Devotional Thought for Today – 11/19/21

4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4

Psalm 37

CONTEXT: From C.H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David

SUBJECT. The great riddle of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous, which has perplexed so many, is here dealt with in the light of the future; and fretfulness and repining are most impressively forbidden. It is a Psalm in which the Lord hushes most sweetly the too common repinings of his people, and calms their minds as to his present dealings with his own chosen flock, and the wolves by whom they are surrounded. It contains eight great precepts, is twice illustrated by autobiographical statements, and abounds in remarkable contrasts.

I have written about this Psalm probably more than any other because of the great mis-use it receives in modern evangelical circles. I recently had another discussion with someone about claiming the healing of God. Again let me be clear yes I believe we should pray for God’s healing, IF IT IS HIS WILL. Not just because we desire it.

Folks will take our text well actually just the second half he shall give thee the desires of thine heart and roll with it. They say See God will give me whatever my heart desires. This verse along with Psalm 20:4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel are all some need to demand of God.

The problem here is that “Our Desires” are never good on their own. The Bible make it abundantly clear man apart from Christ is evil Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19, and Romans 7:18-20 for example. Our desires must align with God’s even our Lord and Savior asked God the Father if it be they will, Luke 22:42.

Notable Comments:

Verse 4. The desires of thine heart. All the desires of this spiritual seed are of the nature of this seed, namely, substantial, and shall meet with substance. All the desires of natural man, even after God, after Christ, after righteousness, shall burn and perish with him (for they are not the truth, nor do they come from the truth, nor can they reach to the truth;)but all the desires of this spirit shall live with the Spirit of God, in rest and satisfaction for ever. John Pennington, 1656.

Verse 4. The desires of God, and the desires of the righteous, agree in one; they are of one mind in their desires. John Bunyan.

Also see the previous posts below


Matthew Henry's Method for Prayer

I must humbly profess the desire of my heart towards God, as my felicity and portion and fountain of life and all good to me.


Devotional thought for today – 11/18/21

Psalm 86-9 Bible Quote - All Nations Worship God - Postmillennialism

PSALM 86

CONTEXT: C.H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David states:

TITLE. A Prayer of David. We have here one of the five psalms entitled Tephillahs or prayers. This psalm consists of praise as well as prayer, but it is in all parts so directly addressed to God that it is most fitly called “a prayer.” A prayer is none the less but all the more a prayer because veins of praise run through it. This psalm would seem to have been specially known as David’s prayer; even as the ninetieth is “the prayer of Moses.” David composed it, and no doubt often expressed himself in similar language; both the matter and the wording are suitable to his varied circumstances and expressive of the different characteristics of his mind. In many respects it resembles Ps 17:1-15, which bears the same title, but in other aspects it is very different; the prayers of a good man have a family likeness, but they vary as much as they agree. We may learn from the present psalm that the great saints of old were accustomed to pray very much in the same fashion as we do; believers in all ages are of one genus. The name of God occurs very frequently in this psalm, sometimes it is Jehovah, but more commomly Adonai, which it is believed by many learned scholars was written by the Jewish transcribers instead of the sublimer title, because their superstitious dread led them to do so: we, labouring under no such tormenting fear, rejoice in Jehovah, our God. It is singular that those who were so afraid of their God, that they dared not write his name, had yet so little godly fear, that they dared to alter his word.

DIVISION. The psalm is irregular in its construction but may be divided into three portions, each ending with a note of gratitude or of confidence: we shall therefore read from Ps 86:1-7, and then, (after another pause at the end of Ps 86:13), we will continue to the end.

Out text for today comes from the middle of the Psalm, v.8-13, and follows David’s declaration in v.8 that there is no other god like unto the Lord. To this he adds:

All nations whom thou hast madethat is every creature from every part of the world for God created the heavens and the earth and all that it contains Philippians 2:10-11

shall come and worship before thee, Whom else is worthy? What other god, has complete dominion over the universe and all creation? Psalm 103:19, Isaiah 46:9-10

O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. The Westminster Shorter Catechism declares: Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible All nations whom thou hast made,…. All nations, or the inhabitants of all nations, are made by the Lord, and of the blood of one man, Acts 17:26, and which as it shows the obligation of all men to come and worship, as is said should be; so likewise that the Lord, who has made them, is able to make them come to do homage to him, as follows:

shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; “come”, spiritually, by faith and repentance, to the Lord himself, being drawn by the power of his efficacious grace through the ministry of the word; and, locally, to the house and ordinances of God, to attend upon them, and wait on him in them; and “worship” both externally, according to his revealed will; and internally in the exercise of grace, in spirit and in truth: this is prophetically said of the conversion of the Gentiles in Gospel times, especially in the latter day; see Revelation 15:4. Kimchi and Arama say this will be in the time of the Messiah:

and shall glorify thy name; the Lord himself, with their bodies and spirits, which are his; and ascribe the glory of their salvation to him, and glorify him for his mercy towards them in their redemption and conversion; glorify that and every perfection of his, displayed in their salvation; and also his Gospel, which brings them the news of it; see Romans 15:9.

Sunday Sermon Series – 11/17/21

14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
15 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:14-15

CONTEXT: From C.H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David

TITLE. A Psalm of David. David is pictured in this Psalm as in a faithful miniature. His holy trust, his many conflicts, his great transgression, his bitter repentance, and his deep distresses are all here; so that we see the very heart of “the man after God’s own heart.” It is evidently a composition of David’s later days, for he mentions the sins of his youth, and from its painful references to the craft and cruelty of his many foes, it will not be too speculative a theory to refer it to the period when Absalom was heading the great rebellion against him. This has been styled the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. It is the mark of a true saint that his sorrows remind him of his sins, and his sorrow for sin drives him to his God.

SUBJECT AND DIVISION. The twenty-two verses of this Psalm begin in the original with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in their proper order. It is the first instance we have of an inspired acrostic or alphabetical song. This method may have been adopted by the writer to assist the memory; and the Holy Spirit may have employed it to show us that the graces of style and the arts of poetry may lawfully be used in his service. Why should not all the wit and ingenuity of man be sanctified to noblest ends by being laid upon the altar of God? From the singularity of the structure of the Psalm, it is not easy to discover any marked divisions; there are great changes of thought, but there is no variation of subject; the moods of the writer’s mind are twofold—prayer and meditation; and as these appear in turns, we should thus divide the verses. Prayer from Ps 25:1-7; meditation, Ps 25:8-10; prayer, Ps 25:11; meditation, Ps 25:12-15; prayer, Ps 25:16-22.

Verse 14. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him. Some read it “the friendship:” it signifies familiar intercourse, confidential intimacy, and select fellowship. This is a great secret. Carnal minds cannot guess what is intended by it, and even believers cannot explain it in words, for it must be felt to be known. The higher spiritual life is necessarily a path which the eagle’s eye hath not known, and which the lion’s whelp has not travelled; neither natural wisdom nor strength can force a door into this inner chamber. Saints have the key of heaven’s hieroglyphics; they can unriddle celestial enigmas. They are initiated into the fellowship of the skies; they have heard words which it is not possible for them to repeat to their fellows. And he will shew them his covenant. Its antiquity, security, righteousness, fulness, graciousness and excellence, shall be revealed to their hearts and understandings, and above all, their own part in it shall be sealed to their souls by the witness of the Holy Spirit. The designs of love which the Lord has to his people in the covenant of grace, he has been pleased to show to believers in the Book of Inspiration, and by his Spirit he leads us into the mystery, even the hidden mystery of redemption. He who does not know the meaning of this verse, will never learn it from a commentary; let him look to the cross, for the secret lies there.


SERMON

A Sermon on Psalm 25:14

Geerhardus Vos

Preached October 15, 1902 in the Chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/16/21

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken

Isaiah 1:2a KJV

CONTEXT: v.1 identifies the author of the book as Isaiah and there seems to be no argument amongst historians. The following from Reformed Answers is a good summary of the book:

On the one hand Isaiah’s ministry consisted largely of bringing charges, condemnations and judgments as he declared covenant curses on Israel and Judah for their flagrant violations of their covenant obligations (Isa. 1:2-31; 13:1-23:18; 56:9-57:13; 65:1-16). The prophet spoke of many different curses that would come, the most serious of which would be destruction and exile. In fact, both Israel and Judah had fallen so far from the ideals of the covenant that God commanded Isaiah to prophesy in order to harden the people’s hearts so that the judgment of exile might not be averted (Isa. 6:1-13).

On the other hand, Isaiah balanced his message of judgment with words of hope. He spoke of many different kinds of blessings, but for the most part his positive words focused on the principal blessing of restoration after exile (Isa. 40-66). As a result, Isaiah called the godly to persevere in seeking the Lord, in cultivating hope for God’s Kingdom, in experiencing God’s peace within themselves during times of trouble and in responding to God’s new acts of redemption in faith (Isa. 2:5; 8:13-17; 26:20-21; 33:14-16; 40:28-31; 48:20-21; 55:1-12; 60:1-3; 61:10-11; 63:7-64:12; 66:5-6). Isaiah promised that a remnant would survive the exile, return to the land and enjoy the unprecedented blessings of God.

Out text for today convenes a double meaning and may seem confusing to some. How can the heavens and earth both inanimate objects give ear, that is pay close attention to what the Lord or in this case His servant Isaiah has to say?

I am no linguist expert but the Aramaic word Shamayim translated as Universe and the Hebrew word ‘erets that translates as earth, in context here refer to all creation including all the people under or in creation.

So the meaning of this verse is simple, Isaiah by direction of the Holy Spirit is declaring to all creation, that the Lord God, sovereign ruler over all creation has something to say and y’all better listen.

What is God trying to say to you today?


Submitting to Divine Authority

Isaiah 1:2a

God’s Word is the only source of divine authority.

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/13/21

Isaiah 59:14-15 | Isaiah 59, Jesus, Worship lyrics

Isaiah 59

CONTEXT: Once again the sins of the nation v.2 of Israel have separated them from God. Let me be clear, God is still sovereign and in control of all things yet His hand of providence over Israel has been lifted. In v.3-8 Isaiah lays out all the sins committed and the apparent lack of remorse. In v.9-11 he lays out the consequences of their sin and then in v.12-15a he confesses those sins. Finally, in v.15b-21 Isaiah lays out the need for a Savior and the promise thereof.

Out text, today comes from the NLT and is really v.14-15a, with …The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice completing the verse.

This should seem like a familiar tone of what is happening all around us today. Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. With the courts legislating from the bench and the fact that you are guilty until proven innocent our legal system is turned upside down.

Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. Go ahead, speak out about LGBTQ, abortion, or some other woke or cancel culture hot topic and find out how fast truth and honesty are outlawed.

Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. We should all expect that natural man can not understand the ways of God and is therefore corrupt and unrepentant. The disconcerting thing is that the church, v.20-21, and individual “Christians” failing to speak out and call to judgment the evil being perpetrated. John Gill comments:

and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment; he took notice of all this, and resented it, though in a professing people, that there was no judgment or discretion in matters of doctrine and worship; no order or discipline observed; no justice done in civil courts, or in the church of God; no reformation in church or state.

For far too long “Christians” have bought into the lie that we are not to be judges based solely on Matthew 7:1-2. Read these verses in CONTEXT and with the WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD and it is clear we are to judge righteously.

Was the Apostle Paul a lier? He wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things… and later in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, he writes that Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

It is time that those calling themselves “Christians” started acting like it. As James Chapter 2 notes, a true Christain faith is a faith working for God not sitting by afraid to speak out.

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/12/21

God's Decree Quote by Thomas Boston

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks:

  Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?

 A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

The WSC confirms what Paul wrote in Romans 11:36, all God degrees, that is all God does is for His Glory. I have written and said this ad museum, it is never about us and always about God.

Paul makes an equally compelling appeal to the church in Colessea when in 3:23 he writes, ‘do all as unto the Lord’ {paraphraased}. Why v.24 tells us because we serve the Lord Christ! Who else deserves more glory and honor? You or I?

My question for you today is what sort of church are you attending (hopefully you are following the Biblical mandate for church attendance)? Is the emphasis there on you or God, your “experience” or glorifying the sovereign ruler of the universe?


Other Resources:

God’s Decrees Are… by Thomas Boston

What are the Decrees of God? – From the Shorter Catechism explained

Of God’s Decree – LBC 1689 with Scripture

God’s Decree And Creation

The Decrees of God by A W Pink

The Decrees of God by Charles Hodge

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/11/21

20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
21 There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. Proverbs 19:20-21

Proverbs 19

CONTEXT: Defining the direct context of any Proverb is difficult mainly because of the way the book is written. Unlike most books of the Bible there are no clear plots, themes etc. dividing each Chapter or no main character to follow.

Wisdom, in all its form is the only real theme and it is presented in snippets sometime one or two verses other times multiple but almost never (I am thinking of C.31) a whole chapter.

For our main text today we have two themes that intersect: The foolish and ungodly {son} never seem to learn (v.13-20) and man {son} proposes and God purposes (v.21-29).

One thing should be clear to all who read it, wise counsel is never to be neglected and God alone is controls the plans of mankind.

Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary reads:

A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping. House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD. Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die. He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again. Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar. The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge. He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach. Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity. Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.

I do not wish to swell the commentary for the reasons before given. And indeed if the Reader be under divine teaching, this will supersede all observations of mine. But I hope he will find in all these verses, more or less, somewhat to lead his mind to Christ, and in Christ to find the truest application.

Sunday Sermon Series – 11/10/21

Psalm 69:4 ESV

PSALM 69

CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments: David penned this psalm when he was in affliction; and in it, I. He complains of the great distress and trouble he was in and earnestly begs of God to relieve and succour him (v. 1-21). II. He imprecates the judgments of God upon his persecutors (v. 22-29). III. He concludes with the voice of joy and praise, in an assurance that God would help and succour him, and would do well for the church (v. 30-36). Now, in this, David was a type of Christ, and divers passages in this psalm are applied to Christ in the new Testament and are said to have their accomplishment in him (v. 4, 9, 21), and v. 22 refers to the enemies of Christ. So that (like the twenty-second psalm) it begins with the humiliation and ends with the exaltation of Christ, one branch of which was the destruction of the Jewish nation for persecuting him, which the imprecations here are predictions of. In singing this psalm we must have an eye to the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that followed, not forgetting the sufferings of Christians too, and the glory that shall follow them; for it may lead us to think of the ruin reserved for the persecutors and the rest reserved for the persecuted.

Our main text for today is a foreshadowing of Christ as Savior. Hawkers’ Poor Man’s Commentary reflects: What a blessed verse is here! Amidst all the opposition and contradiction of sinners against himself, Jesus manifested that character, by which Jehovah had pointed him out to the church by the prophet; Thou shalt be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of the paths to dwell in; Isaiah 58:12. But what was it Christ restored? Nay, all that was lost. Adam, by sin, had taken away God’s glory, and his own glory and happiness. He had robbed God of his glory, God’s law of its due, himself of God’s image and of God’s favour. Sin had brought in death, spiritual and eternal; and he, and all his descendants, stood tremblingly exposed to everlasting misery. All these, and more, Jesus restored. As man’s Surety and man’s Representative, called to those offices by the authority of Jehovah, the Lord Christ restored to God his glory, and to man God’s image and favour; and having destroyed sin, death, hell, and the grave, he restored to his redeemed a better paradise than our nature had lost! Hail! oh, thou blessed Restorer of all our long-lost privileges.


SERMON

A Robbery Committed, And Restitution Made, Both To God And Man

by Ebenezer Erskine

“Then I restored that which I took not away.” – PSALM 69:4

IT is abundantly plain, that there are several passages in this psalm applied unto Christ in the Scriptures of the New Testament; particularly that in the 9th verse of the psalm, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” We find it applied to Christ, John 2:17; and likewise that immediately following, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me,” Romans 15:3; so likewise in the 21st verse, “They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink,” applied to Christ, Matthew 27:48, and Mark 15:23. But I need go no further to prove this, than the first word of the verse where my text lies, “They hated me without cause,” Christ applies it to himself, in John 15:25. We find our Lord here, in the verse where my text lies, is complaining of his enemies; he complains of their causeless hatred in the first clause of the verse, “They hate me without a cause;” he complains of their multitude, “They are more than the hairs of mine head;” he complains of their implacable cruelty, “They that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty.” Now our blessed Lord is thus treated by the world, whom he came to save. When there is such a powerful combination of hell and earth against him, one would have been ready to think, that he would have stopped, and gone no further; but he did not faint, nor was he discouraged, for all the opposition that was made against him; for you see, in the word I have read, what he was doing for lost sinners, when he was meeting with harsh entertainment from them. Then, even then, says he, I restored that which I took not away...


Other Resources:

A Robbery Committed, and Restitution Made, Both to God and Man – (Synopsis)

What does the Bible say about restitution? | GotQuestions.org

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/09/21

Proverbs 20:5 KJV - Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water;

CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments: A man’s wisdom is here said to be of use to him for the pumping of other people, and diving into them, 1. To get the knowledge of them. Though men’s counsels and designs are ever so carefully concealed by them, so that they are as deep water which one cannot fathom, yet there are those who by sly insinuations, and questions that seem foreign, will get out of them both what they have done and what they intend to do. Those therefore who would keep counsel must not only put on resolution, but stand upon their guard. 2. To get knowledge by them. Some are very able and fit to give counsel, having an excellent faculty of cleaving a hair, hitting the joint of a difficulty, and advising pertinently, but they are modest, and reserved, and not communicative; they have a great deal in them, but it is loth to come out. In such a case a man of understanding will draw it out, as wine out of a vessel. We lose the benefit we might have by the conversation of wise men for want of the art of being inquisitive.

Two things can be learned here. First, that man generally does not like to be told (counseled) what to do and second, a wise counselor can get someone to open up about things (issues).

As a Chaplain for Veterans, Hospice, and the ill, and the Incarcerated I can assure you this is a fact. Folks always fall into one of two categories, one they can’t wait to tell you their story and it’s usually full of half-truths or second, they are reluctant to talk at all. It is my job to listen and when appropriate counsel them.

A growing and disturbing trend in evangelical churches recently has seen a decline in Pastors/Elders who are willing to take on the role of Counselor. As the following Grace to You devotional shows (at least to me) their reasoning is flawed.


Drawing Near

Giving Godly Counsel

“Concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another” (Rom. 15:14).

Scripture is the source of godly counsel.

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/06/21

Rutherford Quote - Earthly Suffering Small Compared To the Glory Of Heaven

Philippians 1

Context: First it is important to remember that Paul is under arrest and house confinement in Rome while writing this letter. He is literally suffering for Christ. Matthew Henry breaks down the chapter this way: He begins with the inscription and benediction (v. 1, 2). He gives thanks for the saints at Philippi (v. 3-6). He speaks of his great affection and concern for their spiritual welfare (v. 7, 8), his prayers for them (v. 9-11), his care to prevent their offence at his sufferings (v. 12-20), his readiness to glorify Christ by life or death (v. 21-26), and then concludes with a double exhortation to strictness and constancy (v. 27-30).

In the most glorious of statements (verses) Paul writes:

21 For to me, to live {and suffer} is Christ [He is my source of joy, my reason to live] and to die is gain [for I will be with Him in eternity]22 If, however, it is to be life here and I am to go on living, this will mean useful and productive service for me; so I do not know which to choose [if I am given that choice]. 23 But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; 24 yet to remain in my body is more necessary and essential for your sake (AMP. {added}

What a dilemma, going on living and serving others, or die end your suffering and be with Christ. How would you choose?

Again Matthew Henry comments on these verses: Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle’s difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.


Other Resources:

8 Ways God Works Suffering for Our Good – Tim Challies

Spurgeon’s advice for suffering Christians

The fellowship of his sufferings

The Seminary of Suffering

The Sweet Surprise of Suffering