Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 6:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 17 (ESV).
A Heart Prepared (vv. 1-5)
A Prayer of David.
Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!
You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
So many people have the wrong concept of God’s salvation. They think that Jesus died for their sins just so they could be forgiven of their sin, escape the punishment of hell, and just so they could go to heaven when they die. Yet, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, too, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who conduct our lives according to the Spirit. God’s grace is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return.
So, before we take our requests to the Lord in prayer we should examine our own hearts and lives before God. We ought to make sure that we have nothing in our lives which would hinder our prayers, i.e. which would hinder our communion with our Lord. Especially if we are calling on God to vindicate us, i.e. to defend our cause, or to exonerate us of our enemy’s charges against us, then we need to have clear consciences before the Lord. We should not be holding on to any known sin in our lives and yet ask God to deliver us from the enemy’s attacks against us. And, yet, many people do, and then they wonder why they are not delivered. And, yet, God does not always deliver us from attacks, but he will deliver us through them.
An Honest Appeal (vv. 6-9)
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
When we do call upon God in prayer, and in truth, we should believe that he hears us and that he will answer us. We might not always get the answer we would like, but we must pray in faith. And, then we must accept whatever answer we receive from the Lord, and trust him to work out all things in our lives for our good, and for the salvation of human lives. We must believe that God loves us, and that, no matter how he answers our requests, that he always has our best interests at heart, because he knows what we need. In other words, he does not promise us that we won’t have to go through suffering. In fact, he promises that we will, and that we will be hated, rejected and persecuted for our faith in him, just as he was treated. Yet, he allows these things in our lives for our good – to strengthen and mature us in our walks of faith, to teach us patience and endurance, to develop within us godly character, and so we might not rely on ourselves, but on HIM.
A Difficult Situation (vv. 10-14)
They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They have now surrounded our steps;
they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
He is like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.
Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
from men by your hand, O Lord,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
You fill their womb with treasure;
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants.
We all have enemies, i.e. people who don’t like us for one reason or another, who maybe are jealous of us, or who resent us, or who are offended by us. Some people who don’t like us will just avoid us. Others will act like they do like us, but then they will stab us in the back when we aren’t looking. They will then say the opposite to others about us from what they say about us to our faces. And, still others will come out fighting against us with both fists (literally or figuratively), and will not try to hide their disdain for us at all. If I had my druthers, I think I would choose the latter, because, at least, it is honest. I hate lies and deceit! I would rather someone just tell me they don’t like me than to pretend like they do, and then stab me in the back.
Yet, our enemy, Satan, is a great deceiver, and so are his followers. They will try to win us over with their lies and their manipulations because they want to lead us away from our pure devotion to Christ, and to lead us to believe their lies, in order that we might fall prey to their deceptions. Some of these messengers of Satan will even pretend to be followers of Christ so that we will trust them, and so we will believe them, and so we will follow them and their teachings or their messages. These messengers of Satan come in many forms, too. Some of them are politicians, and some are heads of governments, and some are pastors of churches or church elders. They may even be our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers or members of our own families. So, we must be very discerning, so we don’t fall into their traps. For their goal is to bring us down, and to destroy our faith.
One of the biggest ways this is happening right now is through trying to discredit and thus obliterate the gospel, as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, in favor of messages which appeal to human flesh and which don’t confront sin or call for repentance, but which make people feel good about themselves in their sin. The gospel of Jesus Christ is under severe attack globally, and so are its messengers. Many of our leaders are making a huge case for the removal of the gospel, as Jesus taught it, and for replacing it with an “all inclusive” message (faith) which accepts (is lenient towards) all faiths and all walks of life. They want to bring the world together as one, in unity, and to do away with all which divides us as the people of the world. Well, the gospel divides, and thus they will attempt to remove it, and its messengers, unless we agree to conform to the “all inclusive” religion.
So, we must pray for our enemies, and those who would come against the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we must pray for God to turn their hearts to heaven. He changed Saul’s (Paul’s) heart so much so that he turned from a persecutor of Christians to one of the great leaders of the early church and an apostle of Jesus Christ. And, we must pray for ourselves to respond in love to people who hurt us, who reject us, and who treat us despitefully.
A Heart Satisfied (v. 15)
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
When we truly find our satisfaction in Christ alone, and we honestly believe that he is all we need in this life in order to survive and to thrive, then the enemy’s attacks against us can’t truly harm us. They may hurt, and it may be painful, but they can’t destroy us, because our all sufficiency is Christ, and as long as we have our Lord, we will rest secure, and be at peace.
Our enemy is out to destroy us. I do not deny that. But there isn’t anything he can do to us or take away from us that will remove God’s love for us, or his watch and care over us, or that will rob us of our salvation. He can destroy our bodies, and take away our homes and our possessions, but he can’t kill our souls. He can persecute us, and even falsely accuse us, and turn people against us, but God will never abandon us. He will never leave us or forsake us. We can rest in his love and comfort. So, we must commit all these matters to the Lord in prayer, and we must commit to him our very lives, and trust him to see us through whatever the future holds for us.
And, if you do not know Jesus today as your Lord and Savior, I must say to you that one day Jesus is going to return to judge the world, and to reward his servants. And, you will have to give an account to God for what you did with his Son Jesus. Jesus died for the sins of the entire world so that we could go free, not just from eternal damnation, and not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but he died to set you free from bondage to sin, and he has given you the promise of hope of eternal life with God in heaven if you will put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. So, today will you choose life, or will you choose death? Will you choose Jesus, or will you choose to follow Satan straight to hell? Choose rightly!
For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012
Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.
Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.