2329.) Ezekiel 14

April 5, 2018

Ezekiel 14   (ESV)

Idolatrous Elders Condemned

Then certain of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.

These men were the rulers of the Israelite community in exile. They came pretending to want to know what a prophet of the Lord has to say, but God has seen their true allegiance.

And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?

“Can these men seriously consult me? Is it fit I should give counsel to obstinate, resolved sinners, who come to inquire, but will not hearken? Should I help them in their distress, who depend on idols which I hate?”

–Matthew Poole (1624–1679, English Nonconformist theologian)

Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him as he comes with the multitude of his idols, that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.

“No oracle will be given, but I the Lord will answer him myself, in actions and not in words. The words have a sinister ring about them.”

–John B. Taylor (Ezekiel: Tyndale Old Testament Commentary)

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I the Lord will answer him myself. And I will set my face against that man;

The answer will be judgment, not words. “I will look him to death.”

–John Trapp (1601-1669, English Anglican Bible commentator)

I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

 God’s ultimate response to that false prophet would be to destroy him.

Christopher J. H. Wright saw in this a warning to those who have a gift and are unfaithful with it. “If we have some great gift and are being used in the ·service of God, and then try to use it in our own interests, or divorce it from the requirements of Christian living, God may turn the gift against us. A theologian, who abandons revealed truth for clever ideas of his own, first deceives himself, and then, by divine rule, becomes blind to the truth.”

10 And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike— 11 that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God.”

This declared purpose of God was fulfilled in history. When Israel came back into the land in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, they did not have the same problem with idolatry as before. In some sense, the Babylonian conquest and captivity “cured” Israel of idolatry.

Jerusalem Will Not Be Spared

12 And the word of the Lord came to me: 13 “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, 14 even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.

Noah, Daniel, and Job: The choice of these three men is fascinating. All three were men who were tested and proven faithful, men of faith who were rescued by their trust in God.

· Noah was a righteous and obedient man (though later shown to be flawed), yet his righteousness did not save his world, only himself and his immediate family.


· Daniel was alive and in Babylon in Ezekiel’s day. His leadership and godliness was so evident to everyone that God could cite him as an example of great righteousness even in his own lifetime.

· Job was not, properly, even an Israelite (the same could be said of Noah). The reality of his relationship with God was demonstrated through the most difficult of testing and misery.

–David Guzik

This text teaches us “the prayers of the greatest intercessors cannot avail if men persist in their unbelief.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892, English “Prince of Preachers”)

15 “If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they ravage it, and it be made desolate, so that no one may pass through because of the beasts, 16 even if these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate.

17 “Or if I bring a sword upon that land and say, Let a sword pass through the land, and I cut off from it man and beast, 18 though these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be delivered.

19 “Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast, 20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.

21 “For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast! 22 But behold, some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out; behold, when they come out to you, and you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, for all that I have brought upon it. 23 They will console you, when you see their ways and their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, declares the Lord God.”

Even in bringing severe judgments, God is righteous in all that he does.



Regarding idolatry:

“All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood.”

–Isaac Watts (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)

HERE  is another hymn of surrender to Jesus — “O for a closer walk with God.” William Cowper wrote the lyrics in 1772; Cowper was friends with John Newton, the writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”


English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
verse 6.   https://i.pinimg.com/736x/2a/b8/71/2ab8716e00ef7f0e53dd32971ecf2b23.jpg
1 John 5:21.   http://images.knowing-jesus.com/w/900/62-1%20JOHN/1%20John%205-21%20Keep%20From%20Idols-blue.jpg
Noah building.   https://www.findshepherd.com/noah-builds-the-ark.html
Daniel praying.    http://sgilmore215.blogspot.com/2013/06/pray-like-daniel.html
Job suffering.   https://aaronshaf.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/suffering_job-705×500.jpg
4 judgments.   http://revelationscriptures.com/wp-content/uploads/Sword-Famine-Pestilence-Wild-Beast-Seven-Seals-White-Red-Black-Green-Horse-Seven-Seals-Revelation.png

2328.) Ezekiel 13

April 4, 2018

Ezekiel 13   (ESV)

False Prophets Condemned

Among the Jewish people of Ezekiel’s time there were many false prophets, both in Israel and in the Babylonian exile. These false prophets of Israel mostly had an optimistic, positive message: God will deliver Jerusalem and Judah from the Babylonians, and those already in exile will come home soon.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying,

Daniel I. Block sees the phrase the prophets of Israel who prophesy as a deliberate repetition, meant to be sarcastic. The sense is that they were always blabbing on and on with their pretended words from God.

–David Guzik

and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!

“They were misled by their own desires, which is the scriptural method of asserting they were not inspired of God. The wish was father to the thought, and they spoke accordingly.”

— Charles L. Feinberg

Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the Lord. They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?”

Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God.

Strong words! And equally pertinent to the Church today! The remarks of the false prophets sounded spiritual, but God calls those words “falsehood.” Let us be careful that we draw our understanding of who God is and what He likes from Scripture, and not from “following our own spirit” (verse 3).

My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God.10 Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, 11 say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out. 12 And when the wall falls, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the coating with which you smeared it?’

whitewashing, covering up, hiding . . .

13 Therefore thus says the Lord God: I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath, and there shall be a deluge of rain in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end. 14 And I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you shall perish in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 15 Thus will I spend my wrath upon the wall and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash, and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it, 16 the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace, declares the Lord God.

The essential message of Jeremiah and Ezekiel was that judgment was on the way, and they should accept it as God’s chastening and cleansing. The false prophets had visions of peace, leaving God’s people completely unprepared for the judgment that was on the way.

–David Guzik

17 “And you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own hearts. Prophesy against them18 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew magic bands upon all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature, in the hunt for souls!

“Ezekiel’s language suggests that these were more like witches or sorceresses who practised strange magic arts (cf. 1 Sam. 28:7).”

–John B. Taylor

Will you hunt down souls belonging to my people and keep your own souls alive? 19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, putting to death souls who should not die and keeping alive souls who should not live, by your lying to my people, who listen to lies.

20 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against your magic bands with which you hunt the souls like birds, and I will tear them from your arms, and I will let the souls whom you hunt go free, the souls like birds. 21 Your veils also I will tear off and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand as prey, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 22 Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and you have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life,23 therefore you shall no more see false visions nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand. And you shall know that I am the Lord.”

“What is unmistakable is that they degraded the name of the Lord by linking it with superstitions and magical practices.”

-Charles L. Feinberg



HERE  is a not-so-familiar Charles Wesley hymn:  “O Jesus, Full of Truth and Grace.” How we need the Lord to keep us from falling for the clever lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil!


English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
like foxes.   http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/versesjh/ez13_4.jpg
whitewashing the wall.   http://www.artissa.com/gallery/albums/CS_Lawrence/whitewash_3_email.jpg
I am the Lord.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/511721576399130633/

2327.) Ezekiel 12

April 3, 2018

Ezekiel 12   (ESV)

Judah’s Captivity Symbolized

This begins another section of Ezekiel’s prophetic work, mainly a series of announcements of judgment coming against the kingdom of Judah.

The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house. 3 As for you, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight. You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. 4 You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile, and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who must go into exile. 5 In their sight dig through the wall, and bring your baggage out through it. 6 In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.”

It is important to remember that there were many false prophets in Judah, Jerusalem, and likely among the exiles in Babylon who promised that God would rescue His people from the Babylonians. These false prophets spoke smooth words of certain deliverance. The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel strongly warned them that this deliverance would not come, and that God had appointed them to be conquered.

7 And I did as I was commanded. I brought out my baggage by day, as baggage for exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my own hands. I brought out my baggage at dusk, carrying it on my shoulder in their sight.

“Ezekiel was to play the part of an exile, reenacting a scene all the exiles had painfully experienced when led from their land. He dramatized the fate of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

8 In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’

What he was doing was obvious. More to the point — “Why are you doing this?”

10 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are in it.’

The prince, specifically, was Zedekiah. “The subject of the message was King Zedekiah, who was always spoken of by Ezekiel as prince, never king. Jehoiachin was regarded as the true king (Ezekiel 17:13). In ration tablets found by archaeologists in Babylon, Jehoiachin was still referred to as the king of Judah.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

11 Say, ‘I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them. They shall go into exile, into captivity.’ 12 And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage upon his shoulder at dusk, and shall go out. They shall dig through the wall to bring him out through it. He shall cover his face, that he may not see the land with his eyes. 13 And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there. 14 And I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops, and I will unsheathe the sword after them.

This refers to king Zedekiah of Judah, who tried to escape but was caught, captured, and taken captive to Babylon (Jeremiah 39:2-4 and 2 Kings 25:4). His soldiers would be powerless to help him, for God promised to “scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops.”

–David Guzik

This was fulfilled in  Jeremiah 39:6-7. The Babylonians were not known to be as cruel as the Assyrians who conquered the northern kingdom of Israel some 130 years earlier, but they were still experts in cruelty in their own right. They made certain that the last sight King Zedekiah saw was the murder of his own sons, and then spent the rest of his life in blindness.

15 And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. 16 But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord.”

17 And the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink water with trembling and with anxiety. 19 And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it. 20 And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

21 And the word of the Lord came to me: 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’?

The days are prolonged, meaning that everything was going on as normal and the prophecies of doom would not come to pass — was actually an act of God’s mercy. “A saying had become current among them because God’s long-suffering, which should have led to repentance, was made an argument against His word.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

23 Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For there shall be no more any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God.”

26 And the word of the Lord came to me: 27 “Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ 28 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord God.”

God promised there would be no more delay in the carrying out of the terrible things He had warned of for so long.



All this talk about packing up your bags and leaving — and I remembered a song of my youth, written by John Denver and most famously recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary (their only #1 hit in the US).  HERE  is “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” Interesting to me how the song’s themes of fidelity and marriage also play into this  chapter!

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Ezekiel and his baggage.   https://st-takla.org/Gallery/Bible/Illustrations/Bible-Slides/OT/Ezekiel/Bible-Slides-ezekiel-1509.html
verse 11.   https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/ezekiel-12-11-you-are-to-be-a-sign-to-israel-brown-8256
The end is near.   http://www.33rdsquare.com/2016/01/the-end-is-really-nigh-this-time.html
What I say will be fulfilled.    https://dailyverses.net/2017/12/30

2326.) a poem for Easter

April 2, 2018

“Judas, Peter”

because we are all
betrayers, taking

and eating
body and blood and asking
(guilty) is it I

and hearing
him say yes
it would be simple for us all
to rush out
and hang ourselves
but if we find grace
to cry and wait

after the voice of morning
has crowed in our ears
clearly enough
to break our hearts
he will be there
to ask us each again
do you love me?

—Luci Shaw



We answer, “My Jesus, I love thee.”  HERE  is the hymn, written in the mid-1800’s and sung here by Selah.


Images courtesy of:
Yes, Lord.   http://tonyagnesi.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Yes-LordYou-know-that-I-love-you..png
Judas and the 30 pieces of silver.   https://padresteve.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/judas-30-pieces-of-silver.jpg?w=500&h=468
Last Supper.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/3f0d8-lastsupper.jpg
Peter wept bitterly.   https://hisnlovingembrace.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/image29.jpg?w=714
Jesus and Peter.   http://markmcmillion.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Peter-and-Jesus.jpg

2325.) Good Friday Truth!

March 30, 2018

Good Friday Truth!

Phillips Brooks:
“We may say that on the first Good Friday afternoon was completed that great act by which light conquered darkness and goodness conquered sin. That is the wonder of our Saviour’s crucifixion. There have been victories all over the world, but wherever we look for the victor we expect to find him with his heel upon the neck of the vanquished. The wonder of Good Friday is that the victor lies vanquished by the vanquished one. We have to look deeper into the very heart and essence of things before we can see how real the victory is that thus hides under the guise of defeat.”


Augustus William Hare:
“The cross was two pieces of dead wood; and a helpless, unresisting Man was nailed to it; yet it was mightier than the world, and triumphed, and will ever triumph over it.”


1 Peter 2:24   (NIV)
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”



One of the greatest hymns ever.  HERE  is “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” written by Isaac Watts and sung here by Fernando Ortega.


–Calligraphy “Crown” by Michael Podesta, http://michaelpodesta.com

2324.) Maundy Thursday

March 29, 2018

Thoughts on Maundy Thursday.

Derivation of the name “Maundy”

Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum (also the origin of the English word “mandate”), the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another”). This statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.


John 13:1-34   (The Passion Translation)

Jesus Washes Feet

In the story of the footwashing, then, we have the most profound revelation of the heart of God apart from the crucifixion itself. We also learn more of the relation between Jesus and his disciples, the relation of the disciples with one another in humble service, and the mission of the disciples to the world. The community that Jesus has been forming here takes more definite shape, revealing its essence, which is humble, self-sacrificing love.

–IVP New Testament Commentary

13 Jesus knew that the night before Passover would be his last night on earth before leaving this world to return to the Father’s side. All throughout his time with his disciples, Jesus had demonstrated a deep and tender love for them. And now he longed to show them the full measure of his love. 2 Before their evening meal had begun, the accuser had already planted betrayal into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

3 Now Jesus was fully aware that the Father had placed all things under his control, for he had come from God and was about to go back to be with him. 4 So he got up from the meal and took off his outer robe, and took a towel and wrapped it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ dirty feet and dry them with his towel.

6 But when Jesus got to Simon Peter, he objected and said, “I can’t let you wash my dirty feet—you’re my Lord!”

7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand yet the meaning of what I’m doing, but soon it will be clear to you.”

8 Peter looked at Jesus and said, “You’ll never wash my dirty feet—never!”

“But Peter, if you don’t allow me to wash your feet,” Jesus responded, “then you will not be able to share life with me.”

9 So Peter said, “Lord, in that case, don’t just wash my feet, wash my hands and my head too!”

10 Jesus said to him, “You are already clean. You’ve been washed completely and you just need your feet to be cleansed—but that can’t be said of all of you.” For Jesus knew which one was about to betray him, 11 and that’s why he told them that not all of them were clean.

12 After washing their feet, he put his robe on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I just did?” Jesus said. 13 “You’ve called me your teacher and lord, and you’re right, for that’s who I am. 14–15 So if I’m your teacher and lord and have just washed your dirty feet, then you should follow the example that I’ve set for you and wash one another’s dirty feet. Now do for each other what I have just done for you. 16 I speak to you timeless truth: a servant is not superior to his master, and an apostle is never greater than the one who sent him. 17 So now put into practice what I have done for you, and you will experience a life of happiness enriched with untold blessings!”

“When I am clean, Lord, keep me too,
For that is more than I can do.”

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

18 “I don’t refer to all of you when I tell you these things, for I know the ones I’ve chosen—to fulfill the Scripture that says, ‘The one who shared supper with me treacherously betrays me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it happens, so that when the prophecy comes to pass you will be convinced that I AM. 20 “Listen to this timeless truth: whoever receives the messenger I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives the Father who sent me.”

21 Then Jesus was moved deeply in his spirit. Looking at his disciples, he announced, “I tell you the truth—one of you is about to betray me.”

22 Eyeing each other, his disciples puzzled over which one of them could do such a thing. 23 The disciple that Jesus dearly loved was at the right of him at the table and was leaning his head on Jesus. 24 Peter gestured to this disciple to ask Jesus who it was he was referring to. 25 Then the dearly loved disciple leaned into Jesus’ chest and whispered, “Master, who is it?”

26 “The one I give this piece of bread to after I’ve dipped it in the bowl,” Jesus replied. Then he dipped the piece of bread into the bowl and handed it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And when Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus looked at Judas and said, “What you are planning to do, go do it now.” 28 None of those around the table realized what was happening. 29 Some thought that Judas, their trusted treasurer, was being told to go buy what was needed for the Passover celebration, or perhaps to go give something to the poor. 30 So Judas left quickly and went out into the dark night to betray Jesus.

31 After Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the glory of God to surround the Son of Man, and God will be greatly glorified through what happens to me. 32 And very soon God will unveil the glory of the Son of Man.

33 “My dear friends, I only have a brief time left to be with you. And then you will search and long for me. But I tell you what I told the Jewish leaders: you’ll not be able to come where I am.
34 “So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. 35 For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”

It is so simple — love one another.
It is so difficult — love one another.
It is so necessary — love one another.
It is so helpful — love one another.
It is so Christ-like — love one another.



HERE  is “A New Commandment” in song. Sung by  the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music 2010.


Images courtesy of:
a foot being washed.   http://request.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/11_Jesus_washes_feet_1024.jpg
Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.   https://apronsandappetites.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/jesus-washing-feet.jpg
Love one another.    http://i.pinimg.com/736x/0a/10/e5/0a10e5b0c11d388ee821092708144730.jpg


2323.) Psalm 119:161-176

March 28, 2018

Psalm 119:161-176   (NIV)

The final verses of the great Psalm 119.

ש Sin and Shin

Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.

Matthew 13:45-46  (NKJV)

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.

“Shalom is a large, embracing word for the good that comes to the one God favors.”

–James Montgomery Boice

I wait for your salvation, Lord,
and I follow your commands.

“I wait for your salvation” is faith. “I follow your commands” is works. Here is what James proclaims later in the New Testament. Faith and works go together.

I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you.

ת Taw

May my cry come before you, Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.

This is very much the same kind of thought the Apostle Paul expressed in Romans 12:-2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. The Psalmist wanted his understanding of life and the world shaped – transformed – by the word of God.

May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.

The hymnist tells us that 

“Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”

Scripture tells us that the oceans roar and the trees clap their hands!

Surely our mouths should not keep silence! (see next verse)

May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, Lord,
and your law gives me delight.

These two expressions go together. Because God’s salvation is from and according to His word (1 Peter 1:23), it was natural for him to delight in God’s word as he longed for God’s salvation.
–David Guzik

Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

The Psalm ends on the reminder that the power and greatness of God’s word does not rest only in its literary brilliance. Its greatness and glory is in the fact that God comes to us and seeks us in and through His word.



The last verse takes me back to another great psalm!  HERE  is Ralph Carmichael’s “The New Twenty-Third,” sung by the Faith Alumni Chorale.


New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Images courtesy of:
verse 174.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/191191946653609687/
pearl.   http://thebiblestudy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/pearl.jpg
Shalom.   http://hirnhomeschoolers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/shalom.jpg
faith and works.   http://pr.ak.vresp.com/db4b752cb/b.vimeocdn.com/ts/666/699/66669910_640.jpg?__nocache__=1
waterfall.   https://i.pinimg.com/564x/6e/4b/89/6e4b892ce72562fbb352e3c9a4f6353f.jpg
lost sheep.   http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7505/27526223975_583bce826c_m.jpg