MIGHTY TO SAVE (Part 3) - The LORD your God is with you (in your midst). He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.–Zephaniah 3:17NIV
Spurgeon writes that “there never was any poem composed by human intellect which could match for a moment, in the sweetness of its notes, the succession of precious promises which God here proclaims in the ears of His chosen ones!” O Palmer Robertson adds that Zephaniah 3:17 moves into “the “holy of holies” by a rapturous description of the love of God for His people. This verse is the John 3:16 of the OT. The love of God for His own people is not a soft, sentimental emotion that has no strength to act on behalf of its object. For this God Who loves is Yahweh…,”the “God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome God.” (Dt 10:17). That Almighty God should derive delight from his own creation is significant in itself. But that the Holy One should experience ecstasy over the sinner is incomprehensible. God breaking out in singing! God joyful with delight! All because of you!” Surely we have to say with the psalmist “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is too high. I cannot attain to it.” (Ps 139:6-note)
And so while these words were originally addressed to Israel in a time of great distress (the future Day of the LORD’s wrath poured out on the unbelieving world – see Zeph 3:8-note, cf Revelation 6-19), God’s promises to Israel in the future are applicable in the present to every blood bought, heaven bound child of God. Perhaps you too are experiencing a day or even a season of adversity and distress which evokes a continual gnawing in your stomach from endless fear and wearisome worry. If so, I understand, for that is the season in which I find myself. In these times of great oppression with no end in sight, we need to recall Peter’s words that our manifold trials (1Peter 1:6-note - manifold in Gk = poikilos = trials of various “shapes and sizes”) are always accompanied by God’s “manifold grace” (again poikilos = grace just the “right shape and size”)” (1Peter 4:10-note). So let us read Jehovah’s precious promises as personally addressed to us! Indeed, though we may be downcast and in despair because of our trials, in faith like the psalmist we can “Put our hope in God and again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Ps 42:5-note), confidently declaring that “The LORD MY God is in MY midst. He is the Mighty One Who will save ME. He will take great delight in ME. He will quiet ME with His love. He will rejoice over ME with singing!”
F B Meyer says “Well would it be if each Christian were to devote some portion, however brief, in each day, to meditation upon this marvelous fact. “The mighty God, the King, is in the midst of me. I am God-tenanted, God-possessed. The High and Holy One Who inhabits eternity (Isa 57:15KJV-note) has taken up His abode in my heart.” Indeed, God’s people are at the heart of God’s heart. As His people, He is ever in our midst and thus we live in His presence, always on holy ground. Everything we do is sacred. Everything we do should be designed for His glory.
C H Spurgeon remarks “What a word is this! Jehovah God in the center of His people in all the majesty of His power! This presence alone suffices to inspire us with peace and hope (cf Ro 15:13, Jn 16:33). Treasures of boundless might are stored in our Jehovah, and He dwells in His people (now = Col 1:27b-note, 1Cor 6:19-note, 1Jn 4:4, and forever = Rev 21:3-note). Therefore may His people shout for joy (Ps 32:11-note, Ps 71:23-note). We not only have His presence (Ps 95:2-note), but He is engaged upon His choice work of salvation. “He is MIGHTY TO SAVE.” He is always saving: He takes His Name Jesus from it (Yeshua ~ “Jehovah saves”, Mt 1:21). Let us not fear any danger, for He is MIGHTY TO SAVE (Dt 31:8). Nor is this all. He abides evermore the same (Heb 13:8-note); He loves, He finds rest in loving, and He will not cease to love (Jer 31:3). His love gives Him joy. He even finds a theme for song in His beloved (1Th 1:4-note). This is exceedingly wonderful. When God wrought creation He did not sing, but simply said, “It is very good.” (Ge 1:31) But when He came to redemption, then the sacred Trinity felt a joy to be expressed in song. Think of it and be astonished! Jehovah Jesus sings a marriage song over His chosen bride (cf Rev 19:7-note, Isa 62:5), as a Bridegroom rejoices over his Bride. Beloved, we are to Him His love, His joy, His rest, His song. O Lord Jesus, by Thine immeasurable love to us (Eph 3:18-19-note), teach us to love Thee, to rejoice in Thee, and to sing unto Thee our Life-psalm.” As Matthew Henry once said “The great God not only loves His saints, but He loves to love them!”
Adrian Rogers tells a story of passengers on a ship in a severe storm and in danger of sinking. The passengers were whispering “Are we going down? Are we safe?” One passenger said, “I’ve got to find out,” so he made his way topside across the heaving decks, to the pilot house, where the pilot of the ship had his hand firmly on the wheel. The pilot turned and saw the fear in the passenger’s face and just smiled at him, not even speaking a word. On arriving below the once fearful passenger exclaimed “We’re going be all right. I’ve seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled at me.” What we need to do when we are crippled by fear caused by difficult circumstances or difficult people is look away from the “stormy waves” and into the serene face of our Jesus, the One Who is always MIGHTY TO SAVE (cf Heb 12:2-note, Isa 45:22KJV).
Perhaps you feel like King Jehoshaphat who was afraid when he received the news of a “great multitude” coming against him (2Chr 20:2-3) but instead of focusing on his fear, he made the conscious choice to turn “his attention to seek the LORD” acknowledging “we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but OUR EYES ARE ON YOU.” God answered through a prophet exhorting him ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2Chr 20:15) He alone is MIGHTY TO SAVE! There are times in all of our lives when we feel overwhelmed by “the multitude who are coming against us” and it is in those times we especially need to imitate King Jehoshaphat’s faith (Heb 6:12-note) and say “OUR EYES ARE ON YOU” Mighty Warrior. It is in those times we need to sense the reassuring presence of our Jesus Who is MIGHTY TO SAVE, Who Alone is powerful enough to calm the storm in our heart by speaking the words “Peace, be still!” (Mk 4:39KJV) But remember that while our Jesus is always mighty to save and may calm the storm around us, often He calms the storm within us, even while the storm around us continues to rage (cf Jn 14:27)! Indeed “He is able” (Heb 7:25-note), for He has sailed rougher seas than the storm we are in now! “O soul, sinking down ’neath sin’s merciless wave, The strong arm of our Captain is MIGHTY TO SAVE; Then trust Him today, no longer delay, Board the old ship of Zion, and shout on your way: Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Shout and sing on your way: Jesus saves!” Amen (M J Cartwright)
Fanny Crosby recalls addressing a group in 1869 and throughout her talk “the thought kept forcing itself upon my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that very night or perhaps not at all. So I requested that if there was any boy present, who had wandered away from mother’s teaching, he would come to the platform at the conclusion of the service. A young man of 18 came forward and said, “Did you mean me? I have promised my mother to meet her in heaven; but, as I am now living, that will be impossible.” We prayed for him and he arose with a new light in his eyes and exclaimed triumphantly, “Now, I can meet mother in heaven, for I have found her God.” Stirred by this event Fanny went home that night and wrote these great words “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave, Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus the MIGHTY TO SAVE.” Some 35 years later she was speaking at a YMCA and described the incident that led her to write “Rescue the Perishing,” after which a man came up and introduced himself, saying “Miss Crosby, I was the boy who told you more than thirty-five years ago that I had wandered from my mother’s God. The evening that you spoke at the mission I sought and found peace, and I have tried to live a consistent Christian life ever since.” May Fanny Crosby’s story that led her to pen the hymn “Rescue the Perishing” encourage us to pray for the lost and “Tell them of Jesus who rose from the grave, Tell them of Jesus the MIGHTY TO SAVE; Plenteous salvation in Him does abound, Cleansing and healing in Jesus are found.” (Entwisle)
When our world seems to be unraveling at the seams, we do well to recall that the One Mighty to rescue the perishing, is also MIGHTY TO SAVE us daily (sanctifying us by the enabling power of His Spirit - 1Pe 1:2-note, 1Th 5:23-note). In those days when we don’t have a song in our heart, we need to meditate on the truth that the One MIGHTY TO SAVE is also the One Who “will rejoice over us with singing.” Many of us cannot imagine that we could bring pleasure to the heart of God (“You don’t know what I’ve done,” “I have too much guilt and shame for God to rejoice over me,” etc), but this text assures us that God definitely thinks differently. Spurgeon says “When your face is blurred with tears, your eyes red with weeping, and your heart heavy with sorrow for sin, the great Father is rejoicing over you. We are questioning, doubting, sorrowing, trembling, and all the while, He Who sees the end from the beginning knows what will come out of the present disquietude (anxiety, agitation, uneasiness), and therefore rejoices. Let us rise in faith to share the joy of God! Let no man’s heart fail him because of the taunts of the enemy (cf Rev 12:10). Rather, let the chosen of God rouse themselves to courage, and participate in the that joy of God which never ceases. Shall we not rejoice in Him when He, in His boundless condescension, designs to rejoice in us?” O what a liberating truth!
John Piper encourages us to ponder this passage asking “Can you imagine what it would be like if you could hear God singing? Remember that it was merely a spoken word that brought the universe into existence (Heb 11:3-note, Jn 1:1-3). What would happen if God lifted up his voice and not only spoke but sang?…When I think of the voice of God singing, I hear the booming of Niagara Falls mingled with the trickle of a mossy mountain stream. I hear the blast of Mt. St. Helens mingled with a kitten’s purr. I hear the power of an East Coast hurricane and the barely audible puff of a night snow in the woods. And I hear the unimaginable roar of the sun…but I hear this unimaginable roar mingled with the tender, warm crackling of the living room logs on a cozy winter’s night. And when I hear this singing I stand dumbfounded, staggered, speechless that He is singing over ME! He is rejoicing over MY good with all HIS heart and with all HIS soul (cf. Jer 32:41, Dt 30:9)!”
A GOD Who is always near ME. A GOD Who is mighty to save ME. A GOD Who takes great delight in ME. A GOD Who quiets ME with His love. A GOD Who rejoices over ME with loud singing. It’s hard to imagine, difficult to believe, but it is true! How do I know? Because the last words of Zephaniah’s prophecy are “YAHWEH HAS SPOKEN.” (Zeph 3:20HCSB-note) Beloved child of God, Jehovah the Self-existent One, the Unchangeable One, the Ever-living One has said it and He will do it! Amen!
Now He has triumphed o’er death and the grave,
He lives our Redeemer, and MIGHTY TO SAVE;
To Him Who exalted forever shall live,
All honor, dominion, and glory we give.”
Play Fanny Crosby’s powerful hymn Rescue The Perishing
May the Father grant you manifold opportunities to tell others that Jesus is Mighty to Save. Amen
SEE RELATED TOPICS:
Zephaniah 3:17 In Depth Commentary
Zephaniah 3:17 The Savior Resting in His Love – C H Spurgeon
Zephaniah 3:14, 17 Zion’s Joys and God’s – Alexander Maclaren
Zephaniah 3:17 The Pleasure of God in the Good of His People – John Piper
MIGHTY TO SAVE (Part 2): In Isaiah 63:1-note the Messiah describes Himself as “MIGHTY to save.” How MIGHTY TO SAVE is our precious Jesus? Isaiah says His Name is “MIGHTY God” (El Gibbor) and “He will not fail, falter, stop or be disheartened nor will He be discouraged until He establishes justice on the earth.” (Isa 9:6-note, Isa 42:4-note) The MIGHTY One Himself asks (rhetorically) “Is anything too difficult for” Me? (Ge 18:14-note) Jeremiah answers “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! (cf Heb 1:2-3-note, Rev 4:11-note) NOTHING is too difficult for You!” (Jer 32:17, 27, cf Job 42:2, Lk 1:37) “The MIGHTY One, God, Jehovah (Jesus), has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” (Ps 50:1-note, cf Heb 11:3-note, Col 1:16-note) “Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and MIGHTY, the LORD MIGHTY in battle.” (Ps 24:8-note)
C H Spurgeon affirms “We know the MIGHT of Jesus by the battles which He has fought, the victories which He has won over sin and death and hell, and we clap our hands as we see Him leading captivity captive in the majesty of His strength. Oh for a heart to sing His praises! MIGHTY Hero, be Thou crowned forever King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen (Rev 19:16-note).” Indeed Jesus declares “My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” (Isa 48:13-note) Therefore Spirit enable us to daily remember that Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE, even (especially) from “the sin which so easily entangles” us (Heb 12:1-note)! “Jesus, MIGHTY to renew, Work in me to will and do; Turn my nature’s rapid tide; Stem the torrent of my pride. Force me, Lord, with all to part; Tear these idols from my heart.” “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for ALL things are possible with God,” (Mk 10:27), the One MIGHTY TO SAVE. “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? (Jesus, mighty to save.Jn 1:1-3) He Who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His GREAT POWER and MIGHTY STRENGTH, not one of them is missing.” (Isa 40:26-note). He is the One Who is MIGHTY TO SAVE for “He holds ALL creation together,” “sustaining ALL things by His powerful Word.” (Col 1:17-note, Heb 1:3-note)
Though as scarlet be the stains,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE;
Though as steel the binding chains,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
His the glorious sacrifice;
His the blood which paid the price;
His the love doth now entice;
Jesus is MIGHTY, is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
Fearful soul, discard thy fears,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE;
Seeker, haste to dry thy tears,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
With assurance seek His face,
Doubt no more His love and grace,
Give Him now His rightful place,
Jesus is MIGHTY, is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
Dear reader, what is “too difficult” for you today? In faith, “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,” (2Cor 10:5-note) the only One Who is MIGHTY TO SAVE you in, through or from whatever difficult circumstance, person, thought, memory, etc you find yourself today. “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, HE IS ABLE to come (running) to the aid of those who are continually being tempted (or tested).” (Heb 2:18-note) Remember that “Jesus Christ is not only a powerful Savior, but a sympathizing Savior. He is not only the Son of God MIGHTY TO SAVE, but the Son of man ABLE TO FEEL.” (Ryle) “Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE because He is God as well as Man.” (Spurgeon) His tender heart is soft to pity and His mighty arm is strong to deliver. Indeed, He Alone “is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:25-note, cp Ro 8:34-note) The One MIGHTY TO SAVE is able to lift us out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire and set our feet on the Solid Rock, making our steps secure. (Ps 40:2-note, cf Ps 18:16-17-note). In His strength we can crush an army, with Him at our side we can scale any wall. (Ps 18:29-note, cf 2Cor 12:9-note) We are from God, little children, and have overcome every obstacle which opposes Jesus, because greater is He Who is in us than he who is in the world. (1Jn 4:4, cf Ro 8:31-note)
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE and is preparing us for eternity in heaven and will soon carry us there, in spite of every momentary adversity, trial or heartache we are now experiencing (cf 2Cor 4:17-18-note, Ro 8:18-note). “God’s providence and grace are both full of displays of His power. He is in power especially conspicuous as “MIGHTY TO SAVE.” Who will not be strong in faith when there is so strong an Arm to lean upon? Shall our trust be doubtful when His power is beyond all question?” (Spurgeon) So beloved, let each of us joyfully sing out in faith Fanny Crosby’s great words —
“Praise our Creator and Savior eternal,
Him Who redeemed us from death and the grave;
Sing of His greatness, O hail and adore Him,
Strong to deliver, and MIGHTY TO SAVE.” Amen
Sing of His excellent greatness – Jesus is Mighty to Save.
MIGHTY TO SAVE: “Multum in parro” (much in little)! In Isaiah 63:1-6 (note) we read a description of the triumphant Second Coming of Jesus, where He declares “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Here even in the midst of judgment, when He comes “with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30), He desires for men to know that He is not only mighty to judge, but mighty to save. Isaiah’s description is amplified by the apostle John in Revelation 19:11-16-note which concludes with those glorious words that the One mighty to save is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Rev 19:16-note)
C H Spurgeon describes the words “mighty to save” as “multim in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but He is able to make men repent (Ro 2:4-note, Acts 11:18, 2Ti 2:25-note). He will carry those to heaven who believe; but He is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them (Ezek 18:31, Ezek 36:26-note). He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him (Php 2:9-11-note).”
“Nay, this is not all the meaning of “mighty to save,” for the divine power is equally seen in the after-work. The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by “the Mighty God.” The bush burns, but is not consumed (Ex 3:2). He is mighty to keep His people holy after He has made them so (1Pe 1:5-note, Jude 24), and to preserve them in His (reverential) fear and love until He consummates their spiritual existence in heaven (cf Php 3:20-21-note). Christ’s might does not lie in making us a believer and then leaving us to transform ourselves, but He who begins the good work carries it on (Php 1:6-note, 2Cor 3:18-note, Ro 12:2-note); He who imparts the first germ of life in the dead soul, prolongs the divine existence, and strengthens it until it bursts asunder every bond of sin, and the soul leaps from earth, perfected in glory (Ro 8:30-note). Believer, here is encouragement. Are you praying for some beloved one? Oh, do not give up your prayers, for Christ is “mighty to save.” You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty (EL Shaddai - Ge 17:1). Lay hold on that mighty arm, and rouse it to put forth its strength. Does your own case trouble you? Fear not, for His strength is sufficient for you (2Cor 12:9-note, 2Cor 12:10-note). Whether to begin with others, or to carry on the work in you, Jesus is “mighty to save;” the best proof of which lies in the fact that he has saved you! What a thousand mercies that you have not found Him mighty to destroy!”
Since His blood for thee was shed,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE;
Since He lives Who once was dead,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
While in conflict we engage,
When the storms around shall rage,
All our earthly pilgrimage,
Jesus is mighty, is MIGHTY TO SAVE.”
My Saviour, You can move the mountains,
You are mighty to save,
You are mighty to save.
Forever, Author of Salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes, you conquered the grave.
Indelible means that which cannot be removed, washed away, blotted out, canceled, effaced or erased and thus speaks of that which is unforgettable, lasting and cannot be lost or annulled. Such is the grace of God in Isaiah 49:16, one of the most beautiful expressions of God’s everlasting love in all of Scripture.
Have you ever wondered if God has forgotten or forsaken you? Even now perhaps you feel like David who cried out to God his Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?” (Ps 42:9-note) Perhaps like Israel of old you are saying “My way is hidden from the LORD. My cause is disregarded by my God.” (Isa 40:27-song) You find yourself in your own personal Pilgrim’s Progress “slough of despond (note),” bogged down in the “spiritual quicksand” of seemingly endless adversities and afflictions which keep dragging you deeper into despair. I understand for that is where I am as I write. But even better Jesus understands for on the Cross, He cried “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46, Ps 22:1-note) Jehovah Rapha (note), the Great Physician, understands for “He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered and is able to come” to our aid as we are tempted (Heb 2:18-note) having given us spiritual truth in Isaiah 49:16 that like the balm of Gilead can heal our souls of what Spurgeon calls that “unbelief which often makes us talk about God forgetting us when He does nothing of the kind. We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert.” Father, by Thy Spirit grant us grace to sing in faith
There amidst the love and glory
He is waiting yet
On His hands a name is graven
He can ne’er forget.
Ancient Zion (a picture of Israel) still smarting from the pangs of exile in Babylon cried out “Jehovah has forsaken me” to which God responded “Can a woman forget her nursing child? (Ed: Not usually, but some have.) Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold! I have inscribed (engraved) you on the palms of My hands. Your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:14-16). C H Spurgeon, who preached three sermons on Isaiah 49:16 reminds us that “These words apply, first of all, to God’s ancient people, the Jews (the accurate interpretation), but they are equally true of all believers (a valid application).” Spurgeon adds that the phrase “‘I have graven thee’ does not say, thy name. Our name is there, but that is not all: I have graven THEE! See the fullness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon His own palms?”
Scripture records “Neither shall any man snatch them out of My hand (or) out of My Father’s hand.” (Jn 10:28-29-note) “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” (Isa 49:16)” My times are in Thy hand.” (Ps 31:15-note) Vance Havner refers to these passages as “having the situation well in hand. Here is security for time and eternity. The palm of the hand is a well-protected place and that hand can fold into a fist if threatened! Not only ourselves but our times, all our circumstances, the day in which we live, the happenings of our lives—all these are under His control. Sometimes they are beyond our control, but “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” He not only leads us by His hand, He keeps us in His hand.” J I Packer calls us to affirm the truth that “I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One Who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters (cf Mt 10:30-31).” Do you believe the beautiful Scripturally sound words of the hymn
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great high Priest Whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
As Kay Arthur says “If you are God’s child by covenant, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, this is the truth you must cling to when you feel abandoned: You are inscribed on the palms of His hands! For the feelings are just that-feelings. Feelings that are very real, feelings that you must deal with. But remember reality. Reality is the fact that a covenant has been cut on your behalf. Your feelings will betray you-overwhelm you cripple you-if you do not decide, by the gut-level determination of faith, that “feel it or not” you will trust your Covenant God. Put on the music … the hymns of the faith … the choruses of trust. Sing whether you feel like it or not. Sing whether you can sing or not. Sing until your feelings conform to reality.” In fact sing Toplady’s “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” (or a chorale version)…
My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace
Yes, I to the end shall endure
As sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure
The glorified spirits in heaven.
As Spurgeon says “If you will think of those hands of which the Lord says, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands,” you may rest assured that nothing can come from those hands but what infinite Wisdom directs, and infinite Love has ordained. Rejoice then, O Christian that God’s love does not fail in the furnace, but is as hot as the furnace, and hotter still.”
Normally in ancient times a slave would bear the brand mark of his master, but in Isaiah 49:16 we see an act of ineffable divine condescension in which the Master inscribes the servant’s name on His palm! Charles Wesley applied this Scripture to Christ, writing,
Arise, my soul, arise, shake off thy guilty fears
The bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears
Before the Throne my Surety stands
My name is written on His hands. Amen!
What are these marks but the marks of indelible grace, tangible manifestations of God’s covenant cut with us on Calvary’s Cross, covenant marks testifying today and throughout eternity “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we may confidently say, the Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6-note). For God to forget us or abandon us, the scars inscribed in the palm of His hands must disappear! Perish all thy doubting thoughts! Beloved of the Father (1Jn 3:1-note), see the Savior spread out His hands before us with our own name inscribed in His scarred palms. Surely we are not for even a moment forgotten, but are loved faithfully and forever by our great God!
Come with me to that moment in eternity where John is weeping and lamenting that there is no one to open the scroll (Rev 5:4-5-note), writing expectantly “I saw between the throne with the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb standing, AS IF SLAIN, (same verb in Greek of Ex 12:6 describing the perfect lamb Israel was to “slay at twilight”! cf Jn 1:29, 1Co 5:7) (Rev 5:6, 5:9, 12-note; Rev 13:8-note). Transported into the future, John saw those scars indelibly inscribed by the nails that once impaled Him to the old rugged Cross, scars that will forever be the brand marks of God’s everlasting covenant, yes, even the scars that bear our names beloved. Inscribed forever. Eternally secure. Precious pictures of passion perfected for His treasured possessions to marvel at throughout eternity. And so the Lamb Who was slain has not forgotten our name, for He cannot forget what is immutably inscribed in the palm of His hands throughout eternity! Spurgeon encourages us to “Look at the nail-print, that is His memorial, His forget-me-not, and by it He says to thee…
Forget thee I will not, I cannot, thy name
Engraved on my heart doth forever remain
The palms of My hands whilst I look on I see
The wounds I received when suffering for thee.
Now come with me and gaze expectantly with eyes of faith at future grace (1Pe 1:13-note), that glorious day in eternity future, when we are seated around the Table of the Lord, celebrating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. John testifies “Blessed (fully satisfied independent of circumstances) are those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” (Rev 19:9-note, cf Lk 14:15, Lk 13:29, Lk 22:28-30, Mt 8:11) Now turn to the parable in Luke 12 which records a glorious passage (Lk 12:37-note) that many commentators such as John MacArthur [note] describe as a “remarkable statement (that) pictures Christ, at His return, ministering as a Servant to believers!” Alexander Maclaren has an sermon on this one verse entitled “Servant-Lord.” The esteemed 19th century commentator Johann Bengel called Luke 12:37 the greatest promise in God’s Word, for in it we see a prophetic picture of the Gentle, Humble Jesus, the Servant Lord, condescending to “gird Himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and (He) will come up and wait on them.” (Lk 12:37, cf Jesus girding Himself at His First Coming - Jn 13:4-5) As He gives you the bread, you recall His words to the disciples at the Last Supper: “I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” (Lk 22:16) and “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Mt 26:29, Lk 22:18) And as His glorified hands reach out (cf Rev 1:16-17-note) to give you the bread, you see on them the nail-pierced scars, those marks of indelible grace, marks of His eternal covenant (Heb 13:20-note). And then with even greater awe and amazement, you see your name there and you recall His precious promise now made perfect: “I have inscribed you on the palm of My hands.” And you bow humbly in worship and adoration and wonder at the Messiah’s Meekness and Majesty.
“May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May He assure you that your name is graven on His hand and whisper in your ear the promise, “Fear not, I am with thee.” Look upon Him, the great Surety of the covenant, as Faithful and True (Rev 19:11-note), and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the Throne of God (Col 1:22-note, 2Cor 4:14-note, Ep 5:27-note, cf Jude 24); and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord’s pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that “faithful is He Who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” Amen (1Thes 5:24-note) (Spurgeon)
Play “Before the Throne of God Above” by Selah
Note especially the lines
“My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.”
Play Arise, My Soul, Arise – up tempo version by Indelible Grace
May 2014 be for each of you a “Year of Grace”…
G ~ GIFT, the PRINCIPLE of GRACE.
R ~ REDEMPTION, the PURPOSE of GRACE.
A ~ ACCESS, the PRIVILEGE of GRACE.
C ~ CHARACTER, the PRODUCT of GRACE.
E ~ ETERNAL LIFE, the PROSPECT of GRACE.
May “the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ and the LOVE of God and the FELLOWSHIP of the Holy Spirit be will you all” in 2014. Amen (2 Corinthians 13:14)
JEHOVAH EZER - Part 2 (lengthy post) – Frequent meditation on the great Names of our great God refreshes our memory and recalls to our mind JEHOVAH’S past HELPS and deliverances as David affirms, declaring “When I REMEMBER You on my bed, I MEDITATE on You in the night watches, for You have been my HELP, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.” (Ps 63:6-7). As Spurgeon says “It were well if we oftener read our own diaries, especially noting the hand of JEHOVAH in HELPING us in suffering, want, labour, or dilemma. This is the grand use of memory, to furnish us with proofs of the Lord’s faithfulness, and lead us onward to a growing confidence in Him (cf Ps 71:5). In their time of trouble the children of God return to their Father (cf Isa 44:22). It is according to their new-born nature to seek Him from Whom they came (Ps 24:6). The believing heart is like the needle of a compass: you may turn it round with your finger east and west, but when you withdraw the pressure, it will, beyond all doubt, tremble backward towards its pole. With God the regenerate heart is in its proper position. A mystical force draws the new life towards the Source from whence it came. We may, alas! by the force of temptation or by the demands of business or by an overpowering lethargy, become indifferent to our highest love; but this cannot long continue: we can never rest except in God (Ps 116:7). The winds of trouble blow the dove of our soul back to the Ark (cf Mt 11:28-2-note). Our heart repents of its wanderings when they bring it into a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. Then we long after divine refreshments, and cannot be quiet till we have them. Then we cry, “O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” (Ps 63:1KJV)!” May this be the cry of our heart!
And so in the psalms we see “the winds of trouble repeatedly blow the dove of the writer’s soul back to the Ark”, causing the psalmist to cry out to JEHOVAH EZER for His HELP. May the sense of urgency and importunity seen in the Psalter pattern serve to guide our prayers in our hour of great need. In the following prayers, take time to meditate on our ever present, ever willing Helper, Jehovah Ezer.—”Make haste to HELP me, O Lord, my salvation!…Rise up, be our HELP, and redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness….O God, hasten to deliver me; O LORD, hasten to MY HELP!….But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are MY HELP (Note David’s repeated personal possession ["my Help"] of Jehovah Ezer, an example we all do well to imitate) and my Deliverer; O LORD, do not delay….O give us HELP against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain….HELP, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be, for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men….May He send you HELP from the sanctuary, and support you from Zion!…Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to HELP. But Thou, O LORD, be not far off; O Thou my HELP, hasten to my assistance….Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be Thou my HELPER….O God, hasten to deliver me; O LORD, hasten to my HELP!….O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my HELP!….Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me. Make haste, O LORD, to HELP me….O give us HELP against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain (worthless). Through God (Jehovah Ezer) we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our adversaries….HELP me Jehovah my God. Save me according to Your steadfast love….HELP us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your Name and deliver us and forgive our sins for Your Name’s sake (for the sake of Your reputation)….Let Your hand be ready to HELP me, for I have chosen Your precepts….Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my HELP and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.” Amen! (Ps 38:22, 44:26, 70:1,5, 108:12, 12:1, 20:2, 22:11, 19, 30:10, 40:13, 60:11-12, 109:26, 79:9, 119:173, 40:17)
And so we see David crying out “JEHOVAH is my Strength and my Shield. My heart trusts in Him, and I am HELPED (Lxx = boethos).” (Ps 28:7). Recall the picture conveyed by the Greek word boethos (boe = cry + theo = run) which translates the Hebrew word for “HELP”. The picture is of Jehovah Who “makes the clouds His chariot” (Ps 104:3), “Who rides the heavens to our HELP (boethos)” (Dt 33:26), coming to our aid, to assist us upon HEARING THE CRY of our heart. As Spurgeon says Jehovah Ezer “comes riding on the heavens. They who travel on the earth may be stopped by enemies, but He that rides to our HELP upon the heavens cannot be stayed nor even delayed. When Jehovah’s excellency comes flying upon the sky on the wings of the wind, how gloriously are displayed the swiftness, the certainty, and the all-sufficiency of delivering grace. God has ways to HELP us that we dream not of. He has a way in the tempest, and the clouds are the dust of his feet (Nah 1:3). Jehovah has made for Himself a highway, a chariot road along the heavens (Ps 104:3), that His purposes of love may never be hindered. If we will but trust in God, invisible spirits shall fight for us (cf Da 10:13-note), the great wheels of providence shall revolve for our good (cf Ge 50:20), and God the Eternal Himself (Dt 33:27), dressed in robes of war like a valiant Champion (Isa 19:20, Jer 20:11), shall come forth to espouse our quarrel. Fall back upon yourselves, lean upon your fellow creatures, trust upon earth-born confidences, and you fall upon a rotten foundation that shall give way beneath you (Jer 17:5, Ps 60:11), but rest upon your God (Jehovah Ezer) and upon your God alone, and the stars in heaven shall fight for you, yea, the stars in their courses, and things present and things to come, and heights, and depths, and all the creatures subservient to the will of the omnipotent Creator, shall work together for good to you, seeing that you love God and are depending upon His power (Ro 8:28-note).”
Spurgeon goes on to comment on David’s trust in Ps 28:7 noting that “Heart work is sure work. Heart trust is never disappointed. Faith must come before our cry for HELP, but HELP will never be long behind. Every day the believer may say, “I AM HELPED,” for the divine assistance is granted to us as a favor of His grace every moment. In circumstances when more manifest HELP is needed, we have but to put faith into exercise (and cry out), and HELP will be given us.” Too often I fear (because of pride, failure to call to mind God’s previous “Ebenezer’s-sermon” [Stones of Help -1Sa 7:12], etc) we fail to cry out to Jehovah Ezer, our Helper in our time of need. May God’s Spirit cause each of us to see the greatness of our continual need for His grace, so that we like spiritual paupers might without hesitation “draw near with confidence (cf Ro 5:1-2-note) to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to HELP (boetheia) in time of need (in the nick of time, just when we need it most)!” (Heb 4:16-note)
Again the psalmist cries out “I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains. From whence shall my HELP (boetheia) come? My HELP comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 121:1-2-note) Beloved, from where does your HELP come? Remember that when we are in trouble, what we do to solve our problems and turn our trouble into triumph is evidence of what or in whom we are trusting. When the day of trouble arrives, some reach for their checkbooks, thinking money will solve their problems, while others reach for the telephone, looking to friends to solve their problems. By looking to God, we look away from ourselves and from all others for strength. We need to remember that our HELP comes from the LORD, Jehovah Ezer, and so in times of distress, we make the choice to turn our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2-note) looking “full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” (Helen Lemmel) Like the psalmist, we need to elevate our vision above the hills, affirming that our HELP from is not from the hills, but from the heavens, from Jehovah our HELPER. Beloved, whatever our need is today, our best HELP will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. A God mighty enough to create everything with His Word (Heb 11:3-note, Jn 1:3, Col 1:16-note) and uphold it by His Word (Heb 1:3-note, Col 1:17-note) is mighty enough to send His assuring Word and heal us and rescue us from the “slough of despond” in which we find ourselves trapped (Ps 107:20NET). Mighty is our God Who “raises the poor from the dust, Who lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles and inherit a seat of honor.” (1Sa 2:8)
What storm are you in now? Are your eyes on Jehovah Ezer, the One in control of the storm, the One Who is also your Helper in the midst of the storm? Remember that God does not always spare us from the storm, but is always ready to succor (help) us in and through the storm! May we cry out with the “prayer of the afflicted when he is faint, and pours out his plea: Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my CRY FOR HELP come to Thee.” (Ps 102:1). Jehovah Ezer “does not forsake His godly ones” (Ps 37:28) for “I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” (Ps 37:25) James Smith wisely asks “Fellow-Christian, are you fearful? “Look up” and hear Jesus saying to you, “Do not be afraid—I MYSELF WILL HELP you! (Isa 41:13b)” Are you discouraged? “Look up”—and your youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s (Ps 103:5, Isa 40:31-note), and fresh light, comfort, and courage shall be given to you! Are you despondent? “Look up” for Jesus (our Jehovah Ezer) never breaks the bruised reed, nor quenches the smoking flax.” (Isa 42:3, Mt 12:20) LOOK UP…for all that you need; from all that you fear; through all that would obstruct your way. Look up every day, saying with David, “In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You—and will look up!” (Ps 5:3KJV) Look up in every trial, saying “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence shall my HELP come? My HELP comes from the Lord, Who made Heaven and earth!” (Ps 121:1-2-note) Look only, look always, look intently—to Jesus, your Jehovah Ezer! Run looking, work looking, fight looking, suffer looking, live looking, and die looking — to Jesus, Jehovah Ezer. When your out-look is bleak, remember the up-look!
Again the psalmist acknowledges Jehovah Ezer, writing “You (Jehovah) have been the HELPER of the fatherless.” (Ps 10:14) Jehovah Ezer is the ultimate recourse for the helpless, aptly described here as “the fatherless.” Perhaps you feel like your earthly father has forsaken you (mine forsook me when I was less than a year old) leaving you fatherless and, in a sense, an “orphan.” You can know for certain that Jehovah Ezer has never taken His eye off of you, for He is a “A father of the fatherless,” Who “makes a home for the lonely” (Ps 68:5-6) and Who “HELPS (lifts up) the fatherless and the widow.” (Ps 146:9). In Jehovah Ezer, “the orphan finds compassion.” (Hos 14:3) “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. When our helpers fail and comforts flee, HELP OF THE HELPLESS, O abide with me.” Three weeks after Henry Lyte penned these words, he died of tuberculosis and was freed from his frail body and at home with his Lord (2Cor 5:8-note). His last words as he entered his eternal rest (Rev 14:13) were “Joy! Peace!” D Martyn Lloyd-Jones said it well that “If a philosophy of life cannot help me to die, then in a sense it cannot help me to live!” The British Press reported the following incident related to Lyte’s hymn. A British submarine lay disabled on the ocean floor. After two days, hope of surfacing was abandoned. On orders from the commanding officer the crew began singing the words of the first verse of Abide with Me (the verse above). The officer explained to the men that they did not have long to live. There was no hope of outside help, because the searchers did not know the vessel’s position. Sedatives were distributed to the men to quiet their nerves. One sailor was affected more quickly than the others, and as he swooned, he fell against a piece of equipment and set in motion the submarine’s jammed surfacing mechanism. The submarine went to the surface and made port safely, even as Henry Lyte made it “safely to port!”
In Ps 38:21-22 David cries out “O LORD, do not abandon me. Be not far from me (be near me), O my God. Come quickly to HELP me, O Lord my Savior.” “Is any afflicted? let him thus pray, let him thus plead, let him thus hope, in singing this psalm.” (M. Henry) “Blessed is that wind which drives the ship into the harbor, blessed is that wave which washes the mariner upon the rock of safety, and blessed is that distress which forces a man to rest only in his God (Jehovah Ezer).” (CHS) David closed Psalm 38 with three cries: (1) “Do not abandon me,” which is answered by Dt 31:68 - “The LORD is the One Who goes ahead of you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed.” (2) “Be near me” which finds its answer in Ps 34:18 - “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (3) “Come quickly to HELP me” which is answered with God’s precious promise (2Pe 1:4) in Isa 41:10 - “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, SURELY I WILL HELP YOU, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” David’s three requests cover just about every contingency we might ever encounter! May God grant us grace to pray this prayer (Ps 38:21-22) to Jehovah Ezer, so that our soul might experience His righteous rest and His perfect peace. We can be confident that He always answers our cries for help, for David attests “He does not forget the cry (for help) of the afflicted (needy).” (Ps 9:12) “Our God, our HELP in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Our Shelter from the stormy blast, And our Eternal Home.” (Isaac Watts)
Prayer to Jehovah Ezer - When faced with great afflictions, tumultuous troubles, overwhelming opposition, we must remember to cry out in humble dependence and childlike faith as did King Asa when faced with a great enemy host arrayed against him. Maclaren rightly notes that Asa’s great “prayer contains the very essence of what ought to be the Christian attitude in reference to all the conditions and threatening dangers and conflicts of life.” In those moments when victory seems humanly impossible, may God’s Spirit grant us the desire and power (Php 2:13NLT-note) to cry out to JEHOVAH EZER, our HELPER, praying like Asa, “Lord, there is no one besides You to HELP the powerless against the mighty. HELP us, O Lord our God, for we rest (rely, trust) in You, and in Your Name (Jehovah Ezer) come against the multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You.” (2Chr 14:11) Indeed, as D L Moody said “True faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength.” John Owen adds that “we have no power from God unless we live in the persuasion that we have none of our own.” And so in answer to Asa’s plea from a position (and admission) of weakness, God smote the Ethiopians, and may He do the same to those who come against us to destroy us, so that His great Name might be exalted among the nations.
God, grant us grace to cry out for HELP to JESUS our JEHOVAH EZER. Amen
Play “My Help Cometh From the Lord“
JEHOVAH EZER (Part 1) - This majestic NAME of God is one with which you may not be familiar, but one which is symbolic of a truth repeatedly affirmed in Scripture that JEHOVAH, the Great I Am, is our HELPER now and forever. Amen. And so it is fitting for David to declare “Our HELP (Heb = Ezer) is in the NAME of JEHOVAH, Who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 124:8-note) Indeed Spurgeon affirms that “In all times of danger from men our wisest course is to fly to the LORD our HELPER. He has ways and means for delivering us which we know not of. He can either turn our enemies into friends (cf Pr 16:7) or else so check all their efforts that they shall do us no real injury (Read Ps 27:1-note, Ps 56:4-note, Ps 118:6-note, Mt 10:28). Blessed are those men whose trust in the (NAME of) Jehovah never wavers (Ps 40:4-note, Ps 84:12-note).” David is declaring that our HELP is in God’s NAME, a truth even echoed in his prayer “May JEHOVAH answer you in the day of trouble! May the NAME of the God of Jacob SET YOU SECURELY ON HIGH.” (Ps 20:1-note) “Set you securely on high” is one Hebrew word (sagab), which depicts the individual who is in need of HELP choosing to run into the “Strong Tower” of His NAME (Pr 18:10-note), and being lifted up above the waves of affliction. The trials may still be present (they probably are), but the one who is hidden in Christ, hidden safely in the NAME of JEHOVAH EZER, our HELPER, is lifted up above the trials and enabled to view them “supernaturally” (e.g., with a “Ro 8:28-note, Jas 1:2-note Perspective”). As Warren Wiersbe says “The safest place in all the world is in the will of God and the safest protection in all the world is the NAME of God. When you know His NAME, you know His nature. His NAMES and titles reveal His nature. They tell us who He is and what He can do. Each name He bears is a blessing He bestows on us.” And so the better we know His name JEHOVAH EZER, the more we will trust Him when overwhelming trials create in us a sense of our great need for His gracious help. To paraphrase a wise saying, “Look at circumstances and you’ll be distressed. Look at yourself and you’ll be depressed. But look in faith at JEHOVAH EZER and you’ll be blessed.” Indeed, “How blessed is the one whose HELPER (Ezer) is the God of Jacob, whose hope (absolute assurance of future good) is in Jehovah his God.” (Ps 146:5NET-note).
David affirms that “Our soul waits for the LORD our HELP (JEHOVAH EZER) and our Defender. For our heart rejoices in HIM, because we trust in His holy NAME.” (Ps 33:20-21-note) By being willing to WAIT ”the godly avow their reliance upon Him (Jehovah Ezer) Whom the Psalm extols. To WAIT is a great lesson (Is 40:31-note). To be quiet in expectation, patient in hope, single in confidence, is one of the bright attainments of a Christian. Our soul, our life, must hang upon God. We are not to trust Him with a few gewgaws (useless things), but with ALL we have and are. He is our HELP and our Shield. Our HELP in labor, our Shield in danger. The Lord answers all things to His people. He is our ALL IN ALL. Note also the three “ours” in Ps 33:20 – these hold-fast words are precious. Personal possession makes the Christian man or woman. All else is mere talk.” (Spurgeon)
And how can we be so confident? Because “He Himself has said, “’NO, NEVER, I will NOT leave, NO, NEVER forsake you’ (Note the FIVE Greek negatives, immutable truth you can trust!),” so that we may confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER (boethos), I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?” (Heb 13:5-6-note, cf Mt 28:20b-note) “As I look at the past, I see that God has cared for me every step of the way. As I look at the present, I know He is with me. As I look to the future, I know He is ahead of me. He surrounds me….No matter how difficult my experiences are, the Lord is on my side. I need not fear the past, present or future or what anybody can do to me, because I fear God (with a sense of reverential awe) God.” (Wiersbe) Indeed, “All you who fear the LORD, trust in JEHOVAH! He is your HELPER (Ezer) and your Shield.” (Ps 115:11NLT-note) Under girded by the truth of our personal possession of the Name JEHOVAH EZER, may His Spirit enable us to “Be strong and courageous, to not fear or be discouraged because of _______(Fill in the name of your adversary &/or affliction), for the One with us is greater than the one with him. He has with him mere human strength, but JEHOVAH our God, Who is our HELPER fights our battles for us!” (2Chr 32:7-8-note) As Adrian Rogers prayed may “the Holy Spirit emblazon upon our heart the truth that “The battle is not ours, but God’s.” (cf 2Chr 20:15,32:8, 1Sa 17:47). Jeremy Taylor adds that “It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his HELPER is omnipotent.”
In Hebrews 2:18, the writer uses the Greek noun “boethos” translated HELPER, which is the same word used above in the Greek translation (Lxx) of HELP (Ezer) in Ps 33:20-note. The writer of Hebrews encourages the tried, suffering saints with the truth that “since (Jesus) Himself was tempted (tested by trials) in that which He has suffered, He is continuously able to COME TO THE AID of those who are continually being tempted (tested).” (Heb 2:18-note). “Come to the aid” is a single Greek verb boetheia (related to boethos), and is derived from boe = to cry out and théo = to run. Can you envision the picture? While Jesus, JEHOVAH EZER, is always with us, when does He come to our HELP according to Heb 2:18? When we CRY OUT! Recall Peter’s “walking on and sinking in water episode,” prompting him to cry out “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him.” (Mt 14:30-31-note) Indeed, JEHOVAH EZER is always near, ever ready as our “Refuge and strength, a very PRESENT HELPER (Lxx = boethos) in trouble (“tight places)” (Ps 46:1-note). And so we can confidently sing “A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing; Our HELPER He amid the flood, Of mortal ills prevailing.” (Martin Luther’s Mighty Fortress)
“The LORD is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted in Him, and I am HELPED; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” (Ps 28:7NKJV-note) Notice the growth “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pe 3:18-note), proceeding from “trusted” (past tense), to “am helped…rejoices” (present tense), culminating in “praise” to Him (future tense). Indeed, the pattern is “Supplicating, seeing, singing.” (Phillips) Notice that based on past experiences with God, David resolved to trust in JEHOVAH EZER, his “Hiding Place,” and was filled with “songs of deliverance.” (Ps 32:7-note) John Phillips reminds us that none of us “live our Christian lives in a vacuum. Where we are today is the result of where we were yesterday; where we will be tomorrow is being determined by where we are today.” Samuel modeled this timeless truth when he “took a large stone (Heb = ‘eben) and set it between the towns of Mizpah and Shen, and named it EBENEZER (literally “Stone of Help”)” testifying “Up to this point JEHOVAH has HELPED us (Lxx = verb boetheia ~ “run to our aid upon hearing our cry”).(1Sa 7:12-note) Beloved, may the Spirit enable all of us to ever sing these triumphant words “Here I raise my EBENEZER. Hither by Thy great HELP I’ve come. And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at Home.” (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson)
Beloved, given our natural propensity to forgetfulness, I would encourage you to keep a journal of Jehovah’s “Ebenezer memorials” in your life, so that when the fiery trial “comes upon you for your testing” (1Pe 4:12-note), you might be able to quickly recall JEHOVAH EZER’S past deliverances “in times of trouble.” (Ps 41:1NIV-note), and be enabled by the Spirit to “stand firm in the faith; be men (and women) of courage; be strong.” (1Cor 16:13NIV), fully confident that “after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace (cf JEHOVAH EZER), Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1Pe 5:10-note). Indeed, JEHOVAH EZER is trustworthy, for “His lovingkindness (unfailing love) is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Ps 100:5-note)
Click for more in depth study of Jehovah Ezer
Jehovah Ezer – Part 2 Post to follow
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my EBENEZER;
Here by Thy great HELP I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
HE IS – Below are the words of Aaron and Jeoffrey’s song “HE IS” (from 1995) which exalts the NAME of the LORD. Scriptures have been linked with each of the song’s descriptions of HIS NAME (you are encouraged to read these but note that some are only indirect references). Indeed, as we listen to this song may we too “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His NAME” (Ps 29:2-note) even as do the songs of the Psalms. Let us…“Call upon His NAME. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Thy NAME in all the earth, Thy great and awesome NAME. Revive us, and we will call upon Thy NAME for those who know Thy NAME will put their trust in Thee and will wait on Thy NAME, for it is good. Let us exalt His NAME together and give thanks to His holy NAME for those who love Thy NAME will exult in Thee and will lift up their HANDS in Thy NAME and will sing praise to the NAME of the LORD Most High and will glorify Thy NAME forever. May His NAME endure forever. May His NAME increase as long as the sun shines; and let men bless themselves by Him. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy NAME. Our Help is in the NAME of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. Blessed be the NAME of the LORD from this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the LORD’s NAME is to be praised. I Will extol Thee, my God, O King; I will bless Thy NAME forever and ever.” AMEN (Ps 105:1-note, Ps 8:1-note, Ps 99:3-note, Ps 80:18-note, Ps 9:10-note, Ps 52:9-note, Ps 34:3-note, Ps 97:12-note, Ps 5:11-note, Ps 63:4-note, Ps 7:17-note, Ps 86:12-note, Ps 72:17-note, Ps 103:1-note,Ps 124:8-note, Ps 113:2-3-note, Ps 145:1-note)
In Genesis, He’s the Breath of life (Ge 2:7)
In Exodus, the Passover Lamb (Ex 12:21)
In Leviticus, He’s our High Priest (Lv 16:32-33)
Numbers, The Fire by night (Nu 9:15-16)
Deuteronomy, He’s Moses’ voice (Dt 18:15)
In Joshua, He is Salvation’s Choice (Josh 24:15)
Judges, Law Giver (Jdg 2:1)
In Ruth, the Kinsmen-Redeemer (Goel Ru 4:14)
First and Second Samuel, our Trusted Prophet (1Sa 10:6)
In Kings and Chronicles, He’s Sovereign (2Chr 20:6)
Ezra, True and Faithful Scribe (Ezra 7:10)
Nehemiah, He’s the Rebuilder of broken walls and lives (Neh 2:20)
In Esther, He’s Mordecai’s Courage (Esther 2:21-22, Esther 6:3)
In Job, the timeless Redeemer (Job 19:25)
In Psalms, He is our Morning Song (Ps 5:3)
In Proverbs, Wisdom’s Cry (Pr 8:22)
Ecclesiastes, the Time and Season (Eccl 3:11)
In the Song of Solomon, He is the Lover’s Dream (Song 2:16)
HE IS, HE IS, HE IS!
In Isaiah, He’s Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6)
Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet (Jer 9:1)
In Lamentations, the Cry for Israel (Lam 3:56)
Ezekiel, He’s the call from sin (Ezek 3:21)
In Daniel, the Stranger in the fire (Da 3:25)
In Hosea, He is Forever Faithful (Hos 2:20)
In Joel, He’s the Spirit’s power (Joel 2:28-29)
In Amos, the Arms that carry us (Am 9:11-15)
In Obadiah, He’s the Lord our Savior (Ob 1:21)
In Jonah, He’s the Great Missionary (Jonah 3:1-2)
In Micah, the Promise of Peace (Mic 5:5)
In Nahum, He is our Strength and our Shield (Nah 1:7)
In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He’s pleading for revival (Hab 3:2)
In Haggai, He Restores a lost heritage (Hag 2:9)
In Zechariah, our Fountain (Zech 13:1)
In Malachi, He is the Sun of righteousness rising with healing in His wings (Mal 4:2)
HE IS, HE IS, HE IS!
In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He is God, Man, Messiah (Mt 16:16)
In the book of Acts, He is Fire from heaven (Acts 2:3-4, 16:7)
In Romans, He’s the Grace of God (Ro 3:24)
In Corinthians, the Power of love (1Cor 13:4-7)
In Galatians, He is Freedom from the curse of sin (Gal 3:13, 5:1)
Ephesians, our Glorious Treasure (Eph 1:3, 7-8)
Philippians, the Servants heart (Php 2:5-11)
In Colossians, He’s the Godhead Trinity (Col 2:9)
Thessalonians, our Coming King (1Th 1:10, 1Th 2:19, 1Th 3:13, 1Th 4:15,1Th 5:23)
In Timothy, Titus, Philemon He’s our Mediator and our Faithful Pastor (1Ti 2:5)
In Hebrews, the Everlasting Covenant (Heb 13:20-21)
In James, the One Who heals the sick. (Jas 5:14-16)
In First and Second Peter, He is our Shepherd (1Pe 2:25, 1Pe 5:4)
In John and in Jude, He is the Lover coming for His bride (1Jn 3:2-3, Jude 1:1)
In the Revelation, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 17:14, Rev 19:16)
HE IS, HE IS, HE IS!
The Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6)
The Son of Man (Jn 9:35, Jn 12:23-24)
The Lamb of God (Jn 1:29, Jn 1:36)
The Great I AM (Ex 3:14, Jn 8:58)
He’s the Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8, Rev 21:6, Rev 22:13)
Our God and our Savior (2Pe 1:1)
He is Jesus Christ the Lord (Ro 5:21)
and when time is no more
HE IS, HE IS!
AMEN AND AMEN! (Rev 22:21)
PLAY “HE IS” AS YOU MEDITATE ON TH E ASSOCIATED SCRIPTURES
CHRIST OUR HIDING PLACE - The Bible frequently uses images (metaphors, figures of speech) such as “HIDING PLACE” (Ps 32:7-note, Ps 119:114-note, Isa 32:2KJV-sermon) to communicate truths about God, because images are generally easier to remember than abstract precepts and are easier to pass on to others. Images also appeal to our emotions as well as our mind. Words may inform us, but word pictures more often move and stir our passions (e.g., compare the image “Lamb of God” versus the abstract truth of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice). The image of Christ as our HIDING PLACE is one of the more comforting metaphors in Scripture, and as we meditate on this image our Teacher, the Holy Spirit (1Cor 2:11-13-note), illuminates a number of glorious truths which enable us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Pe 3:18-note) And so as our HIDING PLACE, He provides shelter by hiding us “in the secret place (Heb = Hiding Place) of His presence,” which provides protection and security in times of danger or distress (Ps 31:20-note). As we humbly seek to hide in Christ (cp Zeph 2:3), we experience intimacy, fellowship and communion with Him, which in turn serves to encourage and revive our heart (Ps 69:32-note) When we were children, we played hide and seek, but now that we are grown we should put away childish things (1Cor 13:11), and daily seek to hide in the shadow of His wings. (Ps 17:8-note). Indeed, a SHADOW is the safest place in the world to hide if it is the “shadow of Shaddai,” for “He who dwells in the shelter (Hebrew = “HIDING PLACE“) of the Most High (El Elyon) will abide in the SHADOW of the Almighty (Shaddai).” (Ps 91:1-note) “There is a place of quiet rest…There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God. A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God.” (After receiving the tragic news that his two beloved nieces had just died from diphtheria, Cleland McAfee ran to his HIDING PLACE and though still in great grief was enabled to pen his hymn “Near to the Heart of God,” the words of which have brought comfort to many grieving saints over the years.)
Play “You Are My Hiding Place“
I have chosen to capitalize HIDING PLACE, because Scriptures such as Ps 32:7-note and Ps 119:114-note equate the Place with the Person (and presence) of Jehovah. Even as David and other OT saints found their safe HIDING PLACE in God, so too do New Testament believers dwell eternally secure IN CHRIST (in Christ Jesus, in Him, in the Lord, etc), a phrase used over 80 times to describe our “unblameable and unreproveable” position as new creatures in Christ (Col 1:22KJV-note, 2Cor 5:17-note, 1Cor 1:30-note). Indeed, Paul affirms that we “have died (we have been crucified with Christ - Gal 2:20-note, Col 2:20-note,Ro 6:6-note) and our life is HIDDEN (perfect tense = forever, permanently hidden!) WITH CHRIST IN GOD.” (Col 3:3-note) In the day of His judgment, every man will either hide FROM Him (Rev 6:16-note) or be found hiding IN Him (Ro 8:1-note). Indeed, the only way to hide FROM His Presence then is to be IN His Presence now (Jude 24-25)! “None other Lamb, none other Name, None other Hope in heaven or earth or sea, None other HIDING PLACE from guilt and shame, None beside Thee.” (Christina Rosetti)
While every believer positionally is in Christ and thus in their HIDING PLACE, our goal should be to daily learn to live more experientially in our HIDING PLACE, so that our position becomes our practice, our orthodoxy, our orthopraxy (Greek “orthopraxis” = correct action)! David learned how to live in his HIDING PLACE by walking through various trials. Pain has a way of promoting pursuit of the Person of Christ! And so we too must endure various trials so “that the proof of our faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 1:6-7-note) And so as we go through our own set of trials, we learn to RUN by faith not sight (2Cor 5:7-note, Heb 12:2-note) into the great NAME of the LORD, our HIDING PLACE. Solomon reminds us that this Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower and when the righteous RUN into it, they are safe (Hebrew literally = lifted up) (Pr 18:10-note). Indeed, our trial may continue unabated, and yet we are “lifted up” and enabled by the Spirit to supernaturally experience the security and safety of our ever available, all powerful, all sufficient HIDING PLACE, Christ Jesus. So remember that true security and safety is not the absence of danger, but the presence of Christ in us and us in Him, regardless of the danger (cf Paul’s experience - 2Ti 4:16-18-note). May God’s Spirit grant that in and through the inevitable times of testing, we may learn the secret “of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need,” so that we may confidently testify with Paul “I can do all things through Christ, Who continually strengthens me” and preserves me safe “in the SECRET PLACE (Heb = HIDING PLACE) of His presence” “in the day of trouble.” (Php 4:11-13-note, Ps 31:20-note, Ps 27:5-note)
In Psalm 32 when David confessed his sin, he exchanged hiding his sins for a HIDING PLACE in the Sin Coverer (Ps 32:1-note, Ps 85:2-note, Ro 4:7-note), Who always provides a place of protection for the penitent. David declared “You are my HIDING PLACE (Hebrew = cether = secret place; Lxx = refuge, way of escape). You preserve (guard, watch like a watchman over) me from trouble (affliction, distress, crushing external circumstances); You surround (encircle, encompass) me with songs of deliverance (of rescue and redemption). Selah (A call for us to pause and ponder David’s gracious words!)” Note that David did not say “A” Hiding place, but “MY” Hiding place. Spurgeon observes that “Personal claims upon our God are the joy of spiritual life. To lay our hand upon the Lord with the clasp of a personal ‘MY’ is delight at its full.” As discussed above, while God does not always spare us FROM trouble, we are succored (relieved) IN the midst of the trouble when we run INTO our HIDING PLACE. Note also that David says that Jehovah Himself is his HIDING PLACE and that confession of sin affords entrance into His “secret place.” Indeed, Spurgeon adds “that the same man who in Ps 32:4 was oppressed by the presence of God, here finds a shelter in Him. See what honest confession and full forgiveness will do! His Gospel of substitution makes Jehovah to be the God of our Refuge (Ps 142:5-note) Who otherwise would have been our Judge (2Ti 4:1-note, Jn 5:22, 27).” “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me HIDE myself in Thee.”
And so we are much more likely to experience Jesus as our HIDING PLACE when we are in need than when we think we have no need! God often has to put us on our backs in order to make us look up. Spurgeon says that “God will not let us, who are His songbirds, build our nests here. He will send a rough wind through the forest which will make the limb on which we try to build, rock to and fro in the storm till we are obliged to take to our wings again, for there is no resting place for us upon any of the trees in this world!” This truth helps us understand how we can “consider it all joy when we encounter various trials” (Jas 1:2-note), knowing that the trials drive us to take shelter in our HIDING PLACE, Christ Jesus Who has promised “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” so that we may confidently say “The Lord is our Helper, we will not be afraid. What shall man do to us?” (Heb 13:5-6-note, cp Ro 8:35-39-note)
He is our Hiding Place in this life and the life to come! (Col 3:3-4-note)
He is our Hiding Place when we sin and confess (1Jn 1:7, 9-note, 1Jn 2:1, Pr 28:13-note)
He is our Hiding Place when temptations threaten to overwhelm us. (Heb 2:18-note)
He is our Hiding Place in the day of mourning, loss and sorrow. (Isa 53:4, 35:10, 51:11)
He is our Hiding Place “in the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zeph 2:3, 1Th 1:10-note)
O Lord, “From the snare of sinful pleasure, HIDE Thou me! Thou, my soul’s eternal Treasure, HIDE Thou me! When the world its power is wielding, And my heart is almost yielding, HIDE me, O Thou Rock of Ages, safe in Thee!” Amen. (Play “Hide Thou Me” by Fanny Crosby – Vocal Version)
Run to Him. Hide in Him. Take shelter in the Everlasting Arms of the Great I Am, Jehovah Jesus, the eternal God, our never changing Hiding Place (Mal 3:6-note). As Spurgeon says “A man who is beset by foes does not stand still, and say, “Yes, I can see there is a hiding place there,” but he runs to it. Beloved, run to your Hiding Place this morning, each one of you who can have a claim and interest in Christ; run to Him now and say: “Thou shalt preserve me from trouble.” David had come up out of groaning times and into singing times. While his sin was unconfessed all the day long he groaned, but now that sins are confessed all the day long he sings! Now David hears songs everywhere, living in a circle of music.” As someone has said if you’re in tune with heaven, you’ll have a song in your heart. May the words of Frances Havergal’s hymn be our blessed experience the next time “the fiery trials” (and darts Eph 6:16KJV-note) come upon us unexpectedly for our testing (1Pe 4:12-note). “HIDDEN in the hollow of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, never traitor stand; Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry, touch the spirit there. Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest, Finding as He promised perfect peace and rest.“
What a blessing that, instead of having to run from God, now we can run to God, our HIDING PLACE, and know that we are safe! The story is told of a wagon train crossing the prairie, which came over a hill and was terrified to see a prairie fire racing their direction. It seemed as if they would surely be engulfed by the flames. But the leader quickly rode to the rear of the caravan and set fire to the dry grass behind them. The same winds blowing the fierce fire toward them now fanned this fire away from them. Within minutes they moved to the burned-off area. As the heat and smoke became more intense, a little girl cried out, “Are you sure we’re safe?” “Oh, yes,” said the wagon master, “we’re safe because we’re standing where the fire has already been!” Christ has taken the fire of God’s judgment, and we too are forever safe if we “take refuge in Him” (Ps 37:40-note). Remember they are always WELL KEPT whom God KEEPS. “Should storms of sevenfold thunder roll, And shake the globe from pole to pole; No flaming bolt could daunt my face, For Jesus is my HIDING PLACE.” (J Brewer)
David had experienced God as his Hiding Place and could testify that ‘in the day of trouble He will conceal (hide by covering) me in His tabernacle. In the secret place (HIDING PLACE) of His tent He will hide me. He will lift me up on a rock.“ (Ps 27:5-note) Chuck Swindoll tells the story of the Malinta Tunnel located on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. This tunnel served as weapons arsenal before WWII, but when the Japanese invaded the Philippines in 1941, Malinta Tunnel became an army hospital and headquarters of General MacArthur. Later as Japanese warplanes bombed Corregidor, the tunnel provided protection for the Allied soldiers. Malinta Tunnel remains a mute witness of the protection it offered soldiers through deadly bombardment. While we may never experience literal bombing by warplanes, as God’s people we often experience hostilities of an evil and unbelieving world. David reminds us that “in the day of trouble,” in the face of spiritual attack, believers have a sure HIDING PLACE in Christ, Who has overcome the world (Jn 16:33). The only requirement for those seeking entrance into God’s HIDING PLACE is an attitude of repentance and faith. God is a HIDING PLACE where His people can find safety and refuge in times of danger. He is the One we can go to when no one else knows or understands what we are going through. As our HIDING PLACE He can provide protection when people’s assurances fail.”
The psalmist testifies from personal experience “You (Jehovah) are my HIDING PLACE and my Shield. I have put my HOPE in (and confidently rest on) Your WORD.” (Ps 119:114) We see again the psalmist’s possession (“MY”) of God as His personal Protector. Notice also the association of the WORD of God with the presence of God as his HIDING PLACE. As we feast on His trustworthy WORD and eat His sure promises, His WORD permeates our inner being, transforming us by renewing our mind (Ro 12:2-note), and reviving our HOPE (not a “hope so,” but a “hope sure!”) and our confidence in our HIDING PLACE when all seems hopeless from a natural, human perspective. Spurgeon affirms that “It is easy to exercise HOPE where we have experienced HELP. Sometimes when gloomy thoughts afflict us, the only thing we can do is to hope, and happily the WORD of God always sets before us objects of hope and reasons for hope, so that it becomes the very sphere and support of HOPE, and thus tiresome thoughts are overcome. Amid our fretting and worry a hope of heaven is an effectual balm,” a HIDING PLACE to soothe our weary, storm tossed soul. Matthew Henry agrees that “Those who depend on God’s promises (“hope in His Word) shall have the benefit of His power and be taken under His special protection (His HIDING PLACE).” “Now unto Christ haste thou away, Make Him thy HOPE, thy Rock, thy Stay, Plead but His mercies and His grace, Make Him thy Strength, thy HIDING PLACE.”
May God by His Spirit grant us His grace, so that when we encounter various trials, we may be supernaturally enabled to flee “for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us, a hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner on our behalf.” (Heb 6:18-20-note) “Jesus, Lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly, While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high. HIDE ME, O my Savior HIDE, Till the Storm of Life is Past, Safe into the haven (harbor) guide, O receive my soul at last.” Amen (Charles Wesley)
ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED - “Are there grander words in any language than these four? There seems to be a sacred poem in these words. To my heart, there is more heavenly music in those four words than in any oratorio I ever heard” (C H Spurgeon). O, the joy of knowing we are forever ACCEPTED by the Most High God! Wondrous declaration! Blessed state! The moment we repent and believe in Christ, God makes us completely, fully ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED, His beloved Son with Whom He is well pleased (Mt 3:17-sermon). And because we are in Him, O amazing grace, God is also well pleased with us! Webster says that to ACCEPT means to receive willingly, to regard with approval, to value, to esteem, to take pleasure in or to receive with favor. And so in Ephesians 1:6KJV-note Paul is saying in essence that the Father has ACCEPTED us willingly, with approval, with value, with esteem, with delight, not because we have in any way merited His approval, but because His Beloved paid the price in full for our approval (Jn 19:30-note). This glorious truth became our present reality the moment we were “justified (declared righteous) as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” His Beloved Son (Ro 3:24-note). At that moment we were transferred from our former position in Adam, to our new, eternal position in Christ, the Beloved, in Whom we are unconditionally ACCEPTED by the Father (cf 2Cor 5:17-note, 1Cor 15:22, Col 1:13-note). O glorious truth, that while we could never stand accepted before God outside of Christ, the moment we stand clothed in His righteousness, we can never be “unaccepted” by our Father! Dear child of God, do you believe “how great a love the Father has bestowed on” you (1Jn 3:1-note), so that now in the Beloved you are so near and dear to His heart that He also calls you His “BELOVED”? (Ro 1:7-note, 1Th 1:4-note) Do you believe that the Father loves you with the same love with which He loves His BELOVED? (Read Jn 17:23-sermon) Selah! (Pause and ponder your privileged position – cf Song 2:16-note). Or do you think you are less accepted by Him because you have strayed into sin or that you are more accepted because of your good behavior or “good works”? While our sins do disrupt our fellowship and communion with God (and call forth His Fatherly discipline, Heb 12:5-11-note), they do not disrupt our union with His Son, in Whom we are immutably, eternally ACCEPTED. So this begs the question Spurgeon once posed to his congregation “Can you put your hand upon our heart, and say, “I may not be accepted by my fellow-creatures, I may not be acknowledged by them; and, certainly, before my God, I can never be accepted in myself; but in the Beloved, clothed with His righteousness, and standing in His Person, as a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, I am ‘ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED’?”
As one brave saint presented the Gospel to a precious soul, she responded by saying she had tried her best to please God, but added “I’m afraid God will never accept me.” The faithful witness replied “I agree with you. He never will,” which prompted a look of astonishment on the woman’s face at his seemingly harsh pronouncement! The saint went on to explain “No, He never will. BUT GOD (O those precious words “But God”, Eph 2:4-5-note) has accepted His Son, and if you accept Him by faith, you will find God’s acceptance which you desire!” Many people have been deceived into thinking they must somehow earn acceptance in the eyes of God. The message is simple – God accepts all who accept His Son by grace through faith! “In the Beloved accepted am I, Risen, ascended, and seated on high; Saved from all sin thro’ His infinite grace, With the redeemed ones accorded a place!” (Martin) Hallelujah!
All heaven declares “Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain” (Rev 5:12-note). The Worthy One becomes our worth when we enter the New Covenant in His blood (Lk 22:20-sermon), a covenant which is solemn and binding and by which we become one with Him, entering into an unbreakable union, a perfect oneness and a complete identification with the Beloved Son of God (Gal 2:20-note,Col 1:27b-note, Jn 17:21-note cf the “marriage covenant“ Ge 2:24b-note). Let us not wrestle with doubts of our our worth before God. We are worthy, because by grace through faith we are in covenant with our Bridegroom, Christ Jesus, the Worthy One (cf 2Cor 11:2-sermon). Beloved, may this truth sink deeply into our souls, freeing us from our need to seek acceptance from God and men based upon our works, and instead resting in the eternal truth of the finished work and worth of Christ that has made us accepted in the Beloved so that we are no longer under condemnation (Ro 8:1-note) and nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro 8:39-note) No condemnation…No separation…in the Beloved! May this great truth motivate us to Spirit filled, Christ exalting, God glorifying righteous, holy lives, knowing that whatever we do, it is because “Christ’s love controls us.” (2Cor 5:13-14NLT, cf Col 3:23-24-note, Rev 19:7-8-note).
So let me ask you again dearly “BELOVED of God” (Ro 1:7-note), how is your spiritual state? How do you feel about your standing before God? Whatever your state, may God’s Spirit enlighten “the eyes of your heart, so that you may know what is the hope (absolute assurance that God will do good to us in the future) of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph 1:18-note), especially what are the riches of the truth that regardless of your present state, your eternal standing is forever “accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6KJV-note). The verb ACCEPTED (charitoo) is derived from the word for grace (charis) and so could be read more literally “God has be-graced us with His grace in the Beloved.” We are veritable trophies of divine grace! As Puritan Thomas Brooks said “God has made us His favorites. God has ingratiated us. He has made us gracious in the Son of His love. Through the blood of Christ, we are lovely and beautiful in God’s eyes.” “What a healing balm is there in this truth, for a weary, heavy-laden sinner!” (H. Vicars) And Spurgeon reminds us that “accepted in the Beloved” is a “precious doctrine. We are beloved of God (1Jn 3:1-note). He has great pleasure toward us. He takes a delight in us (cf Zeph 3:17-note). We are acceptable in His sight. Oh, what a blessing this is! But remember that it is all IN CHRIST. Because Christ is accepted, therefore those who are in Him are accepted.” Jesus was FORSAKEN by the Father (Mt 27:46), that we might be ACCEPTED in the Son or as a modern hymn puts it “I’m forgiven, because You were forsaken. I’m accepted, You were condemned. I’m alive and well, Your Spirit is within me.” (Amazing Love)
Therefore Octavius Winslow encourages us “Behold your present standing, believer in Christ! Turn your eye away from all your failures, your disobedience, the flaws and imperfections that mark your sincere endeavors to serve Christ and to glorify God and see where your true acceptance is found, even in the Beloved of the Father, “The Lord our Righteousness (Jer 23:6b-sermon).” “Accepted in the Beloved,” is the record that will raise you above all the fears and despondencies arising from your shortcomings and failures and fill you with peace, and joy, and assurance.”
Indeed as Spurgeon explains “ACCEPTED signifies that we are the objects of divine satisfaction, nay, even of divine delight. How marvelous that we, worms, mortals, sinners, should be the objects of divine love! Let this bell ring (Accepted in the Beloved), for therein is a depth of silver sweetness which will make the sanctified ear and heart glad with the fullness of joy. We are today ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED, today absolved from sin, today innocent in the sight of God. Oh, ravishing, soul-transporting thought! Some clusters of this vine we will not be able to gather until we go to heaven, but this is one of the first ripe clusters, and may be plucked and eaten here. This is not as the corn on the land, which we can never eat until we cross the Jordan. Rather, this is part of the manna in the wilderness and part, too, of our daily raiment with which God supplies us in our journeying here.” In explaining our acceptance, H A Ironside says that “the saved sinner does not stand before God in any righteousness of his own, that he does not plead any merit of his own before the divine throne, but that through grace he has been received to the very heart of God. Not merely forgiven, not merely justified, not merely washed from his sins or cleansed from his defilement, but received in loving-kindness to the VERY HEART OF GOD according to the Father’s estimate of His own BELOVED SON.” Hallelujah!
Ironside goes on give us a beautiful illustration of our acceptance in the Beloved: “Years ago I was preaching in the small town of Roosevelt, Washington. I was the guest of friends who were sheep-raisers. It was lambing time and every morning we went out to see the lambs—hundreds of them—playing about on the green. One morning I was startled to see an old ewe go loping across the road, followed by the strangest looking lamb I had ever beheld. It apparently had six legs, and the last two were hanging helplessly as though paralyzed, and the skin seemed to be partially torn from its body in a way that made me feel the poor little creature must be suffering terribly. But when one of the herders caught the lamb and brought it over to me, the mystery was explained. That lamb did not really belong originally to that ewe. She had a lamb which was bitten by a rattlesnake and died. This lamb that I saw was an orphan and needed a mother’s care. But at first the bereft ewe refused to have anything to do with it. She sniffed at it when it was brought to her, then pushed it away, saying as plainly as a sheep could say it, “That is not our family odor!” So the herders skinned the lamb that had died and very carefully drew the fleece over the living lamb. This left the hind-leg coverings dragging loose. Thus covered, the lamb was brought again to the ewe. She smelled it once more and this time seemed thoroughly satisfied and adopted it as her own. It seemed to me to be a beautiful picture of the grace of God to sinners. We are all outcasts and have no claim upon His love. But God’s own Son, the “Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the World,” (Jn 1:29-sermon) has died for us and now we who believe are dressed up in the fleece of the Lamb Who died (cf Isa 61:10-sermon). Thus, GOD HAS ACCEPTED US IN HIM, and “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Ro 8:1-note) We are as dear to the heart of the Father as His own holy, spotless Son.”
“Near, so very near to God, Nearer I could not be; For in the Person of His Son, I’m just as near as He. Dear, so very dear to God, Dearer I could not be; For in the person of His Son, I’m just as dear as He.” Glory!
We are now and forever the “beloved of God” because we have been “accepted in the Beloved.” Praise the Lord. Let me encourage you be still and know that He is God (Ps 46:10-note) and listen to the the words of the beautiful song “My Beloved” as if they are sung to your heart from the heart of your Father, for you are forever His beloved in His BELOVED. Amen
FOR MORE IN DEPTH DISCUSSION OF “ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED” SEE…
ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED
OTHER SONGS RELATED TO “ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED”
I’M ACCEPTED, I’M FORGIVEN
I am accepted, I am forgiven
I am fathered by the true and living God
I am accepted, no condemnation
I am loved by the true and living God
There’s no guilt or fear
As I draw near to the Saviour and Creator of the world
There is joy and peace
As I release my worship to you, O Lord
And Finally here is a great old hymn…
In the Beloved accepted am I,
Risen, ascended, and seated on high;
Saved from all sin thro’ His infinite grace,
With the redeemed ones accorded a place.
In the Beloved, God’s marvelous grace
Calls me to dwell in this wonderful place;
God sees my Savior, and then He sees me,
In the Beloved, accepted and free.
In the Beloved— how safe my retreat,
In the Beloved accounted complete;
Who can condemn me? In Him I am free,
Savior and Keeper forever is He.
In the Beloved I went to the tree,
There, in His Person, by faith I may see
Infinite wrath rolling over His head,
Infinite grace, for He died in my stead.