2390.) Psalm 91

June 29, 2018

Psalm 91 (NIV)

Assurance of God’s Protection

“This psalm is one of the greatest possessions of the saints.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

“In the whole collection there is not a more cheering Psalm, its tone is elevated and sustained throughout, faith is at its best, and speaks nobly.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

I post this particular psalm in memory of my mother, Maurine Edvenson Riskedahl, who would have turned 96 years old today. She taught me many things, but especially to love Scripture and to learn it by heart. She lived her life on earth dwelling in the shelter of the Most High, and now in heaven she knows it as an eternal reality.

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

MY DREAD AND MY SECURITY

In Old Testament times, Yahweh alone was to be feared. 

Yahweh alone was God, and there was no savior beside him. Perfect peace was found by keeping one’s mind stayed on him. This was not an easy religion, and it was dramatically different from the other ancient religions, in which people believed in magic, fate, and capricious gods. Old Testament faith pulled away all the normal crutches provided by society and insisted that a person must stand by faith in Yahweh alone, depending on him in all circumstances.

In our day of swaying values and relative “truths,” when the world pressures all Christians to accept some other help besides God, we need to remember that the God of the Old Testament is still our God. Jesus Christ reflects his Father’s nature and puts the same demands on us that he placed on the Israelites; he insists that we be a striking contrast to the culture around us, which would have us be conformed to its own image. Society will offer a thousand crutches on which to lean, but each one will fail and will ultimately be destructive if we turn to it for security rather than to God himself.

3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

“Lord Craven, a Christian, was a nobleman who was living in London when plague ravaged the city in the fifteenth century. In order to escape the spreading pestilence Craven determined to leave the city for his country home, as many of his social standing did. He ordered his coach and baggage made ready. But as he was walking down one of the halls of his home about to enter his carriage, he overheard one of his servants say to another, ‘I suppose by my Lord’s quitting London to avoid the plague that his God lives in the country and not in town.’

It was a straightforward and apparently innocent remark. But it struck Lord Craven so deeply that he canceled his journey, saying, ‘My God lives everywhere and can preserve me in town as well as in the country. I will stay where I am.’ So he stayed in London. He helped the plague victims, and he did not catch the disease himself.”

–James Montgomery Boice

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

The devil quotes Scripture, too! But not faithfully. He was just trying to make a scene.

Luke 4:9-12 (NIV)

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.  For it is written:

   “‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

In the last lines of the Psalm God spoke personal and wonderful blessing over the one who loves and knows Him:

· The blessing of His presence: I will be with him in trouble

· The blessing of His protection: I will deliver him

· The blessing of His promotion: I will…honor him

· The blessing of His prosperity: With long life I will satisfy him

· The blessing of His preservation: And show him My salvation

–David Guzik

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Music:

Verse 4 assures us that “under his wings you will find refuge.” My mother knew what it was to suffer loss and disappointment, and she knew where to go in such times.  HERE  is George Beverly Shea singing “Under His Wings.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
refuge.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/psalm91_4.jpg
crutches.   https://www.4mdmedical.com/quick-change-crutches-junior.html#gallery
the plague.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/theplague.jpg
Satan tempting Christ.   http://www.jesuit.org.sg/html/prayer/homilies/2017.yeara.lent01.php
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2389.) Psalm 109

June 28, 2018

Psalm 109  (NLT)

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

This is a Psalm of David, and is thought to be the strongest of what are known as the Imprecatory Psalms, David’s songs that call down curses upon his enemies. It is important to remember that these are prayers, committing vengeance unto God. With the greater revelation of grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ, we understand that we are to pray for the good of our enemies, and not their cursing.

Yet, we remind ourselves that David refused to act upon these curses, instead leaving vengeance up to God. This is especially relevant regarding David, who knew what it was to take life with the sword. If David withheld vengeance, it was because he chose to, not because he lacked the opportunity, skill, or courage.

–David Guzik

Of all the Psalms of imprecation (to invoke evil upon or curse), this one is unrivaled for first place. No other calls down the judgment of God with such distilled vitriol or with such comprehensive detail. The reader cannot fail to be intrigued and fascinated by the sheer ingenuity of the psalmist in the variety of punishments he invokes on his foes!

–William MacDonald

O God, whom I praise,
don’t stand silent and aloof
while the wicked slander me
and tell lies about me.
They surround me with hateful words
and fight against me for no reason.
I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations
even as I am praying for them!

“The Hebrew is more abrupt and therefore even stronger. It says literally, ‘But I prayer.’ That is, ‘I am all prayer or characterized by prayer. While my enemies are uttering false words about me to other people, trying to do me harm, I am speaking to God. I am praying to God always.’”

–James Montgomery Boice

They repay evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

They say, “Get an evil person to turn against him.
Send an accuser to bring him to trial.
When his case comes up for judgment,
let him be pronounced guilty.
Count his prayers as sins.
Let his years be few;
let someone else take his position.

The Apostle Peter quoted this verse, before the apostles elected the replacement for Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:16-26.

May his children become fatherless,
and his wife a widow.
10 May his children wander as beggars
and be driven from their ruined homes.
11 May creditors seize his entire estate,
and strangers take all he has earned.
12 Let no one be kind to him;
let no one pity his fatherless children.
13 May all his offspring die.
May his family name be blotted out in a single generation.
14 May the Lord never forget the sins of his fathers;
may his mother’s sins never be erased from the record.
15 May the Lord always remember these sins,
and may his name disappear from human memory.
16 For he refused all kindness to others;
he persecuted the poor and needy,
and he hounded the brokenhearted to death.
17 He loved to curse others;
now you curse him.
He never blessed others;
now don’t you bless him.

My mother used to say, “What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.” 

Galatians 6:7-8 says,    “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

I say, “Let me bless and not curse!  Let me consider this:  How can I help bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control into my life and the lives of others today, to the glory of God and the praise of his name?”

18 Cursing is as natural to him as his clothing,
or the water he drinks,
or the rich food he eats.
19 Now may his curses return and cling to him like clothing;
may they be tied around him like a belt.”

This psalm is used by Thomas Hardy  in his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge. The protagonist and hero of the story, Michael Henchard, is drinking with the choir after practice when he sees his rival, Donald Farfrae, whom he hates. He subsequently persuades the choir to sing Psalm 109. The choir master remarks of this psalm that — “Twasn’t made for singing. We chose it once when the gypsy stole the parson’s mare, thinking to please him, but parson were quite upset. Whatever Servant David were thinking about when he made a Psalm that nobody can sing without disgracing himself, I can’t fathom.”

20 May those curses become the Lord’s punishment
for my accusers who speak evil of me.
21 But deal well with me, O Sovereign Lord,
for the sake of your own reputation!

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 109:21 — Do Thou for me, O God the Lord, for Thy name’s sake.

There are times when we do not know what to pray for as we ought. It is restful, then, to leave the matter open. Do Thou for me, O God the Lord. That covers my personal need. Do Thou for them covers the need of those I love. It does not matter that I do not know how to pray for them as I want to pray. He knows everything, and He will do for them all that His love sees is best.

The Psalms give us many brief telegram prayers, and this is one we can use today and every day, for all in need.

Rescue me
because you are so faithful and good.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is full of pain.
23 I am fading like a shadow at dusk;
I am brushed off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak from fasting,
and I am skin and bones.
25 I am a joke to people everywhere;
when they see me, they shake their heads in scorn.

26 Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me because of your unfailing love.

Grace:   Where we get what we really don’t deserve.
Mercy:   Where we don’t get what we really do deserve.

27 Let them see that this is your doing,
that you yourself have done it, Lord.
28 Then let them curse me if they like,
but you will bless me!
When they attack me, they will be disgraced!
But I, your servant, will go right on rejoicing!
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace;
may their humiliation cover them like a cloak.
30 But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord,
praising him to everyone.

 He didn’t want deliverance only for his own sake, but also for the glory of God.

31 For he stands beside the needy,
ready to save them from those who condemn them.

One final consideration! The severity of the imprecations in the Psalms prepare our hearts in a feeble way to appreciate the One who bore every curse in His body on the cross so that we might be eternally free from the curse and from cursing. Not all the punishments described in the  psalms put together give a feeble, faint reflection of the avalanche of judgment which He endured as our Substitute.

–William MacDonald

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Music:

Verse 21:  Rescue me, because you are so faithful and good.

HERE  is “Rescue Me”  by Selah.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Galatians 3:13.    http://pastormurungi.blogspot.com/2016/01/christ-redeemed-us-from-curse.html
It’s about love.    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lscfi993521qj3fzro1_400.jpg
The Mayor of Casterbridge.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/mayorofcasterbridge.jpg
verse 21.   http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/psalm-10921_4407_1024x768.jpg
v. 26.   http://biblepic.com/48/15782.jpg

2388.) Psalm 108

June 27, 2018

Psalm 108   (ESV)

With God We Shall Do Valiantly

A Song. A Psalm of David.

Psalm 108 is actually the compilation of sections from two previous psalms. Psalm 108:1-5 comes from Psalm 57:1-11, and Psalm 108:6-13 comes from Psalm 60:5-12. These are David’s words, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, taken and applied to a present challenge. The enemies specified in verses 9-13 are Moab, Edom, and Philistia (with the emphasis on Edom). It may be that the old foe, subdued in David’s day, rose again and Israel must defeat her again. Or, it may be a different foe, the prior prayer and victory over Edom serves as an example and ground for faith in the present crisis. Psalm 108 shows us that we can and should use the words of Scripture as our present prayers and praises, suitable to our present situation.

–David Guzik

My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

“God is exalted above the heavens. His glory does fill the earth. The goal of history is that God might be known as God and be honored for it.”

–James Montgomery Boice

For thy mercy is great above the heavens, and therefore there must be no limit of time, or place, or people, when that mercy is to be extolled. As the heavens over arch the whole earth, and from above mercy pours down upon men, so shalt thou be praised everywhere beneath the sky. Mercy is greater than the mountains, though they pierce the clouds; earth cannot hold it all, it is so vast, so boundless, so exceeding high that the heavens themselves are over topped thereby.

And thy truth teacheth unto the clouds. As far as we can see we behold thy truth and faithfulness, and there is much beyond which lies shrouded in cloud, but we are sure that it is all mercy, though it be far above and out of our sight. Therefore shall the song be lifted high and the psalm shall peal forth without stint of far resounding music. Here is ample space for the loudest chorus, and a subject which deserves thunders of praise.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

1 Kings 8:27   (NIV)

The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.

That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer me!

God has promised in his holiness:
“With exultation I will divide up Shechem
and portion out the Valley of Succoth.

God claims all of Israel as his, and he knows the future of each nation. Do things in our world sometimes seem out of control? Let us remember that God has the whole world in his hands, and his purposes will ultimately be fulfilled! So — no need for us to be anxious or afraid; God is in control!

These two places (Shechem and the Valley of Succoth) are associated with Jacob in Genesis 33:17-20 as the first two places the patriarch occupied after returning from his encounter with Esau. They are on opposite sides of the Jordan River.

Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;

Both of these areas are located, at least in part, east of the Jordan River.

Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter.

The two most powerful tribes in Israel. They were frequently rivals, but here they are united as parts of God’s army.

Moab is my washbasin;
upon Edom I cast my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

These are nearby hostile nations. 

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12 Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!

This is an important and eternal principle: That which seems unconquerable can be overcome by the power of God.

“We ought to pray with all the more confidence in God when our confidence in man is altogether gone. When the help of man is vain, we shall not find it vain to seek the help of God.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

13 With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.

He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound—his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.

–John Bunyan (written during his 12-year prison sentence for re­fus­ing to conform to the official state church)

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Music:

I am thinking “harp and lyre” from verse 2. So  HERE  is a favorite hymn on the harp — “Be Thou My Vision,” performed by Regina Ederveen.

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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:
valiantly.    https://bible.faithlife.com/bible/Ps60.12
plane in the clouds.    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/tm/2008/12/05/plane_sky_428x269_to_468x312.jpg
Earth from space with stars.    https://joanofartshipofimagination.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/1earth.jpg
God is in control.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/god-is-in-control_t_nv1.jpg
follow Christ.   http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2542/4162619769_034e6ce31e.jpg

2387.) Psalm 70

June 26, 2018

Psalm 70 (King James Version)

This psalm is nearly identical to the last five verses of Psalm 40; evidently David often needed God to come quickly with help! Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote, “Urgent trials should always awake fervent prayers.”

1MAKE HASTE, O GOD, TO DELIVER ME;
MAKE HASTE TO HELP ME, O LORD.

G. Campbell Morgan believed that such prayers were flawed in their understanding of God. “It reveals a mistaken conception of God. God never needs to be called upon to hasten. He is never tarrying uselessly or carelessly.” Still, Morgan explained that God still wants to hear such imperfect prayers. “We may use any terms in our prayers, if they are directed to Him, knowing that He will understand, and in His understanding, interpret our faulty terms by His own perfect knowledge, and give us His best answers to our deepest need.” 

He continues — “Let us take it and use it, knowing that He would far rather have in our song an expression of an honest questioning than any affectation of a confidence not possessed. Moreover, He would rather have from us such a song than silence.” 

2Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul:
let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

3Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.

“The kindest thing we can pray for people who do wrong is that their plans will fail, for it may be that in their frustration they will see the folly and true end of evil and be reached for God.”

–James Montgomery Boice

4Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:
and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.

“Nor is there any limit as to place or persons. My heart says, ‘Let God be magnified among the Wesleyans! The Lord be magnified among the Independents! The Lord be magnified among the Episcopalians! The Lord be magnified among the Baptists!’” 

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

5But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God:
thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.

“But God is making haste. On the wings of every hour, quicker than light leaps from world to world, He is on his way. Delays are not denials, but are necessary to the perfecting of his arrangements.”

–F. B. Meyer

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Music:

HERE  is “Save Me” from Gateway Worship.

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Images courtesy of:
Let God be magnified!   http://alittleperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/psa-70-4-ww-stock-9x.jpg
Psalm 38:22.   http://dailybiblestudy.org/wp/psalm-03822/

2386.) Psalm 88

June 25, 2018

Psalm 88 (The Message)

A Korah Prayer of Heman

Many scholars call this the saddest of all the psalms.

“In this Psalm, Heman makes a map of his life’s history, he puts down all the dark places through which he has traveled. He mentions his sins, his sorrows, his hopes (if he had any), his fears, his woes, and so on. Now, that is real prayer, laying your case before the Lord.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

1-9 God, you’re my last chance of the day.
I spend the night on my knees before you.
Put me on your salvation agenda;
take notes on the trouble I’m in.

The psalmist is overwhelmed with his troubles, unable to find relief, pouring out his heart to God. There is no happy ending here, no answer.  Yet even in such a comfortless situation, he prays. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us, to carry us through the floods and fires. So let us not dishonor the Lord by saying he doesn’t care, or he has forgotten us. Christ’s death on the cross is irrevocable proof that God loves us dearly and will lay down his life to save us, even — perhaps especially — when we are caught in our darkness.

I’ve had my fill of trouble;
I’m camped on the edge of hell.
I’m written off as a lost cause,
one more statistic, a hopeless case.
Abandoned as already dead,
one more body in a stack of corpses,
And not so much as a gravestone—
I’m a black hole in oblivion.
You’ve dropped me into a bottomless pit,
sunk me in a pitch-black abyss.

The Psalms and the Old Testament in general do not present a comprehensive theology of the world beyond. The Psalms express the agony, fear, and uncertainty of death’s doorstep. The singers in the Psalms often know they can remember God and give Him thanks now, but don’t have the same certainty about the world beyond.

2 Timothy 2:10 says that Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The understanding of the after-life was murky at best in the Old Testament; but Jesus let us know more about heaven and hell than anyone else could. Jesus could do this because He had first-hand knowledge of the world beyond.

–David Guzik

I’m battered senseless by your rage,
relentlessly pounded by your waves of anger.
You turned my friends against me,
made me horrible to them.
I’m caught in a maze and can’t find my way out,
blinded by tears of pain and frustration.

9-12 I call to you, God; all day I call.
I wring my hands, I plead for help.
Are the dead a live audience for your miracles?
Do ghosts ever join the choirs that praise you?
Does your love make any difference in a graveyard?
Is your faithful presence noticed in the corridors of hell?
Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark,
your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory?

13-18 I’m standing my ground, God, shouting for help,
at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak.

This is a crisis, but it is a crisis of faith, not of unbelief. The writer refuses to give up on God and his help. He continues in fervent prayer.

Why, God, do you turn a deaf ear?
Why do you make yourself scarce?
For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting;
I’ve taken the worst you can hand out, and I’ve had it.
Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life;
I’m bleeding, black-and-blue.
You’ve attacked me fiercely from every side,
raining down blows till I’m nearly dead.
You made lover and neighbor alike dump me;
the only friend I have left is Darkness.

“Hello, Darkness, my old friend.”

–Paul Simon

“We thank God that there is one such song as this, with its revelation of what results in character when a soul, in the midst of the most appalling suffering, still maintains the activity of practiced relationship with God. We have also met such souls, and their witness to the power of the Divine grace is more potent than any theoretical expositions.”

–J. Campbell Morgan

“But the pleas here used were peculiarly suited to Christ. And we are not to think that the holy Jesus suffered for us only at Gethsemane and on Calvary. His whole life was labour and sorrow; he was afflicted as never man was, from his youth up. He was prepared for that death of which he tasted through life. No man could share in the sufferings by which other men were to be redeemed. All forsook him, and fled. Oftentimes, blessed Jesus, do we forsake thee; but do not forsake us, O take not thy Holy Spirit from us.”

–Matthew Henry

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Music:

Neville Peter was born in St. Thomas in 1971, and before he was one he was diagnosed with glaucoma; he was completely blind by age 12. A musical child, he sang and played piano, eventually going to the University of Miami for a degree in Studio Music and Vocal Jazz. He worked with Gladys Knight and other big names in jazz, pop, reggae, and R&B. Then one New Year’s Eve at a party in South Beach, he decided he had seen what the world had to offer and he did not find it appealing. He turned all his talents over to the Lord. Now he has written over 100 Gospel songs and performed at the White House. His two favorite Bible verses are Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” His greatest joy, he says, is to use his music to introduce people to the Savior and to show them how to get ready for His soon return.

HERE  — I think you will enjoy his rendition of “Near the Cross.”

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The Message (MSG)   Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 88:1-2.   http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/Psalm88_1-2.jpg
verse 6.   https://thebottomofabottle.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/psalm-88-61.jpg
Jesus on the cross in darkness.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/jesus-christ-cross-0204.jpg

2385.) Jeremiah 44

June 22, 2018
Going west on I4 in Orlando, close to the attractions, is a beautiful Roman Catholic church named Mary, Queen of the Universe.

It’s not Queen of Heaven, but it’s close.  Going west on I4 in Orlando, close to the attractions, you will find a beautiful Roman Catholic basilica named Mary, Queen of the Universe. It is my most favorite church name! 🙂

Jeremiah 44   (NLT)

Judgment for Idolatry

This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in southern Egypt as well: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: 

God began this word to these displaced and disobedient Jews by declaring two names. He remained the Lord of hosts, the God of powerful armies. He remained the God of Israel, even though at that time Israel did not even exist as its own kingdom. These things that did not appear to be were nevertheless real before God and in His plan.

–David Guzik

You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known.

“Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’

“‘Oh!’ says someone, ‘sin is a sweet thing.’ No, no; it is an abominable thing. ‘It is a delightful thing,’ says another. No, it is an abominable thing. ‘Oh, but it is a fashionable thing; you can see it in courts of kings, and princes, and the great men of the earth love it.’ Even though they do, it is an abominable thing. Though it should crawl up to a monarch’s throne, and spread its slime over crown jewels it would still be an abominable thing.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today.

The crucifix at the front of the sanctuary is stunning, with a cross of hanging glass rods and a body carved from wood.

The crucifix at the front of the sanctuary is stunning.

The crucifix at the front of the sanctuary is stunning, with a cross fashioned from hanging glass rods and a body carved from blond wood.

The cross is fashioned from hanging glass rods and the body is carved from blond wood.

“And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? 10 To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you.

There is a sense of wonder in these words from God, as if God could not believe that His people would be so foolish to reject His word and rebel against His command with the devastation of recent judgment so near in their memory.

–David Guzik

11 “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! 12 I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. 13 I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. 14 Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.”

Jeremiah reminded his countrymen that all their calamity came as a result of idolatry; yet they were still worshiping false gods in Egypt.  As a result, they would be utterly destroyed; none would return to Judah except a few refugees.

–William MacDonald

15 Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt—answered Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! 17 We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven (the Babylonian idol Ishtar) just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! 18 But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.”

“At the instinctive level, the fallen mind is always ready to assume that God is the adversary, whom we (like these characters) may blame for our past and distrust for our future.”

–Derek Kidner

19 “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!”

But the people refused to listen to Jeremiah, claiming that they prospered more when they served the queen of heaven. The men were involved in this false worship as well as the women.

20 Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, 21 “Do you think the Lord did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 22 It was because the Lord could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. 23 All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the Lord. You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.”

24 Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the Lord, all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. 25 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’

I have worshiped here several times, along with 2000 others. The presiding priest welcomes visitors not by which state or which country they are from, but which continent!

I have worshiped here several times, along with some 2000 others. The presiding priest welcomes visitors not by which state or which country they are from, but which continent!

26 “But listen to this message from the Lord, all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” 27 For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. 28 Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs!

29 “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the Lord, ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ 30 This is what the Lord says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’”

This was probably Jeremiah’s last recorded prophecy. He ended as he started: faithful to God, trusting in God’s faithfulness. “He had seen his nation decline from a relatively strong independent state to the point of near extinction, and little fruit seemed to have been borne by his ministry. Yet, in these final words, his utter faith in an omnipotent God, and his perception of fundamental truths, are as clear as ever.”

–Arthur E. Cundall

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Music:

In keeping with the pictures, HERE  is Schubert’s “Ave Maria”  sung by Andrea Bocelli.

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New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Mary, Queen of the Universe, view from I4.    http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/c7/99/20/front-view.jpg
church crucifix.    http://www.zimmcomm.biz/images/path/mary-shrine-path.jpg
crucifix close-up.   http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/8c/c2/17/crucifixo-de-cristal.jpg
church pews.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Mary,_Queen_of_the_Universe#/media/File:Maryqueenoftheuniverseshrine.JPG

2384.) Jeremiah 43

June 21, 2018

Jeremiah 43   (NLT)

Jeremiah Taken to Egypt

When Jeremiah had finished giving this message from the Lord their God to all the people, Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, “You lie! The Lord our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt! Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians or be carried off into exile.”

They say, God would have said what we wanted him to say. You are lying to us and you are against us.

“How strange it is that ungodly men always think the Word of God is against them, whereas they are set against it!”

–F. B. Meyer

So Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders and all the people refused to obey the Lord’s command to stay in Judah. Johanan and the other leaders took with them all the people who had returned from the nearby countries to which they had fled. In the crowd were men, women, and children, the king’s daughters, and all those whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had left with Gedaliah. The prophet Jeremiah and Baruch were also included. The people refused to obey the voice of the Lord and went to Egypt, going as far as the city of Tahpanhes.

And so, following their own plans, they go to Egypt. They even  drag Jeremiah along with them.

“It must have been for him one of the most tragic events of his life, since it dashed for ever all hopes he may have had to end his days in his homeland, where Yahweh had promised one day to restore the national life of his people.”

–J. A. Thompson

Then at Tahpanhes, the Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “While the people of Judah are watching, take some large rocks and bury them under the pavement stones at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace here in Tahpanhes. 10 Then say to the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, here to Egypt. I will set his throne over these stones that I have hidden. He will spread his royal canopy over them. 11 And when he comes, he will destroy the land of Egypt. He will bring death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and war to those destined for war. 12 He will set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods; he will burn the temples and carry the idols away as plunder. He will pick clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd picks fleas from his cloak. And he himself will leave unharmed. 13 He will break down the sacred pillars standing in the temple of the sun in Egypt, and he will burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods.’”

Jeremiah assures them that Nebuchadnezzar will come to Egypt and bring disaster with him both for them and for the Egyptians.

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Music:

Jeremiah goes to Egypt in chapter 43 and after chapter 44 we hear nothing more about him. It is assumed he died in Egypt; tradition has it he was stoned to death by his own people.

HERE  is music composed for the 1978 movie Death on the Nile, based on a book by Agatha Christie.  (Fun movie, with an all-star cast, great scenes of several cultural highlights of Egypt, and Academy Award-winning costumes!)

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Tour Egypt.    https://allevents.in/qesm%20al%20wahat%20ad%20dakhlah/tour-of-egypt-14-days-february-2018/1770570313201694