Biblically Supporting Our Armed Forces
The Bible says, “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” (Psalm 33:16-18) The great preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The strongest [fighters] melt like snowflakes when God is against them.” America is blessed with great and powerful military forces, yet Americans must understand that the Lord is not on the side of those who have the biggest war heads and largest armies. His eyes watch out for those who look to Him as Lord and who fully understand that victory only comes from Him.
Armed Forces Day is time set aside to recognize members of the Armed Forces that are currently serving. In 1947, the Armed Forces of the US were united under one department which was renamed the Department of Defense in 1949. President Harry S. Truman supported the creation of the day for the nation to unite in support and recognition of our military members and their families.
I would propose to you that we can and should show appreciation for those who are presently serving in the Armed Forces.
In 1 Chronicles chapter 11: 10-47 we read of King David’s mighty men. There were the three and the thirty, warriors who protected David and fought in battles for the people of God. The Bible has “the list of David’s mighty warriors.” (1 Chronicles 11:11-47) In the battle against the Philistines, the Bible says, “[they] struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.” (1 Chronicles 11:14)
In Genesis 14, we read of Abram taking 318 soldiers to fight the four kings who took Lot captive. After the defeat of the Kings, and the rescue of Lot and his possessions, we read of Melchizedek, a high priest saying, “Blessed be Abram, by God Most High, Creator of the heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” (Genesis 14:19-20) In the Book of Joshua we read, “So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them, I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.'” (Joshua 10:7-8)
America’s Founding father, John Jay, (1745-1829) was a strong Christian, serving as vice-president of the American Bible Society (1816-1821) and its president (1821-1827). In a series of letters, he expounds on the Biblical view of war. He writes: “Whether war of every description is prohibited by the gospel, is one of those questions on which the excitement of any of the passions can produce no light. An answer to it can result only from careful investigation and fair reasoning. I believe they are as lawful to the offending party in our days, as they were in the days of Abraham… If wars of every kind and description are prohibited by the moral law, I see no way of reconciling such a [restriction] with those parts of Scripture which record institutions, declarations, and interposition’s of the Almighty which manifestly [prove] the contrary. If every war is sinful, how did it happen that the sin of waging any war is not specified among the numerous sins and offenses which are mentioned and reproved in both the Testaments?” (Wall Builders, David Barton; Presenting America’s Forgotten History)
It appears in Scripture, in the rising up and protection of the United States of America, war seems to have its necessity.
Just how can we give intercession, encouragement and comfort to our armed forces and their families?
Armed Forces Day is set aside for us to give recognition and appreciation to those who are presently serving in all the different branches of service. Catch these facts and quotes:
“The creation of Armed Forces Day was announced on August 31, 1949 by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson. It was meant to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.” General George Washington said, “One of the best ways to keep peace is to be prepared for war.”
In 1999 Senator John McCain introduced legislation to designate the month of May, National Military Appreciation Month. Both the Senate and House of Representatives adopted resolutions calling America to recognize and honor U.S. Service Members. These proclamations also urge the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe.
The six national observances are:
“Loyalty Day: May 1rst. kicks off the Nation’s month-long celebration of military appreciation. It is a day set aside for the affirmation of loyalty to the United States and to reflect on the proud heritage of our American freedom.”
Public Service Recognition Week: Known as PSRW. Celebrated the first week in May. A time set aside to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees and ensure that our government is the best in the world.”
Victory in Europe Day: May 08, 1945 is the day the Germans throughout Europe unconditionally surrendered to WWII Allies.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day: Traditionally set on the Friday before Mother’s Day – A day to honor military spouses. Communities are to have ceremonies and activities. Recognizing the important role our military families play in keeping our Armed Forces strong and our country safe.
Armed Forces Day: The theme for 2015, ‘Honor Those Who Have Answered the Call to Serve.’ On the third Saturday of the month of May. A single day for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. Honoring everyone in the U.S. Military Branches.
Memorial Day: A Federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May. A remembrance of our veterans, commemorating the men and women who died while in military service.
A lot of people put their lives on the line for our freedoms, just how can we show appreciation? Armed Forces Day offers events and things to do:
“Attend a parade, send a care package to military personal stationed overseas. Fly and American Flag. Visit a Veteran’s Hospital or Nursing Home to show your gratitude. Attend a military air show. Send an e-mail, write on a face-book page, tweet or pay for a meal for a service person and their family. Maybe invite them over, mow their lawn, pay for gasoline, offer a polite appreciative word.”
We need to get creative in showing our service men and women appreciation. Biblically we can intercede for them. The Word of God lays out a format which can be followed in battling enemies of a nation with a motto, “The People of God” or “In God We Trust.”
There are those who are trained to go and fight, there are those who are commissioned to pray. This is clearly seen in Exodus 17:10-13. Exodus records the events of a battle commissioned by Moses and anointed by God to fight against the Amalekites who threatened the people of God. The warrior leading the Lord’s army was Joshua, whose name means “Yahweh is salvation.” The Bible says, “So Joshua fought the Amalekites… Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelite’s were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired… Aaron and Hur held up his hands… so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”
How should we pray for our service men and woman?
- Pray that the families, relatives and friends of our military members may be strengthened in this time of concern and anxiety.
- Pray that the Lord may help families with men and women in the armed forces to cope with daily challenges in the absence of their loved ones.
- Pray for our brothers and sisters as they go forth with courage and determination to face the forces of violence, weapons of destruction and hearts filled with hate.
- Pray that in the midst of destruction, the Lord will guide our service men and women, that they may be reunited with families.
- Pray for faith, hope, and comfort for all who are waiting for their soldiers to come home.
- Pray that departing soldiers will come to Christ and that they may be faithful, daily as they trust Him in the land of danger.
- Pray that those who are married will seek the Lord for strength to be faithful to each other in this time of separation.
- Pray that the Lord will reveal His companionship, strength and wisdom to all serving our country.
Jesus said, there will be war until the end of time. (Matthew 24:16; Mark 13:7) The Lord, through our government (Romans 13:1) has set days and times throughout the year to recognize and appreciate our service men and women. God, in His Word has given us a powerful ministry, praying for our Armed Forces!.
In this country, it is hard for most of us to understand the horrors of war. This is why Mark Lee Greenblatt wrote a book, Valor. The book shares nine true stories of war heroes who served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lives who lived out:
“I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
“One American hero featured in Valor is Buck Doyle. A gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marines Corps. He stood in a sniper’s direct line of fire in order to help a close friend, Sgt. Nick Walsh, who had just been hit by the snipers bullet. As Buck tried to drag Sgt. Walsh to safety behind a nearby Humvee, Buck endured multiple gunshot wounds from the sniper shooting. Buck was hit in his arm and leg. Despite the injuries and blood loss, Buck remained in control and directed his fellow marines as they evacuated him and Sgt. Walsh to the combat hospital. Buck said, ‘The guys do repetitive deployment because of a brother-hood. I do not think a lot of people understand the bond that the war-fighters have after combat tours.'”
The present conflict is long from over. We are called to raise up praise and intercessions for our Armed forces. Let us pray!
King David Matured in The Chastisements of God
A Psalm of David says, “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.” (Psalm 3:1-8)
It should be noted, David was a man who was subject to the weakness of his passions, of which he, his family and the people he was given leadership over had to live with the constant consequences of his choices. The Word of God is a recorded history of God’s dealing with people. In 1 Corinthians 10 under the preoccupy “Warnings From Israel’s History” we read “Now these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us….” (1 Corinthians 10:11) From the New Testament we also read, “Now these things happened as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:6) This teaching gives an understanding on how God used scorn and His chastisements to keep David’s character in check.
David is not asking how many but is stating there are many who rise up against him. There are explanation marks at the end of the two first sentences, not question marks. The truths in Psalm three are proclamations of God’s proven faithfulness to watch over David, hear David, sustain David, and fight for David while keeping his character in check. Understanding and living out these truths will enable us to hear from God has He spoke of King David, “a man after my heart.” (Acts 13:22) This Psalm holds truths which can be divided into three divisions. 1.) The Scorn: David tasting the chastisements of God 2.) The Supplication: Which expresses David’s confidence in the Lord and 3.) The Rest: David enjoyed peace knowing the Lord will sustain and strengthen him. Psalm three was written when David fled from his son Absalom.
Psalm 3:1-2 is known as The Scorn, Absalom’s Conspiracy: The first truth to understand in the scorn of God dealing with King David is to learn to trust God while living with the consequences of sin. Even though the prophet Nathan told King David, The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” (2 Samuel 12:13) There would still be consequences, because his sin with Bathsheba was committed, “in utter contempt for the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:14) There were three consequences David was not going to miss: 1.) A sword would never depart from his family. 2.) Someone who is close to him with would attack him with the sword and have sexual relations with his women and 3.) The child born from an unholy union would die.
- The sword would never depart from his family. The Bible says, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing evil in His eyes. You struck Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife for your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.” (2 Samuel 12:9-10) Four of David’s son would experience premature death. There was an unnamed son, (2 Samuel 12:18) Amnon, (2 Samuel 13:29) Absalom, (2 Samuel 18:14-15) and Adonijah, (1 Kings 2:25) (Bergen, R. D. (1996). 1, 2 Samuel (Vol. 7, p. 372). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
- Someone who is close to him would overtake David with the sword and have sexual relations with his women. The Biblical account of that is in Absalom’s rebellion to King David, clearly recorded in 2 Samuel 15-18. In 2 Samuel 15:13 we read, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.” 2 Samuel 15:12 tells us, Absalom’s following kept strengthening and increasing.” When David learned of the rebellion, he said, “Come! We must flee from [Jerusalem] or none of us will escape… we must leave immediately… he will move quickly to overtake us…” (2 Samuel 15:14) Taking time to read the whole account we see that as many as twelve thousand men could be raised up to pursue David and those with him. (2 Samuel 17:1)
- It is interesting the scorn for David involved him having to leave the palace, the birth place of his sin with Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11:1 says “it was… the time when kings go off to war…” (2 Samuel 11:1) David failed his place in war and stays at the palace. The Bible says, “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful.” (2 Samuel 11:2)
- The Bible tells us even after learning Bathsheba was a married woman, he has her brought to the palace. The king has relations with her of which Bathsheba becomes pregnant which eventually leads to the murder of Uriah the Hittite. (2 Samuel 11:1-27) The only one who had Biblical character in this horrific tell of unfaithfulness was Uriah and he was murdered.
King David being forced to flee from Jerusalem and his palace was not the only scorn God had for David to keep him in line. We read of David being cursed verbally in 2 Samuel 16:5-12. The Bible says, “A man from the clan of Saul’s family came out…” (2 Samuel 16:5) Shimei said, “The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you have shed… You have come to ruin because you are a murder!” (2 Samuel 16:8) One of David’s guards wanted to cut off the head of Shimei. David feels the Divine presence is in all this. King David’s words are, “…If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?” (2 Samuel 16:10) The Bible goes on to say, “David then said to Abishai and all his officials, ‘My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me His covenant blessing instead of His curse today.’” (2 Samuel 16:11-12)
- C. Wesley wrote this poem, “Pure from the blood of Saul in vain, He dares not to the charge reply; Uriah’s [death] the charge maintain, Uriah’s [death] against him cry. Let Shimei curse: the rod he bears. For sins which mercy had forgiven; And in the wrongs of men reverses. The awful righteousness of heaven.” (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 17). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
King David is awakened to Biblical scorn which involves the awful righteousness of heaven for the murder of Uriah, restitution was to be paid. King David’s rebellious son in day light, before all of Israel to see, will have sexual relations with David’s wives. We read of David living out this reality in 2 Samuel 16:15-23 (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Samuel (p. 288). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company; Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 12:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.: Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 2, p. 629). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.; Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 455). Peabody: Hendrickson.)
Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel, tells Absalom, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace.” (2 Samuel 16:21) The Bible says, “So they pitch a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.” (2 Samuel 16:22) David had unlawful sexual relations with Bathsheba at the royal palace. It was through the advice of Bathsheba’s grand-father, Ahitophel, God’s scorn for David was put into play. It should be noted, both David and Absalom considered Bathsheba’s grand-father’s words as being like inquiring of God. (2 Samuel 16:23) So Absalom did what he was told. What we do know is this scorn for David was proclaimed by the Prophet Nathan after David’s sin with Bathsheba was exposed. 2 Samuel 12: 11-12 says, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Out of your household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before you very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did this in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” (2 Samuel 12:11-12)
For clarification: Because David had unlawful sex with Bathsheba, a married woman – David’s harem, made up from his concubines would experience unlawful sexual relations. (Bergen, R. D. (1996). 1, 2 Samuel (Vol. 7, p. 411). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers) It is imperative that we understand the distinction of wife and concubine in the ancient world. In Old Testament times a slave or mistress was a woman who it was lawful for a man who had them could lawfully have sex with them. This is outside of God’s perfect will for man and a woman, yet in His permissive will men had several concubines and several wives. (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.; Treadway, L. M. (2016). Concubine. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.) A “concubine” (פִּילֶגֶשׁ piyleg̱eš) was a legitimate wife. However, she was of secondary rank. (1 Kings 11:3) To approach a king’s or man’s concubine was a serious offense from a Biblical perspective.
- Let us now look at the third scorn, the child dies: Biblically looking into how King David handled Gods third scorn will give us an understanding why the Lord looked so favorably upon David, the man whom God said, was “a man after my heart.” (Acts 13:22) Reading and examining the Biblical account in 2 Samuel 12:1-25 shows us the peace which is available to us as we mature under the consequences of sin.
- The foundational verse is 2 Samuel 12:13. The prophet Nathan had just prophesied about David’s wives being violated. The Bibles says, “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’” Nathan informs David, “the Lord has taken away your sin.” (2 Samuel 12:13) Yet, there is still the consequence for his sin with Bathsheba “showed utter contempt for the Lord…” The scorn, “the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:14)
- The Bible says, “The Lord struck the child… he becomes ill.” (2 Samuel 12:15) It is here we read of David’s trust in a merciful God. David no doubt remembers Nathan’s proclamation of death for the child. The Bible says, “David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent nights lying on the ground.” (2 Samuel 12:16) “…On the seventh day the child dies.” (2 Samuel 12:18) As soon as David learns about the death of the child he stops his supplications to God. (2 Samuel 12:20) The Bible says, “[David] went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.” (2 Samuel 12:20) David explains his heart to his attendants. “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be graces to me and let the child live.’ …now that the child is dead… I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23) The Bible says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him.” (2 Samuel 12:24) King David did not turn from God, in the midst of living with His chastisements. David matured and kept faith in God.
The highlight of David’s scorn is found in Psalm 3:2, “Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’” People had seen God’s hand upon David time and time again, now it seems the Lord had left him to his own demise since his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah. Just as Job’s friends thought God was against him. Absalom and those with him were confident God would no longer deliver David from his enemies.
- It is of great benefit for those who oppose you to have you to believe, God will not deliver you from the trials and conflicts you may be in.
In closing: David faced many enemies. In the midst of God’s chastisements and tasting the scorn of God, David never lost faith in His God. He matured, sought God and fulfilled his responsibilities. The accusations made by those who opposed him, “God will not deliver him” never shook his faith in God. He knew the scorn and chastisements were for the purpose of maturing him as well as keeping his character in check. This enabled him to enjoy God hearing him, sustaining him and fighting for him.
The Lord Has Final Authority
Second chapter of Psalms holds a truth which overrules all nations regardless of their present world-wide influence. The Bible says, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against His anointed… The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath, saying ‘I have installed my King on Zion, My holy mountain. …Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate His rule… Kiss His Son, or He will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 2:1-12) Here we have a proclamation of celebration of the Lord’s eternal authority over all kings and every nation in the midst of their boasting and planning to ignore His universal Kingship. First, we read of God’s response. Second, we read of His warnings and exhortations. Third, we read of a nation’s sure destruction if they continue in their rebellion. Fourthly, we read of the sure blessing for all who put their trust in Him.
Notice this passage of Scripture is not God warning the Jewish people who often walk in disobedience, but an exhortation to all nations. It must be noted, nations are not land or boundary lines. Nations are the people who are the inhabitants of the land they live in.
The word “conspire” (רָגַשׁ rāg̱aš) is an active verb meaning to rage against. This word only appears in Psalm 2:1 and it denotes the uproar and plotting of the wicked against righteousness. The image is a gathering lynch mob to act and do away with something the people hate. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 1036). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) All a person needs to do these days is present the Biblical truth on marriage, sexuality, or the Lord’s moral conduct on how we are to live. It is not long the mob is there to hang you. This is especially seen in social media. Instead of debating or instructing respectfully with great patients, they attack, bully, using intimidation to try to stop those who have a different or opposing view point, especially if it lines up with the Word of the Lord.
In their conspiring the text says the Lord laughs and scoffs. God is not a bit concerned. Psalm 37:13 says “but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming.” While people are electing public officials, who will pass laws which allow them to indulge their fleshly desires, the Lord knows the day of paying the fiddler will come. The cost of not keeping a sober mind, living an undisciplined life and surrendering to influences of a world view will cost our society more than they wanted to pay.
Infidelity is on the rise, scoffers of the truth of God’s Word crow loudly and unrest is becoming to be the norm. The Bible teaches we are to appoint officials who live in a referent fear of the Lord. Today, for the most part, when it is time to vote, our choice is voting for the lesser of two evils. Judges are failing to hand out justice in proper season. More and more people in this nation are calling what God calls evil, good while calling what the Lord calls good, evil. When all is done which will be done, when all is said which will be said and all written that will be written, the Bible says, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)
The best thing a people in a nation can do is “Kiss His Son.” This is a kiss of homage or rather worship. Psalm 148 makes it clear, “Kings of the earth and all nations, you princes, all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children,” praise the Lord! (Psalm 148:11-12) They are to praise the Lord for His Sovereignty, His provision and His available hand upon their lives. Deuteronomy 28 holds truths for a nation who truly loves the Lord. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands… the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.” (Deuteronomy 28:1) Verses 1-14 teach about the blessing which will come upon a nation whose God is truly the Lord. That nation of people will experience blessings in their towns and in the country. They will have descendants to carry on their heritage, their crops will flourish, while their flocks and herds prosper. A nation which lives under God’s commands will have victory in war, will lend to nations, not needing to borrow from anyone. (Willmington, H. L. (1999). The Outline Bible (Dt 28:1–14). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.) However, Deuteronomy 28:15-68 teaches of the cruses for disobedience.
It is imperative we understand this promise is a covenant agreement. There is a Greek word for “covenant” (diathēkē) meaning an agreement set up by God alone. The whole approach comes from God and man cannot bargain with God or argue about the terms. Mankind can only accept or reject the offer that God makes. It as Philo said, “It is fitting for God to give and for a wise man to receive.” This Greek Word always means the whole initiative is with God; the terms are His and man cannot alter them in the slightest. (Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1975). The letter to the Hebrews (p. 91). Philadelphia: The Westminster John Knox Press.)
God’s covenant agreement in Deuteronomy 28 is, “if you fully obey, carefully follow all His commands.” People in a nation cannot claim to believe in God and embrace laws and life styles which are clearly against the whole counsel of His word. Examples:
- Ask God for protection from evil while legalizing and enabling the shedding of innocent blood, which is what abortion accomplishes.
- Ask God to bless marriage because the wedding ceremony was done in a church while using the ceremony as a license to a drunk-fest. If a couple would spend as much time in the study of God’s Word on marriage as they do getting a high school or college degree, our divorce rate in America would decrease. Church denominations are moving to change the phrase, “union of husband and wife” with the “union of two people.” In marriage ceremonies.
- Time and time again lawyers are litigating the letter of the law, neglecting the heart of the law while having witnesses swear to tell the truth with hand on the Bible, or book of law or a book containing the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The justice we need will not be experienced in a nation with legalistic approach to law. Not being hungry for the heart of what is expected to be obeyed leads to gross misinterpretation in law and theology.
- Mankind cannot expect to enjoy God promise blessings with a Sunday morning appearance while having no desire to daily meditate upon His Word, His will or His presence in their lives.
God is not swayed with words of intimidation, threats or a view point which line up with a world perspective. The Biblical text says, “His wrath can flare up in a moment.” That wrath is at hand in America now. Romans 1: 18-31 under the heading God’s Wrath Against Mankind.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God…
Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie… Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
Christians who trust in the Lord have this exhortation, “But let all who take refuge in You be glad.” (Psalm 5:11a) Psalm 5:11 also as a covering prayer of King David, “Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in You.” (Psalm 5:11b) Christians who take refuge in the Lord have a cheerful confidence their sins are forgiven. Their needs will be provided for and their lives are secure in the hands of God. The sins which once overcame them now have no hold on them. They are able to live for the Lord, sense His pleasure and are confident in their callings.
In Our Daily Bread devotionals, dated February 27, 1995 we read of a discussion between John and Charles Wesley talking about when God assigns a difficult task He will give us what we need to carry it out. John Wesley wrote, “Among the many difficulties of our early ministry, my brother Charles said, ‘If the Lord would give me wings, I would fly.’ On which John responded, ‘If God bids me to fly, I will trust Him for the wings.’”
In keeping with the context of God dealing with nations, the trust God is looking for regarding the United States of America is, “…if my people. Who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) God through His written Word has given us a call. Christians need to repent, pray, and preach the Word, addressing the sins which have overcome our nation and addressing the issues of our day. God bids Christians to The Great Commission, they must trust Him to make the way.
The Blessings of Psalm 1:1-6
Psalm 1:1-6 holds truths for the child of God which will brighten their day, guide their life and set a destiny for their future. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law, he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. …the LORD watches over the way of the righteous.”
“Blessed” (אַשְׁרֵי –ʾǎš·rê) meaning a joyfulness expressing confidences the Lord is watching over His children. The “righteous” (צַדִּיק ṣaddiyq) referring to people who are hungry to conform to God’s standard for living. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publications) The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.” (Proverbs 3:13)
The child of God who does not seek counsel from those who do not know the ways of the Lord will be blessed. This passage of Scripture is not saying that we do not seek help from people who are not saved. We certainly can seek counsel from people in the medical field, instructions from people who are successful in the fields we may be interested in or get direction from those who have proved faithful to their dreams. Christians are not to seek counsel from a world view when it comes to morality. For example: Do not seek the world view on marriage, sexuality, on how to treat people who do us wrong, the way to do business, the manor of how to talk, live and approach your dreams.
The promise of blessings finds its foundation upon our attitude and hunger for the Word of the Lord. Meditating upon what is written in the whole counsel of God’s Word determines the decisions’ a person makes which in hand determines the consequence’s the person must live with. Constant meditation on the Word of God characterizes the life a Christian will live.
The child of God who can say, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97) enjoys the Lord’s oversight regarding his life. The child of God who lets the teachings of the Lord guide his entire life, will flourish in the trials and blessings of life. In the trials of life, trusting the truths of God’s Word will grow our faith, make us stronger and enable us to seek the Lord in all things. In the blessing of life, obedient Christians will use all the Lord gives them for His glory, for the well-being of the children of God and for the good of all mankind. Notice the text says, “He will prosper in whatever he does.” In failure those who will prosper ask, Lord, what are trying to teach me? They petition the Lord for His intercession and wait for His deliverance. In blessings they see all they have as coming from the Lord. They seek His guidance, trust in His protection and enjoy His enablement.
Psalm 1 gives instructions for the righteous and teaches of the sure blessings to come. It also warns of the out come of the wicked, they will perish, the lives they live will bring an eternal curse for generations. Which will you choose? What are you experiencing today and what path will you choose for tomorrow? Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
Sir Ernest Shackleton, author of The Heart of The Antarctic tells about how he and three companions attempted to travel to the South Pole. They set off with four ponies to help carry the load. Weeks into the trip the ponies died, rations ran out and they turned back towards their base with their goal not accomplished. Their travel time was 127 days. The journey back was time spent on talking about food – elaborate feasts, special delights and lavishing menus. As they staggered along not knowing whether they would survive, every waking hour was occupied with thoughts of eating. (Galaxie Software. (2002) 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Bible Studies Press.)
In Deuteronomy chapter 8 we read of an exhortation “to follow the commands [God] was giving” through Moses. (Deuteronomy 8:3) Moses reminds the people of God how the Lord led them “in the wilderness [for] forty years, to humble [them] and test [them] [so they may] know what was in their heart, whether [they] would keep His commands or not. …[He] let them hunger and fed [them] manna which [they] nor did [their] fathers [know], that [they] might know that man does not live on bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-30) Mankind without the proper feeding upon the word of God will surrender to the sinful flesh of his heart which will lead to his eternal destruction. Christians hungry for all the blessing of the Lord, spend every waking moment meditating upon the elaborate feast of God’s Word. Is your life guided by the truths spoken by Christ? He said, “It is written!” Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)