a year? When you celebrate the day of your natural birth, are you happier over another day, which reminds you of all you are heir to because of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His death for us?
Did you ever pause to wonder what thoughts the Lord Jesus Christ had as His birthday came around? What emotions must have been His as He remembered that Deity and humanity were combined in Him, and that He appeared as the God-man in order to bring man to God!
Countless millions in Heaven and Earth praise Him for His lowly birth, knowing that He came into the world to save sinners.
|Is the world better for your birth? Voltaire the French skeptic died groaning, “I wish I never had been born.”|
|What enrichment has your birth added to your life?|
|When you reach your next birthday, ask yourself the question, “As my
years come and go, is my life telling for God on others around me?”|
How gratifying it is when children, like the child Samuel, grew up in the fear of the Lord. How preserved they are if their young minds are saturated with the Truths found in the Bible.
Seven was a very early age for the son of Ahaziah to be crowned king. Joash had been but a year old when he was preserved from slaughter and kept hidden for six years. Now on his seventh birthday he is produced and acclaimed king of Judah.
Is there a boy or girl in your home or in Sunday School class celebrating a seventh birthday? Well, why not use the coronation of Joash as the basis of an appeal for a decision about the Lord Jesus Christ If he was not too young to be crowned king, surely the child at your side is not too young to learn about the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, “born King.”
He began to reign and reign he did, for he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. The youngest can be taught how to reign in life by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The next time a child has a birthday and you celebrate it, use it to explain how they can celebrate two birthdays. What kid doesn’t want two birthdays?
Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!
|Divine blessing is promised for the young who honor the aged.|
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man and fear thy God. I am the Lord,” Lev 19:32.
|Divine favor is promised if a Godly example is followed.|
“My son, hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law of thy mother,” Prov 1:8, Jer 3:4.
|Divine counsel is given young people in order to live.|
“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, but know,” Ecc 11:9.
What a blessed Promise this is. While Solomon is personifying wisdom and saying that wisdom has her lovers and seeks her seekers, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself became the personification of the Wisdom of God. The Promise is if we seek and love Him, in return we shall enjoy Him and find Him.
The appeal is to the young, early in life. Happy are the young whose morning life is spent with the Lord Jesus Christ. The younger we seek Him and find Him the better.
Early seekers make certain finders.
A good deal has been said about putting an old head on young shoulders, which implies that youth should not be burdened with too much labor and responsibility.
Bismark’s advice was “to the youth, I have three words of counsel – work, work, work.”
Jeremiah’s word is as good as a promise. It was good, it is good, and it will be good to bear the yoke. Many a yoke prepares a young person for future honor. The yoke of affliction, of disappointment, of hard work make for character. Soft times in one’s youth do not make for eminence.
As a lad the Lord Jesus Christ toiled at the carpenter’s bench and grew up with a love for those whose day’s work is hard. Some of the most conspicuous men in the ministry, in commerce, in politics, are those who as youths had to work hard in some realm or other.
Success has a sweeter taste if it has sprung from rough soil. Youthful burdens and responsibilities create compassion, understanding, large heartedness, and contentment.
Can it be that you are young with little time to spare? Other young people are free and have plenty of money for sport and pleasure. But you have to keep your nose to the grindstone.
Are there times when your yoke is sometimes irksome? Well, remember that a yoke is made for two. The Lord Jesus Christ has promised to share your yoke. If your burden seems heavy, bear in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ offers to bear both the burden and its bearer.
“My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The rich young ruler’s tragic lack was his unwillingness to surrender the very thing that came between him and the Lord Jesus Christ. He loved his money and to be told that he had to part with all that he had was a drastic condition of discipleship the wealthy youth was not willing to fulfill.
“He went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.”
But the young man, the Lord Jesus Christ, pleading with the rich young ruler was not asking the impossible. He was only urging him to follow in His steps.
Did not the Lord Jesus Christ surrender all when He left His Father’s home above? Rich for the ruler’s sake and ours, “He became poor.”
Are you young, strong, and free, and yet lacking in one thing? What hinders your surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ? With the rich young ruler it was his possessions. What is it with you?
As the Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest Possession, let everything else go and secure Him.
David’s ruddy face indicated that his blood stream was pure. This shepherd lad, a deep lover of nature, never wasted his substance in riotous living. And was therefore worth more to God than any desolate shepherd of his day. It is not necessary for a young person to go the way of transgressors and sow wild oats.
We are too apt to glorify those who are saved out of a horrible pit. Certainly great sinners when fully emancipated magnify the Grace of God. But surely unspoiled lives are of greater value to the Lord Jesus Christ. Damaged goods sometimes do not yield the full price.
This is why we should labor for the salvation of boys and girls to win them early, before they are partially destroyed by the means to capture their unspoiled physical and mental powers for the Lord Jesus Christ, Who deserves the best.
In his letter to Titus, Paul urged him to exhort young men to be sober minded, exhibiting incorruptness, gravity, and sincerity. What an example for modern youths to emulate. But the disposition of many a young person today is a blot upon our national life.
Timothy, in order to have an influential youth, had to be in reading, exhortation, and Doctrine. The bulk of young people today do not go in for much serious thinking and reading. Sports, pleasures, amusements, dominate their spare time. If you are a God-fearing youth, diligent in your studies and work, a compelling witness with be yours.
No man will despise your youth if the Lord Jesus Christ is the center and circumference of your life.
Without doubt, this Psalm sets forth the Promise of the high priestly and kingly prerogative of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ recites this brief, but blessed Psalm as referring to Himself, Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36.
The epistle to the Hebrews likewise quotes this Psalm interpreting it Messianically. By the dew, we are to understand freshness.
In a very real sense the Lord Jesus Christ retains the dew of His youth. He did not come to the end of His sojourn an old, decrepit man. Not one hair of His head was gray on His crucifixion day.
The Lord Jesus Christ had just turned 33 years of age when He entered into glory. 33 years!
Because of the fact that the glory of a young man is his strength, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, as “the young Prince of glory,” retained the dew of His youth.
The Ancient of Days, He yet had the perennial freshness of eternal youth. No wrinkles will gather on His brow. Time produces no change in His glorified body. His strength never wanes.
And the Promise is that when we see Him, we shall be like Him. Youthful forevermore! See also Isa 40:30-31.
Do not be overawed by Shakespeare’s sonnet:
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field;
Thy youth’s so proud livery gazed on now,
Will be a withered weed of small wealth held.
May you and I have this assurance that whether the future years bring health or sickness, loss or gain, that the Grace of God will be ours to have a bow abiding in strength.
Till brief or long my granted years,
Of life with love to thee and men,
Strike when Thou wilt the hour of rest,
But let my last days be my best.
“Ye shall walk in all the ways the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may prolong your days,” Deut 5:33, 6:2.
If we would experience an old age serene and bright, then we must learn how to embrace the Divine Promises which refer to life’s sunset years and thereby prove to be a lie the adage that says, “Youth is a blunder. Manhood a struggle. Old age a regret.”
|“Thou art come to thy grave in a full age like as a shock of corn cometh in its season,” Job 5:26.|
|“Ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid,...multitude of years shall teach wisdom,” Job 32:6-7.|
|“What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days that he may see good?” Psa 34:12, 14.|
|“I am now old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,” Psa 37:25.|
|“Cast me not off in the time of old age,” Psa 71:9, 18.|
|“With long life will I satisfy him,” Psa 91:16.|
|“Even to your old age, I am He, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you,” Isa 46:4, 40:29-31.|
The Bible Promises that we can have a good life right up to the last mile. Maybe you are at this time an old saint living on your savings, or your pension, or on social security. Yours has been a full life and you are waiting patiently your happy release from the woes of this world. It may be that the passing years have brought you sadness or disease or the death of loved ones. If so, make this old prayer yours.
God grant me the serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
There is no witness like an old witness.
When he was 84 years of age, faithful Caleb could say, “I have wholly followed the Lord.” Life is not to be counted by the calendar, nor measured by the years.
While we cannot prevent the years going by, we can retain enthusiasm and hope and the assurance that He who is the length of our days will sustain us until our traveling days are over.
“That his eye was not dim, nor his natural forces abated.” No Viagra for Moses!
If winter has settled down upon your hair, accept the challenge of advancing years.
You will never grow old if your heart keeps young,
And your mind is fresh and keen.
If you look ahead and turn your back,
On the things that might have been.
You will never grow old if your thoughts keep pace,
With the swing of life’s swift stride.
If you keep in step with the stir of things,
In a world that is big and wide.
You will never grow old if you have a goal
And a purpose to achieve.
You will never grow old if you have the power
To dream and to believe.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
History as well as the Bible proves that some of the greatest tasks were accomplished by those well past middle life and who demonstrated that:
|No matter how the years go by|
|No matter how the birthdays fly|
|You are not old.|
Samuel Johnson was 68 when he began to write his greatest work, “The Lives of the Poets,” which he finished in his 72nd year.
John Wesley preached with power when he was 86 years of age.
Verdi, at 74, produced his masterpiece, “Othello,” At 80 he produced “Falstaff,” and at 85 the famous “Ave Maria,” “Stabat Mater,” and “Te Deum.”
Oliver Wendall homes at 79 wrote “Over the Teacup.”
Michael Angelo, the greatest of artists, created works of genius when he was past 80.
Tennyson was 83 when he composed his famous poem, “Crossing the Bar.”
Goethe completed “Faust” when he was 80.
When he was 86, William F. Gladstone wrote to Lady Dorothy Neville “The year hand on the clock of time is marked at 86 and has nearly run its course. I have much cause to be thankful and still more to be perspective.”
“Perspective!” That is the key word, “undreamed horizons ahead.”
Grandma Moses was an inspiration for all who feel that life is over at any definite age. She was 76 before she owned her first paintbrush. She lived to the 100 mark and her pictures are collector’s items and her original scenes are in major art exhibits.
Such an illustrious list surely proves that life can begin well after 40, with courageous hearts determined to make every passing day count for the Lord.
When I grow old,
God grant that every child,
Will feel the youthful texture of my soul,
And turn not away from me,
As from a thorn on blighted tree,
When I grow old.
“Cast me not off in the time of old age,” Psa 71:9. Because of the several references in this Psalm to the aged, it has come to be known as “The Old Man’s Psalm.”
Old age is sometimes beset with fears of being unwanted. It is to be regretted that some old people are treated as if they are discarded.
David had the Promise that the Lord would remember him in his declining years and enable him to become a kindly, gracious old man, sweet in mind, soul, and spirit.
Thou who hast made my house of life so pleasant,
Leave not its tenant when its walls decay.
O love Divine, O helper ever present,
Be Thou my Strength and Stay.
Mrs. Bush says, “Talk to your children and tell them that you love them.” Yes, by all means, and show them that you love them by telling them that for the first time in history we don’t have to go overseas to fight and come back home after it is over. But war has come home to America and all you have to do is walk out your front door and you are in a battle.
We can no longer use the old adage, “We are making a better world for our children to live in.” We have not. This is a worse world at this time to raise your children. We didn’t grow up in the environment in which our children are now beginning to live.
Tell your children that they are in a battle. Whether they know it or not, whether they want it or not, being born, they are enlisted in a war. New war, yes, not that war is new. War is as old as Cain. But it is new because it is at our very own front door. Equip your children for the war that they are in impacted by the recent terrorist attacks.
Fight the good fight. Endure hardship as a good soldier.
“Faith is the victory that overcometh the world.”
More to follow…
Life is a momentous trust not to be trifled with, but used for the glory of the Lord who gave it.
|“The righteous shall hold in his way,” Job 17:9.|
|“Even to your old age, I am He...Even I will carry you,” Isa 46:4.|
This is another blessed Promise for each of us as age creeps on. When we grow old our Lord will still be the “Great I Am,” Who created us and bears us all through the years.
Our white hairs speak of physical decay, but although aged, we enjoy this Promise by the foresight of faith. The arms of Him that decays not are round about us to carry us when we can hardly carry ourselves.
No Christian should dread old age but grow old graciously, by the Grace of God who carries us in the years of infirmity and physical decline.
How uplifting in this Promise for all those who have reached life’s evening tide! In the natural world everything is dark at evening time, but in the spiritual world it is the opposite.
Does not this Promise feed your patience? The glorious morn is at hand and it casts something of its light before us.
At times it would seem as if when the aged die that their eyes are lighted with a holy luster, and the harps of Heaven are sounding on their behalf.
May such a sunset be yours and mine.
This is not darkness, it is light,
It is not groping, it is sight.
Our thoughts and feelings shall not die,
Nor leave us when gray hairs are nigh,
A melancholy slave.
But an old age serene and bright,
And lovely and Lapland light,
Shall lead us to our grave.
This Promise confirms the fact that the fear of the Lord leads to virtuous habits, which in turn prevent the waste of life that sin and vice produce.
The healthy fear of which Solomon writes kills worry, which is a sure life shortener.
Obedience to and confidence in the Lord act like healing medicine. Here then is the secret of long life, if it is God’s will that we should see a good old age and come to the grave as shocks of corn in season, ripe.
The truest lengthening of life is to live while we live, wasting no time, but using every hour for the highest ends. “Sound Doctrine,” literally, healthy Doctrine.
What a unique portrait Solomon here gives of old age and the failure of the vital forces in the various organs of the physical frame. Old age with its attendant infirmities prompts many to say, “We have no pleasure in them.”
The body becomes too feeble for service, and sometimes the mind is too clouded to appreciate the things of the Lord as in earlier years.
Thus in a fascinating fashion, Solomon describes their infirmities, “the keepers of the house shall tremble.” The house is the body and the keepers are the hands, strong defenders and providers for the home. As protective members, the hands are constantly coming into use in over a thousand ways.
The hand what wondrous wisdom planned,
This instrument so near Divine.
How important without the hand,
Proud reason’s light should shine.
The strong men refer to our legs, the legs and thighs which support the body and bear its weight, bend.
The legs become feeble and unable to bear the weight of the body. In old age, a change takes place in the cartilages. They become brittle and lose their elasticity, causing the body to bend forward and a decrease in stature. The strong men bow to the fiat of an august and mighty power. No curative of the bones of the legs take place.
In old age Peter was told by the Lord that another would carry him here and there.
|“The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,” Gen 2:21, Gen 15:12, 28:16, Isa 29:10.|
|“A deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon men,” Job 33:15, 4:13.|
|“The children of men, they are as a sleep,” Psa 96:3, 5.|
|“Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty,” Prov 26:13.|
|“I will both lay me down in peace and sleep,” Psa 4:8.|
|“He that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame,” Prov 10:5.|
Because sleep is absolutely essential for our physical well-being, when the Lord created our bodies, He graciously provided such a boon.
In these days of stress and strain and also of excessive and exhausting night pressures, multitudes find that they cannot sleep naturally. Suffering from insomnia, they spend millions of dollars on sleeping pills and drugs and tranquillizers.
A study of the Promises related to sleep tell us it is a Divine gift and induced by honest labor. It is likewise used symbolically of natural and spiritual doggedness, and of death.
A good natural sleep is better than medicine. One third of the human span of life is spent in sleep.
“Awake thou that sleepest” means you are out of fellowship with the Lord, so wake up and get back into fellowship using 1 John 1:9.
The poison destroying our energy is called fatigue and the antidote is sleep. Sleep not so much in quantity as in quality. It increases our energy reserve.
Sleep at its best is not a luxury, but a necessity. Muscular and nerve relaxation is the role of sleep. This is why manual laborers enjoy their rest.
Physical exertion induces sleep and proves to be most refreshing. Notice Solomon’s human touch in the narrative, “whether he eat little or much.” Those who labor with their minds may not have the same appetite as others who work with their hands. But both types of labor are exhausting and make sleep sweet.
The idle rich are among the most restless. People who have to work hard are seldom dope addicts. They have little need for sleeping pills.
How many who have time on their hands and an abundance of this world’s goods, long for the laborer’s undisturbed refreshing sleep?
Ezekiel gave a very rich Promise to Israel of old that we can claim and use in a spiritual sense.
How gracious it was of the Lord to enter into a covenant of peace with His sinful and disobedient people. As their Shepherd, He promised to rid them of all noxious influences and give them rest from their destroyers. Is not the good Lord able to make this Promise good to His people today?
What intrigues us about Ezekiel’s Promise is the ability of the Lord to grant His people security in places of greatest exposure and to make the wilderness and the woods pasture fields for His flock.
If the Lord doesn’t change the place for the better, He will make us the better for the place.
The desert is not a place to dwell in, but the Lord can make it so. In the woods one is bound to watch rather than sleep, and yet the Lord giveth His beloved sleep even there.
Nothing within or without should cause any fear to those who are in the Lord Jesus Christ. By faith the desert can become a suburb of Heaven and the woods a vestibule of glory.
There are times when the healthiest Christian is confined to a bed by sickness. Yet even at such a time, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has borne our sicknesses and infirmities, is near.
There is no physician like the Lord Jesus Christ, no stimulant like His love, and no tonic like His Promises. Therefore, let us hug this assurance to our heart even if sickness and trouble are ours.
“When thou liest down, thou shall not be afraid.”
Peter could sleep soundly and sweetly in a prison cell guarded by soldiers. But to have sweet sleep it is important to have sweet lives and sweet tempers, sweet meditations and sweet love.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator Himself, who gave man the ability to draw a dark curtain over his eyes and conscious mind and thus became oblivious of all around him. The psalmist reminds us in different ways that sleep is the gift of mercy to weariness.
It is for a night, the end of sorrow and a compassionate forgetfulness, the restorer of health and strength, and a blessing for which we are not always grateful enough.
Whatever makes sleep natural is the Grace of God.
The qualifying clause in this Promise, however, must be understood – “His beloved.” The highest possible honor is ours through the Grace of God for those who have accepted God’s Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Even though we sometimes may toss and turn at night, we have that on His bosom we can rest in perfect security.
Another delightful aspect of this comforting Promise is that the Lord is continually working on our behalf as we sleep. Actually it reads in the original language of Scripture, “He giveth His beloved in sleep,” implying the rich blessing He imparts when we are in a state of mental repose.
God’s gifts come to His loved ones as they sleep. Thus we have the double thought – the first being that sleep itself is God’s gift. And the other thought is that as we sleep, God communicates gifts we must exercise and dreams we must realize in our waking hours.
What wonderful revelations came to many of the prophets of old, like Daniel, who as they slept, they had visions and dreams of God’s will and purpose, which in waking hours they remembered and rehearsed.
Is not this a remarkable Promise? The Lord Jesus Christ, who made man and provided for all of his physical necessities, including sleep, is never in need of slumber Himself.
It is said that Alexander the Great could sleep because his friend Parmenio watched.
As those of us belonging to a greater King, we can sleep because He is standing guard over us. If for one reason or another we cannot sleep, is it not encouraging to know that our Keeper is ever awake, and able to cheer our souls with the reminder of His Promises?
As the Omnipotent One, unconsciousness never steals over Him. He is ever alert and watches over the house and the heart of His own.
There is an eye that never sleeps,
Beneath the wing of night.
Once again Solomon reminds us of the sweetness or the refreshing benefits of sleep, the lack of which drives man mad and causes soldiers to lose decisive battles.
If undisturbed sleep is ours, do we pray for those who for various reasons endure so many sleepless nights? If sleep is sweet to you, remember to pray for those whose watchfulness guards you as you sleep. Pray for the nurse in her night vigils, the policemen on his rounds, the physician on his urgent calls, the driver at the throttle, the pilot at his task.
Let us also pray for the removal of these terrors which forbid sleep among our nation troubled by war.
What must not be forgotten is that the Truth that sleep is only sweet to those who walk in wisdom’s ways and love her counsel.
“I will make them to lie down safely,” Hosea 2:18.
An advertisement boasting of some certain air spring beds had an impressive sales line. It is vital that you look to your sleep for the rejuvenating powers that will fit you for today’s tremendous tasks.
Your capabilities can only be as great as your sleep permits them to be. For resistance to physical and mental letdowns is only in proportion to the quality of your sleep. So give a thought to that bed of yours. Make it give you a sound, relaxing sleep, a victory sleep, not by sleeping longer, but by sleeping better.
But what is the use of a good bed if the person has a bad conscience? A true victory sleep can only be ours as we experience the life of victory that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who never sleeps, gives us.
Many a martyr has slept soundly on bare boards, the sustaining Lord Jesus Christ making them as comfortable as a feather down bed.
The context of Hosea’s Promise of restful sleep speaks of peace even amid foes. It is blessed to know that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to deal with these terrorist forces threatening the peace of His children in America.
It is safer for a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to lie down in peace than to sit up and worry. Fully-equipped and Divinely-quieted believers in the Lord Jesus Christ lie down in calm repose.
On that night! What a night! Why the very night that cruel Haman had built the gallows to hang Mordecai and had commenced his proposed ruthless extermination of the Jews, it was on such a night of brutal preparation that the king could not sleep or as the original language of Scripture says. “The king’s sleep fled from him.”
Who caused it to flee? Who but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of sleep Himself. Power is His to bestow or banish slumber. But why the king’s sleepless night?
As sleep fled from the king’s eyes, the king commanded the book of the records to be read to him. As a consequence, the unrewarded deed of Mordecai was brought to light resulting in the unfolding drama of Esther and the preservation of the seed which was to produce the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. What catastrophe would have happened if the king had slept through the night?
How do you react when you have a sleepless night? Do you toss and turn and moan and murmur? It is more restful even if you cannot sleep to pray and remember those who deserve your gratitude.
Sleep as found in Scripture is used in many ways.
|While the farmer sleeps in his bed, the seed is growing in his field. Mark 4:27.|
|While the sinner sleeps the sleep of sin, God is working for his good. Rom 13:11.|
|While saints are sleeping, the Bridegroom will be coming to their door. Matt 25:5|
The injunction “love not sleep” is somewhat tantalizing, for who does not love a good sleep? What Solomon means is that we are to love sleep only for its beneficial results, and not merely to sleep our heads off.
That some people are deeply in love with sleep is evidenced by the time they devote to it. Peter slept when he should have been praying. Is that any way for the pope to act?
Drowsiness can clothe a man in rags. Some live to sleep and others sleep to live. Is it not a fact that all of us would be better in life if we spent more time on our knees than on our backs?
If your daily work is of such a nature as to control so much of your time that you find it difficult to wait on the Lord, why not sacrifice an hour’s sleep for prayer and Bible study, and thereby save yourself from spiritual poverty?
Man was meant to sleep at night and he has the Promise that the Lord will protect him as he sleeps.
The development of modern civilization, as well as the multiplication of wealthy pleasures, have turned night into day for many who dissipate their own energies to their own undoing. How these “night birds” add to the darkness of the night by their crimes, etc. But are we grateful enough for those who labor rightfully while we sleep? As each day dawns I am grateful for those who toiled for me while I was asleep.
As we rest, a great army of public servants will be alert that I may be safe and that my needs may be met. May God give them restful sleep when it comes time for them to rest. Police, firemen, military, etc.
Solomon reminds us that to everything there is a season, even a time to sleep.
But the disciples were guilty of sleeping at the wrong time. And every syllable of our Lord’s rebuke is an arrow whose point has been dipped in wistful and wounded love. Had He not distinctly commanded them to tarry and watch with Him?
He desired the fellowship of His own in that grim hour in Gethsemane, but they left Him to tread the winepress companionless.
How guilty and hazardous it is to sleep when the Lord Jesus Christ bids us to be wide awake and pray. Sleep is inexcusable in the face of our Lord’s demand.
“Could ye not watch?” Many a night He spent pleading for us. Shall we grudge Him the less of a few fast-fleeting hours?
In the physical life, the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is subject to varied experiences and emotions, some of which we call “accidents. What do we mean by an accident? The dictionary describes it as that which happens, an unforeseen or unexpected event, a happening by chance, a mishap.
In the Christian’s vocabulary however, the word “chance” is not to be found. We do not believe in “luck.” Events we do not foresee were fully known to our all-seeing Lord. But since the words “chance,” “hap,” “haply,” and “happen” occur in the Bible, it may be profitable to examine their significance.
|“That chanceth him by night,” Deut 23:10.|
|“His hap was to light on the portion of the field,” Ruth 2:3.|
|“Something has befallen him,” 1 Sam 20:26.|
“Hap” is an old Saxon word for “luck.” And “chance” and is the translation of “MIKREH,” meaning a fortuitous chance, which was utterly foreign to the Hebrew creed.
Throughout the whole course of Israel’s history in the Hebrew mind, law, not chance, ruled the universe and that law was not something blindly mechanical, but the expression of the personal Lord.
Israel’s belief on this subject may be summed up in this couplet. “The lot is cast into the lap.” “But the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord,” Prov 33:16.
The thought of the overruling providence in the affairs of men is forcibly illustrated in the career of Joseph. It was no accident or chance that the Ishmaelite merchants passed by as Joseph’s brothers were planning his disposal.
When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers after he came to eminence in Egypt, he looked back upon the event when he was sold as a slave and comforted them by saying, “Be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that you sold me hither, for God did send me before to preserve your life,” Gen 45:4-16.
It was Leah, not an Israelite, who spoke of “fortune” and “fate,” “fortune” being used for “God.”
Isaiah is rebuking idolaters for apostasy to heathen deities, such as “the god of destiny,” but the Christian does not believe in fortune or fate or chance.
To the believing soul there is nothing independent of the will of God. Even although an event may be unsuspected, because of His omniscience, the Lord knows the end from the beginning.
“Chance” in the New Testament means “a meeting together with,” a coincidence of circumstances.
“If haply” denotes “if therefore,” “ if accordingly,” or “ if in these circumstances.”
When Paul spoke of “the things which happened unto me,” he simply meant “the things relating to me,” the thought of chance as we use the term, or luck, or fate was meant.
The word describes those who are in a state of being in pain or trouble.
“To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,” James 1:27.
The following reveal the chief form of affliction:
Individually. These are sicknesses, poverty, and the oppression of the weak by the strong and the rich and perverted justice.
In this category we would place references to adversity, persecution, suffering, trials, and tribulation.
Great place is given, especially in the Old Testament, to “affliction as a national experience,” as we are suffering under now, due to calamities such as war, conquest by foreign powers, and exile.
In the New Testament the chief form of affliction was due to fierce antagonism manifested by the Jewish hierarchy and Rome to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Christian faith.
Such affliction means persecution, imprisonment, and death.
|“Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me,” Psa 119:75.|
|“Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it,” Amos
The Greeks used to speak of the “holy sleep of death.” And the simile was one our Lord used of the death of His friend Lazarus.
When we snatch repose in slumber, we do not cease to be the men we were, our real self. The soul lives on, for sleep is only a parenthesis, an interlude, a temporary halt of physical and mental activities. Thus it is with death.
When our existence in the present is over, we do not sink into nothingness and forgetfulness. We awake on the other side to an undecaying life.
It is thus that a true Christian never says “good-bye.” It is only “good night.”
Why does God permit or provide our sore troubles? Believing as they do in God’s love and justice, affliction seems to be inconsistent with the Divine essence. Why did God let this happen to us? How can a loving God allow us to be attacked by these terrorists??
They come as a direct result of the Divine law of retribution. Job’s friends tried to convince him that his great sufferings were due to his iniquity.
The prophets regarded national calamities as the token of Divine displeasure because of national sins.
People reap what they sow. Gal 6:7.
Afflictions are permitted in order to test the character or the faith of the afflicted. It was thus that God allowed Satan to test the reality of Job’s trust in himself by allowing him to suffer so much disease and misfortune. Job 23:10-12.
Shakespeare in Othello has the couplet which agrees with the Word of God, “Had it pleased Heaven to try me with affliction.”
“Thou hast broken the yokes of wood, but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron,” Jer 28:13.
When light affliction attained the end desired, Divine chastening was removed, for God’s purpose is not to destroy, but to regenerate and restore.
|“Behold I will melt them and try them,” Jer 9:7.|
|“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction,” Isa 48:10.|
Count each affliction whether light or grave,
God’s messengers send down to thee,
Do thou with courtesy receive Him,
Rise and bow and before His shadow pass thy threshold crave.
Permission first His heavenly feet to lave,
Then lay before him all thou hast,
Allow no cloud of passion to usurp thee,
Nor mar the hospitality.
This is why the metaphor of refining metals in fire and smelting out the dross is used to describe the way affliction burns out pride and presumption. Ex 15:25, Job 33:14-30, Job 36:8-15.
Pride is number one on the Biblical list of the worst sins.
|“Blessed is the man whom Thou hast chastened, O Lord,” Psa 94:12.|
|“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes,” Psa 119:67, 71.|
|“I will purely purge away thy dross and take away all thy tin,” Isa
Without the fire and the water, we could never have the gold. “Thus it is with the furnace of affliction,” Isa 48:10.
Often God casts us into the crucible to try our gold of faith and to separate us from dross and alloy. 2 Cor 12:7, 9, 1 Pet 1:7, 4:17.
It is true that in His humanity He learned obedience by the things which He suffered, “perfect through sufferings,” Heb 2:10.
But Isaiah, with profound spiritual insight, reveals that Christ’s pain and sorrow were on our behalf. “He was wounded for our transgressions,” Isa 52:13, 53.
His terrible afflictions were not due to any sin of His own, because He was sinless. In all He endured, He bore the punishment our sin merited. Now as His redeemed ones, we partake of His vicarious sufferings.
|“Fill up that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ,” Col 1:24.|
|“The fellowship of His sufferings,” Phil 3:10.|
|“Ye are partakers of His sufferings,” 1 Pet 4:13.|
A brief exposition of some of these consoling Promises may prove to be profitable. Taken as a whole, they indicate that “affliction” can be of the greatest advantage to us, and the inflicting of it a token of favor.
But the withholding of it may not be good for us. God is the best Judge of what we should experience and endure.
Promises are ours if we are in fellowship and submit to His Wisdom as to what is best for us. Then we have every right to claim the fulfilling of His Promises on our behalf.
“Seven days shall thou eat the bread of affliction,” Deut 16:3.
By affliction we are to understand calamity or distress of any kind. For the Jews, the Passover bread (unleavened) was to be looked upon as the “Bread of affliction” because it was a reminder of the cruel bondage endured in Egypt when heartless taskmasters afflicted them.
That such bread has a bitter taste, the saints of all ages can testify. “Affliction bread,” while never palatable, is yet profitable for spiritual health. It produces trust in God, strength of character, and compassion of approach.
Possibly we thought of our sorrows and trials as being wholly unnecessary and sometimes we could have gotten on very well without. But some afflictions make for spiritual advancement. We climb to God by the path of pain.
“The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew,” Exodus 1:12.
Abundant afflictions, as well as revelations, came the way of Paul and Grace was his to trace them to the Divine Source and to look at them in the light of glory.
Friendly souls felt for him. But while Paul was grateful for their sympathy, he asked them not to be troubled over his sufferings, because God has permitted them all. All would be well.
Do we look upon our afflictions as Paul could, as coming “by Royal appointment?”
If our Heavenly King appoints our adversities, then we too should glory in them. Sighs as well as smiles are traced upon our dial by the God of love.
The Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear in the narrative that tribulation is an indispensable mark of discipleship. As with the Lord, so with His servant. The way of the Cross is the one that pilgrims must walk to the celestial city.
Full allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ brings oppression, ridicule, and resentment. Perhaps affliction has changed its dress since apostolic times.
Christians today are not torn limb from limb in the Roman Coliseum, or burnt to ashes in the fires of Smithfield, beheaded as many of the covenanters were. Yet, if we would live godly in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must suffer persecution. 1 Pet 4:12-16.
But the Lord Jesus Christ also died to “take away tin,” not sin, but tin.
Taking away tin is the Christian way of life – removing the dross and alloy so that you are pure as refined gold. “I will purely purge away Thy dross…and take away all thy tin,” Isa 1:25.
Sin for salvation. Tin for spirituality.
In the days of the severest trial, God always has His chosen ones – “the third part” whom He protects and preserves as a praise unto Himself.
There are always the few in Sardis who, that in spite of what they endure, walk with the Lord Jesus Christ in white.
Although they form the little flock so insignificant, yet to the Lord Jesus Christ they are very precious. To Him they are as white silver and yellow gold, which uses every method to beautify what He prizes most. So, the Heavenly Refiner chastens His own.
We are not promised immunity from affliction because we are His. God transmuted us into His silver and gold, and the fire follows as a necessary consequence.
“Through the fire He brings His own” with the fire refining, but never destroying them.
Then the Promise is ours that although the sorrow may be severe, He never leaves us in the furnace.
While in it, He is with us, as He was with the three Hebrew youths. And then in His own good time He brings us forth graciously with a new glow in life.
Welcome the sour cut of prosperity,
Affliction may smile again,
And until then, sit thee down, sorrow.
“Love’s labor lost.”
The richest blessings that we enjoy have come to us out of the fire. The good things we inherit from the past are the purchase of suffering and sacrifice.
Our redemption comes from Gethsemane and Calvary. We get Heaven through the tears and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whatever is richest and most valuable anywhere has been in fire.
Here is a Promise in essence, if not in form. We sorely need patience, and here is the way of securing it.
If by swimming we learn how to swim, so by enduring we learn to endure. The beneficial ministry of tribulation is supernatural, for of itself tribulation worketh petulance, unbelief, and rebellion.
If our burden is to become beneficial then we must submit to the Lord’s gracious operation. We must bear our trials and understand God’s design permitting them. Remember the Promise of support and thereby gather the fruits of affliction.
Then like Joseph we too can become fruitful in the land of our affliction. From a pit he went to a palace. Had it not been for his slavery, he would never have become the savior of Egypt.
While it may assuage the fury of the flame to know that God has chosen us in the furnace of affliction, there are times, like Moses, we are disturbed over the tears we shed.
Looking at the context we see how God’s treatment of Israel displeased their leader who, somewhat burdened by the responsibility of so great a leadership, asked if he had to carry the multitudes in his bosom. Mystified over God’s anger, Moses asked to be killed.
There are times when we cry like this. We can understand sinners suffering. Because of their flagrant sin, they deserve to suffer. In all they endure nature is only extracting her dues for dissipation.
But why are we sometimes robbed of health and vigor when we have such a desire to live and labor for the Lord? For a full explanation of all that God permits, we must wait until we are in the presence of the Lord.
Meanwhile we can trust the infinite wisdom of our loving heavenly Lord and console ourselves with the remembrance that a “bitter why” was wrung from our Saviour when He said, “My God, My God, Why…??”
Perplexed though we may be over the providential dealings of the Lord, here is a Promise to console our disturbed minds. God never causes any child of His one unnecessary tear.
If God has to strike, it is always in love and His arrow is aimed at our spiritual welfare. Further, when He afflicts, it is only partially, occasionally, and sparingly, because He has no pleasure in our sighs and our sorrows.
His rod is never used hastily. He is slow to anger, and of great mercy.
An ancient proverb has it, “Time cures affliction.” But James reminds us that the only infallible cure is prayer.
Plantus, the Latin philosopher, would have us know that “an undisturbed mind is the best sauce for affliction.” But prayer alone can create this condition of mind.
“Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray,” James 5:13.
James was no visionary. He always approached the problems of life in a practical way. Sanctified common sense earned him the title of “James, the practical.”
To this austere apostle, faith without works was dead. Among his exhortations in view of Christ’s return, to pray if in pain, to turn merriment into music, and to supplicate God in sickness. And that prayer is a wonderful elixir when affliction is heavy upon us.
It is the testimony of many a suffering saint. Too often instead of praying about our pain, we are peevish. We complain instead of communing with Him who knows what is best for every child of His. Prayer strengthens us to suffer, lightens our load, turns our pain into a pulpit, interprets all our baffling infirmities.
“I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people and they shall trust in the Name of the Lord,” Zephaniah 3:12.
Paul and the prophet Zephaniah agree that the Lord always preserves His faithful remnant. Those, although the poor of this world, are yet rich in faith. And who in spite of all their afflictions can trust in the Lord with all their soul. He has a trusting people today among the afflicted and the poor.
Can we say that we are counted among them? Are we a part of that conserving salt checking the worldly corruption around us? Do we glory in our trials knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ carries both the burden and its bearer?
The unpolished pearl can never shine,
It is sorrow that makes the soul divine.
The Psalms particularly are rich in their precepts of endurance in any kind of affliction. There is the frequent reference to God’s beneficent sovereignty behind all that He permits in the lives of His own.
|“It is the Lord. Let Him do what seemeth Him good,” 1 Sam 3:18.|
|“The Lord do that which seemeth Him good,” 2 Sam 12:10.|
|“He made it again another vessel as seemed good to the potter,” Jer 15:49.|
God is love and since He is on the throne of the universe, we have the Promise and assurance that He orders everything after His perfect will.
|“All things work together for good to them that love God,” Rom 8:28.|
|“The Lord reigneth ... Clouds and darkness are round about Him,” Psa
|“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” Psa 30:5.|
|“For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee,” Isa 54:7.|
|“Ye now therefore have sorrow: … Your joy no man taketh from you,” John 16:22.|
|“The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,” Rom 8:18.|
|“Our light affliction... far more and exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” 2 Cor 3:17.|
These Promises form the Christian’s postulate of faith. A future blessedness will offer a solution to the problem of pain. Job 19:25-27 and Psalm 37.
Embracing these Promises we fortify ourselves against the afflictions assailing us. The early saints derived comfort from the near approach of the Lord Jesus Christ. How much more we!
Amid our adversities and afflictions we are exhorted to manifest
|The spirit of patience.|
Psa 37:7, Luke 21:19, Rom 12:12, James 1:3, 4, James 5:7-11, 1 Pet 2:20.
|The spirit of joy.|
Matt 5:11, Rom 5:2, 2 Cor 12:10, James 1:2, 12, 1 Pet 4:13.
|The spirit of the Lord’s patient endurance.|
John 16:33, James 5:7-11.
|“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee,” Isa 26:3, 4.|
|“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me,” John 14:1-27.|
|“The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ,” Phil 4:7.|
|“The Lord upholdeth him with His hand,” Psa 34:24.|
|“Many a time have they afflicted me, yet have they not prevailed against me,” Psa 129:1, 2.|
|“The Lord raiseth them that are bowed down,” Psa 146:8.|
|“In time of trouble, He shall hide me in His pavilion,” Psa 27:5.|
|“Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee,” Psa 50:15.|
|“In all their affliction, He was afflicted,” Isa 63:8-9.|
|“He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee,” Job 5:19.|
|“The God of all comfort, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,” 2
This was the psalmist’s comfort then in all the crises he faced, that he had recourse in the Book of comfort. As he meditated upon the Word of God it became his song.
But just how did the Word comfort and quicken David? Why? Because amid all his cares and calamities he knew from the Scriptures that they could not last forever. The glorious hope of cessation from the fears and trials of life upheld him amid his woes.
It is likewise comforting to know from the Word of God that the God of the Word Himself was with the psalmist, blessing him with peace and patience.
David’s Greater Son has shown the saints of old ages also how He gathered comfort in His afflictions from the quickening Word of God.
We also can know what it is to find “patience and comfort of the Scriptures,” Rom 15:4, ”through comfort of the Scriptures.”
Is it not blessed to realize that the Lord Jesus Christ, through His Word, comforts the afflicted, but afflicts the comfortable.
Affliction’s sins are brothers in distress,
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss.
We have a Brother whose relief is a promised bliss. The Lord Jesus Christ is ever near to uphold and deliver and to sanctify our afflictions to us.
This Promise guarantees us aid in those circumstances in which we cannot act alone. God says He will supply strength within and help without. What else could we ask for from this Helper of the helpless?
Wherever the cloud of affliction, the Christian can depend on this bow of covenanting Promise. Gen 9:14.
“He hath smitten and He will bind up,” Hosea 6:1.
He who bruises the soul is able to bind it up, as no surgeon would make an incision and then leave his patient to bleed to death.
So the Lord Jesus Christ heals every wound He permits. So we rest our case in the sure surgery of His hands, which are able to save us.
Are you in the midst of trouble? Then take these Promises for yourself, till the song of confidence and solace are yours.
Partakers of a Divine nature must be prepared to become partakers of the afflictions of the Gospel. When Paul wrote these words, he was languishing in a Roman dungeon, awaiting martyrdom. The apostle identifies his sufferings as filling up that which is behind of Christ’s afflictions. 1:24
For a catalogue of these afflictions we turn to the moving record Paul has left us. 2 Cor 11:16-33.
Are we ashamed of the afflictions of allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ brings? Walking and witnessing in the Gospel demands that satanic and human antagonism will come our way.
Grace to endure, however, will always be ours. The Holy Spirit indwelling us and controlling us causes us to triumph even in our adversity.
|“He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever,” Psa 103:9.|
|“He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken,” Psa 34:20.|
These Promises have one thought in common, namely, the end of our afflictions and our emergence from them whole. How consoling it is to realize that when the billows roll over us that we shall emerge without real damage.
Bruised we may be, but the bruises may be healed. Our sin deserves His rebuke, but once that sin is effectively dealt with, He smiles upon us once more.
With Him is plenteous forgiveness. There are limits to His afflictions. When His chiding has served its purpose, the rod is removed. Once our testing has served its purpose, the Lord will end it. After the storm comes a great calm. He calms the seas.
Infirmities, assuming many forms and allied more or less to afflictions previously considered, are likewise mentioned in the Bible. Promises are also related to these various infirmities of the flesh.
|“This is my infirmity; but I will remember the Most High,” Psa 77:10.|
|“A woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years,” Luke 13:11-12.|
|“A certain man...which had an infirmity thirty and eight years,” John 5:5.|
|“He cured many of their infirmities,” Luke 7:21.|
|“How through infirmity I preached unto you,” Gal 4:13.|
|“I glory in mine infirmities,” 2 Cor 12:5, 10.|
|“Himself took our infirmities,” Matt 8:17.|
|“Use wine for thine infirmities,” 1 Tim 5:23.|
|“Touched with the feelings of our infirmities,” Heb 4:15.|
From the combination of passages we learn several truths. First of all, for the most part the infirmities mentioned are physical, whether natural or inflicted by others. In their infirmities the believers turned to the Lord for help and relief and if the infirmities were not removed, Grace was given them to use as stepping stones to higher heights.
The Lord Jesus Christ is described as “being touched by our infirmities” in His humility. He experienced what some of these infirmities were. That is why He is able to comfort those who are being tested.
In every pang that rends the heart,
The Man of Sorrows shares a part.
The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is indwelt by the gracious Holy Spirit, Who knows all about the infirmities endured and so can sustain and relieve.
He is the Spirit in man upholding him in his infirmity. If we ourselves are strong, or free from any physical infirmity, then we should be considerate toward those who are infirm and help them as much as we can.
A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities. But Brutus makes mine
greater than they are.
– Julius Caesar
Brutus is the wrong kind of a friend to have. But we “have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” Who bears our infirmities.
We know so little about what is best for us or what is coming upon us, or what Satan’s designs are. Then we are so weak as well as ignorant – weak to bear pain, weak to withstand evil, weak to obtain help.
Most of our infirmities are constitutional, arising from our tempers, or disappointments, or bodily ailments, or the limits of our capacity. But although so infirm, there is One Who is near to teach us what we need, to lead us to the Promises, to excite us to pray, and to assist us as we pray. He begets those “unutterable groans” for holiness to which God attends.
What mighty power He gives to those who are faint. Isa 40:29. May we be found daily seeking the Holy Spirit’s power to help.
Spirit of interceding Grace,
I know not how or what to pray.
Relieve my utter helplessness,
Thy power into my mind convey.
That God, acknowledging my groans
May answer, in my prayers, His own.
Still in the physical realm we must consider the tears so common to us all, and those sweet Promises with the drying of all our “tears.”
Art thou a child of tears,
Cradled in cares and woe?
Then look with me about what the Bible has to say about “tears.”
|“Thus saith the Lord, I have seen thy tears,” 2 Kings 20:5, Isa 8:5.|
|“Mine eye poureth out tears unto God,” Job 16:20.|
|“I water my couch with my tears,” Psa 6:6.|
|“My tears have been my meat day and night,” Psa 42:3.|
|“Put Thou my tears into a bottle,” Psa 56:8.|
|“Thou hast delivered my eyes from tears,” Psa 116:8.|
|“The Lord will wipe away tears from off all faces,” Isa 25:8, Rev 7:17.|
|“She began to wash His feet with tears,” Luke 7:38, 44.|
|“Jesus wept,” John 11:35, Luke 19:41.|
The above array of tear verses to which we might have included all those taken up with “weeping” reveals the Bible to be a tear-drenched Book. Since sin entered the world, a torrent of tears have flowed.
Pity and need
Make all flesh kin. There is no caste in blood,
Which runneth one hue: nor caste in tears,
Which trickle salt with all.
We are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed – an old proverb. If we enter the world with tears, it is truer to say that they are ours until we cry no more. When we first see the light, we weep, and when we leave it we groan.
When I am born, I lament and cry
And now each day shows the reason why.
The gift of tears is the best gift of God to suffering man. They have been spoken of as liquid pain or agony in solution.
When our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, fashioned our bodies, He equipped our eyes with tear ducts, which contain the salty water necessary for the cleansing of our eyes. And as the repositories of the expression of joy or grief.
“Tears – the noble language of the eyes” perform this dual ministry. We often cry when we laugh, as well as when our heart is broken.
Had there been no transgression, there would have been no tears. Sin, suffering, and the separation of life, these are the main causes of our weeping.
Verses express that our tears are spoken of as “bread and meat,” which are as much a part of our daily life as our necessary food. Tears to human suffering are due.
Often it takes tear-washed eyes to discern the Bible’s most precious treasures. Many a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has a tear-stained Bible – one over which he or she has wept with joy because of the revelation of the glory and the Grace of God, or over the insight gained into his own sinful soul.
He washed my eyes with tears that I might see,
The broken heart I had was good for me.
He swept away the things that made me blind,
And then I saw the clouds were silver lined.
And now I understand it was best for me,
He washed my eyes with tears that I might see.
The Lord Jesus Christ was no stoic philosopher. He knew what it was to weep. The saying “that only human eyes can weep” is only partially true. The God-man shed His tears as those whose tears He dried. The shortest, sweetest, and most profound verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” God had to become man to weep.
But the Lord Jesus Christ alone had the right to speak the imperial words, “weep not.” The miracle He performed that day predicted the future, in which there will be no separation.
At His coming He will give us back our unforgotten dearest dead if they and we alike belong to Him who has the dominion over the king of terrors.
At the sound of His majestic voice, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
The tribute of a tear is all I crave,
And the possession of a peaceful grave.
But the Promise is that, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death,” Rev 21:4.
Pray for “the Grace of tears” because we are exhorted “to weep with those who weep.” We often sing, weeping over the crying one. But are we moved with compassion over the Lord Jesus Christ, who beheld the city and wept?
We have the adage that men must work and women must weep. But strong men as well as women weep.
On a funeral day, a lady complained about the city for neglecting to water the street. And a poor woman replied, they reckoned on our tears. Does not the Lord Jesus Christ count our tears, our prayers, and our service in the bringing in of the lost around to a knowledge of His forgiving Grace and mercy?
A tear is an intellectual thing,
And a sigh is the sword of the Lord our King.
From the confession wrung from King David’s heart, we have a whole cruse of tears and a whole armory of sighs.
What a touching moment that must have been when Mary washed the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ with her tears and dried them with her hair. Those warm tears were the expression of her love and gratitude to the Lord Jesus Christ who had forgiven her, her sin. The tears of Mary stained her Lord Jesus Christ’s feet, and if a “lady’s tears are silent orators,” then those of Mary were eloquent of her adoration of her Lord Jesus Christ who had given much.
The fountain of joy is fed by tears,
And love is lit by the breath of sighs.
The deepest griefs and the wildest fears,
Have holiest ministries.
And Shakespeare said in King Lear,
O let not women’s weapons, water drop
Stain man’s cheeks.
But what about Christ’s feet?
Are you weeping possibly over the effects of your own sin? Ingratitude and forgetfulness of others, over your adversities, and problems, over the vacant place in your heart and home through the death of a loved one?
Then here is the precious Promise for your grief-stricken soul, “The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.”
Strength and beauty are combined in the words by Solomon, “The glory of the young man is their strength, and the beauty of the old man is his gray head,” Prov 20:29.
While the whole trend of Scripture is that of being physically fit to fulfill life’s task and to have a body God can use, it never magnifies mere human strength. Often God can do more through a weak and suffering body than He can with one at the peak of physical perfection.
Samson was eminently endowed physically, but he utterly failed the Lord. Paul had a very weak body, one completely battered through exposure to stoning, shipwreck, and prison life.
He also suffered from a serious eye disease which made it difficult for him to see. But the Promise of a perfect body at the Lord’s return was his constant inspiration. It was this apostle who gave this Promise to the young, stalwart Timothy, “Bodily exercise profiteth for a little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come,” 1 Tim 4:8.
If we cannot be physically healthy, we can through the Grace of God be strong in our soul. “When I am weak, then am I strong.”
If only more young men were zealous over the development of their spiritual muscles as they are over their physical ones, how mighty they would be for the Lord in a world of need!
Where do you work out? Gold’s Gym or God’s gym?
Passing from brawn to beauty, we look at what the Bible has to say regarding physical attractiveness. Many women are praised for beautiful countenance – Sarah, Rachel, Abigail, Esther, Bathsheba.
Some men were also renowned for their beauty – David had a ruddy and beautiful countenance, as did his son Absalom.
The Lord Jesus Christ has a beauty all His own. “How great is His beauty!” Zech 9:17.
And the Promise is that we are to see Him in all His beauty. Psa 27:4, Isa 33:17.
The over growing number of facial creams, lotions, and cosmetics of different kinds testify to the modern craze for glamour. Yet some of the homeliest persons alive are the most beautiful within.
It is said that the Lord Jesus Christ had a beauty that men should desire Him, Isa 53:2.
God had some strong things to say about those who painted their eyes. Ezek 23:40. The only woman in the Bible who is named and was famed for artificial make-up was Jezebel. This most disreputable woman “painted her face and tired her head,” 2 Kings 9:30.
“Let the beauty of the Lord be upon us,” Psa 90:17.
Has He not promised to be not only the “Help of our countenance,” but its health?
“Who is the health of my countenance and my God,” Psa 42:5, 11.
|For my lips – Truth|
|For my voice – Praise|
|For my eyes – Pity|
|For my hands – Charity|
|For my figure – Uprightness|
|For my heart – Love|
One of the marvelous by-products of a Christ-centered life is a radiant, cheerful expression.
A missionary, when asked what kind of oil the girls in his school used to make their faces shine, he said that when the false and the ugly go out of life, the countenance shows a new radiance.
The psalmist reminds us that the king’s daughters were all glorious “within,” Psa 45:13.
Drop the still dews of quietness,
Till all our striving cease.
Take from our lives the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Fear is another physical emotion the Bible gives prominence to as “having many eyes.” “Fear has a thousand eyes that all agree to plague her beating heart.”
It may surprise you to know that “fear” is used in various ways some 800 times in the Bible. To classify and briefly expound all of these references would require more time than this study would allow on the Divine Promises.
|“Their houses are safe from fear,” Job 21:9.|
|“He mocketh at fear,” Job 39:22.|
|“There they were in fear where no fear was,” Psa 53:5, Psa 14:5.|
|“Be not afraid of sudden fear,” Prov 3:25.|
|“The fear of man bringeth a snare,” Prov 29:25, Isa 8:12.|
|“The Lord give you rest from fear,” Isa 14:3.|
|“There is no fear in love,” 1 John 4:15.|
|“He hath delivered me from all my fears,” Psa 34:4.|
|“Fear not, I am with thee,” Gen 26:34, 46:3.|
|“Fear not your enemies,” Deut 21:3, 31:8.|
|“Fear not. Believe only,” Luke 8:50, 12:32.|
Such an array of verses reveal the manifold causes of fear – true and false – the reasons why Christians should not yield to unholy fear and the blessed Promises of deliverance from all fears, fearing even things which are safe.
It makes a profitable meditation to gather together all the “Fear nots” of the Bible. Some have suggested that there are 365 of them – one for every day of the year.
Fear not the flowers whisper,
Since thus He has arrayed,
The buttercup and the daisy,
How can we be afraid?
The dictionary explains it in a two-fold way. First of all, our human fear is a painful emotion marked by alarm and dread, or disquiet anxious concern, or solicitude.
The tragedy is that the majority of our fears are imaginary. We are in fear where no cause for fear exists.
Principle: “Why are ye afraid, O ye of little faith?”
In the second place, “fear” represents awe, profound reverence, especially toward the Lord as Supreme. This is not a fear like the former kind, resulting in physical and mental disorders, but a reverential trust and confidence.
When we fear the Lord, we do not cringe before Him, as those robbed of their liberty do before a cruel, heartless dictator. The love of God casts out the wrong kind of fear, which ends in torment.
|“In Thy fear will I worship toward the holy temple,” Psa 5:7.|
|“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him,” Psa 25:14.|
|“Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord,” Psa 128:1.|
|“Sanctify the Lord and let Him be your fear,” Isa 8:13.|
|“The fear of the Lord is His treasure,” Isa 33:6.|
|“Fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” Matt 10:28.|
|“Walking in the fear of the Lord,” Acts 7:31.|
|“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God,” Eph 5:26.|
|“Love the brotherhood...Fear God,” 1 Peter 2:17.|
A brief meditation on each passage may enable us to transfer our fears to love.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” Luke 12:32.
The context of this Promise contains a rebuke of the disciples for the fear they entertained regarding sufficient food and clothing as they followed the Lord Jesus Christ. Was not God able care for the birds and the fields?
Then why should the disciples charge their souls with care about material things when they had such a mighty Lord who was able not only to add unto them all they needed, but to give the kingdom as well?
“My God shall supply all your need,” Phil 4:19.
Because it is so helpless, when attacked fear is one of its chief circumstances. Our Good Shepherd knows that fear is our inherent weakness, as we face our arch adversary, the devil, and so He utters the assuring, “Fear not, little flock,” Luke 12:32.
Because the Good Shepherd wants faith to supplant fear. Fear is like sand in the machinery of life and faith is the oil, the lubricant.
Solomon is speaking of when God’s righteous judgments are abroad and he urges His people not to yield to any fear because of God’s Promise to defend and preserve them.
While the plagues afflicted the Egyptians, the Israelites were Divinely covered. Serenity under the rush and road of unexpected evils is a precious gift of Divine love.
No matter what desolation may overtake the wicked around us, as Christians we are called upon to exhibit a quietness and confidence born of faith in the presence of Divine protection.
Here is a promise rich with the presence and the power of the Lord. Because He will never leave us, we can be content with such things as we have knowing that He is always at hand as our Helper.
If we fear the Lord, there will be nothing else to fear. The world around may seek to scorn and harm us, as many believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are proving, but the animosity of the godless is calmly borne. Vengeance is His. He will repay.
In times of testing we must not be afraid. Like Peter, we deny our Lord. We shall not be ashamed of Him when angels praise Him.
We shall not be ashamed of the Truth of His infallible Word nor of His love to us, and our love and faith toward Him.
When we choose the reproach of Christ rather than the treasures of Egypt, the Lord will be near to inspire us with holy boldness and confidence. “I the Lord do keep it. I will water it every moment, lest any hurt it. I will keep it night and day,” Isa 27:3.
Hedged in by God’s tremendous Name,
Believer, cease thy fear.
Ten thousand chariots all aflame,
Thy God for thee prepare.
The reference of the “worm of Jacob” signified his utter weakness and nothingness. Apart from his Divine Helper, Jacob had nothing and could do nothing. And what are we but worms of the dust, yet empowered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Worms can thresh mountains. Isa 41:15.
How unworthy is unwholesome fear when we have the Promise His everlasting arms are underneath and around us? Is He not a very present help in trouble?
He can help the weakness of His children for He is the omnipotent Lord. He will help because of His Promise to undertake for His own in any state or place. “He hath said, and shall He not do it. He hath spoken and shall He not make it good?”
With such a declaration we should not be fearful or cast down, no matter what circumstances may arise.
“Do justice and therefore fight valiantly against those who stand for the reign of Moloch and Beelzebub on this Earth.”
“Love mercy, treat your enemies well, succor the afflicted, treat every woman as she were your sister, care for the little children, and be tender with the old and helpless.”
“Walk humbly, you will do so if you study the life and teachings of the Savior, walking in His steps.”
“Remember the most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation from destruction if there is not within us a soul.”
“No abounding of material prosperity shall avail us if our spiritual senses atrophy.”
“The foes of our own household will surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which finds its outward expression in a morality like unto that preached by the seers and prophets of God, when the grandest that was Greece and the glory that was Rome still lay in the future.”
“A true patriot must necessarily be a zealot and fighter for the Truth. He must hold to the mean and enforce the dictates of righteousness with justice.”
“Righteousness and justice flow on like a river. This then is the high call of freedom.”
“The golden middle course of liberty is held by the crusader for Truth with the sword of righteousness in one hand and the trowel of justice in the other.”
“Liberty and justice simply cannot be had apart from the gracious influence of a righteous people.”
“A righteous people simply cannot exist apart from the aspiration to liberty and justice.”
“The Christian religion and its incumbent morality is tied to the cause of freedom with a Gordian knot – loose one from the other and both are sent asunder.”
“Good citizenship and personal virtue are essential aspects of the same bolt of fabric. I cannot tolerate any distinction between the inward and the outward, the heart and the hand, the soul and the body. Thus my affinity for the “Micah Mandate.”
“He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” Micah 6:8.
He placed this verse in each Bible he handed the soldiers as they went off to war.
The presence of fear was the evidence of the absence of faith. Fear and faith can never coexist together.
It is true that the disciples were in danger of being drowned, and that the perilous storm encountered was enough to create fear. But what the disciples forgot was that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was sleeping in the boat, was the same One who said, “All power is given unto Me.” Had He not assured them that the very hairs of their heads were numbered?
There are two impressive phrases in the miracle that the Lord Jesus Christ performed. “There arose a great storm.” “He arose.”
How suggestive is the combination! For the rising of any storm “there is the rising of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He, “the Christ,” will be able to meet any crisis or emergency.
Are you presently fearful? Is your frail back being dashed about by the waves and the billows of trial, sorrow, and loss? Keep looking up for the Lord Jesus Christ is near with His power to defend you, His wisdom to guide you, His fullness to meet your need.
The saints should never be dismayed,
Nor sink in hopeless fear,
For when they least suspect His aid
Our Saviour will appear.
We read that it was dark, and that the Lord Jesus Christ had not joined His disciples as they had anticipated. Thus in the darkness they mistook His walking figure for some kind of a ghost or apparition, with power to stride the wind-lashed waters.
They became alarmed, but how dishonoring were their fears. Had not their Lord just fed 5,000 hungry mouths? Their fears were also groundless because was He not the Lord of the ocean, Earth, and sky?
Such fear in a Christian is a flat denial of faith, and likewise a fruitful source of soul distress. No matter what loses or crosses may pain and perplex us, amid the darkness we will be assured by that loving voice of His, “It is I. Be not afraid.”
Should we hear the pillars of Heaven crack and feel the strong foundation of the Earth give way?
Should the heavens be pulled up like a scroll, and the Great White Throne appear? Still amidst the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds He cries, “Be not afraid. It is I.”
Because of our human frailty we are prone to be cast down and subject to tormenting fears.
When David wrote this Psalm, he had been taken by his foes, the Philistines, to Gath, and naturally he had every reason to be afraid. But his trust in the Lord triumphed over his trials. David knew how to rely on God’s Promises. And he needed no comfortable feeling to underprop his confidence in God.
If we have the Lord as our Object of our trust, then He should be trusted at all times.” Psa 62:8.
If God be for us, and He is, who or what can be against us? Our frame of mind and our feelings are unreliable and subject to change. A firm trust in God’s covenant of love, even when His providence appears to frown, is graciously rewarded. Our warrant is that He will never betray nor fail our trust in Him.
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
God is love and changes not,
Nor knows the shadow of a turn;
To cast on Him my anxious cares,
And triumph over my doubts and fears.
This Promise seems to contradict the experience of many a Christian, who experienced what it was to be delivered into the hands of cruel men of whom they had every reason to be afraid.
We think of the Christians in the Army during World War II who were taken prisoner and whose sufferings were horrible to the extreme. And of faithful missionaries who were tortured and killed by man eaters.
Yet when the Lord’s faithful ones are made to suffer, the soul receives sweet messages from the Lord Himself, that He is near to deliver them. If not by liberating them, then by taking them to be with Himself, which is far greater a deliverance.
In the context of this verse, we find that Ebed-Melech was only a despised Ethiopian, a humble black man, yet he had been so kind to the prophet Jeremiah. For being mindful of God’s persecuted servant, Ebed-Melech received the special Promise that God would be mindful of him and preserve him from those whose vengeance he feared.
Such a Promise was fulfilled but although thousands were slain by the Chaldeans, this lowly black man was not hurt.
As for ourselves, we rest in the fact that men, even when in rage, can do nothing apart from Divine permission.
What God has graciously given we must possess. But is Grace ours to possess our possessions?
There may be many foes seeking to discourage our possession of all the Lord has treasured up for us, but no one can deny our right to a freely-bestowed inheritance.
May we be strong in faith as we march to the conquest.
This is why one with God is always in the majority. For what is any great host of Earth alongside the mighty, invincible hosts of Heaven of which He is the Lord?
Horses of fire are more than horses of flesh and chariots of fire are more preferable to chariots of iron.
Elisha’s young servant was alarmed because he could not see how the lonely, unarmed prophet and himself could possibly escape the host of armed men. Then his eyes were opened to see a greater host with far superior weapons guarding the prophet shut up in Dothan.
But greater is He that is in us than all those arrayed against us.
Blessed be the Lord. We cannot lose the fight, the good fight of faith, for we are the winning side.
A characteristic feature of the Psalms which makes them as precious to every generation of sinful is their sharp, vivid, deep-pervading sense of the relation between the soul and the Lord.
A direct, close, immediate, and holy intimacy is taken for granted. The psalmists were men who found God for themselves, and who possessed Him as their very own. “The Lord is my sheered.”
In the two Psalms before us we listen to a colloquy between the singer and his own soul and God. In a thrice-repeated refrain, the psalmist pathetically rebukes and chides his own soul for impatience, fearfulness, and despondency.
How often do we find ourselves taking the language of these Psalms and making them our own?
“Why art thou cast down, O struggling, faltering, solitary and yet loyal soul?” Are we not personally dismayed at times by doubts and fears?
Somehow the experience of the psalmist is a mirror of our trials. There are the oppression of the enemy, the disappointment, desertion, and betrayal, the labor unrewarded, the sacrifice unnoticed, the patience unpraised.
May the same patience of hope be ours. “I shall yet praise Him.”
Necessary and beneficial to the Christian’s well being are periods of rest, leisure, holiday, change, of which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself took cognizance.
So active were the apostles in the work they were commanded to do that they had scarcely time for regular meals, for there were “many coming and going.”
Therefore, the thoughtful Lord Jesus Christ constrained the laborers to take a season of leisure and of change from their daily activities.
The word the Lord Jesus Christ uses for “rest” in Mark 6:31, “and rest a while,” means “intermission from labor,” “to refresh oneself,” to take one’s care.
In the Papryi it is found as an agricultural term, for example, of giving land rest by sowing light crops upon it.
Preachers boast of never having taken a holiday, and they say, “The devil never takes a holiday. Why should I?” False reasoning. Who in their right mind wants to emulate the devil?
It is more worthy and healthier to follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ who often withdrew from His teaching to rest and meditate in a desert place.
What a Promise this is to have before us when we set out on a vacation.
Have you heard of the little boy who prayed as the family was leaving home for a holiday? “Well, Goodbye God. We are leaving for our holidays.”
Too often there are those who profess the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ “and leave Him at home.” “Don’t leave home without Him.” Christians go on vacation and they engage in things and go to certain places they would not think of patronizing at home.
As we prepare to leave, whether we journey far or near, we need journey’s mercies. And also the Lord’s presence and preservation. We cannot have these unless there is the continual recognition of the fact that we are His.
Whenever we go abroad from our accustomed abode, let us take with us our “Heavenly Escort” and the days of change and pleasure will be crowned with His favor.
If we live in the “spirit of the traveler’s Psalm, 91, then our holidays will be holy days.”
Recreation simply means to “re-create,” to restore the energy of nerve power drained by physical or mental labor.
If our leisure or holidays do not renew our powers, then their wrong use will only enervate or weaken our nerve force and unfit us for life’s responsibilities. It should be restful. If our vocation is heavy and taxing, then it is essential that our vacation is restful.
Do not men, beasts, and machinery work better after a rest? By rest we simply do not mean idleness, or lounging around. The absence of occupation is not rest.
In order to lift our thoughts from the care and concern of our daily tasks, a change of interest is necessary. Swinging from the familiar to the unfamiliar, we must seek refreshing pastimes.
Many use their vacations or leisure time for participation in exhausting worldly pleasures and pursuits, and are too dependent upon created, artificial amusements for a change. They forget that a good man is satisfied in himself,
If we would claim all the Promises associated with rest, there must not be the wanton waste of the God-given commodity of time.
You are still in full-time Christian service while you are on vacation.
Paul reminds us that the glory of God must be the center and circumference of all we do. “Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God,” 1 Cor 10:31.
The word “all” cuts out the wrong employment of our leisure time. The sweeping universality of the apostolic rule implies that all life, and every act of life must be consecrated by holy motives.
The life of a Christian is not cut up into sections, with some parts we label “spiritual” and other parts “secular.” Every thing a “Christian” does should be “Christian.” When we are able “to rest a while,” our leisure is most beneficial as we follow the principle Paul has laid down.
“To do all to the glory of God” delivers the vacationist from all the miserable self-seeking carnal and degrading pleasures, and lifts him out of the murky atmosphere of earthly things into a serene air of Heaven itself.
Had sin not entered man’s being to disrupt his physical powers, there would not have been sin, disease, or death. With the development of sin and sins, there came the multiplication of physical sicknesses and diseases.
When the Lord Jesus Christ created Adam and Eve, they were holy and healthy, and He meant them to remain so. But Satan was not long in marring the Divine masterpiece.
As far back as Job there were quack healers who tried to explain the cause of sickness and pain. “Ye are forgers of lies. Ye are all physicians of no value,” Job 13:4.
There are those who deny sickness altogether, and others affirm that all sickness is of Satan, that we are sick because of sin in the life, and that we suffer because it is the will of God for us.
As nothing is more dangerous than half-truths, let us examine what the Bible has to say on the question of the Christian and his sickness, suffering, and pain.
As sickness, disease, and pain precede the accompanying death, we can safely assume that human sin was the original cause of sickness. Direct disobedience to Divine laws results in suffering.
“Because of thy sins,” Micah 6:13, Ex 15:26, Num 11:33.
“The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt and the emerods and with the scab and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed,” Deut 25:27, 28, 2 Sam 12:15, 2 Chr 18:25, 26.
No so-called healer can remove this disease. There may be a common application to this principle today.
Because of the vision Daniel received, we find him saying “I, Daniel, fainted and was sick certain days,” Dan 8:26-27.
Because of his zeal and concern for the Philippian believers, Paul “was sick unto death,” Phil 2:25-30.
“A merry mind doeth good like medicine, but a broken spirit drieth up the bones,” Prov 17:22.
“As a man thinketh in his mind, so is he.”
“Guard your mind with all diligence, for out of it come the issues of life.”
“All that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thy hand.” Satan “smote Job with boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown,” Job 1:6-24.
“The woman...whom Satan hath bound,” Luke 13:10-16, 2:1-10, 1 Cor 5:5.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” Hosea 4:6.
There are occasions when sickness or affliction is not the outcome of any individual sin. See 2 Kings 20:1, John 11:1, Acts 9:37, Matt 8:14.
|“Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents,” John 9:1-3.|
|“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God,” John
“Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refused to be healed,” Jer 15:18
The purpose and ministry of sickness and suffering can be classified as:
To equip us to comfort others.
“The comfort wherewith we ourselves are imparted of God,” 2 Cor 1:3-5.
To chasten and discipline us.
“Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth,” Heb 12:5-11.
To complete the sufferings of Christ.
“Fill up that which is behind of the affliction of Christ,” Col 11:24.
To furnish us with opportunities to witness.
“It shall turn to you for a testimony,” Luke 21:12-13.
“Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer,” Acts 5:4.
If when the testing time comes, we are embittered or peeved over what we are enduring, then our physical condition will swallow us up. We must trust the Lord and await His Divine unfolding.
|“In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly,” Job 1:22.|
|“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” Job 13:15.|
|“Rejoice and be exceeding glad,” Matt 5:11-12.|
|“My brethren, count it all joy,” James 1:2.|
|“Think it not strange... humble yourselves,” 1 Pet 4:12-13.|
“The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground,” Gen 1:26-27, Gen 2:7.
“I am the Lord that healeth thee,” Ex 15:26.
“The Lord will take away from thee all sickness,” Deut 7:15.
“With Thee is the fountain of life,” Psa 36:9.
“Neither shall any plagues come nigh thy dwelling,” Psa 91:10.
“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” Jer 8:22.
“I will take sickness away from the midst of thee,” Exodus 23:25.
“There was not one feeble person among their tribes,” Psa 105:37.
“Who healeth all thy diseases,” Psa 103:3.
“Himself...bore our sicknesses,” Matt 8:17.
“He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction,” Psa 107:20. The laws of health where sickness can be prevented are explicit.
“Outside the camp,” Num 5:4. Separation and isolation were enforced in order to check the spread of an infectious disease. The strictest quarantine was enforced. Num 5:4, Lev 13:14. A safeguard “we still should observe.”
More Divine laws of health to follow.
Luke is referred to as “the beloved physician,” Col 4:14, and as such he was the Lord’s special provision for Paul. Not only as a fellow traveler, but as a doctor ever near to care for the apostle’s physical needs. Luke made house calls.
It was complete. “Made whole from that hour,” Matt 15:22-28.
Are you worried over some bodily ill? Well take a look at the following list of Catholic saints and the illnesses that they cure, which were given to me when I was growing up. This list also appeared in a Roman Catholic publication called, “Our Sunday Visitor.”
Epilepsy and nervousness – St. Vitus
Exposure to extreme cold – St. Genesius
Family troubles – St. Eustachius
Fever – St. George
Fire – St. Lawrence and St. Barbara
Floods – St. Columban
Gall stones – St. Liberius
Glandular trouble – St. Cadoc
Gout – St. Andrew
Hazards of travel – St. Christopher
Headaches – St. Dennis
Insanity – St. Dympna
Insects – St. Tryphon
Intestinal disorders – St. Erasmus
Lightning and thunderstorms – St. Barbara
Lumbago – St. Lawrence
Paralysis – St. Serverus
Pestilence – St. Hadrian
Skin diseases – St. Roch
Temptation at the hour of death – St. Cyriacus
Toothache – St. Apollonia
Tuberculosis – St. Pantaleon
Typhus and fevers – St. Adaland
The Gospels do not reveal whether or not the Lord Jesus Christ was actually sick. Because of the limits of His humanity, He must have suffered some of its frailties. He did experience physical weakness and pain, hunger and thirst. He knew what it was to be a stranger, to go to prison, to be naked.
In this passage the Lord Jesus Christ is identifying Himself with His needy brethren. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”
Which shows that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with God the Father through our Saviour and Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sickness is a fit simile for the soul’s malady. Isaiah describes those who are away from God of having a whole body that is sick, with wounds, bruises, and putrefying sores covering the body.
Unbridled appetites resulting in carnality caused Paul to speak of those carnal Christians as weak and sickly.
Many today have life. They are born again, and they resemble those who have physical life, but who are yet physically disabled. They lack robust spiritual health.
Just as the majority of sicknesses come through a germ finding its way into the bloodstream, something foreign to the Lord Jesus Christ possesses the thought life and results in spiritual weakness. If sin, sickness. We have the Promise of the healing balm of Gilead.
|“I am the Lord that healeth thee,” Exodus 15:26.|
|“Thy servant, our father, is in good health,” Gen 45:28, 3 John 2.|
|“His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s,” Job 33:25.|
|“The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing,” Psa 41:3.|
|“Who healteth all thy diseases, Who redeemeth thy life from destruction,” Psa 103:3-4.|
|“It shall be health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones,” Prov 3:8, 4:22.|
|“Thine health shall spring forth speedily,” Isa 58:1-8.|
|“I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them,” Jer 33:6.|
|“They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,” Matt 9:12.|
|“God, Who is the Health of my countenance,” Psa 42:11, 43:5.|
|“I will restore health unto thee,” Jer 30:17.|
The foregoing and other Promises indicate that the Lord Jesus Christ is a skilful Physician and well able to bring health back to the body of any child of His. He is the perfect Lord of all diseases, physical and spiritual. Is not His name JEHOVAH RAPHI, “The Lord my Healer?”
Then why not consult Him and lay our whole case before Him? His skill is unfailing and His power perfect. Therefore, we can take all that He prescribes. H. M. O. He is My Own.
The original language says “medicine” for the word “health.” By navel we are to understand the waist, that is the part of the body in which are concentrated so many of our physical organs.
Going back a few verses we find Solomon stressing the necessity of obedience to the Word of God and absolute confidence in His ability to undertake for His children. And their full acknowledgment of His wisdom as the road, not only for the holiness of the soul, but health of body as well.
Length of days and long life and peace are often promised possessions for those who abide in the will of God. There would be less need of physicians only if we had a greater number of Christians who were willing for the Lord to direct their paths and pursuits. Prov 4:22, 10:27.
|“A good word is able to cheer the heavy heart,” Prov 12:25.|
|“Godly merriment can produce a smiling countenance,” Prov 15:13.|
|“And prove more effective than medicine,” Prov 17:22.|
Is your talk a tonic? Are sufferers in mind and body somehow blessed and comforted and heartened as you pass by with a word of encouragement and of compassion?
If words are able to chase the shadows from the face, inspire suffers to carry their cross courageously, and lift loads from heavy hearts, then God grant us an abundance of those comfortable, gracious, and acceptable words the Bible speaks about.
If somehow your tongue has not functioned as a health-giving factor, why not ask the Lord to take your lips and purge them of all that is cynical, critical, ironic, sharp, harsh, and bitter, and make them the media of blessing to the sick and weary you meet on life’s highway?
What a practical man Paul was. Eminently spiritual, he yet used sanctified common sense. When it came to some of the crises in his life, he was he who urged Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach.
The context of this verse describes a terrible shipwreck, when for about two weeks sailors, soldiers, and prisoners had little to eat. Then Paul got down to business. Starvation would not ease the situation. So, taking what bread and meat there was, Paul gave thanks and persuaded the people to eat. And eat they did. “They were all of good cheer and took some meat.”
How many of your hopes have been shipwrecked? Is sorrow yours and are you denying yourself food accordingly? Go and have a satisfying meal, and your cares will become lighter. Where’s the beef?
A great deal of our efficacious medicine comes from herbs and leaves of the trees. Certain herbs are most beneficial for certain bodily ailments. It is with this fact in mind that John describes the life in which there will be no sickness. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Beneath the shade of “the tree of life” no disease shall ever afflict the glorified. Perpetual health is to be their portion.
Back in the beginning, the leaves of the tree were despised by God as a sufficient covering for a discovered nakedness. “How different are the leaves of paradise.”
With the curse gone, and a groaning creation gloriously transformed, the redeemed are to have unbroken health.
Believers, are you not thrilled at the prospect of becoming perfectly holy and perfectly healthy? No hoof in mouth disease...
While the prophet is taken up with Israel’s restoration to Divine favor, the principle enunciated is that all health is from the Lord.
Physicians may prescribe drugs and medicine and they readily confess that although they are doctors, they cannot cure. Their diagnosis and treatments are essential, but in the end, the patient is dependent upon the Lord for life and health – JEHOVAH RAPHI. If it is His will to take the sick Christian to be with Himself, then all the physicians in the world would not be able to add one minute to his life.
The Lord placed breath in our nostrils, and at His pleasure it is retained or removed. Thus, if physicians and physics are needed, let their aid be mixed with faith in the Lord’s sovereign will and power.
Why should I then my pains decline,
Inflicted by pure love Divine?
Let them then run out their destined course,
And spend upon me all their force.
Short pains can never grievous be,
Which work a blessed eternity.
“Our birth made us mortal, our death makes us immortal.”
If the Lord Jesus Christ should come in our lifetime, and there is no plan to stop Him, then we Christians shall not see death.
Like Enoch and Elijah, we too shall escape the grave. Otherwise, death is a physical certainty both saint and sinner must face.
Before coming to a brief exposition of some of the numerous and precious Promises connected with the death of a Christian, a collection of the most outstanding passages concerning the fact of support in, and deliverance from death may be found impressive.
“I kill and I make alive,” Deut 32:29, 1 Sam 2:6.
|“He will deliver his soul from going down into the pit,” Job 33:28.|
|“Mark the perfect man...the end of that man is peace,” Psa 37:37.|
|“He will be our guide even unto death,” literally, “over
death,” Psa 48:14.|
|“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,” Psa 49:15.|
|“Unto God belong the issues of death,” Psa 68:20.|
|“To loose them that are appointed to death,” Psa 102:20, 26.|
|“The righteous hath hope in death,” Prov 14:32.|
|“Neither death shall be able to separate us from the love of God which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom 8:38-39.|
|“To die is to gain...a desire to depart,” Phil 1:21, 23.|
|“Christ, Who hath abolished death,” 2 Tim 1:10, Heb 2:14, 15.|
Death is no respecter of age is proven by recorded deaths in the Bible. Infants and children die. Heaven gives its favorites early death.
|“David therefore besought God for the child…the child died,” 2 Sam
|“If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved,” Gen 43:14.|
|“Rachael weeping for her children...they were not,” Jer 31:15-17.|
|“I have lost my children and am desolate,” Isa 49:21.|
|“He shall gather the lambs in His arms and carry them in His bosom,” Isa 40:11.|
The death of babies and young children make desolate our hearts and homes and disturb our future plans. Often as in the case of Rachael, inconsolable grief over the death of children is ours. Yet Heaven is nearer or dearer because of their presence there.
Now not only do you have your beloved Saviour there, but you also have your loved ones awaiting you.
Did not the Lord gather them early before their beauty started to fade? As lambs they are in His bosom. David knew he could not bring his baby back, but that he would go to be with him. Therefore, David’s grief was not excessive. He resigned himself to the will of God.
Heaven takes its favorites home early.
“Absent from the body, face to face, with the Lord,” 2 Cor 5:8.
Wherefore should I make my moan,
Now the darling child is dead?
He to rest is early gone,
He to paradise is fled.
I shall go to him, but he
Never shall return to me.
The Bible also reminds us that death cuts off our noble youth. And that is why Solomon exhorts young people to remember the Lord Jesus Christ, their Creator. Ecc 12:1.
|The shunamite lost her boy when he was “grown,” 2 Kings 4:18-26.|
|Jarius had the anguish of knowing that his daughter had died, Mark 5:22, 23, 35-42.|
|The widow’s son, who was the bread winner of the home, died, adding therefore to his mother’s loneliness.|
Death in youth seems most unnatural. Nature has her seasons such as seedtime and harvest, sunshine and winter. But death has all seasons. No age is exempt.
While youth is the time for joy, if the young are ready for death, then the true joy of life is increased. Although suddenly the thread is broken and the loom stops, the design is completed elsewhere for the Lord’s work is never half done.
|Lazarus had likely reached middle age when death laid its cold fingers on him.|
|The Lord Jesus Christ died just after His 33rd birthday. And Stephen was not much older when he died as the Church’s first martyr.|
“Every man at his best state is altogether vanity,” Psa 39:4-5.
“What is your life is it not a vapor?” James 4:13-14.
At the half way stage of life, when it would seem that a man is at the zenith of his powers and accomplishments, he needs to be reminded about the brevity of life and certainty of death.
Numerous precious Promises to those whom the Lord satisfies with long life, and upon whom His beauty rests.
|“We have a building of God, an home not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” 2 Cor 5:1.|
|“Absent from the body, face to face with the Lord,” 2 Cor 5:8.|
|“I have fought a good fight ... There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,” 2 Tim 4:7-8.|
|“Though after my skin worms destroy this body...shall I see God,” Job 19:22-27.|
|“Thou shall come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season,” Job 5:26.|
|“Even in your old age, I am He,” Isa 46:4, Gen 15:15.|
|“It shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light,” Zech 14:7.|
While some are always mystified when death claims a baby, child, or young person, we somehow expect those who have reached the prescribed measure of their existence to die. The young men die, but the old man must.
To them death seems natural. And if they are the Lord’s, they are glad for the release from many of the afflictions of old age.
While the death of any saint is precious in the eyes of the Lord, the death of an aged saint is like an honorable discharge from a long warfare. At the end of the road, the weary traveler is welcomed home. Paul tells us how the aged should be living as they await their release. “Sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience,” Titus 2:2, 5.
|“Mark the perfect man...the end of that man is peace,” Psa 37:37.|
If one has enjoyed the joy of sin forgiven, then death will not be a leap in the dark. Death to one saved by Grace is falling into the embrace of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A peaceful end comes to those who were not idle in the market place. Every God-given opportunity was appropriated and rest when it comes will be sweet. The end of the upright is always with peace because their future is always bright with the promise of eternal bliss.
What else can the Christian do but die happy and victorious when he or she knows that their soul and life are to be entirely emancipated from evil and that the sight of the face of the Lord Jesus Christ and the society, the body, and the full enjoyment of God for all eternity awaits them?
But to have a peaceful end it is necessary to have the Lord Jesus Christ as our peace while we journey over the rough and rugged pathway of life.
“Blessed are such dead who die in the Lord,” Rev 14:13.
What a noble epitaph is this to have traced upon our tombstone. Will it be yours when your tired body comes to the end of life’s day?
|“He will be our Guide, even over death,” Psa 48:14.|
We all need a guide and what a privilege and joy it is to have the Lord Jesus Christ as our infallible Guide.
Isaiah reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ guides us continually, Isa 58:11, which means every minute of every hour He is near to direct our steps. He never loses sight of us as travelers. He never leaves or forsakes us.
As day follows day and the years come and go, His watchful eye is always upon us. We may not know the way, but we know the Guide. So we trust Him where we cannot trace Him.
But what happens when we reach the end of the road? Does our faithful Guide leave us? There He is with us as we journey through the valley, Psa 23:4. There He is carrying us through the valley into the broad and beautiful country of Heaven.
The word “even” in our passage is “over,” signifying that not only is the Lord Jesus Christ our Guide even “unto death,” but “over death into eternity.”
What great power Satan must have had before the Cross. He certainly possesses much power yet, but the Cross was his “Waterloo.” The keys of hell and death are no longer his. They dangle from the girdle of the Lord Jesus Christ, His key chain.
The fact that the devil had the power of death may be one reason why he contended with Michael for the body of Moses, Jude 9.
“Lord, now lettest Thy servant depart in peace,” Luke 2:39.
Dictators and war lords think nothing of gambling with millions of lives. It means little to them when there are battlefields strewn with battered, lifeless, bodies.
But the Lord Jesus Christ is moved even over the death of the wicked. With sadness He views the passing of the godless because He knows the terrible eternity awaiting those who die out of Christ.
The death of saints, however, is precious in His sight. Why does He count their death precious? Saints are those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and who in virtue of the Cross have Heaven as their goal. For every saint “the best is yet to be” for the redeemed.
The sting of death is sin. But when sin is cancelled through the Lord Jesus Christ paying the debt, the sting is gone forever.
We cannot deny that death has a certain sting. The final sting will only vanish when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. To watch a loved one die and then to stand and witness the precious dust buried in God’s green Earth produces a heart sting.
Death produces a temporary shudder because of the snapping of long and loving friendships. But the Promise is that the dead in Christ will rise first. And then for them death will be swallowed up in victory.
The Abolisher of death, the Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again and who is alive forevermore, will deal the death blow to man’s last enemy.
For the lost in the blackness of darkness, forever the sting of death remains. Because their eternal punishment is referred to as “the second death.”
To the Christian, death is only a “shadow,” because the Lord Jesus Christ robbed it of its substance. Why be afraid of a shadow?
What deathbed assurance this Promise inspires. When the Lord Jesus Christ came to pass through that dark valley of death, there was a moment when He felt forsaken of God.
But for those redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Promise is “Thou art with me.”
For David, there was the constant thought death might be around the corner. Saul’s anger and jealousy made young David’s a precarious existence. In the midst of life, he was in death. The spears of Saul almost got David, but every time they were aimed, God saw to it that they missed their mark.
How true it is that we are nearer Heaven than we realize. Healthy though we may be, with nothing organically wrong with our bodies, God may see fit to take the breath from our nostrils.
We have no lease on life, therefore, because death is only a step away, we should be found sitting loose to things of Earth. Our soul should be weaned from the world and its ways.
We must live right with the Lord so that no regrets will be ours if we are brought sharply to the end of our earthly career. May Grace be ours so to live that whensoever the summons may reach us, we shall be ready to obey.
For Daniel, this prophecy was also a Promise. For us, the Lord is our lot, and we shall be found in Him at the end of our days. We also have a lot in Heaven and come what may, shall stand in it.
The God of Daniel granted us a worthy portion. No one and nothing can rob us of.
Many a Christian brought down to a sick bed has been inspired by this Promise. Death seemed to be near, but the Lord whispered the assurance that gripped the psalmist’s soul and by God’s Grace and power, the afflicted one was spared to render many years of service.
Vigor returned to declare the works and the Words of the Lord. While it may sound a paradox, yet it is true. Although we may die, we shall not die, but live forever.
The grave may claim my body, but not me, which is my soul. Souls never die!
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Page updated 06/26/05 04:57 PM.