10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
-It’s hard to imagine such an idea; that it pleased God the Father to bruise His own Son. That’s evidence of how much God hates sin and how willing He is to judge it. How does this help us? The biggest help is that by the bruises and stripes of Jesus Christ, all of humanity can be healed. (Isaiah 53:5) But there is another lesson to be learned here: If we were to ask Jesus if He found it pleasing to be bruised, He would undoubtedly say “no”; yet He was willing to endure it because it was pleasing to the Father (Luke 22:42). Just as Jesus’ focus was on doing the Father’s will, so too should we stop judging things in our life as good or bad based on how pleasing they are to us, but rather how pleasing they are to the Father. There are many things that don’t seem pleasing in the moment, but if we truly believe that God can do no wrong, it means everything that comes or way must be right.
1 Chronicles 28:2-3
2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
3 But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.
-The Lord did not allow David to follow his desire of building God’s house because, being a warrior, he was not fit for the task. God limited David here due to his service as a soldier even though God Himself was the one who sent Israel to war. This is a very important aspect of being a soldier that we should never lose sight of. A soldier’s life is not one of privilege or high societal standing; rather it is a duty that is shouldered by a chosen few who pledge their lives for the safety and freedom of the rest of us. Their job is thankless, but they do what needs to be done. Lord we pray for our Soldiers and Veterans today and ask that you would ease their unique burdens, guard their lives, and most importantly save the souls of those who have not trusted in you. Lord, we also ask that you would provide grace and comfort to the families of those soldiers who have laid down their lives in service of this nation. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
-Wickedness abounds more every day and many times it seems as though the wicked are receiving the Lord’s favor. But Jude would be quick to remind us that even though God spared all of the Jews from Egyptian bondage, He still destroyed those who refused to believe in the wilderness. At first they appeared to slip by, but they reaped what they had sown. (Galatians 6:7) Likewise the rebellious angels who turned on God in Heaven are being held awaiting final judgment and although they have yet to be fully punished for their unbelief, they will certainly reap what they have sown. These examples serve to frighten us, but only so that we may be motivated not to follow after them. For any of us who still breathe, it’s not too late to turn to the Lord and put our full confidence in Him to lead our present life and to ultimately bless us with the fullness of eternal life. Don’t sow to the flesh as the wicked have done throughout the centuries, sow to the Spirit and reap life. (Galatians 6:8)
30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
-The world is full of those who will do or say anything to bring destruction to their neighbors. They lead millions astray every day with lies and fanciful visions. It is important to realize this so that we can be prepared to defend against it. The Bible warns us to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) But it is also important to recognize that the Lord does not commission or condone those who would use His holy name to do you harm. The Lord is not looking to confuse you or trick you when it comes to trusting in Him. (1 Corinthians 14:33) His thoughts toward us are ones of peace and not evil.
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
-Lest we ever be tempted to share any of the Lord’s glory with another, the Bible reminds us here that it was Jesus Christ who paid the price for our sins all by himself. There were no angels with Him, no church elders with Him; no one else finished His course with Him. Why is this important? If your child had sacrificed their life to save others, would you want anyone else getting credit for it? Yet we do that to God all the time. Anytime we miss an opportunity to thank the Lord and acknowledge what He alone has done, we offend God. Anytime we try to find another way out of our problems, we basically give credit to whatever we end up seeking whether it is false religions, drugs, alcohol or whatever the case may be. Remember that Allah didn’t die on a cross for you, Buddha didn’t die on a cross for you, Budweiser didn’t die on a cross for you; Jesus died on a cross for you.
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
7 And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
9 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
10 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
11 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.
-The name “Ishmael” means “The Lord Hears” and is the defining aspect of Hagar and her son’s whole life. Hagar was used by Abram and Sarai to suit their needs only to be despised and driven away by their cruelty. She could have died an ignoble death in the wilderness and no one would have noticed but “The Lord heard”. Hagar’s story is my story and your story. The Lord could have left us to die in the wilderness of sin and eternity would never have even noticed. But God heard the cries of a people who were no people; He gave attention to a people who were beneath His attention. Then He did something even more wondrous; He provided His mercy, protection, and blessing.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
-In Scripture, Salvation is more than once likened to water, an apt picture considering some of water’s qualities. Water can go everywhere and can be found all over the world; likewise there is no place on Earth beyond the reach of God’s saving power. Water can be found free for the taking, yet none but God can truly claim to own it; similarly Salvation can be freely had by all (Revelation 22:17), but only God Himself truly holds it. Perhaps the most compelling reason is this: regardless of a person’s race, gender, heritage or background, everyone needs water or they will die; likewise everyone, regardless of race, gender, heritage or background, absolutely needs the Lord’s Salvation or they have no hope of life.
2 Timothy 2:19-21
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
-I have a socket wrench set in my tool box that is my most valued tool. I find myself using it almost every time I’m working in the garage or around the house. I’m certain that I could still get things done even if I didn’t have it, but it’s very helpful to know that I can depend on it to help me finish my work. This is how we should see ourselves in service to the Lord. If we make ourselves willing and ready, we’ll find ourselves being used in many of God’s plans. It is certain that God would still get things done without us, but He delights in knowing that He can depend on us to help Him finish His work.
1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
-The key to understanding the full implication of this verse of scripture is to realize what the Bible does not say; “the fool hath said with his mouth”. While there are certainly those who openly denounce the existence of God, my point is that there are a great many more out there who do proclaim the existence of God and may even make a claim of being religious and yet their lifestyles tell a different story altogether. It’s easy to say that there is a God, but how can we claim to know that truth if it hasn’t gone beyond our lips and taken root in our heart? How can we say that the truth has taken root in our heart if we do not order our lives according to God’s Word? As Jesus Himself told us in Luke 6:46, “why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” A “faith” that has no effect on how we live our lives is no faith at all.
2 Timothy 3:16
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
-While there is no formula to living a successful Christian life, two truths that I have always found helpful are defined by these verses: 1) The Bible is real and 2) God can do anything.
1) The Bible is real– The Bible testifies of itself as pure and inspired by God Himself. Human hands may have moved the pen, but make no mistake that God’s intentions, thoughts, and His will have been communicated directly to the page. Moreover, parables and metaphors in scripture are clearly labeled which means everything else can be trusted as a factual and true historical record.
2) God can do anything– This requires a lot of thought and at the same time very little thought. What do I mean by that? I spend very little time trying to understand how God can do everything, but I spend a lot of time imagining all the possibilities of what God can do. No matter what your need, imagine all the ways that God can answer that need and then accept that God is able to do above and beyond whatever you imagined (Ephesians 3:20). Then have fun laughing and shouting about it.