Psalm 130:5-6 – The Light in the Tunnel

Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

-You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “The light at the end of the tunnel”.  It is designed to bring hope to those who are experiencing hardships because it can be easier to struggle through the night armed with the knowledge that the morning is coming.  The hope of a brighter day doesn’t have to be our consolation in the darkness though.  David here points out that instead of waiting for the morning, he instead waits for the Lord.  In fact, he states that his desire for the Lord is actually stronger than those who wait for the light at the end of the tunnel.  Why would this be?  Because the Lord is brighter than even the brightest day and the Lord is not waiting for us at the end of the tunnel, He is in the tunnel with us making sure that we get to the end.  “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

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Exodus 19:5 – Peculiar Treasures

Exodus 19:5
5
 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine

-The word “peculiar” here is the Hebrew word “segullah,” and literally means “to shut up.”  To really get an understanding of this, you need to think in terms of collections.  People collect things such as guns or comics books or Barbie dolls.  Within those collections, there is always that specific gun or comic or doll that is the most prized; the one that’s kept in the special case or behind a locked door- the one that is kept shut up.  Having all those others is great, but it’s the most precious one that really makes the collection.  That’s how the Lord views those who keep His commandments, as His most valuable possessions.  Remember that God owns everything: planets, stars, galaxies; all of those things are great, but a man or women who will fear and obey Him, that’s a prize.

1 Samuel 1:12-14 – Friendly Fire

1 Samuel 17:32-33
32 
And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

Job 2:7, 9
7
 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

1 Samuel 1:12-14
12
 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.
13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

-I believe life would be much simpler if all our opposition came in the form of Satan appearing to tempt and depress us.  Many times, however, opposition can come from the unlikeliest of sources.  It can come from a respected leader as in David’s case; it can come from a close loved one as it did for Job; it can even come from those to whom we look for spiritual guidance as it did with Hannah.  What these three have in common is that they didn’t allow opposition to take them out of the race and we see what happened to them.  David wrought a mighty victory and went on to become the Lord’s anointed king (2 Samuel 5).  Job continued to honor God with his life and his latter end was blessed more than his beginning (Job 42:12).  Hannah saw her prayers answered and gave birth to a great man of God (1 Samuel 1:20).  If the Lord puts you on a path, no matter who gets in your way; be it a loved one or confidant or even an angel from Heaven- Don’t get off the path!!

Luke 17:12-19 – Giving Thanks

Luke 17:12-19
12
 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

-Notice Jesus’ reaction when the one (former) leper returns to give thanks to God.  Before recognizing the gratitude of the one, Jesus first calls attention to the ingratitude of the other nine.  The Lord does so much for us: He provides continual mercy that keeps us from destruction (Lamentations 3:22-23), He gives sunshine and rain for everyone (Matthew 5:45), He gave His only Son for the sins of mankind (John 3:16).  In all of this, God expects us to give Him thanks (Psalm 100:4), He commands us to give Him thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and as we learn here, He watches as so many turn away without giving Him thanks. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”  (Psalm 107:31)

1 Samuel 17:45-49 – The Lord Our Rock

1 Samuel 17:45-49
45
 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

-David was confident in victory because He knew the Lord fought for him.  When Goliath began his attack with sword and spear, David led with a stone.  David slung the stone that toppled Goliath; but instead of thinking that David attacked Goliath with a stone, consider that as David ran for Goliath, he was making sure the stone got there first.  Because that stone made it to Goliath first, David’s victory was easy; but if David had made it to Goliath without the stone, he would have had a real fight on his hands.  Ephesians 2:20 tells us that “Jesus Christ himself [is] the chief corner stone” for believers and He is more than able to handle any problem that comes into our lives.  But just as was the case with David, when it’s time to face our trials head on, it’s important that we never get ahead of God.  If we ever face our troubles and the Lord our Rock (Psalm 118:2) hasn’t gotten there first, victory is never guaranteed.

Daniel 3:23-29 – Freedom in the Fire

Daniel 3:23-29
24
 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

-Often when we face trials, we aren’t satisfied until the circumstance has completely passed.  But by accepting such a narrow view of difficult times we miss out on the fullness of God’s power.  Paul said, “I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)  God is able to work mightily not just by freeing us from our difficulty, but by freeing us in our difficulty.  Consider the Hebrew boys here in Daniel 3; they faced the terrible trial of choosing to burn in a fire in order to defend their (well-placed) faith.  God could have simply put out the fire, but instead He showed up personally and loosed their bonds.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were still in the midst of their circumstance, but they moved freely in it because the Lord was there to help them.  Notice that they were in no rush to leave the fire either and came out only after the king called them.  They stayed not because the fire did them any good, but because often the best way to honor the Lord is to show His enemies how He can sustain us when nothing or no one else can.

Isaiah 56:5 – An Everlasting Name

Isaiah 56:5
5
 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

-You’ve no doubt seen posters or pictures that list several names and titles for Jesus Christ.  The Lord carries so many names because there are so many different parts He plays in the universe and, more importantly, in the lives of His people.  If the multitude of ways that the Lord is described in the Bible is supposed to be important to us, wouldn’t the many ways that the Lord describes us in the Bible be just as important to Him?  Did you know that there are over 175 different names and titles for Believers in the New Testament alone?  Consider the following list which is by no means exhaustive.  Consider what they mean to you and whether or not you are fulfilling these roles.  If the Lord called out one of these names, would you be able to answer to it?

Believers (Acts 5:14), Brethren (Matthew 23:8), Children of the Living God (Romans 9:26), Chosen Vessels (Acts 9:15), Disciples of Christ (John 8:31), Faithful (Psalms 12:1), Fellow-servants (Revelation 6:11), Friends of God (James 2:23), Godly (2 Peter 2:9), Holy People (Isiah 62:12), Lively Stones (1 Peter 2:5), Salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), Sojourner (Psalms 39:12), Witnesses (Isaiah 44:8)

Isaiah 6:1-5 – Worthy is the Lamb

Isaiah 6:1-5
1
 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

-Isaiah, the mighty man of God who faced down soldiers and kings, upon entering into the presence of God Himself completely lost it and could only pronounce woe and doom on himself.  He was right to react this way, just as the Seraphim are right to continuously cry Holy, Holy, Holy.  Not because they’ve been ordered to do so, but because when faced with God Himself, this is the only reaction they can have.  Such glory and majesty is unmatched anywhere in the universe.  Who could possibly be worthy to enter into such a presence?  I’m glad you asked.  The Bible tells us that “no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)  Jesus is worthy to enter into the presence of God the Father because Jesus is the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased.  (Matthew 3:17)  But Jesus doesn’t enter empty-handed, He makes provision for all of us as well.  “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12)  Seeing that we have such a High Priest, Jesus Christ, “let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

1 Peter 2:18-20 – Not Only To The Good…

1 Peter 2:18-20
18
 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

-The mind of God inevitably defies conventional wisdom.  We are told by the Lord to “love your enemies, 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).  Here in 1 Peter we are told to respect those in authority over us.  But not just the good ones, which would make sense, but also the bad ones; the ones that drain our energy and can make our lives miserable- reverence them.  While you’re at it, make sure to show patience when you suffer wrongfully because that is acceptable with God.  It’s a lot to ask, but don’t forget who’s asking.  The Lord knows a thing or two about loving His enemies (Romans 5:8) and He certainly wrote The Book on being patient when He suffered wrongfully (1 Peter 2:23).  So why is it important to follow these principles in the Bible?  “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:45)

Matthew 15:32 –

Matthew 15:32
32
 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

-The Lord in His mercy shows great compassion for these people who have traveled so far just to hear Him and, in doing so, He gives us all a great spiritual lesson. Even though this verse is talking about physical food, Jesus knows better than anyone that “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)  The Christian walk is long and hard and is not to be taken lightly, but just as with the multitude here in Matthew 15, the Lord promises to provide nourishment and sustenance from His Word to every single person who follows Him.  Where there is no bread the people may grow faint, but “where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)