3200.) Galatians 3:1-14

July 23, 2021

Galatians 3:1-14 (ESV)

By Faith, or by Works of the Law?

1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.

Galatians 3:1 (J. B. Phillips)

O you dear idiots of Galatia, who saw Jesus Christ the crucified so plainly, who has been casting a spell over you?

2Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

“Although I am a doctor of divinity, and have preached Christ and fought His battles for a long time, I know from personal experience how difficult it is to hold fast to the truth. I cannot always shake off Satan. I cannot always apprehend Christ as the Scriptures portray Him. Sometimes the devil distorts Christ to my vision. But thanks be to God, who keeps us in His Word, in faith, and in prayer.”

–Martin Luther

7Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

“Faith says to God, “I believe what you say.'”

–Martin Luther

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

10For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

The relationship between trusting God and standing righteous before him is that God looks at our faith and counts us righteous. The reason God can do that for us sinners is that Christ took the punishment for our iniquities on himself. Already in Isaiah 53:11 this is plain:  “By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.” When God reckons a person righteous because Christ died for him and because he puts his trust in Christ, that is what we call justification by faith and that is the heart of the gospel.

–John Piper

“At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.”

–Martin Luther

Dear friends, are you living by faith upon the Son of God? Are you trusting in God? Are you believing His promises? Some think that this is a very little thing, but God does not think so. Faith is a better index of character than anything else. The man who trusts his God and believes His promises is honoring God far more than is the man who supposes that by any of his own doings he can merit divine approval and favor….I never had a better idea of believing in Jesus than I once had from a poor countryman. Speaking about faith, he said, “The old enemy has been troubling me very much lately, but I told him that he must not say anything to me about my sins. He must go to my Master, for I had transferred the whole concern to Him, bad debts and all.” That is believing in Jesus. Believing is giving up all we have to Christ and taking all that Christ has to ourselves.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Music:

HERE  is “The just shall live” — Rich Mullins.  Love this song.

I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
By faith

‘Cause You won’t let Your Holy One
No, You won’t let Your Holy One
You won’t let Your Holy One
See corruption in the grave

Because He put His trust in You
Because He put His trust in You
Because He put His trust in You
Many shall be saved

And I know that You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
On the last day

For the Lord looks down on the sons of men
To hear the cries of the innocent
And the guilty will not stand

For the day of reckoning soon will come
And the whole world will see justice done
By the Lord’s almighty hand

So I’m telling you the just shall live
I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
By faith

And You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
That You will raise them up
On the last day

And the prayers stand where the fighters fell
And time testifies with the tale that it tells
That the meek shall inherit the earth

And the Church advances on the gates of hell
And she clings to a light that will not be quelled
By the kingdoms of this world

I’m telling you the just shall live
I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
By faith

And You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
You will raise them up
On the last day

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Galatians 3:11.   http://www.knowing-jesus.com/galatians-3-11
Jesus is the truth.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/jesusisthetruth.jpg
Have faith in God.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/faith.gif
FAITH carved in stone.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/faithsign.jpg

3199.) Galatians 2:15-21

July 22, 2021

Galatians 2:15-21 (ESV)

Justified by Faith

15We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

“To give a short definition of a Christian:  A Christian is not somebody who has no sin, but somebody against whom God no longer chalks sin, because of his faith in Christ. This doctrine brings comfort to consciences in serious trouble.”

–Martin Luther

17But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.

How is it a sin to build again a way to God through the Law of Moses? In many ways, but perhaps the greatest is that it looks at Jesus, hanging on the cross, taking the punishment we deserved, bearing the wrath of God for us, and says to Him, “That’s all very nice, but it isn’t enough. Your work on the cross won’t be good enough before God until I’m circumcised and eat kosher.” What an insult to the Son of God!

Of course, this is the great tragedy of legalism. In trying to be more right with God, they end up being less right with God. This was exactly the situation of the Pharisees that opposed Jesus so much during His years of earthly ministry. Paul knew this thinking well, having been a Pharisee himself (Acts 23:6).

–David Guzik

19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

“Blessed is the person who knows how to use this truth in times of distress. He can talk. He can say:  ‘Mr. Law, go ahead and accuse me as much as you like. I know I have committed many sins, and I continue to sin daily. But that does not bother me. You have got to shout louder, Mr. Law. I am deaf, you know. Talk as much as you like, I am dead to you. If you want to talk to me about my sins, go and talk to my flesh. Belabor that, but don’t talk to my conscience. My conscience is a lady and a queen and has nothing to do with the likes of you, because my conscience lives to Christ under another law, a new and better law, the law of grace.'”

–Martin Luther

21I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

AN EXCHANGED LIFE

The Christian life is an exchanged life:  Jesus’ life for your life. When Christ takes control, your life takes on dimensions you would never have known apart from Him. When you are weak, then Christ demonstrates His strength in your life (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). When you face situations that are beyond your comprehension, you have only to ask, and the infinite wisdom of God is available to you (James 1:5). When you are faced with humanly impossible situations, God does the impossible (Luke 18:27). When you encounter people whom you find difficult to love, God expresses His unconditional love through you (1 John 4:7). When you are at a loss as to what you should pray for someone, the Spirit will guide you in your prayer life (Romans 8:16). When Christ takes up residence in the life of a believer, “all the fullness of God” is available to that person (Ephesians 3:19).

It is marvelously freeing to know that God controls your life and knows what it can become. Rather than constantly worrying about what you will face, your great challenge is to continually release every area of your life to God’s control. The temptation will be to try to do by yourself what only God can do. Our assignment is to “abide in the vine” and to allow God to do in and through us what only He can do (John 15:5). Only God can be God. Allow Him to live out His divine life through you.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Steve Green and “Embrace the Cross.”

From your friendly English teacher!  —  Synecdoche (pronounced: si-nek-duh-kee) is a kind of figurative language in which a part stands for the whole. Saying that you are “paying with plastic,” meaning a credit card, is an example of synecdoche. Saying “All hands on deck,” to mean everybody get to work, is another example. Here, “the cross” stands for Christ and all Christ has done for us to obtain salvation.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Galatians 2:20 (with clouds).    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/galatians-2-20.jpg
 I am a Christian.    http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lcji1jOJ8W1qf75ino1_500.jpg
Galatians 2:20 (words in caps).   http://spreadthewordbykj.blogspot.com/2016/02/galatians-2-christ-lives-through-me.html
Abide in Christ.   http://www.abideinchrist.com/gra/jn15v5b.gif

3198.) Galatians 2:1-14

July 21, 2021

Galatians 2:1-14   (ESV)

Paul Accepted by the Apostles

Warren Wiersbe introduces Galatians 2:1-10 with a quote – “This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” So wrote veteran news analyst Elmer Davis in his book But We Were Born Free, and his convictions would certainly be echoed by the Apostle Paul. To Paul, his spiritual liberty in Christ was worth far more than popularity or even security. He was willing to fight for that liberty.

–The Bible Exposition Commentary

1Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas,

In Galatians 1:18-19, Paul described a trip he made to Jerusalem three years after Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Now, he describes a second trip to Jerusalem, fourteen years later. Remember Paul’s point from Galatians 1. He demonstrated that his gospel came by a revelation from Jesus, not from man, not even from the apostles in Jerusalem. Two visits to Jerusalem over 14 years shows that Paul did not sit at the feet of the disciples of Jesus to learn the gospel.

–David Guzik

taking Titus along with me.

In Titus 1:4, Paul calls Titus “a true son in our common faith.” It is clear that Paul loved and trusted Titus, and regarded him as a valuable co-worker in the faith.

2I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.

Paul’s point is that the leadership in Jerusalem accepted Titus, a Gentile convert, even though he was not circumcised in accord with the Mosaic law. This shows that the Jerusalem leadership accepted Paul’s gospel of grace.

Why would anyone compel someone like Titus to be circumcised? Why was it even an issue? Because circumcision–the cutting away of the male foreskin–was the sign of initiation into the Jewish faith and the Mosaic covenant. If a Gentile man wanted to become a Jew, he would have to be circumcised as an adult. Jewish men were circumcised as babies. Since all Jewish men were circumcised, and most all Gentile men were not, it was an easy way to refer to “those part of the covenant” and to “those outside of the covenant of Moses.”

–David Guzik

4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

No doubt the “false brothers” thought of themselves as true brothers, upholding what was right and good! Oh, Lord, give us eyes to see Your truth!

6And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Mark 10:21 (NLT)

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Paul Opposes Peter

11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

12For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Does no one remember that Jesus ate with publicans and sinners? He broke the law! So why is Peter afraid to eat with Gentile believers?

14But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

________________________

Music:

HERE  is “I Am Free!”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
 Liberty.    https://www.leylandmethodist.org.uk/guard-against-false-brothers-and-fake-news-to-quote-someone-else-today/
Jewish circumcision.  http://leftcoastvoices.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/circumcision.jpg
“Christ and the Rich young Ruler”  by Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911).   https://redeeminggod.com/rich-young-ruler/
Paul confronts Peter.    http://www.preceptaustin.org/galatians-2-commentary

3197.) Galatians 1:11-24

July 20, 2021

Galatians 1:11-24 (ESV)

Paul Called by God

11For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

The story of Paul’s dramatic conversion is told in Acts 9:1-9. This painting, “The Conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus,” is by Hans Speckaert  and is in the Louvre.

13For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,

Martin Luther speaks for Paul:  “Did God call me on account of my holy life? Or on account of my Pharisaical religion? Or on account of my prayers, fastings, and works? Never. Well, then, it is certain God did not call me on account of my blasphemies, persecutions, oppressions. What prompted Him to call me? His grace alone.”

16was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles,

We forget how amazing this fact is! Paul was raised to hate Gentiles; some rabbis claimed that God made Gentiles only to fuel the fires of Hell. The “grace and peace” of Christ had really transformed Paul’s heart and mind.

I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas (Peter) and remained with him fifteen days. 19But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.

Paul’s point here regarding his trip to Jerusalem is that he got the gospel from Christ, not from any people — not even the disciples of Christ.

20(In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they glorified God because of me.


_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a hymn written in 1905 but even so, as pertinent for Paul 2000 years ago and for us today:  “I Stand Amazed at the Presence.” With a Celtic twist!

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
 Galatians 1:15.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/2347-galatians-111-24/gal1-v15/
Speckaert.  http://www.lib-art.com/imgpaintingthumb/3/7/t39173-conversion-of-st-paul-on-the-road-to-damascus-speckaert-hans.jpg
saved by grace.     http://mormonisminvestigated.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/saved-by-grace.gif
Matthew 5:16.    http://www.knowing-jesus.com/matthew-5-16

3196.) Galatians 1:1-10

July 19, 2021

Galatians 1:1-10   (ESV)

Greeting

1Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers who are with me,

Paul wrote this book; his authorship of this magnificent letter is virtually unquestioned.

And what a magnificent letter this is! Galatians has been called the “Declaration of Independence of Christian liberty.” The great reformer Martin Luther especially loved this letter; he called Galatians his “Catherine von Bora,” because, he said, “I am married to it.” Leon Morris wrote, “Galatians is a passionate letter, the outpouring of the soul of a preacher on fire for his Lord and deeply committed to bringing his hearers to an understanding of what saving faith is.”

Many scholars believe that Galatians was written in the late 40’s or the early 50’s; an approximate date of 50 A.D. is often given. It seems that Paul wrote this letter before the Jerusalem Council mentioned in Acts 15, because although he mentions several trips to Jerusalem, he makes no mention of the council. Because the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 dealt with the exact issues Paul writes about, it would seem strange if it had already happened, yet he made no mention of it. If it is true that Galatians was written around 50 AD, then Paul would have been a Christian for about 15 years, being converted on the road to Damascus around 35 AD.

–David Guzik

To the churches of Galatia:

This letter was addressed to the churches of Galatia, because Galatia was a region, not a city, and there were several churches among the cities of Galatia.

“During the third century bc some Celtic peoples (or Gauls) migrated to this area and, after fighting with the people they encountered, they settled into the northern part of Asia Minor. In due course they came into conflict with the Romans, who defeated them, and from this time they remained under the authority of the Romans as a dependent kingdom. The name ‘Galatia’ covered the territory settled by the Gauls.”

–Leon Morris

Galatia contained the cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, among others. These cities were visited by Paul during his first missionary journey. The entire region is within present-day Turkey.

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins

Now, Paul will briefly expand on the work of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The first thing he wrote about Jesus is that He gave Himself for our sins.

“Throughout the epistle Paul points the Galatians to the centrality of the cross. He cannot wait to make this plain, and we find a reference to it in his very first sentence.”

–Leon Morris

Jesus gave. We know from John 3:16 that God the Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Yet God the Father was not the only giver; Jesus also gave. Jesus is a loving, giving God and a loving, giving Savior.

Jesus gave the greatest thing anyone can give – Himself.  Jesus gave the greatest gift He could. There is a sense in which we do not even begin to give until we give ourselves.

Jesus gave Himself for our sins.  Our sins put us on a road to ruin and destruction. If God did not do something to save us, our sins would destroy us. So out of love, Jesus gave Himself for our sins!

“These words, ‘who gave himself for our sins’, are very important. He wanted to tell the Galatians straight out that atonement for sins and perfect righteousness are not to be sought anywhere but in Christ . . . So glorious is this redemption that it should ravish us with wonder.”

–John Calvin

to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity.”

–Martin Luther

No Other Gospel

6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

The message of the gospel is what Jesus did on the cross for us as revealed by the Scriptures and proven by the resurrection. Yet there is something about that message that is offensive to many people. They prefer not to think of themselves as helpless sinners, in need of a Savior, as ones who can do no good in and of themselves. Eventually they begin to think that instead of them needing God, God is pretty lucky to have them. Do not listen to the voices telling you to be proud of yourself, your knowledge, your goodness, Paul says. Instead, turn your eyes to Jesus and His grace.

10For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

“I am a servant of Christ!”  This is a heavy saying. We want to maintain good relations with others, especially family members and co-workers who are in our daily lives. But more important is to maintain a faithful and obedient relationship with Christ. It is never wise to disobey God in order to keep the peace with people. Remember Peter in the High Priest’s courtyard, and how he wept once he realized that the opinion of a servant girl had mattered more to him than faithfulness to Jesus!

_________________________

Music:

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  This is my prayer each day for you, my fellow DWELL-ers.  HERE  it is as a song, sung by Fernando Ortega.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Free to live for Christ.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/galatians-cover.jpg
map of Galatia.   https://dshiflett.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/galatia-map.jpg
Luther(an) rose.    http://www.lcgs.org/images/lutheran%20rose.jpg
Peter weeps.   https://www.trinitybelleplaine.org/how-do-you-recover-from-denying-jesus/

3195.) Psalm 29

July 16, 2021

Psalm 29 (New International Version)

This wonderful song is simply titled A Psalm of David. In poetic beauty it describes the strength of a storm and understands it as the voice and power God. In so doing it repeats the name of the LORD eighteen times and uses the phrase “the voice of the LORD” seven times. 

“This psalm has no other elements. It is pure praise. It does not call upon us to do anything because the psalm itself is doing the only thing it is concerned about. It is praising God.”

–James Montgomery Boice

1 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his  holiness.

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.

Water is the most abundant compound on Earth's surface, constituting about 70% of the planet's surface.  These still waters are off the coast of Tahiti.

Water is the most abundant compound on Earth’s surface, constituting about 70% of the planet’s surface. These still waters are off the coast of Tahiti.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

Cedars from Lebanon were used by King Solomon in the construction of the Temple.

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion (Mount Hermon) like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.

Lightning rapidly heats the air in its immediate vicinity to about 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about three times the temperature of the surface of the sun.

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

Desert

Blooming Sonoran Desert at sunset near Phoenix, AZ.

9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits  enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

11 The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Ps29 peace

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Stephen Paulus’ “Pilgrim’s Hymn,” University of Utah Singers, Dr. Brady R. Allred conducting. So peaceful, so beautiful.

Even before we call on Thy name
To ask Thee, O God,
When we seek for the words to glorify Thee,
Thou hear our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
Surpassing all we know.

Glory to the father,
and to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
We breathe Thy name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
We trust in Thee;
Endless Thy grace, O endless Thy grace,
Beyond all mortal dream.

Both now and forever,
And unto ages and ages,
Amen

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 29:2.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/ascribetothelordthegloryduehisname.jpg
water of Tahiti.    https://m.blog.naver.com/PostView.naver?isHttpsRedirect=true&blogId=kyt8621&logNo=221606071306&view=img_4
cedar of Lebanon.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/41/100083847_9de945d7d7.jpg
lightning.    http://perpatihkenyalang.blogspot.com/2011/07/terkujat-aku.html
desert.   https://www.emeralddesert.com/2017/03/palm-desert-full-bloom-spring-will-not-want-miss/
Peace.   https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Peace-And-Strength

3194.) Proverbs 3

July 15, 2021

calligraphy by Timothy Botts

Proverbs 3 (New Living Translation)

Trusting in the Lord

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.

We note that this obedience is one of the heart. Our goal in obedience is not mere outward conformity to God’s will, but a heart that loves and obeys Him.

2 If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
4 Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.

“The word translated ‘trust’ in verse 5 means ‘to lie helpless, facedown.’ It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

“The Sure Path”  Proverbs 3:5-6 “VerseVisions” by Mark Lawrence

One of the most frequently asked questions among believers is, “How can I know the will of God?” In principle, Solomon gave a wonderful answer in Proverbs 3:5-6. When we:

· Decide to put our trust in the Lord.

· Decide to not trust in our own understanding, but give attention and priority to God’s revealed word.

· Decide to acknowledge and honor God in all that we do.

When we do those things, we can trust that God will direct our paths. We can go forward in peace, believing that through His word, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, through the counsel of others, through godly common sense, and through life circumstances, God will direct our paths. We will walk along our way of life and come to see that we have been on the path God intended all along.

–David Guzik

7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.

___________________________

Music:

In 1887, just following an evangelistic meeting held by Dwight L. Moody, a young man stood to share his story in an after-service testimony meeting. As he was speaking, it became clear to many that he knew little about the Bible or acceptable Christian doctrine. His closing lines, however, spoke volumes to seasoned and new believers alike:  “I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.”

Daniel Towner was at that meeting. He wrote the words down and gave them to his friend John H. Sammis, who put them to verse. Then Towner wrote the music, and soon the hymn “Trust and Obey” became a favorite.

HERE  it is sung by Kaoma Chende, times 4!

___________________________

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

“Sometimes He chastens because we have rebelled and need to repent; other times He chastens to keep us from sinning and to prepare us for His special blessing. No matter how much the experience hurts us, it will never harm us, because God always chastens in love.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." --John 14:6

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” –John 14:6

15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.

“Alluding most manifestly to the tree so called which God in the beginning planted in the garden of Paradise, by eating the fruit of which all the wastes of nature might have been continually repaired, so as to prevent death for ever.”

–Adam Clarke

19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
by understanding he created the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,

Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park

and the dew settles beneath the night sky.

“The west wind after sunset brings enough moisture of the sea with it that during the night it falls in rich dew (cf. Song of Solomon 5:2). In Canaan’s almost rainless summer the land was dependent on this moisture for life, and so dew was more impressive to Orientals than to Westerners who, having a more abundant amount of rainfall, have less dependence on dew.”

–Bruce Waltke

21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
Hang on to them,
22
for they will refresh your soul.
They are like jewels on a necklace.
23
They keep you safe on your way,
and your feet will not stumble.

Prov3 commonsense

Reflections on common sense:

“It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”
–Robert Green Ingersoll

“Common sense is very uncommon.”
–Horace Greeley

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
–Thomas Alva Edison

“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds.  A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.”
–William James

24 You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.

2 Corinthians 8:14 (NIV)

At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.

28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

Just do it, with gladness! The good we should do should be done promptly, while opportunity still exists. If we leave it to tomorrow, it may never happen – and the opportunity to demonstrate Christ-likeness has passed.

29 Don’t plot harm against your neighbor,
for those who live nearby trust you.
30 Don’t pick a fight without reason,
when no one has done you harm.

Ephesians 4:32 (Amplified Bible)

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted) . . .

31 Don’t envy violent people
or copy their ways.
32 Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord,
but he offers his friendship to the godly.

33 The Lord curses the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the upright.

34 The Lord mocks the mockers
but is gracious to the humble.

Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools are put to shame!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Botts.    http://www.prestoimages.net/graphics03/5592_pd73498full.jpg
Lawrence.   https://66assuranceway.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/3-lawrence.jpg
silos.    http://rfiles.rsbowman.us/Images/Scriptures/Proverbs/Proverbs3_9_10.jpg
wisdom quote.    http://www.quotescover.com/wp-content/uploads/Wisdom-is-found-only-in__quotes-by-Johann-Wolfgang-von-Goethe-84.png
Old Faithful.   https://www.travelpulse.com/news/destinations/reopen-plan-set-for-services-at-yellowstone-national-park.html
common sense.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/3-commonsense.jpg
heart.     http://seviminsayfasi.blogspot.com/2007/12/biz-geldik.html
humility.    https://thebibleguyblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/humility.jpg

3193.) Psalm 30

July 14, 2021

Ps30 weeping
Psalm 30 (New International Version)

A song. For the dedication of the temple.

Some scholars think that this psalm was actually written prophetically for the dedication of the temple –- which David prepared for, but Solomon built.

1 I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.

Mark 10:46-52 (NLT)

Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.

But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!”  Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave ;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.

“He felt that he could not praise God enough himself, and therefore he would enlist the hearts of others.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)

You love him even though you have never seen him.
Though you do not see him now, you trust him;
and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

“This is a most beautiful and affecting image of the sufferings and exaltation of Christ…of the night of death, and the morning of the resurrection.”

–George Horne

6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”

7 O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain  stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:

Ephesians 2:4-7 (CEV)

But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.

9 “What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help.”

When a man is at his wits’ end
it is not a cowardly thing to pray;
it is the only way he can get in touch with Reality. 

–Oswald Chambers (author of the widely-read devotional book My Utmost for His Highest)

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

_________________________

Music:

Ps30 mourning into dancing

HERE  is Psalm 30, “Mourning into Dancing,” from GLAD. Only voices, but such voices!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Joy.  https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/1831-psalm-30/ps30-weeping/
Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus.    http://freetobefred.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/blind-man-healed.jpg
“Greet the morning.”    http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i242/formebb/Greet_the_Morning_by_phatpuppy.jpg
Mercy window from Central Christian Church, Orlando, FL.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/30-mercy.jpg
Lord’s Prayer.    http://www.drpaulose.com/wp-content/uploads/Lords-prayer.jpg
mourning into dancing.   http://36.media.tumblr.com/489f946571367182d07bfd2596b05771/tumblr_n5llachBOM1safybko1_1280.jpg

3192.) 2 Samuel 24

July 13, 2021

2Sam24 our God reigns

2 Samuel 24   (NRSV)

David’s Census of Israel and Judah

Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”

1 Chronicles 21:1 tells us, Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. Perhaps Satan moved David and is the “he” of 2 Samuel 24:1.  Yet the Lord expressly allowed it as a chastisement against David.

2So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army, who were with him, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know how many there are.”

This was dangerous because of a principle stated in Exodus 30:12: When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.

The principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks to God’s ownership of His people. In the thinking of these ancient cultures, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to David; Israel belonged to God. It was up to the Lord to command a counting, and if David counted he should only do it at God’s command and receiving ransom money to “atone” for the counting.

–David Guzik

3But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while the eyes of my lord the king can still see it! But why does my lord the king want to do this?”

4But the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army.

Joab and the commanders of the army objected to the taking of the census. Why didn’t David listen?

So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to take a census of the people of Israel.

5They crossed the Jordan, and began from Aroer and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, toward Gad and on to Jazer. 6Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went around to Sidon, 7and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beer-sheba.

8So when they had gone through all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.

9Joab reported to the king the number of those who had been recorded: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand soldiers able to draw the sword, and those of Judah were five hundred thousand.

The results showed that there were 1,300,000 fighting men among the twelve tribes, reflecting an estimated (?) total population of about 6 million in Israel.

Judgment on David’s Sin

10But afterward, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”

What prompted David to recognize his pride and realize his sin now?

11When David rose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12“Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.”

13So Gad came to David and told him; he asked him, “Shall three years of famine come to you on your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.”

14Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.”

Here is one perspective on the choice David made:  Behind Door # 1, Famine would affect mostly the poor people of the land; the wealthier could pay high prices for food and ride it out. The people of Israel would be at the mercy of their neighbors. Behind Door # 2, War would affect mostly the soldiers. Enemies would attack the land.  Behind Door # 3, Pestilence would affect a broad section of the people, rich and poor alike, including, perhaps, David and his own family. Since it would come from God and not from humans, David chose to rely on the mercy of God.

15So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning until the appointed time; and seventy thousand of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. 16But when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil, and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the Lord, “I alone have sinned, and I alone have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

David’s Altar on the Threshing-Floor

threshing floor near Nazareth

18That day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19Following Gad’s instructions, David went up, as the Lord had commanded. 20When Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming toward him; and Araunah went out and prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground.

21Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord, so that the plague may be averted from the people.”

A close-up of tilework on the Dome of the Rock, the mosque which is now atop Mt. Moriah where Solomon’s Temple once stood.

The threshing floor of Araunah had both rich history and a rich future. 2 Chronicles 3:1 tells us that the threshing floor of Araunah was on Mount Moriah; the same hill where Abraham offered Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and where Solomon would build the temple (2 Chronicles 3:1). Many believe it is close to the same set of hills where Jesus died on the cross (Genesis 22:14).

22Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him; here are the oxen for the burnt offering, and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God respond favorably to you.”

24But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”

“He who has a religion that costs him nothing, has a religion that is worth nothing.

–Adam Clarke (1762-1832), British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. So the Lord answered his supplication for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.

THE END  of 2 Samuel.

_________________________

What are YOU taking away from 2 Samuel and the reign of David? Please share your ideas with us! Make a comment/reply below!

_________________________

Music:

A song of worship for those of us who, like David, find our life, with all its ups and downs, in God alone!  HERE   is “God Reigns”  by Todd Vaters.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
God reigns.    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/eInAYO-ELzM/maxresdefault.jpg
census hand.    http://www.thornton60476.com/vertical/Sites/%7B7433732F-5ACD-4203-AA8E-A8FB0769CB67%7D/uploads/%7B07818416-CD85-436C-9B2D-95B76052A574%7D.JPG
3 doors.  http://dynamic.pixton.com/comic/j/7/q/p/j7qpb7n4aycg3vmt.jpg
threshing floor.    https://jasonbybee.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/nazareth_village_threshing_floor_tb102704363.jpg
Dome of the Rock tile work.    http://www.linearconcepts.com/photos/2007-Israel/DSC_4262_tilework.JPG

3191.) 2 Samuel 23

July 12, 2021

Icon of King David, by Matthew D. Garrett

2 Samuel 23   (NRSV)

The Last Words of David

Now these are the last words of David:

Poems containing last words are also attributed to Jacob (Genesis 49) and Moses (Deuteronomy 33).

The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man whom God exalted,
the anointed of the God of Jacob,
the favorite of the Strong One of Israel:

What a life his was – we have a capsule of David’s life in these titles and descriptions:

– The son of Jesse: Jesse was a humble farmer and this title reminds us of David’s humble beginning
– The man raised up on high: David allowed God to raise him up, so he could confidently rest in this title
– The anointed of the God of Jacob: David was anointed by God, not by himself or merely by man. He had a unique empowering and enabling from God
– The sweet psalmist of Israel: David had a beautiful gift of eloquence and expression before God. This title reminds of David’s deep inner life with God

–David Guzik

This remarkable relationship with God is the reason why David was Israel’s greatest king, and the most prominent ancestor of Jesus Christ. The New Testament begins with these words: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David (Matthew 1:1).

2The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
his word is upon my tongue.
3
The God of Israel has spoken,
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly,
ruling in the fear of God,
4is like the light of morning,
like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,
gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

5Is not my house like this with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?

We can say that because of his sin and its consequences, David’s light dimmed towards the end of his life, but it was by no means extinguished. He shined until the end. “In the Divine dealing with us, there is no mistake, no lapse. Nothing has been permitted which has not been made to serve the highest purpose. This is so even of our failures, if, like David, in true penitence we have forsaken them and confessed them. It is certainly so of all our sorrows and trials.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

6But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away;
for they cannot be picked up with the hand;


7
to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear.
And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “What a Mighty God We Serve!”

_________________________

David’s Mighty Men

2Sam23 mighty men

The day for mighty men and women — heroic men and women for God — has not ended. “The triumph of the church as a whole depends upon the personal victory of every Christian. In other words, your victory, your life, your personal testimony, are important to the cause of God today. What happens out in New Guinea, down in the Amazon jungle, over in disturbed Congo, is not unrelated to what happens in your own personal relationship with God and your personal battle against the forces of darkness. Victory for the church on the whole world-front depends upon victory in your life and in mine; ‘home’ and ‘foreign’ situations cannot be detached.”

–Alan Redpath (1907-1989)

8These are the names of the warriors whom David had:

These remarkable men were the foundation of the greatness of David’s reign. They did not come to David as great men but God used his leadership to transform them from men who were in distressin debt and discontented, who met David back at Adullam Cave (1 Samuel 22:1-2).

“More than all his victories against outside foes, the influence of his life and character on the men nearest to him testify to his essential greatness.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

Josheb-basshebeth, a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the Three; he wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.

9Next to him among the three warriors was Eleazar son of Dodo son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle. The Israelites withdrew, 10but he stood his ground. He struck down the Philistines until his arm grew weary, though his hand clung to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. Then the people came back to him—but only to strip the dead.

11Next to him was Shammah son of Agee, the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the army fled from the Philistines. 12But he took his stand in the middle of the plot, defended it, and killed the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.

13Towards the beginning of harvest three of the thirty chiefs went down to join David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15David said longingly, “O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 16Then the three warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it; he poured it out to the Lord, 17for he said, “The Lord forbid that I should do this. Can I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it.

These three warriors responded not to a command, or even to a suggestion, but to the longing of their king. When David saw the water, knowing the danger they faced to get it, he considered it too valuable for him, and poured it out on the ground as a sacrifice to the Lord.

The three warriors did these things.

18Now Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was chief of the Thirty. With his spear he fought against three hundred men and killed them, and won a name beside the Three. 19He was the most renowned of the Thirty, and became their commander; but he did not attain to the Three.

20Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant warrior from Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds; he struck down two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

A lion fell into a pit. A man plunged in after him and slew him. And it was in the time of snow. I have always felt sorry for that lion. Lions detest snow, and that lion did not have a sporting chance. But his troubles are over now, and the man has something to teach us.

Benaiah must have been one who had trained himself by many and private disciplines to be ready for anything, even a lion in a pit of snow. The snow, of course, made it harder for him, too, but he did not hesitate. He went down and slew the lion.

Quite suddenly in the midst of our ordinary occupations any of us may be face to face with a lion in a pit. It may be in time of snow—in circumstances which make it harder than usual to withstand. But we can. The moment we are conscious of the lion (Peter speaks of the devil as a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5:8), the Spirit of God will put a sword into our hands. Some strong word of Scripture will be flashed across our minds. If we grasp that word, and thrust with all our might, there can be only one end to the fight. More than conquerors through Him that loved us will tell the end of that lion fight—even in time of snow.

21And he killed an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but Benaiah went against him with a staff, snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 22Such were the things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did, and won a name beside the three warriors. 23He was renowned among the Thirty, but he did not attain to the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24Among the Thirty were:
Asahel brother of Joab;
Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem;
25
Shammah of Harod;
Elika of Harod;
26
Helez the Paltite;
Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa;
27
Abiezer of Anathoth;
Mebunnai the Hushathite;
28Zalmon the Ahohite;
Maharai of Netophah;
29Heleb son of Baanah of Netophah;
Ittai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjaminites;
30
Benaiah of Pirathon;
Hiddai of the torrents of Gaash;
31Abi-albon the Arbathite;
Azmaveth of Bahurim;
32Eliahba of Shaalbon;
the sons of Jashen:
Jonathan 33son of Shammah the Hararite;
Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite;
34
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai of Maacah;
Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite;
35Hezro of Carmel;
Paarai the Arbite;
36
Igal son of Nathan of Zobah;
Bani the Gadite;
37
Zelek the Ammonite;
Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
38
Ira the Ithrite;
Gareb the Ithrite;
39
Uriah the Hittite—

thirty-seven in all.

“Names”  —  a poem by Dr. Calvin Miller

My mother, it is clear to see, was very fond of Bible names.
My brother’s Mordecaiah Nicodemus Zachariah James.
My mother named my little sis—
and this will surely hurt your head—
Ruth Bilpah Zippora Mary Sarah Jocabed.
I’m the first of triplets three,
and here’s the handle she gave me:
Jeremiah Isaachar Reuben bar Hilkiah.
The other two are:  Jonadab Amos Ben Milchaiah
and Hananeel Megiddo Joel Azariah.

My mother loved those Bible names, it’s really very true,
but I have always wondered why.  Her name is Cindy Sue.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
King David icon.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/david.jpg
“Sunrise”  stained glass.    http://www.holyfool.co.uk/glass/sunrise.jpg
thorns.    http://rowdyrodi.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/thorn1.jpg
Tissot.     https://letgodbefoundtrue.net/2018/03/02/davids-mighty-men/
cup of water.  http://www.ucantalk2me.com/cooltalk/wp-content/media/cup-of-water.jpg
lion watching the snow fall at the Smithsonian National Zoo.    http://wannasmile.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/lion-snowing.jpg
name tag.    http://www.psdgraphics.com/file/hello-my-name-is-template.jpg