Devotional Thought for Today – 11/16/2020

 

God, Our Refuge | Bethel Christian Reformed Church, DunnvillePSALM 46

CONTEXT: Some think this psalm was occasioned by the victories which David obtained over the Ammonites and Moabites, and other neighboring countries; and others are of opinion that it was penned on account of the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib being raised, in the times of Hezekiah: but it seems rather to be a prophecy of the church in Gospel times, and is applicable to any time of confusion and distress the nations of the world may be in through any kind of calamity, when those that trust in the Lord have no reason in the least to be afraid. Kimchi says this psalm belongs to future times; either to the gathering of the captives, or to the war of Gog and Magog; to which also R. Obadiah refers it, and Jarchi interprets it of time to come; according to the Targum it was written by the sons of Korah, when their father was hid from them, and they were delivered. John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

Whatever the actual cause for this psalm to be penned, it has blessed countless saints for centuries. The tone is set forth in verse one:

God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble. – Who is it we (saints) turn to in times of trouble, Christ our Savior. Think on this a moment it only makes sense, if you are acknowledging Christ as savior of your eternal soul, would you not trust Him with lesser issues? 

Verses like Psalm 55:22, Matthew 11:28-30, Philippians 4:6-7, make it clear that God expects us to cast our burdens upon Him through prayer and supplication. He is greater and stronger than any of our problems.  Yet sometimes we get so caught up in our problems we fail to hear the Holy Spirit urging us to just slow down, calm down, and fellowship with God. to seek His peace and understanding. That is why verse 10 was written I believe: 

“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth –   I do not know if you have ever seen a chicken with its head freshly cut off, it runs around for a minute or two in total panic mode. That is a prime example of a “Christian” who is trying to go it alone, in times of trouble without God.  Folks look at that chicken all kinds of funny without any thought but to consume it. How do you think the world looks at us when we are acting like that chicken?

What ever problem or troubles you are having today, know this God is your Refuge. All you need do is Be still and know that He is there for you. By calmly trusting in God’s providence and sovereignty you will bring Glory to God and find peace.   

Examining the “10 needs we must understand and live after choosing to serve the Lord” Part 7

Joshua 24:15 - ESV - Bible verse of the day - DailyVerses.net

One of my posts on 28 April, was entitled COVID-19 Is a Slow-Motion 9/11 in it Pastor Sam Rohrer of the American Pastors Network set forth 10 definitive needs every “Christian” must understand and live by after choosing to serve the Lord. I thought I would look at each one individually over the next two weeks.

{Note because of my deployments and the urge to write a typical devotional this is taking an extending time to complete 🙂 }

Accept the reality that persecution is coming and is normal for the believer and those still standing for truth.

(All who live according to God commands will suffer persecution—2 Timothy 3:12; the enemies of truth will persecute you—Luke 21:12; John 15:20)
2 Timothy 3:12, Luke 21:12, John 15:20 (AMP and RVR 1960) 

CONTEXT: 

If you having been reading this series especially Part 4 or Part 5 you will have a good understanding of why so many “Christians” are unprepared for any trouble in their lives never mind persecution. The soft peddling of the Gospel has left the church woefully unprepared for the attacks that are coming it’s way.

In arguably the greatest sermon ever preached, Jesus makes it clear persecution is both a blessing and a fact of life for “TRUE BELIEVERS”, Mathew 5:10-11 (AMP):

Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for [a]doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. 11 “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 


 

TEXT BREAKDOWN: 

2 Timothy 3:12

The entire 3rd chapter of 2nd Timothy is a reminder of coming troubles and persecutions. Paul writing to his young apprentice says that everyone who willfully and joyfully peruses godliness will be hunted and persecuted. Yup that is the “Good News” I wanted to hear :).  Of course that is why so many pulpits are silent on the matter they are afraid of offending someone or scaring off someone. It is time they Preached the Whole Council of God and let God deal with all the rest.

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus is telling His trusted disciples be forewarned folks are going to hate you and come after you for my names sake. This time of persecution will provide a great opportunity to share the Gospel message but you must be prepared, for the coming evil and the coming opportunities.

 

John 15:18-21

If the hated and persecuted Him, and we are to follow His example what would make us think they (the world) would not come after us? Do we really believe the world has morally advanced since the days of Jesus? Tell me it is not so!!! Yet somehow we seem to ignore this? 


APPLICATION:

As a believer and follower of Christ we must accept that some form of trouble (not necessarily persecution) is coming into our lives. If you are living the ‘good life’ and are free from all such issues, it is NOT because you have enough faith, or are really blessed (that is not in the book) it is because your are not doing anything significant for the kingdom to warrant attention from those who would trouble you. 

Ask yourself is it time I got off the bench and started doing more for the kingdom and God’s Glory (never my own) 


OTHER RESOURCE:

What Is Christian Persecution?


The List
  1. Develop a healthy fear of God. (Have no other god before Me—Exodus 20:1-6; Obey God, serve Him and fear Him—Deuteronomy 13:4; Rehearse history and teach of God’s power so your children learn to fear God—Deuteronomy 31:13; It is whole duty of mankind—Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
  2. Re-embrace the biblical authority of Scripture. (All Scripture is profitable for life and living—2 Timothy 3:16: Living it establishes a person’s path—Psalm 119:11)
  3. Know that the ‘Church’ is disobedient, lethargic and asleep. (Christ’s warnings to the seven churches and to Laodicea—Revelation 2-3; Revelation 3:14-22)
  4. Be aware that 70% of the pulpits in America are occupied by ‘hirelings.’ (Hirelings refuse to warn of spiritual danger and the wolvesJohn 10:12-13)
  5. Be bold to identify and call out the false prophets in the wolves among us. (Christ warned of the false prophets and wolves—Matthew 7:15, Matthew 10:16, Matthew 24:24; Jesus warned of mass deception in the last days—Matthew 24:4-5)
  6. Understand that national blessing or national judgment hinges on the actions of the remnant. (“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”—2 Chronicles 7:14)
  7. Accept the reality that persecution is coming and is normal for the believer and those still standing for truth. (All who live according to God commands will suffer persecution—2 Timothy 3:12; the enemies of truth will persecute you—Luke 21:12; John 15:20)
  8. Discover that the preparation for prayer and meeting God’s requirements for prayer is far more important than the act of praying. (God demands a broken spirit and obedience before sacrifice—Psalm 51:16-17; God demands we pray His way: No unconfessed sin—Psalm 66:18)
  9. Realize that the continuance of freedom is a result of God’s blessing, which hinges on obedience and conformity to God’s commands. (Don’t forget that all blessings came from God and if you forget and become ungrateful, God will replace blessings with bondage—Deuteronomy 8:1-20, 1:19-20; 30:1-20)
  10. Understand that the choice for president or other elected leaders, while critically important, is secondary to repentance toward God and the choice for God. (Obey, and I’ll make even your enemies to be at peace with you—Proverbs 16:7)

Overwhelmed by God

The Master's Seminary Blog

Overwhelmed by God

Jeremy Peters | 

Overwhelmed is a strong word that many of us can resonate with. Written into this word is imagery of capture—of being crushed. The word overwhelmed itself paints the picture of a boat being careened by a wave of water: completely submerged, buried, and smothered in drowning and disorientation.

But the sense of this word has expanded beyond waves and boats. Armies are said to have won an overwhelming victory when they overpower a weaker opponent. A man who loses his wife to cancer can rightly be said to be overwhelmed with grief. A small child surrounded by strangers in a crowded terminal can be overwhelmed with fear. Whatever the context, this word creates a sense of going under, of losing control, and of being subdued beneath something or someone stronger and bigger.

But does being overwhelmed have to be negative? Can you be overwhelmed by positive emotions, thoughts, or affections?

Anyone who has been on the water knows that a boat’s stability depends primarily upon where its bow is facing. In the same way, what you are overwhelmed by is primarily determined by what you are focused upon. It’s a matter of perspective. Of course, when you are focused on the troubles in front of and around you, feelings of despair can begin to overwhelm. But if you are able to set your mind on things above, the nature and character of God may begin to overwhelm you.

Set Your Eyes on Him, Not Your Trouble

David was a man of many troubles. As a shepherd, wild animals and the elements pursued him. A Philistine giant laughed in his face, eager to make David into an example. The paranoid and jealous Saul relentlessly sought his life. And his was the daunting task of leading Israel into battle against her restless enemies.

While the exact situation that led David to write Psalm 144 is a mystery, the psalm clearly speaks of trouble. In verses 7 and 11, David pleaded with God to rescue and deliver him. He described his surroundings as great waters and the hands of hostile nations surrounding him. In verse 8, he complained about the lies and deceptions his enemies employed against him. But despite the troubles surrounding David, he resolved not to be overwhelmed. He chose to look elsewhere—to gaze upward. And as a result, he was overwhelmed in a different way.

David begins this psalm amidst his troubles with a declaration of praise and worship to God: “Blessed be Yahweh!” In the midst of his trials, David bowed before God in humble recognition that God is the great I AM. He is the eternal, unchanging, self-sufficient God. He simply IS. He depends on nothing and no one. He has no lack and requires no help. He is the source of all other beings and existence. By Him, through Him, and to Him all things were created. He is Yahweh.

He Is Nearer and Greater

Then, with his eyes turned heavenward, David burst forth in what he knew to be true of God. David fills his praise with “My…my…my” to express the personal nearness in which he knew God. Yahweh was a present help in David’s trouble (Ps. 46:1). While the great waters of danger encompassed him (v. 7), God surrounded him even closer. Though his enemies’ hands swarmed him like the mob, God held him even tighter. God had set upon him a steadfast, uncompromising lovingkindness—His covenantal, unconditional love. This was a love not even David deserved.


In the midst of his turmoil and inadequacy,
David experienced an overwhelming nearness to God 


David also paints an overwhelming picture of God’s greatness. He describes God as an immovable security, a towering shelter. In the midst of trouble, David remembers that God is a place of hiding and safety from all the impending attacks. When David had hidden from Saul in rocky caves (1 Sam. 22:1), he knew his true Rock was Yahweh. God was his secret escape—like a fortress or stronghold nestled in the mountains. He was a harbor of protection amidst the wind and waves. As David’s closest companion in battle, God was his shield. It was God who taught David’s hands and fingers to wage his wars and fight his battles. Though David was king of Israel, Yahweh was his sovereign.

In summary, David saw God as his Deliverer—his Protector and Rescuer. Yahweh is a great God!

Be Surprisingly Overwhelmed

What depth of truth! What wonderful declarations of God! Note how David responds in verse 3–4: “O Yahweh, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.” David wasn’t overwhelmed by the troubles around him. He wasn’t paralyzed by the great waters nor the mob of enemy hands pressing in around him. He was overwhelmed by the splendor and glory of God.

As David turned his eyes upward in the midst of his troubles, his enemies suddenly seemed less daunting when juxtaposed with the greatness of God. He was brought to a place of focusing on the grace and greatness of the One by whom he was known. David was humbled that he would even be considered by such Majesty.

Instead of the normal paralysis that results from troubles, being overwhelmed by God moved David. It moved him to dependent, confident, even bold prayer. He prayed to God as the only One who could rescue him (vv. 5–8, 11). He prayed with a new song in his soul, believing God would be God in his trouble (vv. 9–10). And he approached the throne of grace with boldness, pleading for blessings on Yahweh’s people (vv. 12–15).


Being overwhelmed by God brought David
to his knees—not in paralysis, but desperate boldness 


He was moved to do the one thing that could acquire all that he needed: he prayed.

It is unlikely that anyone reading this has the task of ruling Israel. Nor is it probable that you are being threatened by a hostile army closing in around you. But the principles David demonstrates in this psalm remain applicable even today. When we face troubles, we can begin by turning our eyes to God. We can choose to praise Him amidst the storms of life. Then, the truth of His character can flood our thoughts and remind us that God is nearer and greater than any trouble we might face.

 

When Trouble is Near

Image result for PSALM. 22:11

Don’t be far from me, because distress is near and there’s no one to help. (CSB)

No estés lejos de mí, porque la angustia está cerca, pues no hay quien ayude. (LBLA) 

There is an old adage in the military that goes “there are no atheists in foxholes.” While the exact origins can not be determined the context is pretty clear, in times of extreme duress, fear or stress men (mankind) will turn to (hope in) God to get them out of their present situation. The problem is most don’t give a hoot about God the moment the crisis is over. 

Our Bible verse for today is different. David begins this Psalm asking v.1  My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? Sound familiar, it should this was repeated by our Lord and Savior on the Cross.  David feels alone and abandoned, he has been calling out to God v.2 but appears to ignore his pleas. 

In v.3-8 David recalls, his lowly position in life how he has endured scorn and ridicule, again the parallels to Christ can not be missed. Then in v.9-10 he shifts gears a little and acknowledges God’s divine hand in his life from birth forward. Once again the comparisons to Christ are undeniable. 

Finally in our main text v.11 David cries out:

Don’t be far from me; His fear is that God has abandoned him, his prayer is that He would be near. This should be the daily prayer of every believer, to have God by our side through thick and thin. 

because distress is near; Why do we need God near, because distress or trouble is always nearby. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Listen the devil is not about to come up introduce himself and say I am hear to make you do sinful (evil) things. Trouble come in many forms and many are so sneaky and underhanded your are not even aware your doing something wrong until it is too late.  

and there’s no one to help; Who are you going to call on, that neighbor or family member or battle buddy that is living in the world? Yes I know as Christians we have a Church family we can count on BUT nothing compares to the helper we have in Christ  John 14:16 (AMP) And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— 

I encourage you as did the Psalmist (105:4) to daily; Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.


RESOURCES:
Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David Psalm 22