Looking at Psalm 9 there is repeated mention of judgment. Although the psalmist gives much praise to God, he soon turns back to God’s treatment of the wicked. Verse 3 tells us ”my enemies stumble and perish before You,’ verse 5 ‘You have destroyed the wicked,’ and verse 6 ‘endless ruin has overturned the enemy.’ The warnings are numerous and deadly. The psalmist says even the memory of the wicked has perished.
As we look at the world today, we wonder where justice is, but we know that it will come at the right time. Verse 18 tells us ‘the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.’ We only need to remember that it is God’s timing not ours.
Daniel met the requirements of Nebuchadnezzar. He was young without any physical defects, handsome, had an aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed and quick to understand. Although it definitely wasn’t a requirement he was faithful to Yahweh. Problems arose; he was expected to defile himself with the royal food and wine. Along with his three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego they went on a vegetarian diet for ten days.
At the end of that time they were healthier and better nourished than the other young men. I confess I am a meat eater but this story does indicate that we should keep our God-given bodies in the best possible shape for service to God.
The birds have built a nest in one of my bushes. As in previous years they have built the nest but not used it. I can’t look too closely in case there are some eggs there which I haven’t spotted. Maybe the birds in my area are very rich own two nests. They think my bush is not suitable and decide on a better location.
We also have two homes, one here on earth and one in heaven. We can’t live in both at the same time. At the present time our nest is down here, although it’s not completely suitable. We can’t yet move on to our superior home in heaven. Nevertheless we can make preparations for the next move. The Holy Spirit can help us as we learn more about God. We will be moving, just not yet.
Much of life is hard; we are walking on slippery places. We can’t cope with life on our own and we are often in danger of falling. We need someone reliable to hang on to. The psalmist tells us, ‘My foot is slipping….. Oh Lord support me.’
I have recently had a spell of giddiness. Without the reluctant use of a stick I would have fallen which is the last thing any of us want to do. Recovery from a fall takes time. Recovery from a spiritual fall is also difficult.. When God stops us from falling He becomes our reliable Rock. Again the psalmist tells us ‘ The Lord has become my Fortress and my God my Rock in whom I take refugee.’.
So often when we turn to the Bible we find comfort and strength for the day ahead. But it is not only a book of guidance and light. God’s word is often ‘sharper than any double-edged sword, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.’ Some Bible passages are uncomfortable to us today. Mass destruction and sex scandals are not welcome reading.
Our church is tackling some of these issues in a series of sermons. I await the next few sermons with interest. Reading of the Bible requires one hand on the Bible and the other in the hand of God.
Christian sanctification is what we read about in 2 Corinthians 3:18 ‘we, who with unveiled faces all reflect God’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ We have all met Christians whose faces glow with the glory of God. We long to be like them but know we are not.
As close friends and siblings grow to look alike we too can reflect the glory of God to so0me extent.. To do this we need closer fellowship with Him, time spent more conversing with Him. As the old hymn says, ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus.’
This phrase is something I can struggle with. Of course, I want God’s will to be done and not mine. God is all-mighty and all-wise. I make many mistakes running my own small life. But how do I pray? It’s easy to find myself giving God instructions. ‘Please ease the financial burdens of some particular person.’. ‘Please God heal my friend’s sick daughter.’ It seems right to pray against bad things, but God knows what is best. Am I telling God what He already knows? Am I telling Him ho9w to act? He knows the financial situation of my friend; He knows another friend has a sick daughter.
If I say at the end of my prayers ‘Your will be done.’ I must really mean it and add ‘your will not mine,’ though God’s answer may completely the opposite of what I wish. I’m not trying to change God’s mind when I pray. As I’ve said ‘His will is best.’
I used to think it so sad that the two disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognise Jesus sooner. On reflection I now realise that everything was as it should have been. Their joy in knowing that it was Jesus, would have stopped them listening to Him. As it was they listened with rapt attention to all that Jesus had to say to them. They had been able to assimilate. His words as well as His teaching.
Then at just the right time their eyes were opened as they saw His nail-pierced hands breaking the bread. As always God’s timing was always perfect.
There are a number of occasions in the Bible where a servant of God presents himself God and announces ”Here I am.’ When Abraham says this in Genesis 22:1 he has no idea what God is going to ask him to do. ‘Take your son and sacrifice him!’ Although there can be no greater shock, Abraham obeys. God called Jacob in a dream Genesis 46:2 On replying ‘Here I am’ he is told to go to Egypt and meet his long lost son, Joseph.
When Moses replied to God, ‘Here I am’, God sent him to lead a nation for nearly forty years. Samuel’s reply ‘Here I am.’ to God led him to confront Eli’s sin and eventually become the next prophet. Isaiah says the same thing, offers himself and God was able to use him mightily.
When God calls us and we reply ‘Here I am,’ we might not have to lead a nation or become a prophet but great adventures will be ahead.
Yesterday afternoon I had the privilege of taking communion with a group of friends. We were able to remember the sacrifice in Jesus giving His life for the redemption of our sins. We remembered with gratitude and thanks. There is no greater sacrifice and no thanks on our part that can ever be too much.
On the morning of that same day I visited my friend who was dying. I looked at her lying almost unconscious in her hospital bed with her daughter sitting beside her and I realised she would never again be taking communion in our group as she had so often in the past.
Then another thought struck me. In no time at all she would be having communion in heaven. I’m not sure how they would celebrate up there, but she will be in the presence of her beloved Saviour. How wonderful for her. By the time you read this blog she may well be there. The time will come when we can join her. Oh blessed day!