Friday, March 29, 2013

Psalm 22 - From Lament to Praise

Hosta blossom
PSALM 22

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? 
Why are You so far from my deliverance  and from my words of groaning? 
My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. 
But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You rescued them. 
They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. 
But I am a worm and not a man,  scorned by men and despised by people. 
Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: 
“He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him;
let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.” 
You took me from the womb, making me secure while at my mother’s breast. 
I was given over to You at birth;  You have been my God from my mother’s womb. 
Do not be far from me, because distress is near and there is no one to help. 
Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. 
They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring. 
I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are disjointed; 
my heart is like wax, melting within me. 
My strength is dried up like baked clay;  my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. 
You put me into the dust of death. 
For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced  my hands and my feet. 
I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. 
They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. 
But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me. 
Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs.
Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation. 
23 You who fear Yahweh, praise Him! 
All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! 
24 For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. 
He did not hide His face from him  but listened when he cried to Him for help. 
25 I will give praise in the great congregation
because of You;  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. 
26 The humble will eat and be satisfied;  those who seek the Lord will praise Him.
May your hearts live forever! 
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You, 
28 for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules over the nations. 
29 All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust
will kneel before Him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. 
30 Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. 
31 They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness—what He has done.
––Psalm 22
______________

This is the fifth and final day we are looking at Psalm 22.  It is a psalm that could be looked at much longer and still one could find food in its message.  The previous verses we have looked at have been those of a Lament psalm.  Beginning at verse 22 the psalm makes and abrupt change to a psalm of Thanksgiving and Praise:  Psalm 22:22-25 express an individual song of praise, Psalm 22:26-31 express a corporate song of praise. This psalm was written by David and expressed his discomfort over his unjustified suffering.  The words, inspired by God are applicable to all who suffer a similar problem.  Most importantly, the God breathed message,  is a prophetic proclamation of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. 

I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation. You who fear Yahweh, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him! All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted.  He did not hide His face from him but listened when he cried to Him for help.  I will give praise in the great congregation because of You;  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You.  Psalm 22:22-24  In these verses David states repeatedly "I will," proclaim, praise, fulfill my vows to Yahweh.  I will proclaim, declare to my brothers. For David this was the Israelite community. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, this refers to all believers.

I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation.  Psalm 22:22 After the resurrection of Jesus, He appeared first to Mary.  Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.  John 20:17  Two things are told to Mary that illuminated the effects of the resurrection. 1) Jesus call his disciples - "My brothers." 2) He declared a new relationship to God of His own - He said God was their Father and their God in the same manner that He spoke of God as His Father and His God.  The words of Psalm 22:22 are again reflected in  Hebrews. But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death  for everyone—crowned with glory and honor  because of His suffering in death.  For in bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God—all things exist for Him and through Him—should make the source  of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father.  That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers,  saying: I will proclaim Your name to My brothers;  I will sing hymns to You in the congregation.  Hebrews 2:9-12  

For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted.  He did not hide His face from him but listened when he cried to Him for help. I will give praise in the great congregation because of You; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You.  Psalm 22:24-25  David's lament changes to praise and thanksgiving. David's hope in the rescue of God was not misplaced.  David discovers that God has not forsaken him.  God did not hide his face from David. In reality God was near. God answered and saved David. To the believer today these words still ring true. God is near to all of His people. They will be saved. god was not passive during the ordeal of Christ on the cross. He allowed Christ Jesus to bear the sins of mankind alone, but He never allowed Him to be alone.


 Spurgeon writes in The Treasury of David:

Never was man so afflicted as our Saviour in body and soul from friends and foes, by heaven and hell, in life and death; he was the foremost in the ranks of the afflicted, but all those afflictions were sent in love, and not because his Father despised and abhorred him. 'Tis true that justice demanded that Christ should bear the burden which as a substitute he undertook to carry, but Jehovah always loved him, and in love laid that load upon him with a view to his ultimate glory and to the accomplishment of the dearest wish of his heart. Under all his woes our Lord was honourable in the Father's sight, the matchless jewel of Jehovah's heart. "Neither hath he hid his face from him." That is to say, the hiding was but temporary, and was soon removed; it was not final and eternal. "But when he cried unto him, he heard." Jesus was heard in that he feared. He cried in extremis and de profundis, and was speedily answered; he therefore bids his people join him in singing a Gloria in excelsis.
 I will give praise in the great congregation because of You; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. David was so joyous over his salvation that he could not hold it in his heart.  He exclaimed it to all the congregation. This is just as we should feel about the resurrection.  As Christians we should be so greatful over our salvation we cannot contain it. We should be so full of joy over our redemption that we cannot help but tell others about it. We should not be afraid to tell others the Gospel.  We should fufill our vows to spread the Gospel. We should also be so full of joy in our worship of Him, that we make a joyful noise when we sing the hymns and choruses. This should be every bit as important to us as study and prayer. Perhaps a song would be a good thing to add to your personal devotions and study.  Why not sing praises to the lord when working in the yard, washing the car, shovelling the snow.  If the neighbors hear you, so much the better.  They may ask you why you sing and that is a perfect time to tell them why. I mentioned a "joyful noise," because it is the expression of the joy that is needed, not the tune.  In my case it is a noise, the neighbors may be prompted to dial 911 thinking I am in pain, rather than as me why I am singing.
 
The humble will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise Him. May your hearts live forever!   Psalm 22:26-28  Those who belong to the Lord should be humble. We should be humbled by all that Christ has done for us. God will provide all that we need and we will be satisfied. May your hearts live forever! Jesus said - I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live  forever.  John 6:51

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will bow down before You, for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules over the nations. Psalm 22:27-28  David shows that Yahweh is not just God over Israel, but over all the nations. The rule of God’s divine kingship extends beyond Israel.  This is our mission today,  given to us by Jesus.  We are to spread the Gospel to all the world. This was the commission to the original followers and continues to be the task and the privilege of the Church today. The entire world is our mission field, the Gospel is for the Jews and all the gentiles too.  The Lord reigns, He is the King.  He has set up a kingdom of grace and redemption.  He will reign and all will kneel before Him.  His kingdom come.  For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6  Through the sacrifice of the Son of God, and his resurrection the promise of God to Abraham that He would bless all nations through his descendants is fulfilled. Genesis 12:3  . 

All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust will kneel before Him— even the one who cannot preserve his life.  Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness—what He has done.  Psalm 22:29-31  It makes no difference if you are rich or poor, strong or weak. All will kneel before Him and of His kingdom there will be no end.  We must pass the Gospel on from generation to generation so that all will hear the news.  All nations, all generations must be reminded of the gospel.  It must be told to all the world geographically and throughout time. The message of the crucifixion and the resurrection will never grow old.  God will always save a seed, a remnant, to tell the good news.


We began this journey of psalm 22 in lament and finished it with the Hallelujah chorus.  We are to be filled with the joy of the Lord and all He has done for us.  All will kneel before Him.  Hallelujah, Our God Reigns!

______________

Crown Him With Many Crowns


Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of peace, Whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end, and round His pierced feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

Lyrics: Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring.   Composer: George Elvey, 1868.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Psalm 22 - The Crucifixion

nodding daf

Psalm 22

I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are disjointed; 
my heart is like wax, melting within me. 
My strength is dried up like baked clay;  my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. 
You put me into the dust of death. 
For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced  my hands and my feet. 
I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. 
They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. 
But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me. 
Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs.
Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation. 
You who fear Yahweh, praise Him!  All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! 
For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. 
He did not hide His face from him  but listened when he cried to Him for help. 
I will give praise in the great congregation
because of You;  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. 
The humble will eat and be satisfied;  those who seek the Lord will praise Him.
May your hearts live forever! 
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You, 
for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules over the nations. 
All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust
will kneel before Him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. 
Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. 
They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness—what He has done.
––Psalm 22:14-31
________________


I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are out of joint;  my heart is like wax;  it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; 
you lay me in the dust of death.  Psalm 22:14-15  David uses striking imagery, vivid words descriptions , and prophetically described a crucifixion. Though David wrote these descriptive words to describe his experience, he was speaking accurately of the sufferings of Jesus.

The outward attack of his tormentors, those who made fun of Him and belittled his is matched with the inward, physical agony of the cross. He is poured out like water.  He is weak and physically unstable.  His human body no longer feels solid.  He feels like an empty bottle of water. All my bones are out of joint.  Like being pulled apart on a rack, crucifixion stretches the body out of a normal human shape. Crucifixion causes dislocation of the bones. My heart is like wax. A broken heart due to his immense sorrow.  The and suffering of the cross would be more than enough but He also suffers the intense pain of bearing the sins of mankind. My strength is dried up like a potsherd. A potsherd is a piece of pottery which is broken because of too much burning.  Perhaps the intense burning of God's judgement because He bore our sins. My tongue sticks to my jaws.  His mouth is dry, making it hard for him to speak.  He is dehydrated. You lay me in the dust of the earth. For  the writer, David, his expected death was not yet to come. For our Savior the physical suffering combined with the absence of God, there would be no reprieve of death.  But, Christ’s deliverance, and ours, was accomplished by his resurrection from the dead.

For dogs encompass me; a company of evil doers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.  Psalm 22:16-19   For dogs encompass me; a company of evil doers encircles me.  For David these words were vivid figures of speech. In Palestine wild dogs roamed in packs living on the outskirts of towns.  keleḇ - The Hebrew word for dog, carried a negative image in the Bible. To call a person a dog was an insult. The dog was a scavenger, it was considered unclean, it represented the enemy waiting to devour. The Jews often used the word dog to refer to the Gentiles. For Jesus these word were literally true. The Roman soldiers surrounded Him like a pack of dangerous animals.  They have pierced my hands and feet.  Crucifixion was not known of when David wrote this Messianic psalm.  These words accurately describe the crucifixion of Jesus. His hands and feet were pierced with nails.  I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me. As the spectators of the crucifixion looked upon the naked body of Jesus they would see His physical torment. They would see His bones pressing out against His skin. Many would have gloated and taken pleasure in shouting insults to Him. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. Mark 15:29-32   They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. All four of the Gospels mention the casting of lots for the clothing of Jesus.  Matthew 27:35  Mark 15:24  John 19:23-24  Luke 23:34 It was the common procedure of the guards to take the belongings of the one who was crucified. In John there is more information given.  It appears that there were four soldiers.  Each soldier took an item of clothing.  After dividing the clothes evenly,  there was one item, a seamless tunic, that remained.  The soldiers cast lots for this remaining piece. this was a very specific prophecy that was given in this psalm.


But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me.  Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs. Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen. Psalm 22:19-21  The style of this psalm is noticable here as the image of animals is repeated to represent the enemies. In the earlier verses it was bulls Psalm 22:12, lions Psalm 22:13 and dogs Psalm 22:16 (discussed in the previous blog) In this repition the order is dogs, lion and oxen.  This time the wild oxen is used instead of bulls, both are horned animals.  The Hebrew word used here is רְאֵים rieym, it is translated as unicorn in the KJV.
the exact meaning of the word is not known, but it is an animal with a horn. It probably refers to the great aurochs or wild bulls which are now extinct. this was the wild ancestor of domestic cattle. Both times the animal enemies are followed by the sword.  The sword is generally used to figuratively represent robbers, enemy soldiers or any violent death.

It is such a wonderful thing to see that the word of God is so complete.  His inspired word are appropriate to every age. What David wrote of himself, is appropriate to an suffering follower of Christ.  It was also a prophecy of the suffering Messiah, Jesus the Christ.  Only the inspired word of God could span those thousands of years and still be alive today.  No one could have take the life of our lord.  No one had the power to take the life of Jesus.  From the Father, Jesus received the right to lay down his life and take it up again. Jesus was at the beginning with God.  He knew the plan. He voluntarily suffered and died for those He called.  Answer the call.  Your sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus. His resurrection guarantees the resurrection of all who love Him.


___________

Near The Cross

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain—
Free to all, a healing stream—
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
  • Refrain:
    In the cross, in the cross,
    Be my glory ever;
    Till my raptured soul shall find
    Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and Mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.

Fanny J. Crosby - 1869

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Psalm 22 - continues - part 3


Liliy
Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? 
Why are You so far from my deliverance  and from my words of groaning? 
My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. 
But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You rescued them. 
They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. 
But I am a worm and not a man,  scorned by men and despised by people. 
Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: 
“He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him;
let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.” 
You took me from the womb, making me secure while at my mother’s breast. 
I was given over to You at birth;  You have been my God from my mother’s womb. 
Do not be far from me, because distress is near and there is no one to help. 
Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. 
They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring. 
I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are disjointed; 
my heart is like wax, melting within me. 
My strength is dried up like baked clay;  my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. 
You put me into the dust of death. 
For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced  my hands and my feet. 
I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. 
They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. 
But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me. 
Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs.
Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation. 
You who fear Yahweh, praise Him!  All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! 
For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. 
He did not hide His face from him  but listened when he cried to Him for help. 
I will give praise in the great congregation
because of You;  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. 
The humble will eat and be satisfied;  those who seek the Lord will praise Him.
May your hearts live forever! 
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You, 
for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules over the nations. 
All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust
will kneel before Him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. 
Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. 
They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness—what He has done.
––Psalm 22

____________

We continue today with the "Psalm of the Cross", a Messianic psalm.  Psalm 22 is also a psalm of Lament and a Praise / Thanksgiving psalm. We are looking at this psalm during the week before Resurrection Sunday. This psalm could have been the psalm that was spoken in prayer of Jesus while on the cross.

Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother 's breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother' s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.  Psalm 22:9-11  From my mother's womb you have been my God. David knew that he was a sinner from birth. He writes in  Psalm 51:5 Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me. In this verse David writes that God was his from birth.  One can say that this is a messianic statement.  Christ alone could be the only one who could have been God's Son while still in the womb of the virgin Mary. The Bible clearly teaches that children are sinners. They are not born innocent and sometime later become sinners. Children, too, need God’s salvation. God brought Jesus from the virgin's womb. God preserved him during His fragile days as an infant. God protected Jesus from Herod. God sustained Him through His childhood and into His manhood. The remberance of God's love for Him provided Him with some comfort during this suffering. Though God turned away from Him, Jesus still trusted Him.

In the verses of Psalm 22:11-21 we have Christ suffering and Christ praying in the word written 1000 years earlier by David. David was often in trouble.  David was often chased by his enemies, but many of the particulars found in these verses were never true of  David. The words inspired by God were written By David and are appropriate to Christ during His suffering on the cross.

David, the writer of this psalm, recalls that God has been faithful to the nation of Israel. David can trust in God because He has always taken care of him. He was faithful to David from the beginning of his existence.  Even though all is going bad around him, in spite of the taunts and troubles, David can count on the goodness of God.  David pleads that God will be ever be near him because he cannot endure his suffering without God.

Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me.  They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring.  Psalm 22:12-13 Many bulls, enemies, surround Him.  Some included the big bulls. The bulls of  Bashan were lagre imposing animals. Basham - Ramat ha-Golan, has been known as The Golan Heights since the 19th century.It is located east and northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Due to its geography it has a wetter climate than the surrounding areas. Even though the climate is conducive to agriculture, the land is too rocky and poor for farming. Because of this Bashan, now Golan Heights, has long been know for its livestock. The prophet Amos uses the term “cows of Bashan" indicating they were well fed cattle for the wives of rich oppressive rulers.  Amos 4:1  Jer 50:19   Mic 7:14  It is also used in this verse to again signify strong bulls.  Psalm 22:12.  Even today, most of Israel's beef supply comes from ranches on the Golan Heights. 

Some authorities will say that the early origin of bull fights began in Bashan. This bull fight was different than those of Spain today. In Bashan an area of a field was roped off for the battle. At the center of the arena would be a large tree. A hunter, dressed in red garments, would enter the roped off arena.  As the hunter entered the field, a prize bull of Bashan would be turned loose into the field.  The hunter would stand in front of the tree and entice the bull to charge him. When the bull was unable to resist the torment, it would dash toward the hunter.  Because of its rage, the bull would be unable to change its course.  The clever, and hopefuly fast, hunter would sweep around the tree.  The bull would dash on full speed into the tree. The horns of the bull would be securely locked into the tree. The hunter would then be a safe and happy victor.* This Messianic psalm tells of the crucifixion of Jesus in many ways. The words of the psalm are very easily understood, yet there is much more behind the God inspired choice of the words.


They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring.  Psalm 22:13  To “open the mouth against” is a Hebrew idiom associated with eating and swallowing.  Lions, in the Bible, often represents ferocity and ruthlessness.  Ravaging beasts are images presented here in this verse and again in verses  Psalm 22:16  Psalm 22:20  and Psalm 22:21 The enemies of Christ have been plotting against Him for some time now.  Their plot has succeeded, they are ready to swallow up Jesus and rid themselves of their problem forever.  

We know the story is not over.  We know that a sovereign and loving God is working out His plan. We know that the Son of God has willingly allowed Himself to die. His death will bring eternal life to all who sever Him as their Master.
____________

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

                          ––– by Isaac Watts (1707)


* source Meditations in the Book of Psalms - Erling C. Olsen



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Psalm 22 - A Passion Psalm

Morning frost on rose foliage

Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? 
Why are You so far from my deliverance  and from my words of groaning? 
2 My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. 
3 But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
4 Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You rescued them. 
5 They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. 
6 But I am a worm and not a man,  scorned by men and despised by people. 
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: 
8 “He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him;
let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.” 
9 You took me from the womb, making me secure while at my mother’s breast. 
10 I was given over to You at birth;  You have been my God from my mother’s womb. 
11 Do not be far from me, because distress is near and there is no one to help. 
12 Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. 
13 They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring. 
14 I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are disjointed; 
my heart is like wax, melting within me. 
15 My strength is dried up like baked clay;  my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. 
You put me into the dust of death. 
16 For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced  my hands and my feet. 
17 I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. 
18 They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. 
19 But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me. 
20 Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs.
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation. 
23 You who fear Yahweh, praise Him! 
All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! 
24 For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. 
He did not hide His face from him  but listened when he cried to Him for help. 
25 I will give praise in the great congregation
because of You;  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. 
26 The humble will eat and be satisfied;  those who seek the Lord will praise Him.
May your hearts live forever! 
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You, 
28 for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules over the nations. 
29 All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust
will kneel before Him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. 
30 Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. 
31 They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness—what He has done.
––Psalm 22
____________

Psalm 22 is one of the four psalms of suffering. These psalms are also called the “Passion Psalms.” The other Passion Psalms are Psalm 16  Psalm 40   and  Psalm 69 .  In Psalm 22, God's servant is shown to be suffering. There is no suggestion of any sin by the sufferer.  The suffering is totally unjustified. There is no cry for vengeance by the one who suffered toward those who persecute him. Only the sinless Son of God could perfectly fit into the total words of this psalm.  This psalm is a Messianic psalm that refers to the coming Messiah. This psalm depicts the suffering of Christ on the cross, ten centuries before the occurrence.

But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.  Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You rescued them. They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced.  Psalm 22:3-5  God is still on the throne.  It makes no difference what your circumstances are, it makes no difference what the condition the world is in: God is on the throne, He rules, He is sovereign.  Three times in the above verses trust is mentioned.  Even though a person suffers, they can still trust in God. If one does not hear a response from God, God is still there. God is listening to His own. God is still faithful to His people. God will continue to be faithful to His people who call upon Him. Unanswered prayer for God's people is not because God is unfaithful.  Some feel that their prayer is not answered, because it is not the answer they expected.  Jesus was clothed in our sin upon the cross. Jesus was aware that God was holy. Jesus knew that He must suffer the silence of the Holy God.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by people.  Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: “He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him;
let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.”   — Psalm 22: 6-8

But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” — Psalm 22: 6-8 

David’s suffering makes him feel as though he were no longer human—instead he feels like a worm. When David was at his lowest, his enemies ridiculed his faith in the Lord. 

These verses also especially apply to Jesus. The Messianic applications of these verses can be seen in Matthew 27: 39-44  Luke 23:35  Not only was Jesus forsaken by God, He was rejected and taunted by the people. This same Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem by a joyous crowd less than a week before.  Jesus now had to endure the ridicule of hypocritical priests and criminals. Jesus compares Himself to a worm.

The worm is a symbol of extreme weakness and helplessness, something to be trodden down, unnoticed, and despised. The Son of God found Himself to be less than a man.  This He accepted because of His love for us and His obedience to his Father. The Hebrew word use for worm in this instance is tôlahath. This word is used in Isaiah 1:18  Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. It is used in this verse as worm.  It translated as scarlet 34 times, worm 8 times, crimson 1 time. It is called the splendor worm, or scarlet worm.. This word signifies a worm that is used for dying materials crimson or scarlet. The female towleah, crimson worm, when ready to give birth to her young, would attach her body to the trunk of a tree. She would attach herself so firmly, that she could never detach from the tree.  The eggs deposited beneath her body were protected until the larvae were hatched. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the scarlet dyes of that day were extracted. This too gives us a picture of Christ, dying on a tree, shedding His blood, so that He might bring life to His children.

Jesus felt the reproach of men, and was despised by the people. “They separate the lip,” an idiom for sneering. Literally “they let out lips.” This may indicate that people freely speak insults that would normally be held back. All those who see Me ridicule Me.  Luke 23:35  They shake their head, saying, “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;  Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” Matthew 27:39  Matthew 27:43   Jesus sustained verbal and physical abuse for us.  He became sin for us and was forsaken by His Father.  The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Submit to Him as your Saviour and enjoy cleansing from sin!
________

*Biblical Basis for Modern Science", 1985, Baker Book House, by Henry Morris

The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
(Refrain)

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
(Refrain)

To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.
(Refrain)

George Bernard 1913





Monday, March 25, 2013

Introduction to - Psalm 22

Psalm 22

For the choir director: according to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A Davidic psalm.


Water lily


1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? 
Why are You so far from my deliverance  and from my words of groaning? 
2 My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. 
3 But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
4 Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You rescued them. 
5 They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. 
6 But I am a worm and not a man,  scorned by men and despised by people. 
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: 
8 “He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him;
let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.” 
9 You took me from the womb, making me secure while at my mother’s breast. 
10 I was given over to You at birth;  You have been my God from my mother’s womb. 
11 Do not be far from me, because distress is near and there is no one to help. 
12 Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. 
13 They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring. 
14 I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are disjointed; 
my heart is like wax, melting within me. 
15 My strength is dried up like baked clay;  my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. 
You put me into the dust of death. 
16 For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced  my hands and my feet. 
17 I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. 
18 They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. 
19 But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me. 
20 Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs.
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation. 
23 You who fear Yahweh, praise Him! 
All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! 
24 For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. 
He did not hide His face from him  but listened when he cried to Him for help. 
25 I will give praise in the great congregation
because of You;  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. 
26 The humble will eat and be satisfied;  those who seek the Lord will praise Him.
May your hearts live forever! 
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You, 
28 for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules over the nations. 
29 All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust
will kneel before Him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. 
30 Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. 
31 They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness—what He has done.
––Psalm 22
____________

This week we will look at Psalm 22.  It is, as you can see above, a rather lengthy psalm. This psalm is sometimes called the "Psalm of the Cross."  It was also called the fifth gospel by some leaders of the early church. This wonderful psalm is quite appropriate for this week before Resurrection Sunday. This is a psalm that you will want to return to again and again.  This psalm deserves a much more detailed and closer study than the brief study presented in this blog.  Take time to read the psalm in its entirety several times this week.  We will not spend very much time looking at the construction of the psalm as was suggested as a study method in an earlier blog.

Psalm 22 is a psalm of contrast. It is divided into two distinct parts. The first 21 verses are those of a Lament psalm. The last 10 verses of the psalm shift to a psalm of Praise and Thanksgiving. The first verse begins in a sad minor key and the last verse ends in a joyous Hallelujah Chorus. It is the chief messianic psalm in the Bible. There are 15 messianic quotations of or allusions to this psalm in the New Testament. Some leaders of the early church referred to this psalm as the "the fifth gospel."  If this psalm was the only prophesy in the Old Testament of God's own revelation of Himself in the person of His Son, it would be sufficient.  God, however, was very generous in revealing his plan of redemption in the Old Testament. There are many prophecies foretelling of the coming of Christ and the plan for redemption. This story of redemption unfolds from the creation of man through the coming of the new heavens and the new earth.  His plan continues even further throughout all eternity.  

There are several ways to interpret this psalm: (1) a description of the sorrows and sufferings of King David, or some other biblical character; (2) a description of the sufferings of Israel during captivity or some other crisis; (3) a prediction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  It is likely a combination of all those interpretations.  Above all one must remember that though David wrote the psalm, it was God's inspired word that he wrote. The psalm is a lament of David for some trial he was facing, this lament is applicable to any innocent sufferer, and is especially applicable to the crucifixion of Jesus.  Most certainly it is messianic prediction of the crucifixion of our Lord. A Messianic psalm is one that refers to the future Messiah who would deliver and save His people. Most would list the following list of psalms as Messianic psalms: Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 72, 89, 102, 109, 110, and 118.  Psalm 22 would be the chief of the Messianic psalms.

The description of a crucifixion in this psalm is quite vivid. The psalm was written 1,000 years before the crucifixion of Christ. This psalm also preceded by 400 to 500 years the knowledge or use of crucifixion as a method of capital punishment. Actual crucifixion was not introduced in Palestine until Hellenistic times. At the time this psalm was written the method of capital punishment was stoning. Impalement was possibly used in Egypt and Babylonia prior to the 5th century B.C., however the person was first beheaded then the body was impaled on a stake. The first historical record of crucifixion was about 519 BC when Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon. Psalm 22 was written some 500 years before that date. Alexander the Great brought crucifixion from Persia to the eastern Mediterranean countries in the 4th century BC, and the Phoenicians introduced it to Rome in the 3rd century BC.


My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? 
Why are You so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning?
My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest.
–– Psalm 22:1-2


The Psalm begins with an agonizing  question: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In these first two verses we see David in real distress. He is experiencing a time of great trouble and feels that God has abandoned him. These same words are recorded in the New Testament as the "fourth saying." The words spoken by Jesus from the cross. Matthew 27:46   Mark. 15:34  In the Sovereignty of God we see that  these words, inspired by the Holy Spirit were applicable to David when they were written, and remained applicable 1000 years later when spoken by Jesus on the cross. I can remember when I was in grade-school our pastor saying that he believed that Jesus was reciting the entire psalm 22 while He was on the cross.  I remember nothing else from that sermon except that statement.  One reads in Spurgeon's - Treasury of David – This is beyond all others THE PSALM OF THE CROSS. It may have been actually repeated word by word by our Lord when hanging on the tree; it would be too bold to say that it was so, but even a casual reader may see that it might have been.  I don't know that this is a fact
or if it means anything, but it looks to me as though this is the only time that Jesus prays to God as "My God."  In all other occasions Jesus refers to God as Father.  Perhaps that is evidence that Jesus is quoting this psalm, knowing that it is prophetically referring to Himself. Perhaps as His sacrifice for us, He is feeling total abandonment from His Father, yet still is certain that God is in charge.

God seems to be so very far away. Why are You so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning?  The subject of the psalm describes his cries to God as continuous. His cries are day and night, yet he receives no answer.  An answer from God would provide him rest. My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest.

This psalm is important to us all. David wrote this psalm to cry out to God about his pain and feeling of abandonment.  The psalm also is helpful to us when we are in a similar situation. Upon the cross Jesus experienced the total abandonment of God. This total abandonment by God was something that King David never experienced.  It is something that believers will never experience. Jesus bore the curse of sin for king David and all of God's people.

 We deserve that abandonment, but Jesus felt, suffered and bore that pain for all who believe on Him. Jesus, the sinless, eternal Son of God, actually was abandoned By God the Father. The holy and righteous attributes of God cannot overlook sin. Jesus voluntarily took the responsibility to pay the penalty for all our sins. God unleashed His divine judgement on His only beloved Son. Christ was forsaken by His Father God, so that we might never be forsaken. 2 Corinthians 5:21

I cannot imagine the horror of Jesus in being abandoned by His Father. It is beyond my understanding. Christ was in the beginning with the Father.  Now, He is abandoned by Him. I cannot grasp the wonder of this.  I praise Him. I thank Him for taking my place. Oh, what a wonderful Saviour we have.

__________

And can it be that I should gain


And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love Divine!
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness Divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

words Charles Wesley 1738

Friday, March 22, 2013

The sin of worrying — Matthew 6:25-34

Japanese Maple leaf & flowers


“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 
 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 
 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 
 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." 

–– Matthew 6:25-34
____________

Over the last few days we have been looking at Matthew 6:25-34. We have discussed five reasons that a Christian should not worry.
  • Worry keeps you from enjoying what you have.
  • Worry makes you forget your worth.
  • Worry is totally useless.
  • Worry erases the promises of God from your mind.
  • Worry is the characteristic of unbelievers, not Christians. *
These reasons are important helps in stopping our fruitless worries. Worry can easily become an addiction. Once you get started, there is no limit to how many things you can worry about. Once we push a worry out of the way, we will quickly replace it with another worry. Who needs to sleep when you can spend the entire night worrying.

I used to worry a lot more than I now do. As a sinner, I must confess that I still worry. I don't seem to worry about the food, drink, clothes and those type of things. I worry about situations, families and circumstances. Social situations are stressful for me. What can I talk about with people? I probably don't have anything in common with them. What if I say the wrong thing? I'm uncomfortable, I would rather fade into the background or disappear from the situation. Then there is the family to worry about. Will they make the right decisions in life? Will I decide the right thing. Do they have to drive all that distance at one time? Will they be safe on their trip. My wife should have been home by now, why isn't she here - is she OK?

I really have learned to leave it all in God's hands, but not always as quickly as I should. I need to stop and remind myself what I am doing and how wrong it is. Our loving and sovereign God does not make mistakes. Things will work out according to His plan. God is never surprised by our circumstances. He is always in control of all situations. I can find comfort in this truth. My worries are a lack of faith in God's ability and promises. But, once one starts to worry, it is like an drug. It is addictive. One easily gets pulled into the sin of worry and your worries grow and grow greater. One must stop as soon as he becomes aware of these thoughts. Give it to God and enjoy His peace.

We are not alone in out fight over worries. Abraham had enormous faith. you can see how great his faith was in the Hall of Faith in the book of Hebrews. By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10 He was promised by God that he would become a great nation. Genesis 12:1-3 Abraham, on occasions, forgot about the promises of God. When a famine came he moved to Egypt for food. Genesis 12:10 Abraham worried that when the Egyptians saw his wife, they would kill him and take his beautiful wife. If the his wife were stolen and he was killed, how would he receive his promised inheritance. So Abraham told Sari to tell them that she was his sister. Genesis 12:11 His schemeappeared to work. Abraham probably began to think that his worrying was effective. Genesis 12: 14-16 God exposed Abraham's lie. Genesis 12:17-19 The Egyptians escort Abraham and his wife out of town.

Did the embarrased Abraham learn his lesson about worry. Apparently not. Genesis 20:1-2 Abraham is sojourning in Gerar and he tells the people that Sarah is his sister. So the king of Gerar, Abimilech, sent and took Sara. The same story repeats but in another place. God reveals his scheme to Abimilech. Genesis 20:3-7.

Abraham's son, Isaac, must of liked that storry too. In Genesis 26, Isaac found himself in a similar situation as his father. When the men asked Isaaic about his wife — the worrying Isaac said, "She is my sister." Genesis 26:7 Isaac was also caught in his lie and publically rebuked. Genesis 26:8-11

Worry is a problem. Worry is a sin. The answer is to be found in the words of Jesus “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." When the temptation to worry comes, send it away. Keep your mind in fellowship with the Lord. Trust in his sovereignty and His promises.

__________

“How can a person deal with anxiety? You might try what one fellow did. He worried so much that he decided to hire someone to do his worrying for him. He found a man who agreed to be his hired worrier for a salary of $200,000 per year. After the man accepted the job, his first question to his boss was, "Where are you going to get $200,000 per year?" To which the man responded, "That's your worry.”

― Max Lucado

When I look back on all the worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.
— Winston Churchill


* From You and Your Problems - Chuck Swindoll

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Matthew 6:25-34 - Worry 4


Blood root



“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 
 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 
 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 
 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." 

–– Matthew 6:25-34
___________

When the times get tough, it is easy to worry and forget the promises of God.  We the forget the promises of God and ask: ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ We allow the promises of God to fade from our minds and choose instead to worry.

“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:32-34  The unconverted, non-Christians, accumulate all kinds of material things. They worry about food, and clothing as though these thing were the most important things in life.

Christians have a heavenly Father who knows their basic needs. If Christians make their goal to provide in advance for all their needs, it would consume them and monopolize all of their time. There would be no time left in their lives for God. They would be constantly worrying about inflation, market collapse, prolonged illnesses, or many other catastrophes. The purpose for which we were created is to glorify God. If we focus on material possessions, God would be robbed of our service to Him.  Matthew 6:24  You cannot serve two masters. You must choose to worship God or money.


It is fine to do wise planning, but if after doing all that you are able to do, you still find yourself fearful of the future That is not right, not healthy, not Christian.  We as Christians can not secure our own future. Jesus says, “Don’t worry.”  He promised to provide all your needs, and He will: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”  (Phil. 4:19). You need not worry.  God will take care of you.

Jesus puts it all in proper perspective for us. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34  We are to seek salvation. As Christians we are to trust in God's sovereign rule. This is to be our priority. As we seek God and His salvation the fullness of God's blessing will be manifested in our lives. Worry is inconsistent with trusting in a sovereign God. God will meet all the needs of those who are His own.  He promises that we will never lack for what He knows we need. Don't worry about tomorrow. Live one day at a time always trusting in God. This is the antidote for worry.


Worry keeps you from enjoying what you have.
Worry makes you forget your worth.
Worry is totally useless.
Worry erases the promises of God from your mind.
Worry is the characteristic of unbelievers, not Christians. *

____________

Knowing that God is faithful, really helps me to not be captivated by worry. But knowing that He will do what He has said, He will cause it to happen, whatever He has promised, and then it causes me to be less involved in worrying about a situation.
– Josh McDowell



* From You and Your Problems - Chuck Swindoll


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Worry 3 – Matthew 6:25–34

common wild blue phlox

25 “This is why I tell you:  Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?  26 Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?  27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height  by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?  31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the idolaters  eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God  w and His righteousness,  and all these things will be provided for you.  34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble  of its own.  
–– Matthew 6:25–34 HCSB
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Can any of you add a single cubit to his height  by worrying?  Matthew 6:27  The word used for cubit here is  πῆχυς  transliterated to pêchus.  This word can be used for forearm, which would be a unit of measure, a cubit or eighteen inches.  To add eighteen inches to one's height by worry would be a pretty big deal.  It is more likely better to understand this "cubit" as a figure of speech for a short period of time.  Therefore: Can anyone of you add a moment to your lifetime by worry - is a better translation.  Worry, if anything would rob you of moments of your life.  It is unhealthy and possibly shortens one's life.  Nevertheless, one's lifespan would be much more miserable, however long, if they are tormented with constant worry.

Today we are so "health conscious."  We strive to exercise, eat right, take the right vitamins and all the necessary supplements.  We start each day as though adhering to Star Trek's Mr. Spock's greeting, "Live long and prosper."
daffy dillsA doctor once made a catalog of the worries of his patients. He found that 40% of them worried over things which never happened. And 30% of the worries were over past matters which were now beyond their control. Then 12% were anxious over their health, although their only illness was in their imagination. And 10% worried over their families and friends and neighbors, although in most cases these people were endowed with enough common sense to look after themselves. Finally, only 8% of the worries had real causes which needed attention.
 Worry will never accomplish anything fruitful. Worry is totally useless.  Worry is a sin.  Worry is totally useless.


Size of chickweed flower
Why worry about clothes. Matthew 6:28-30  The word for clothes is the Greek word ἔνδυμα transliterated to enduma.  It is always translated as garments or clothing.  Why worry about the newest styles, the name brand.  The TV ads would certainly disagree with this statement.  It is quite an expensive effort to keep up with the current styles. So much money is spent to beautifully cover our bodies with no thought as to the beauty of our heart.  Why worry.  Look at the wildflowers, the lilies of the field.  The lilies of the field refers to the wildflowers that bloomed on the hills of Galilee. These flowers were most likely anemones, chamomile, poppies and narcissus. They are magnificently arrayed by God. Yet they did not toil or spin thread for there beautiful clothing.  Not even Solomon in all his splendor, was dressed as spectacularly as these flowers.  Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived.  He was also the wealthiest man that ever lived.  No amount of money in the world could buy clothes that would begging to compare with the beauty, design, texture and intricacy of a flower.  Yet the grass and wild flowers are short lived.  They bloom for a short time then they are gone. The dry grasses and dead flowers were gathered by the people as fuel to use in their ovens. God lavishes fantastic beauty on the flowers of the field, and they are used for fuel.  Our clothes will fade, wear out, and become out of fashion. Our body will fade and deteriorate. Would not the God who died for us, cloth use as well.  Isaiah 40: 8  The grass withers, the flowers fade,  but the word of our God remains forever.

Matthew 6:31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ When times are bad, it is very easy to forget how very much God cares for us.  We forget His promises. We worry. We become self-absorbed.  We worry. We concentrate on ourselves and our problems.  We worry.  It is easy to worry.  It is our natural  sinful inclination to worry.  We worry about our own capabilities.  We worry about the basics - our food, our clothes.  We forget God and His promises.

What then are we to say about these things? 
If God is for us, who is against us? 
He did not even spare His own Son 
but offered Him up for us all; 
how will He not also with Him grant us everything?   Romans 8:31-32

He has promised to take care of all our needs!


Worry keeps you from enjoying what you have.
Worry makes you forget your worth.
Worry is totally useless.
Worry erases the promises of God from your mind.
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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
Corrie Ten Boom

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Worry is the rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution which destroys the machinery but the friction. Fear secretes acids; but love and trust are sweet juices"

— Beecher, Henry Ward


* From You and Your Problems - Chuck Swindoll

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Matthew 6:25-34 –– Worry 2

goldfinch
Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on.  Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life? Psalms 39:5-7  And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.  Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these.  I Kings 10:4-7   But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?  For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.  But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.  So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. 
–– Matthew 6:25-34 Amplified Bible
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your minds in Christ Jesus.  
–– Philippians 4:6-7
And my God will fulfill your every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
–– Philippians 4:19
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Worry is very common in our time.  Apparently, it was also common during the time that Jesus walked on earth as well. One of the problems with worry is that it doesn't seem all that harmful.  We will say of ourself, "Oh, I'm just the worrying type."  We will say of someone else, "He is just a worry-wart."  We tolerate it in ourselves and we tolerate this behavior in others. Worry is harmful, it is very harmful.  It  will destroy our motivation, it will diminish our joy.  One can allow worry to fill their day and to obsess all their thoughts. Worry can fill your night and make sleep difficult or impossible.
Worry is a common temptation in life.  Worry is something I struggle with. We tell ourselves we are just worrying about the basics, the essentials of life.  We are don't worry about the extras, things we do don't really need.  Jesus quite clearly tell us that worry is a sin.  Even worrying over the basics in wrong. MacArthur writes: The Christian who worries is really saying, “God, I know You mean well by what You say, but I’m not sure You can pull it off.”  Anxiety is blatant distrust of the power and love of God. In spite of its lack of subtlety, we fall into it so easily and so often.
Jesus covers all the essential areas in life that worry can invade.  We are not to worry about our food or drink, our body or health, our clothing.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Matthew 6: 25  Worrying about these things keeps us from enjoying the many things that God has already blessed us with. Praise the Lord for his blessings.  Thank Him for all He has provided for us.
early bird - he got it
Worry causes us to forget our worth. Take a look at God's creation.  The birds do not sow or reap, but God takes care of them. Matthew 6:26   Birds are not just lounging around.  They don't sit on their perch all day. The adult bird does not stay in the nest with his beak open waiting for food.  God takes care of them and they don't worry about their future. Birds do not have the ability to reason.  They don't decide to store up worms, bugs or seeds.  They don't decide to build a bigger and better nest than their neighbor.  They don't decide to stay at home some years rather than migrate with the others of their kind. Birds  remain busy and work hard  to survive. God created birds with the abilities and instincts they need to find food, build nests, and to due all things necessary for their survival.  God takes care of them.  Birds cannot worry, and they have no reason to worry.  If birds do not worry, why should we! Jesus said "Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.  But even the hairs of your head have all been counted.  So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows." 
Matthew 10:29–31
There are more than 8,000 species of birds on the earth.  There are bird of all kinds. There are water birds, shore birds and woodland birds.  There are big birds like the ostrich, and tiny birds like the humming birds.  There are birds that swim and dive, birds that fly and soar on the winds, and some birds that cannot fly at all.  There are birds that live in the desert, birds that live in the Antarctic, and some birds that stay at sea and rarely venture onto dry land. With all the diversity of birds, God cares for them all.  Yet with all their numbers and beauty - Jesus did not die for a single one of them.  Jesus died for us. Jesus finds us more worthy than birds. How could we forget our unmerited value in God's sight.
  • Worry keeps you from enjoying what you have.
  • Worry makes you forget your worth.  *
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A child does not worry all day long whether his house will be there when he gets home from school or whether his parents will have a meal for him that evening. Children do not worry about such things, because they trust their parents. In the same way, we as Christians should trust our heavenly Father to supply what is best for us.
* From You and your Problems - Chuck Swindoll