Psalm 37:23-24 – Not Cast Down

Psalm 37:23-24
23
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

-The great gift that comes from trusting in the Lord is not having to worry about being “utterly cast down”.  What does it mean to be utterly cast down?  Basically being in a situation where you can never recover and all hope is lost.  Every day people get crushed under the weight of life’s circumstances; everyday people die and slip off into Hell.  This is what the Lord keeps us from.  We always have a reason to hope and a source of joy even in the midst of bitter pain and ultimately, by the Lord’s doing, we never have to be cast down into Hell.  We may stumble, we may even fall; but we are held by the Father and no one or nothing is able to remove us from His hand.  (John 10:29)

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Matthew 19:23-26- The Impossible Way

Matthew 19:23-26
23
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

-Is anything impossible with God?  The disciples here are under the mistaken impression that wealth and prosperity must equate to God’s favor.  When Jesus tells them that wealth actually presents a stumbling block to salvation, they wonder how it’s possible for any man or woman to be saved.  The disciples are right to be confused, for truly rich people cannot be saved, but neither can poor people.  The very idea of bringing a cursed race of humans into fellowship with a Holy God is an impossible one.  But God is not limited by impossibility; and when a way did not exist, and a way could not be created, He Himself became the Way for us to be redeemed. (John 14:6)  “And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me...” (Isaiah 63:5)

Jeremiah 23:30-32 – He Saith

Jeremiah 23:30-32
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.

Jeremiah 29:11
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’s 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 hurt; the Lord is not looking to confuse you or trick you (1 Corinthians 14:33) when it comes to trusting in Him.  His thoughts toward us are of peace and not evil.

Luke 2:25-30 – The Sight of Salvation

Luke 2:25-30
25
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

-What a special promise; Simeon had heard directly from the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen Jesus Christ.  It’s safe to say that Simeon was very special in the eyes of the Lord.  But if you are reading this, if you’ve ever been exposed to the Word of God, then the Lord has fulfilled that same promise in you.  The Lord could have plunged all of fallen humanity into Hell and been just in doing it, but if you are alive right now, it’s because the Lord has allowed you to live long enough to see Jesus.  What did Simeon do at the fulfillment of the promise; he blessed God and proclaimed himself as the Lord’s servant.  What will you do?

Isaiah 64:6 -The Righteousness of Man

Isaiah 64:6
6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

-We know this truth from the Bible.  In fact it’s one of the foundational truths of the Christian faith because we have to accept our worthlessness before we will ever be interested in Jesus Christ’s worth.  But consider this truth in light of what we learn from Genesis 2:9; the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden was “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”.  Consider that in the beginning humanity did not know good or evil, we did not do good or evil; we simply obeyed the Lord.  With the forbidden fruit came the knowledge of evil, but also the knowledge of good.  So we set about aspiring to be “good” and doing “good” in the earth.  But think about what that means for God.  Every time He sees our so called good, He is reminded of our disobedience in the garden.  Not only could our good never be acceptable in the sight of God, our good is an affront to God.  Anytime we do a work (outside of Christ) and consider it good, it is like rubbing God’s nose in the fact that we rebelled against Him and stole the knowledge of good and evil.

Matthew 6:10 – As it is in Heaven

Matthew 6:10
10
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

-The Lord teaches us to pray for the Father’s will to be done on Earth just as it’s done in Heaven.   How do you think His will is done in Heaven?  It would be done without question, without hesitation and without fail.  It would be done with no fear of consequence or reprisal.  Those who perform His will in Heaven would not worry about what those around them would say or think. There only concern would be that the Father is pleased and they would understand that His will trumps all because He is above all.  Pray that God’s will is done in this fashion and make sure that you do the Lord’s will in this fashion.

Psalm 118:29 – Give Thanks

Psalm 118:29
29
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

-I have used my mouth to tell lies and speak ill of those around me; it is unfit to sing the praises of the Lord.  My hands have wrought malice and mischief and every evil work; they are unworthy to be raised in adoration of God.  With my feet I have recklessly followed the paths of sin; they are not deserving to walk in the Lord’s narrow way.  But I am thankful that Jesus Christ was able to reach down further than I could go down.  I am thankful that Jesus Christ was more good than I could be bad.  I am thankful that Jesus Christ determined to die for me when it would have been much easier to simply kill me.  I am thankful to the Lord because He is good and because His mercy endures.

Proverbs 13:24 – Spare the Rod…

Proverbs 13:24
24
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

You are no doubt familiar with the phrase “Spare the rod, spoil the child” and, like many, you may attribute that wisdom to the Bible. While I agree with the logic of the phrase, it does not occur anywhere in Scripture. The true verse is much more severe and is more a reflection on the heart of the parent; if you don’t incorporate physical discipline into your child’s upbringing, it is a sign that you do not care enough about them to do whatever is necessary to make sure they don’t turn into a misguided delinquent- a sign that you hate them. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own decisions, but our penal system is filled with examples of the results of negligent parenting; men and women who may have turned into productive members of society had they only been taught that their actions have consequences. Proverbs 19:18 says “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying“; it may be difficult at the time, but isn’t your child worth it?

Judges 6:16, 23-24 – Jehovah-Shalom

Judges 6:16, 23-24
16
And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
23 And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

-In the course of a few verses in Judges 16, God speaks peace to Gideon and then proceeds to send him to war against the Midianites.  At first glance proclaiming peace while declaring war may seem to be a contradiction, but in reality this further illustrates a principle that the Bible stresses time and again.  Namely, that trial and difficulty will come our way and our peace MUST be independent of our circumstances; otherwise we will never have peace.  Gideon realized this because he named the altar Jehovah-Shalom which is Hebrew for “The Lord our Peace”.  Gideon understood, just as we must, that peace will not be found in our circumstances or our actions; peace can only be found in the Lord.  We don’t need the promise of an end to hostilities, we only need the promise of the Lord’s abiding presence- just as He offered in v16.  “Surely, I will be with thee…”

Job 42: 8, 10 – When He Prayed

Job 42: 8, 10
8
Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
-After a series of traumatic events that took Job to perhaps the lowest place a person can get to in life, the Lord delivered him out of them all and “blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.” (Job 42:12)  Consider when the Lord delivered Job; “when he prayed for his friends“. Remember that these are the same “friends” who just spent the last 30 chapters criticizing Job and blaming him for his problems.   Anyone else ever have a “friend” like that?  Being nice to someone nice is easy, but being nice to someone after they’ve hurt you is hard.  That is the Lord’s standard; He sticks to it and He expects the same of us.  We can’t just love and pray for those who help us and encourage us, we are expected to “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)