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.
A LIFE TO IMITATE – The writer of Hebrews exhorts us be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”(Heb 6:12) John Berridge (1716-1793) was a man who inherited the promises and is one we would all do well to imitate. C H Spurgeon thought highly of Berridge whom he dubbed the “countryside peddler of the Gospel” a peddler in the Pauline mold and “not like many, peddling (adulterating and corrupting for profit) the Word of God, but as from sincerity (clarity, purity), but as from God, (speaking) in Christ in the sight of God.” (2Cor 2:17). Indeed, John Berridge was a “peddler”, a prolific proclaimer of “Christ crucified.” (1Cor 1:23) His words in the following verse typify his Gospel centered, Spirit controlled life...
By thy Word we fain [gladly] would steer,
Fain [gladly] Thy Spirit’s dictates hear;
Save us from the rocks and shelves,
Save us chiefly from ourselves!
(Shelves = sand banks rendering sea shallow & dangerous to ships)
In the 1700′s John Berridge attracted some of the largest crowds to ever hear the Gospel preached in the open air. In one year more than 4000 souls came to Christ under his preaching.
My favorite story about Berridge based on Second Timothy 4:2 (note) “Preach the Word in season & out of season.” Berridge had been wonderfully saved some 5 years AFTER entering the ministry (yes you read correctly – he was SAVED while in the ministry!) and he began boldly preaching the Gospel in surrounding parishes at all hours on EVERY day of the week! Angry clergy complained that the Anglican bishop must reprove Berridge for his preaching. The Bishop declared “I hear you are ALWAYS PREACHING, you don’t seem to be doing anything else.” Berridge replied, “My lord, I only preach during two seasons of the year.” The bishop said, “I’m glad to know that. What seasons are they?” Berridge quickly responded, “IN SEASON & OUT OF SEASON, my lord!” Hallelujah! May his tribe increase! Amen
A few Berridge quotes…
–If you have less of this world—may you have more of His comfortable presence! Oh, blessed exchange!
–Sanctified afflictions are a thousand times rather to be chosen—than unsanctified prosperity.
–As the heart is more washed, we grow more sensible of its remaining defilement; just as we are more displeased with a single spot on a new coat than with a hundred stains on an old one.
Below are the words of John Berridge’s hymn “JESUS CAST A LOOK AT ME. I would encourage you to prayerfully ponder the words of this hymn — they are simple but profound and the tune is beautiful. John Berridge’s utter humility and total dependency on Christ never cease to convict me.
Jesus Cast a Look on Me (click)
Jesus cast a look on me,
Give me sweet simplicity
Make me poor and keep me low,
Seeking only Thee to know
All that feeds my busy pride,
Cast it evermore aside
Bid my will to Thine submit,
Lay me humbly at Thy feet
Make me like a little child,
Of my strength and wisdom spoiled
Seeing only in Thy light,
Walking only in Thy might
Leaning on Thy loving breast,
Where a weary soul can rest
Feeling well the peace of God,
Flowing from His precious blood
In this posture let me live,
And Hosannas (‘Save now’) daily give
In this temper let me die,
And Hosannas ever cry!
John Berridge died “in this temper” and even his Tombstone in a beggar’s plot of the church cemetery “Hosannas ever” cries, testifying to his undying passion to present the Gospel to lost souls…
HERE LIE THE EARTHLY REMAINS OF John Berridge, LATE VICAR OF EVERTON, AND AN ITINERANT SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, WHO LOVED HIS MASTER AND HIS WORK, AND AFTER RUNNING ON HIS ERRANDS MANY YEARS WAS CALLED UP TO WAIT ON HIM ABOVE. READER,
Art thou born again?
No salvation without a new birth!
I was born in sin, February 1716.
Remained ignorant of my fallen state till 1730.
Lived proudly on faith and works for salvation till 1754.
Was admitted to Everton vicarage, 1751.
Fled to Jesus alone for refuge, 1756.
Fell asleep in Christ, January 22, 1793.
He Knows ALL THINGS - 1 John 3:20
He Knows THE SECRETS OF EVERY HEART - Psalm 44:21
He Knows OUR HEARTS - Luke 16:15
He Knows OUR THOUGHTS - Psalm 94:11
He Knows OUR FRAME - Psalm 103:14
He Knows THE WAY WE TAKE - Job 23:10
He Knows THOSE WHO TRUST IN HIM - Nahum 1:7
He Knows THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS - Psalm 1:6
He Knows THE DAYS OF THE BLAMELESS - Psalm 37:18
He Knows THOSE WHO ARE HIS - 2 Timothy 2:19
He Knows HIS SHEEP - John 10:27
He Knows HOW TO RESCUE THE GODLY - 2 Peter 2:9
He Knows WHAT WE NEED - Matthew 6:8
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME: Psalm 113:1 PRAISE the LORD! (Hallelujah!) PRAISE, O servants of the LORD. PRAISE the NAME of the LORD. 2 Let the NAME of the LORD be PRAISED from this time forth and forever. 3 From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the NAME of the LORD is to be PRAISED.
Praise permeates this passage. Indeed in verse 1 the psalmist immediately issues a command in triplicate for a resounding chorus of PRAISE to the majestic Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! As Matthew Henry wisely observes the psalmist’s “invitation is very pressing!” Indeed, “Praise is becoming (befitting, suited, appropriate) to the upright (in heart).” (Ps 33:1-note) We should always be ready to “Praise the LORD” doing so not out of drudgery but delight “because the LORD is good.” We should frequently “Sing praises to His NAME, for it is lovely.” (Ps 135:3-note) “O may Your glorious NAME be blessed and exalted above all blessing and PRAISE! You Alone are the LORD.” (Neh 9:5-6) Let (all creation - Ps 148:7-12-note) PRAISE the NAME of the LORD, for His NAME alone is exalted. His glory is above earth and heaven. (Ps 148:13-note) And so “Te Deum Laudamus” – “We praise Thee, O God.”
Beloved, in the sphere of spiritual disciplines, one of our loftiest pursuits is to offer praise to the Most High God! In fact Paul says the supreme purpose of Christ’s gift of redemption is for the redeemed to “bring praise and glory to God.” (Eph 1:12NLT-note) Indeed, the delightful duty and precious privilege of praise is one of the chief lessons of the entire book of Psalms (Hebrew title = “the book of praises”). A W Pink wrote that “Praising and adoring God is the noblest part of the saint’s work on earth, as it will be his chief employ in heaven.” Remember that all men praise what they value highly! If Christ is our heart’s highest prize, His praise will be our greatest joy. This begs the question — Am I living a lifestyle of praise like David who declared “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart.” (Ps 9:1-note) Do my lips and life sing “PRAISE the LORD! (Hallelujah)” knowing that “it is good to sing PRAISE to our God, for it is pleasant and His PRAISE is fitting (appropriate)?” (Ps 147:1-note) Recall that Paul commands us to continually (not rarely) “let our mind dwell (meditate, take inventory)” on “anything worthy of praise!” (Phil 4:8-note) How fitting that David, a man after God’s own heart (which we all desire to be), meditated frequently on the supremacy of His God, Who Alone is “worthy of praise” and this stirred David to “call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised.” (Ps 18:3-note) And to declare “Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee.” (Ps 63:3-note) Spurgeon asks “Does not all nature around me praise God? (cf Ps 98:7, 8-note) If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? (cp Ps 68:33NLT-note) Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? (cp Isa 55:12) Does not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Has not the whole earth a voice? (cp Ps 96:11-12NLT-note) And shall I, can I, silent be?” (cp Lk 19:40) Pithy, convicting questions indeed!
Katherine Mansfield was a brilliant writer but she did not believe in a personal God. When she moved to Switzerland for health reasons, she found herself rejoicing in the beauty of God’s creation, the refreshing mountain air and the majesty of the Alps filling her with a desire to praise, prompting her to write “If only one could make some small grasshoppery sound of praise to someone–thanks to someone. BUT WHO?” After finishing a new novel she wrote “Laid down the pen after writing ‘Thanks be to God.’ I wish there was a God. I am longing to (1) praise him (2) thank him.” Matthew Henry wrote “What a pity it is that this earth, which is so full of God’s goodness, should be so empty of His praises, and that of the multitudes that live upon His bounty there are so few that live to His glory!” How sad for someone created in the image of God to feel a need to offer praise for the beauty of creation and yet not know their Creator and not be able to “Praise His glorious Name forever…Amen, and Amen.” (Ps 72:19-note) How privileged are those who know Him as Abba! How our love for Him as our dear Abba should stir in our soul a passion for praise to His Holy Name! A Puritan prayerfully expressed his soul’s desire this way “May my lips be well-tuned cymbals sounding Thy praise. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise.” (Valley of Vision) Charles Wesley cried “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise!”
Spurgeon says that “PRAISE is an essential offering at all the solemn feasts of the people of God. Prayer is the myrrh, and praise is the frankincense, and both of these must be presented unto the Lord. How can we pray for mercy for the future if we do not bless God for His love in the past? The Lord hath wrought all good things for us, let us therefore adore Him. All other praise is to be excluded, the entire devotion of the soul must be poured out unto Jehovah only.” As an old Puritan wrote how blessed we are when “prayer turns wholly into praise (and our supplications are swallowed up in praise), and all we can do is to adore and love Thee.” (Valley of Vision)
Note that in Ps 113:1-note the psalmist says it is God’s “servants” (believers) who praise Him. Indeed, “You who fear the LORD, praise Him!” (Ps 22:23-note) As Spurgeon says “If God’s own servants do not PRAISE His Name, who will? We are the people near unto Him, and should be heartiest in our loving gratitude. Prayer is now a privilege, and PRAISE is a holiday. To obey (the command to praise Him) is heaven; to give to the cause of God (praise) is a banquet.” And so the psalmist asks us to ponder the question — “Who can ever praise Him enough?” (Ps 106:2NLT-note) Praise is promoted by pondering His majestic character, especially as revealed in His many glorious Names. If you are not regularly praising His Name, perhaps you are not enjoying His presence enough. C S Lewis said “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because praise does not not merely express but completes the enjoyment. It is its appointed consummation. It is not simply to complement that lovers keep telling one another how beautiful they are. The delight itself is incomplete until it is expressed.” As Steven Cole says “If we delight in a beautiful sunset, we want to extol its beauty to others. Our enjoyment of it spontaneously overflows into praise. Our enjoyment of Who God is and what He has done for us will also erupt in heartfelt praise.” “Praise flows out of a heart that delights in God, a heart that knows God, a heart that is familiar with His goodness and character.” (Padrick)
Note also that each call to Praise the LORD in Ps 113:1-note is in the form of an imperative (and in the Greek praise is present tense calling for a “lifestyle of praise!”). And so praise to Yahweh should not be an occasional afterthought, but our Spirit filled (enabled) ever present, pleasurable practice! Indeed it is fitting then that “Praise the LORD!” like “divine bookends” begins and ends Psalm 113 (Ps 113:1 and Ps 113:9), providing us a pattern for a daily practice of praising Him “from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.” John Calvin said that “Praise is the best of all sacrifices and the true evidence of godliness.” However, Erwin Lutzer cautions us to be aware that “You don’t learn to praise in a day, especially since you may have been complaining for years! New habits take time to develop. But you can begin today, and practice tomorrow, and the next day, until it becomes part of your inmost being.” As the psalmist says “Seven times a day I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous ordinances.” (Ps 119:164-note) What effect might such a Spirit enabled lifestyle (“filled with the Spirit” speaking forth psalms. Eph 5:18-19-note), daily robed in “the garment of praise” (Isa 61:3KJV), have on the state of our soul? Surely a frequent heavenly uplook will radically impact our daily earthly outlook! J I Packer adds that “Praising energizes and renews praying.” Paul Bilheimer writes that “Praise decentralizes self.” Indeed, praise is looking up which fosters a life of worship (bowing down)! Praise deepens intimacy with God, for Ps 22:3KJV-note says He inhabits the praises of His people. Josh McDowell says “The more you praise God for being Who He is—a loving God Who judges righteously—the more you can act upon your belief of what He is—eternal love.” Finally, it is notable that the word PRAISE occurs over 300 times in the Bible, and the word PRAYER occurs about 135 times. While we can’t truly compare the value of praise versus prayer (or even say there is always a significant difference), it is impossible to overestimate the uplifting power of praise in our lives!
In light of the command to praise and the precious value of praise, could I challenge you (and myself) to “discipline yourself for godliness” (1Ti 4:7-note) by (at the very least) beginning and ending each new day with a “Holy Hallel” in your heart and on your lips? Paul encourages us with the truth that godly disciplines such as this are profitable “since they hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come!” (1Ti 4:8-note). Praise Him with your lips. Praise Him with your life. Praise Him with your substance. Praise Him with every faculty and capacity.
Lord give us a heart like David who declared “Every day I will bless Thee, and I will PRAISE Thy NAME forever and ever. I will extol the LORD at all times. His PRAISE will always be on my lips.” Amen (Ps 145:2-note, Ps 34:1-note) Commenting on Ps 145:2 John Phillips writes that “David determined never to let a day go by without discovering some way to freight it down with praise. What a noble ambition for us to emulate–and all because David was looking forward to praising God forever and ever in yonder bright regions of joy. He wanted to be in practice.” Warren Wiersbe concurs writing “We will spend all eternity praising the greatness of our God, greatness (which) is unsearchable.” And so it follows that our praise shall be unending! To be sure, praise in this brief passing life is simply preparation for perpetual praise in eternity future. As Puritan John Boys put it “The servants of the Lord are to sing His praises in this life to the world’s end; and in the next life world without end.” Hallelujah!
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME – “Praise the LORD, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy NAME. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and never forget the good things He does for me.” (Ps 103:1-note) “I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the NAME of the LORD Most High.” (Ps 7:17-note) “I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to Your NAME, O Most High.” (Ps 9:2-note) I will tell of Your NAME to my brethren; In the midst of the congregation I will praise You. (Ps 22:22-note) Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy NAME. (Ps 30:4-note) “Like your NAME, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth….” (Ps 48:10-note) “I will sing praise to Your NAME forever” (Ps 61:8a-note) “Sing the glory of His NAME; Make His praise glorious.” (Ps 66:2-note) “I will praise the NAME of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps 69:30-note) “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your NAME.” (Ps 74:21-note) “Let them praise Your great and awesome NAME; Holy is He.” (Ps 99:3-note) “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His NAME.” (Ps 100:4-note) “Praise the LORD! Praise the NAME of the LORD; Praise Him, O servants of the LORD” (Ps 135:1-note) “My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and all flesh will bless His holy NAME forever and ever.” (Ps 145:21-note) Let them praise His NAME with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. (Ps 149:3-note) Let them praise the NAME of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created. (Ps 148:5-note)
“Through Him (Jesus our Great High Priest) let us continually (as our lifestyle) offer up a SACRIFICE OF PRAISE to God (the essence of real worship), that is, the fruit of lips (real, heartfelt, verbal praise out of our mouth as the fruit and overflow of our heart) that give thanks to His NAME. (Heb 13:15-note) Joni Eareckson Tada reminds us that “A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE will always cost you something. It will be a difficult thing to do. It requires trading in our pride, our anger, and most valued of all, our human logic. We will be compelled to voice our words of praise firmly and precisely, even as our logic screams that God has no idea what He’s doing. Most of the verses written about praise in God’s Word were penned by men and women who faced crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other intolerable situations.” John Piper agrees calling us to “praise God continually through good times and bad times—wherever our pilgrim journey takes us. There are not praise-God times and criticize-God times. There are only praise-God times. That doesn’t mean there are no tears. And it doesn’t mean there are no perplexities about the way God works. But it does mean that through tears and unanswered questions we praise the Lord. We speak well of Him. We don’t call Him into question. We submit to Him as wise and powerful and good.”
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow, Praise Him, all creatures here below, Praise Him above, ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. AMEN.
P - Personal – Praise nurtures intimacy with Abba
R - Read – Praise Him as you read the songs of Psalms
A - Always – Praise Him at all times, in all ways
I - In the Spirit – Praise Him filled with His Spirit
S - Sing – Praise Him with hymns, psalms, spiritual songs
E - Everywhere – Praise the Creator for His creation
Play Paul Wilbur’s beautiful rendition of PRAISE ADONAI
From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same…
BIBLE COMMENTARIES AND MORE: Below is a compilation of links to thousands of conservative resources on all 66 books of the Bible. Consider bookmarking this page for future reference. The majority of the resources are indexed by chapter and verse. Be sure to refresh your page to assure you have the latest updates.
OLD TESTAMENT RESOURCES
Genesis Commentaries, Sermons and Illustrations
Genesis Devotionals – Part 1
Genesis Devotionals – Part 2
Exodus Commentaries, Sermons and Illustrations
Exodus Devotionals – Part 1
Exodus Devotionals – Part 2
Exodus Devotionals – Part 3
Leviticus Commentaries, Sermons and Illustrations
Leviticus Devotionals – Part 1
Leviticus Devotionals – Part 2
Psalms Commentaries, Sermons and Illustrations
Psalms Commentaries, Sermons and Illustrations 2
Psalms Devotionals 1
Psalms Devotionals 2
Psalms Devotionals 3
Psalms Devotionals 4
Psalms Devotionals 5
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Psalms Devotionals 7
ARE YOU REDEEMING THE TIME, “THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE”? Before reading on, pause and make a list of the things you value most in life. Undoubtedly God, Jesus, family, etc are at the top of your list. But did you list “TIME?” Ephesians 5:15-16 has been called the Bible’s key to TIME MANAGEMENT. In these passages Paul commands all believers “Therefore (because we have been awakened from spiritual stupor and spiritual death and have the light of Christ - Eph 5:14) BE CAREFUL (a command to continually take heed, be alert, be vigilant, to discern with Spirit enabled vision) how you walk, not as unwise men (“fools”), but as wise, REDEEMING (making the most of) THE TIME (each moment, every opportunity) because (explains why we must redeem the time) the days are evil (Corollary: The evil of our day should motivate us to redeem the time).” (Eph 5:16)
Paul uses three Greek words or phrases that are very instructive, the first being the command to “be careful how you walk” which calls for us to continually live our life wisely (filled with/controlled by and empowered by the Holy Spirit – see Eph 5:18). C H Spurgeon paraphrases it “See then that ye walk circumspectly (being careful to consider all circumstances and all possible consequences), not carelessly, not thinking that it is of no importance how you live; but looking all round you, “walk circumspectly,” watching lest even in seeking one good thing you spoil another.” In other words, if we walk wisely, we will be careful not to let the good steal God’s best! Charles Hummel wrote that our “greatest danger is letting the urgent (secular) things crowd out the important (divine things).” Our problem is that too often we live by life’s demands, instead of by God’s priorities. Remember that life is too short for us to do everything we want to do, but it is long enough for us to do everything God wants us to do.
The second word is REDEEM (Eph 5:16) (Greek = exagorazo – from ek = out of + agora = marketplace) which literally means to “buy out of the market place.” The picture is of a merchant who diligently seeks to buy up the best bargains in the market place, taking care not to miss the fleeting opportunities! REDEEM is in the present tense which calls for us to make it our lifestyle, our daily, moment by moment practice, to buy up for ourselves (to our eternal advantage) the strategic opportunities which God providentially places in our path. If we are walking wisely (Eph 5:15-note), filled with God’s Spirit (Eph 5:18-note), we will be spiritually alert to those divine opportunities in the “marketplace”, and will begin to view people and circumstances not just as encounters (or irritations) in time but as opportunities to impact eternity (read 2Cor 4:18-note). Each new day brings us 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,000 seconds, each moment a precious gift from God (Jas 1:17-note), each calling for us to be good stewards, mindful that one day we must give an account for how we spent the time God loaned us, how effectively we “bought up” the opportunities He provided. If someone gave us $1440 each day and said spend it or lose it, how diligent would we be to comply? Yesterday is but a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is all of the cash that you have. Spend it wisely. As someone has well said “I have only just a minute, only 60 seconds in it; forced upon me; can’t refuse it; didn’t seek it, didn’t chose it. But it’s up to me just how I use it. I must suffer if I lose it, give account if I abuse it. Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.” A survey asked “What do you have to live for?” to which 94% answered they were just enduring today and living for tomorrow. That is living unwisely (Eph 5:15-note). Too many people miss today because they are worrying about tomorrow (Read Jesus’ advice Mt 6:34-note). Worry does not make us ready but unready to redeem the time. As Adrian Rogers said “We face the future out of breath, because we have been fighting tomorrow’s battles today!” Wisdom is taking every opportunity today and fully using the time granted us. We have each been given the same amount of time but the difference is how we redeem this divine gift. Instead of killing time, redeem it. Instead of counting the days, make your days count. Indeed, “ETERNITY will be appreciated only in the measure that we have rightly handled TIME!” Redemption of time is preparation for eternity. The present should be viewed as preparation for the future. As Spurgeon rightly observed “‘NOW’ is the watchword of the wise.” LATER may be too late! Right NOW counts for ever. How goes your preparation for the future dear saint? It’s now or never. “Time is the seed of eternity.” To make our life count for eternity, we must be wise in how we spend our time today. What will your eternal harvest be? H A Ironside agrees that “Time is given us to use in view of eternity.” Psalm 107:2-note says “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Paul would say let the redeemed of the Lord DO so (redeem the time in the power of the Spirit for the glory of God!). We should redeem the time because we are redeemed! In a letter to his wife John Wesley wrote “Redeem the time. Catch the golden moments as they fly.” May the Spirit (Eph 5:18-note) enable us to live wisely (Eph 5:15-note) and catch the golden moments as they fly by (Eph 5:16)! Amen.
The word TIME (Gk = kairos) is better translated OPPORTUNITY and refers to a fixed and definite period of time during which something can be accomplished that cannot be accomplished after the time has passed. The idea of kairos is not “clock time” (Gk – chronos) but what one writer refers to as “kingdom opportunities.” Wuest adds that Paul’s “idea is not to make best use of time as such, which is what we should do in the sense of not wasting it, but of taking advantage of the OPPORTUNITIES that present themselves.” The time/opportunity for bringing forth fruit is the spring SEASON (kairos) in which the tree bears fruit, in contrast to late autumn, when there is no fruit. And so kairos is the time which God allots to each believer to bring forth for themselves “spiritual fruit.” This truth calls for us to “Seize the Day” (Carpe diem) because “Time flies” (Tempus fugit). As Horace Mann put it “Lost yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” Kairos represents the best time to do something, the moment when circumstances are most suitable. Kairos can be a moment or a season, but always refers to specific times in which opportunity is “ripe”, so that when the time passes, so does the opportunity – “Opportunity only knocks once.”
The word OPPORTUNITY is derived from the Latin “ob portu.” In ancient times before modern harbors, ships had to wait for the timing of the tide before they could make it safely to port. Thus “OB PORTU,” described the ship waiting “FOR PORT,” ready to seize the crucial moment when it could ride the tide into safe harbor. The captain knew that if he missed the passing tide, the ship would have to wait for another tide to come in. God gives each of us many “ob portu’s”, but we must be spiritually wise and Spirit filled in order to see and seize them. As Charles Swindoll said “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities (ob portu’s) brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Shakespeare’s famous line from Julius Caesar conveys the same thought: “There is a tide in the affairs of men (an “ob portu”), Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.” In short, KAIROS conveys the sense of an “opportune time,” a “window of opportunity”. John Broadus said “Opportunity is like a fleet horse that pauses for a moment at one’s side. If you fail to mount him in that moment, you can hear the clatter of his hoofs down the corridors of time. That opportunity is gone forever.” Jonathan Edwards America’s greatest theologian understood Paul’s charge to REDEEM THE TIME and as a young man wrote “Resolved: Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can. Resolved: to live with all my might while I do live.” “Time that is past you can never recall, Of time to come, you are not sure at all; Only the present is now in your power, Therefore, redeem and improve every hour.”
John Piper reiterates that the “OPPORTUNITY will never come again. The days are evil; opposition is great; be wise as serpents (Mt 10:16). Understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:17-note)…These words ring with a sense of urgency. They are like the words of a platoon leader addressing his unit just before they enter combat. The air is tense and your heart is beating fast and, even if you love battle, your hands are sweaty. “Watch your step; be smart; don’t miss your opportunity; keep yourself lean for the battle!”…In other words, the Christian life is a vigilant life, defensively guarding itself from the subtleties of the evil days and offensively redeeming the time to strike for love and righteousness again and again. We are a vigilant people at war with unbelief and evil. O to be a faithful steward of the breath God has given me…Surely God means for our minutes on earth to count for something significant. Paul said, “In the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain” (Php 2:16-note). In the same way, I have good hope from the Lord that my “labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1Co 15:58-note). And I commend this promise to you. No minute need be lived in vain. Eternity will render it significant if lived in faith for the glory of God. In the end we rest in this: “My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15-note).
Time is a strange commodity-we can’t save it, retrieve it, relive it, stretch it, borrow it, loan it, stop it or store it , but can only use it or lose it. We can’t call time out in the game of life. Indeed, there is no such thing as a literal “instant replay.” That appears only on film. “When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept. When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked. When I became a full grown man, time ran. When older still I daily grew, time flew. Soon I shall find in traveling on, time gone.” The pioneer missionary, Robert Moffatt, said, “We shall have all eternity in which to celebrate our victories, but only one short hour before the sunset in which to win them.” Jesus said “I must work the works of Him Who sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.” (Jn 9:4) It’s not how long we live that counts, but how we live, so “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Eccl 9:10a). “We cannot afford to be idle; neither do we desire it. The call is, REDEEM THE TIME. Be always doing something that will last; be always stretching forward to the prize (Php 3:13-14-note). It will soon be ours, for the Lord is at hand. It is a prize worth all our labour and sorrow here. The very thought of it is enough to put to flight all murmuring, or selfishness, or sloth. To labour here is as blessed as it is to rest hereafter. Work on, work on, till the day of recompense arrives.” “The time is short! If thou wouldst work for God, it must be now; If thou wouldst win the garland for thy brow, Redeem the time. With His reward He comes; He tarries not; His day is near; When men least look for Him will He be here; Prepare for Him!” (H. Bonar)
Paul exhorts believers “while we have OPPORTUNITY (kairos), let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Gal 6:10-note) If one misses the “seasonable opportunity”, he will miss the eternal harvest associated with that spiritual opportunity. Yesterday is past and cannot be changed, and tomorrow may not come, so make the most of the opportunities God gives you today. May God’s Spirit enable us to seize the day, while we may! And so again Paul commands us “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of (redeeming, buying up) the OPPORTUNITY (kairos). Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” (Col 4:5-6-note) Harry Ironside exhorts us “to be as alert for witnessing to the lost as bargain hunters are to purchase goods to advantage. Yet how often we neglect to use the circumstances which are put in our way, where we may say a word for our Lord and endeavor to point the lost to Him. Our intentions are good, but we become so occupied with other matters, many of them trifling in the extreme, and before we realize it the person to whom we should have spoken is beyond our reach.” “We are to be alive to every opportunity to witness in the chance encounter, the unexpected turn in conversation, the opening that comes in the expression of a need or the asking of a question, the signal given by what may appear casual but reflects something deeper, the unplanned incident that brings the “outsider” into our life in a way that mind and heart can meet. We are to seize the critical moment when it comes….There are intersections upon which we sometimes come abruptly. We have to choose, and destiny is in the choice. There are flashes of insight that break in upon us, guidance, intuition, discernment, which, if we do not receive, record, and act upon, we lose.” Our few days here on earth are so short and precious, in relation to eternity, that we ought never to waste time on selfish trivia, but to use it only on that “which is good, to the use of edifying” (Eph 4:29-note). (Dunnam)
Adoniram Judson a famous missionary to Burma wrote that “A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity…the same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever…each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny….How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, (enabled by God’s Spirit) resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly (forever) marked.” David Brainerd whose candle burned so brightly that God brought him home at the relatively young age of 29 wrote in his diary “Oh, how precious is time; and how guilty it makes me feel when I think I have trifled away and misemployed it or neglected to fill up each part of it with duty to the utmost of my ability and capacity. Oh, that I might not loiter on my heavenly journey!” It’s too late to redeem the time that is past, but not the time that is passing!
Some novel ways to redeem the time – Ask your waiter if there is anything you can pray for him (her) when you pray over you meal. You will be surprised at the variety of responses, some of which open a door for the Gospel! When you get one of those irritating calls asking for money, turn it into an opportunity to ask your caller if they know Jesus as Savior. As an aside it is interesting how the number of calls decreases! Pray daily for an unreached people group (see globalprayerdigest.org) Let us not just “mark time,” but use time to make our mark! Yes, time flies, but remember that you are the “navigator!” Adrian Rogers offers some other practical thoughts on redeeming the time: (1) Learn to live in the eternal now. Today is the only day you have. Redeem the time. (2) Stop saying, “If I had time.” You do have time. (3) Stop worrying about tomorrow, and stop waiting for tomorrow. Give God today, and He will take care of tomorrow. (4) Cut yourself loose from the past. Bury your failure in the grave of God’s forgetfulness (read Mic 7:18-19, Isaiah 43:25, 44:22), and let Him give you a brand new day. (5) If you have not accepted Christ, now is the time “for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME (kairos = the opportune time!) I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU”; behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME (kairos),” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” (2Cor 6:2)
Let us pray like the old Puritan “Turn my heart from vanity, from dissatisfactions, from uncertainties of the present state, to an eternal interest in Christ. Let me remember that life is short and unforeseen, and is only an opportunity for usefulness; GIVE ME A HOLY AVARICE TO REDEEM THE TIME, to awake at every call to charity (love) and piety (godliness), so that I may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, reclaim the vicious, forgive the offender, diffuse the Gospel, show neighborly love to all. Let me live a life of self-distrust, dependence on Thyself (Thy Spirit), mortification, crucifixion, prayer.” (From Valley of Vision)
Dear reader, may God by His Spirit cause each of us to so order our steps that when that great day comes we might hear those glorious words “Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful in a few things, I will put your in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your Master.” (Mt 25:21) “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:12-note)
Now take a moment, as you ponder the moments of your life which remain and the poignant words of Robin Mark’s song…
When It’s All Been Said and Done
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?
When It’s All Been Said and Done
All my treasures will mean nothing.
Only what I’ve done for love’s reward,
Will stand the test of time.