King of Kings – Psalm 2:4-9

God Has Installed His King On Zion

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

Rebels Rebuked

The nations conspire today as they have done millennia ago to be free from the perceived shackles that they feel under the watchful eyes of Almighty God. They seek to be free from His gaze and His word, to do as they want to do apart from His will and His word. They spurn the rightful ruler that has placed them in places of power and autonomy, and seek to do their own will. Little do they realize that this is the same pattern that their father, the devil, followed when he rebelled against Almighty God.

But take heart! Just as the devil and a third of the host of heaven were properly trounced and rebuked, so shall the evil rulers that seek to shake off the yoke placed upon them by Almighty God to do His bidding for His glory. For they have failed to realize that Almighty God has already installed His King upon Zion.

King of Kings

God has foretold of the coming of Messiah, and here is another prophecy concerning His rule. God has placed The Lord Jesus Christ upon the throne to be King of kings and Lord of lords. His rule will extend to all creation. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. They shall do this now, willingly bowing to Him, or later, compelled at His throne, for all will be under His rule. He offers peace to those who would willingly yield themselves to Him now under His benevolent rule. But He will soon become a Just Judge for those who spurn His righteous authority.

Sovereign Son

Through the psalmist, God declares that the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh will be His Son, and God will be His Father. There is no ambiguity in this claim. The nations have become His inheritance, and the Earth his possession. And this is rightly so, for the Word that became flesh, at the behest of the Father, spoke all creation into existence. What was rightfully His and wrongfully sold to the enemy through the sin of Adam was reclaimed by the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He holds the keys to death and Hades, and awaits the command from His Father to rightfully reclaim all that is His.

Coming Calamity

And when the Son of God appears in the clouds in glory, with the final trump of God, with the voice of the Archangel, He will mete out justice as the lion of Judah. No longer will the wicked overpower the weak. No longer will there be pain and suffering for His children. No longer will He suffer the pain caused to His loved ones by His enemy. He will rightly judge the nations. He will break them with a rod of iron, and dash them to pieces like poverty.

The nations celebrate Christmas as a time of giving gifts and cherishing family. Let us not forget that the Son has come, and will soon come again. Let us prepare our hearts to receive the King, for His return is imminent and without delay.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question: Is my heart prepared for the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have made clear to us that Your Son, Jesus Christ, is the rightful ruler of all creation. Thank You for giving us this opportunity to worship Him in truth and in spirit. Thank You for sending the most precious of gifts to us for our redemption. Thank You for sending our Savior. Help us now prepare our hearts for the coming return of our King, and set aside our personal desires and goals that we may submit ourselves without reservation to You. Throughout history You have declared Your righteousness and our need for it. Give us strength and courage to do what is needed to prepare for the coming return of Jesus. Help us to look up to see the sign of the Son of man in heaven, for He is coming and quickly. Let us not be distracted by our Earthly pursuits, but rather let us be engaged in learning Your word and filling up with the oil of the Spirit of God. Prepare us as Your bride, and help us to be clothed as You have commanded so that we will be prepared on the great and awesome day of the return of Your Son. Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Grace of God – Isaiah 26:7-11

The Wicked Don’t Recognize The Grace Of God

7 The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous
8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 But when grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted high,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

Smooth Sailing

It is the Lord God Almighty that smooths the difficulties of life for the disciple.  God will make the path of the righteous straight, and set them on course because they have believed in Him and believe what He says.  God is sovereign, and He promises to take care of the righteous and their ways, and watch over them as they live their lives for Him.

Delightful Desires

When a person believes God, the path of righteousness becomes a joy to them.  Previously, righteousness would stand in the way of wicked, blocking them from their heart’s desires.  Now, righteousness becomes the very desires of their hearts.  They cannot help but desire to walk in righteousness before God.  He Himself places this desire in our hearts, and we now, with the stink and stain of sin removed, can fully embrace and recognize the beauty of righteousness.

We desire it so much that our souls long for it.  After walking with God for a little while, we seek righteousness out as though it was water and we are thirsty in the desert.  Only righteousness, and the presence of our Lord, can quench our immense thirst.

Wickedness Wastes

The wicked, however, even when presented with the grace of Almighty God, still do not realize its value.  They do not learn righteousness from it, because they are still blinded by their sin.  Even when the wicked are placed in a community of the righteous, they continue to do what they do, rather than learn the ways of righteousness.

There are people who believe that if you place people who have ethics and morals that are corrupt in amongst people who have good moral fiber and a strong work ethic, that somehow the ethics, morals, and desire to participate in jobs that benefit themselves and society will rub off on them and spur them on to greatness.  But the exact opposite almost always happens.  The people who are transplanted instead begin the corruption of the community, and the community suffers rather than the individual being rehabilitated by contact and proximity to exemplary behavior.

The only way that it will work is if there is a desire by the transplanted people to embrace the ideals and culture of where they are moved.  Otherwise, no change is possible.  That is the result of our human condition.  We are not able to escape it apart from the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  It is only then, being freed from the bondage of sin by the blood of Jesus, that we are able to obey God and love Him.

Pending Peril

Not only are they unable to see and seek righteousness, the wicked do not even see the hand of God raised above them, ready to invoke and inflict judgment upon them.  They are unaware of the signs because they cannot see them.  Sin so fully blinds us that we walk around in a stupor, doing what we know is wrong, yet unaware that consequences are soon to follow.

One of the effective strategies for luring criminals into traps by police is to send them letters indicating that they have won something.  Greed is so powerful in their lives, that they willingly show up at the phony storefront to claim their prize, only to find that their prize is a trip to prison.  Greed blinded them to their need for obscurity and overwhelmed them with a false sense of security, masking the true nature of their circumstances.

Consumed through Conflagration

And when people absolutely refuse to accept the truth, God send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.  He helps them to harden their hearts, for they refuse to listen to the One calling to them and trying to plow the soil of their hearts for the planting of seeds.  Hearts hardened by life will reject the seeds of grace and mercy, and will eventually provide the very opportunity to receive the wrath of God rather than the grace of God.  And once we die, it is too late.  So if you hear the voice of the Lord calling you to repentance, heed it now while He may be found.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I in a position where my heart can hear what God desires to tell me?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have poured and continue to pour out your grace and mercy upon me each and every day.  Your mercies renew every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness.  Help me to guard my heart against the difficulties of life so that I will not become embittered by my circumstances.  Help my heart to soften, that I may be in a better position to hear what You have to say.  Father, I pray that the hearts of the unbelievers would be softened as well, so that they might hear and be able to embrace Your love, grace, and mercy.  Help them, Lord God, for as Your word says, they will be consumed by your wrath if they do not repent.  This I ask in the precious name of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Trust in God – Psalm 56:3-7

The Wicked Twist Our Words And Malign Our Motives

3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise-
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

5 All day long they twist my words;
all their schemes are for my ruin.
6 They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps,
hoping to take my life.
7 Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

Fear is Folly

David recognizes that his heart fears certain outcomes.  Like a man trapped in a burning building with no place to go, the anticipation of the pain of his flesh being consumed by fire is not pleasant.  David recognizes that to fear man is folly.  After all, what can mere mortals do to him?

Train to Trust

Instead, David had trained his heart to trust in God.  God and God alone is the one who can save us, deliver us, provide for us, protect us, and vindicate us.  David lets us know that the first place that his heart went during his times of fear was to trust in the Lord God Almighty.  David made it a practice in his mind to direct his will to trust in God when his emotions were overwhelming him with fear.

When we place our trust in God rather than in men, riches, idols, or even ourselves, we can rest in the peace that God gives to us that defies understanding.  God greatly desires that we come to Him first with our problems and our difficulties.  He knows about all of them, but desires a greater dependence from us upon Him as well as a strengthening our relationship with Him.  It is in times of great distress and need that we see exactly who or what we trust in.  David chose to make God his first option, and he was rewarded for it with the praise of God:

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Warping Words

One of the tactics of the enemy is to twist the words of their opponents to misrepresent their position or their intent.  This enables them to attack the person by turning attention on their enemies.  This tactic is also used by those who practice the art of sleight of hand (magicians).  They intentionally misdirect your attention to where they want you to look so that you will not see what they are doing.  It provides them with cover to do all sorts of mischief.

For instance, let us say that two people disagree on something.  Person A believes that they are correct in believing that the sky is falling.  Person B says that the sky is not falling, that the droplets of water coming down are rain.  If person A wants to misdirect others concerning person B, they could characterize the words of the person B as disparaging them with regards to some aspect of their physical nature rather than with a philosophical or factual/observational disagreement.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that person A has greatly increased melanin in their skin, and person B does not.  Person A could then say it is because of their skin color and racial prejudice that person B disagrees with them.  This deflects from the true reason that the disagreement has taken place, and positions person A as a victim of racism and person B in the position of racist.  This type of posturing and twisting of words evokes an emotional response from both person B and anyone who hears the argument.  The mere re-characterization of the argument as one of race rather than fact/observation deflects the requirement for person A to defend their position and assassinates the character of person B.  In this scenario, it is a total win for person A:

  • Public trust in what person B is saying is now destroyed through the accusation or racism
  • Person B’s position is seen as the position of a racist, and since it is characterized as such, may be rejected on this basis rather than on any factual or scientific basis
  • Person A no longer has to defend their position in fact or science, and receives sympathy from the public, regardless of the validity of their position
  • Person A’s standing in the public as a victim of a hate crime bolsters the emotional support of the public for anything else person A has to say
  • Person B is unlikely to challenge person A’s positions any longer, knowing the societal cost that they will have to endure should person A falsely accuse them again.

Terrible Tactics

David lists some of the other tactics that his enemies have used against him:

  • Their every scheme is for David’s ruination
    • Their lives have become consumed with ways to discredit and ruin David.  This is the act of vengeful people.
  • They conspire against him
    • They use their collective resources to act in a way to entrap or otherwise cause David to fail.  A favorite tactic of the enemies of God, they look to the past to dredge up anything that their enemy may have done that can be used to embarrass him, disparage his character, or cause public opinion to be soured against him.
  • They lurk about
    • Imagine having someone follow you every second of your day, recording what you say and do, looking for anything they can use to take out of context to give you a bad name.  Welcome to David’s life.
  • They watch his very steps
    • If David breaks the law unknowingly, they will be there to witness it, accuse him of it, and see that justice is swift (usually with paid witnesses).

Judge with Justice

David consoles himself in the character and nature of God.  He remembers that God is a holy, righteous, and just judge.  David calls upon God to remember the wickedness of his enemies, and to judge the nations.  David’s enemies have failed to grasp the love of God as displayed in His mercy and grace towards them, seeking only the destruction of God’s chosen servant, David.  Rather than take matters into his own hands, David rightly gives his life into the hands of the living God – He who is righteous and will deliver him from all evil.  For those who have been justified by God, who can bring an accusation against him?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When faced with enemies, who or what do you turn to first?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, it is You who have redeemed me from the miry muck.  You have cleansed me of my sin through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Since You have removed my sin from me as far as the East is from the West, no one can lay a charge against me.  Give me shelter and sanctuary when my enemies seek to destroy me.  Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.  Protect me from those who seek my ruination, who conspire against me to assassinate my character.  For I am found in Christ Jesus, and it is His character and His name that I take, and it is His name that they smear and disparage.  Give me strength to endure, and may Your love be displayed in my thoughts, words, and deeds, as my enemies surround me to do me harm.  Blessed be Your name, Lord God.  Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Word of God – Hebrews 4:12-13

The Word Is Alive

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Alive and Active

The word of God is not just some words that are written down, or passed orally on from generation to generation.  They are alive and active.  The Bible says that God’s word does not go void – it will accomplish the purpose that God intended it to accomplish.  Each and every word in the Bible has the power to change lives.  It patiently waits until the soul that reads it is prepared to receive its message.  It then delivers the most powerful of messages – the message that God intended for that person.  It renews our minds and guides our thoughts.

Sharper than Swords

The Bible says that the word of God is sharper than any sword.  A sword is effective because it is a power-concentrating device.  When sharpened, a sword will deliver all of the power of the swing or stab either onto a very sharp point or edge.  This delivers a significant amount of force where the edge or tip lands, so that a swing of the sword is like bringing tens of thousands of pounds per square inch of force onto the object it strikes. This will cause the object to cut or break apart.  In our case, the word of God is able to cut deep into our hearts, and expose our thoughts and attitudes.

Powerful Penetration

Because of the precision of the truth, it penetrates deep into our thoughts and attitudes.  God’s word exposes the deepest, innermost parts of our minds and hearts, and lays them bare for us to see.  The truth is able to shed light on these things, and to expose the darkness within us, as well as show the way to repentance.

Just Judgment

Because the word is true, it is able to rightly judge our thoughts and attitudes.  It provides the necessary tools to indicate our current state of mind, as well as our intents.  God is the perfect judge, for He sees the end from the beginning, and nothing is withheld from Him.  His word is accurate, and is able to rightly judge us.

Details on Display

Because God is omnipresent, His word is an accurate representation of this aspect of His character.   Nothing in all creation will be withheld from His sight.  Try as we might, we cannot hide in the darkness, for darkness is as light to Him who created the universe.  The word puts our thoughts on display for Him and for us should we choose to accept God’s sovereignty.  Even if we don’t, at the appointed time, all will be displayed by God, who will reward for what was done in the flesh, both good and evil.

Announce your Account

And everyone shall be required to give an accounting of what they have done.  This is evident by the account in Job where the angels were gathered to give an accounting of their actions before God.  No one will be spared this.  We can either give an account with the blood of Christ as our protection, or be in front of the White Throne seat of judgment.  The choice is ours.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Are we allowing God’s word to penetrate our heart?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Holy is Your Name.  Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, here on Earth as is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread for tomorrow.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For You are holy, perfect without blemish, and You see everything correctly.  You know what was, what is, and what will be, for You have already seen it.  Father, help me that I may allow Your word to penetrate deep into my heart, that all darkness and evil will be exposed, that I may bring it before You to be healed.  Give me the strength and ability to overcome the flesh, the devil, and the world, that Your kingdom may be established in my heart.  Help me to be content with what You provide, for You have given me all that I need.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Judgment and God – Isaiah 3:10-12

It Will Be Well For The Righteous

10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked!
Disaster is upon them!
They will be paid back
for what their hands have done.

12 Youths oppress my people,
women rule over them.
My people, your guides lead you astray;
they turn you from the path.

Righteous will Rest

In this section of scripture, the prophet Isaiah gives an interesting assurance to the righteous. They will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.  So often, the righteous receive hate for love, anger for help, and destruction for instruction.  The righteous are attacked by all who hate the light, and who bring the deeds of evil into the presence of the people.

We all inherently want to know the truth, but most people would rather hear a lie if the truth would make them feel bad.  This is completely out of character with the image-bearers of God.  Isaiah comforts the righteous with this truth, that when judgment comes, it will be well with them.  When the righteous are being oppressed, it is sometime easy to forget that God is watching over them, for their circumstances are dire indeed.

Disaster for the Depraved

The wicked, on the other hand, having embraced the lie, selfishly taking whatever they can, oppressing the righteous, and embracing the cover of darkness for their deeds, will not fare so well.  God will bring disaster upon them.  In that day, the Lord will enact His vengeance upon them, for God has said:

39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. 40 I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever, 41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. 42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” 43 Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.

Teen Tyranny

There are some interesting activities going on during the judgment of God.  The youth will oppress God’s people.  We see flash mobs, the knockout game, and every other manner of wickedness being executed by our youth.  Wicked parents strap bombs on their children and send them into crowds yelling praise to false gods as they commit murder and suicide.  It begs the question:  are we being judged by God?

Role Reversal

As a preface to the next indication, let it be said for the record that God has made men and women equal.  But equal does not mean identical.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all co-equal as they are God; yet they are not identical to each other.  Each has a role, and they embrace their roles without complaint or deviation from their true purpose.  Men and women are equal, but have been assigned different roles by God.  When we engage in role-reversal, we are in effect saying that what God has instituted is not good (or good enough) for us.

God has seen fit to provide us with deaconesses, holy women in service to Him and the flock.  Deborah was a judge for His people.  Yet, God has squarely placed the role of leadership in the hands of men.  He has created men with the innate desire to conquer and rule, but with the desire to protect and cherish.  Because of the fall, the word “submission” now has a connotation of oppressive slavery and servitude.  Yet Jesus Christ fully submitted Himself to the Holy Spirit to show us how we were to submit to God.  Paul exhorts us to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ.  Jesus said that the one who would be great among us would be the servant to others, and the first will be a slave.

And so when women, who feel “oppressed” by men because men have refused to embrace the role that God provided to them with the proper attitude of servant-leadership, gain positions of leadership over men, the emotional stress of the perceived oppression (real or imagined) leads to an oppressive, dominating attitude that progresses towards the emasculation and punishment of men, even to those who have never interacted with the women in charge.  While this is not a rule, it is prevalent in the culture of militant feminism.  In this turn of events, God has removed the blessing of leadership of men, and has given it to the angry, vengeful women who now seek to rule over them.

Precarious Prediction

God warns us that our guides are leading us astray.  We need to carefully vet those who we permit to lead us to ensure that they are of God.  Additionally, we need to be like the Bereans, and search the scriptures to determine for ourselves if what they are saying both matches up with the word of the Living God, and is a proper interpretation and accurate representation of what God has said.

Seek the truth, and do not allow false teachers to mislead you.  Guard your hearts against lies, and embrace the truth, no matter how difficult it seems, or how much it challenges you.  For the word of God is like a sword, able to separate the truth from the lies within us, and give us a proper and accurate portrayal of what is deep within us.  And when we are challenged to rethink a position because of the word of God, let the word do its job, and purge us of all attitudes and beliefs that are contrary to God’s character and teaching.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I prepared for the judgment of God, living as the justified child of God in faith?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are full of mercy and grace, a perfect balance to your holiness and justice.  Give us peace in our souls as You pour out Your judgment upon the nations.  Strengthen us as we are oppressed by the wicked, and may we be the light on a hill for all to see Your glory and grace.  Help me to overcome any fears of what man can do to me, and fill me with a healthy fear in reverence to You, oh God.  Let me be fearless when I am chosen for oppression, and give me Your peace that defies description as I suffer for Your name.  For I know that You, oh God, will bring glory to Your name, and You will make all things right in Your time.  I pray that Your Son will return, and do so soon.  Praise be to You!  Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Judgment by God – Isaiah 1:18-23

There Is Always Hope For The Wayward

18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

21 See how the faithful city
has become a prostitute!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her—
but now murderers!
22 Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.
23 Your rulers are rebels,
partners with thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them.

Right Reasoning

The Lord calls us to come to His point of view.  The ESV translates this part, “‘Come now, let us reason together’, says the Lord”.  God is calling us to see things from His perspective.  He is calling us to settle the matter in our minds.  We have warped views of all things because of our inherent limitations:

  • An inherited sin nature from Adam
  • A severe lack of knowledge of the state of the universe and its truths
  • Personal prejudices and the coloration of events filtered through our experiences.

We are unable to rightly see what is truly going on around us, or even within us.  The heart is deceitful above all.  Since we cannot rightly interpret our own true intents and motivations, how can we expect to rightly interpret those of others, especially a holy and perfect God?  Therefore, God calls us to come to His point of view.

Faithful to Forgive

God promises us forgiveness when we believe Him.  Believing God is always credited to us as righteousness.  God calls us to repentance and promises that our sins will be washed as white as snow, though they were as scarlet as the blood we shed every time we sin.  For the only proper payment for sin is the lifeblood of the sinner.  God is always faithful to forgive when we come to Him in repentance.  We can be assured of that.  And He goes on to show how He rewards.

Reward for Respect

When we are obedient, He will give us the good things of the land.  This is not to say that a single individual will receive it, but rather the people of the land as a whole.  When a land’s people are obedient to God, they desire to follow His law.  And when all of the people of the land follow the law, crime literally disappears.  Strife and hardship between neighbors vanish, as we love our neighbors as ourselves.  We are then able to work together for the benefit of all and reap the rewards of peace, for God will make even our enemies to be at peace with us when we are obedient to Him.

Reward for Rebellion

And when we refuse the blessing and offering of forgiveness of God, then a much more terrible reward is to be expected.  God has promised that He would devour the land with the sword.  The very enemies that He would have made to live in peace with us will overcome us in war.  Death, rather than life, will be the result of rebellion.  For God cannot tolerate sin unchecked.  And for any nation that claimed to be of God, that is particularly egregious to Him.

Israel was chosen by God to bring the Law to the people and to display the glory and character of God to the nations.  They failed in that.  And now, most recently, the failed experiment in self-governance that is/was the United States of America, is facing the very same judgment of God.

The Puritan Pilgrims’ Mayflower Compact was dedicated to God.  The USA as a nation was birthed in the belief that a righteous, self-governing people would be able to live in freedom and prosperity with a minimum of interference of governing authority, for in self-policing and self-governance, little oversight would be needed except to protect the innocent from those who refused to self-govern themselves in righteousness and holiness towards God.  For it is only through the restraint of  sin by fear and obedience to God that we are able to govern the terrible passions that sin has created within us.

When Rulers are Rebels

What follows is a tragic list of what happens when our leaders no longer follow the One True God in holiness and submission to His Spirit:

  • The leaders prostitute themselves to evil
  • Justice is replaced by murder
  • What was once valuable has become corroded and tarnished
  • Their strength and values have become diluted and worthless
  • Those who are charged with meting out justice become partners with thieves
  • They love bribes and seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the people entrusted to oversee them
  • The most vulnerable of society that have a special place in God’s heart – the widows and the orphans – are left without justice and help

This has happened in Israel, and is now happening in the United States of America.  It is never too late to repent.  As a nation, both Israel and the USA need to come to their knees, confess their sins, seek the face of God, turn from their wicked ways, and mourn over the sins of its people. Only then will God heal their land and begin to bless them has He once did.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I living in such a way that my actions are in agreement with my stated profession that God’s ways are righteous and just?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Your mercies renew every morning, and I thank and praise You for your patience and compassion that You show me every day.  Father, forgive me of my sins.  Grant me the strength and ability to walk in Your holy way, that I would turn from sin and turn towards you.  Forgive the leaders of my nation, Father, and I confess their sins to You.  We are an obstinate, stiff-necked people who are selfish and thing of no one and nothing but ourselves and our own pleasures.  Forgive us, Father, and help turn the hearts of those who claim to be Yours but live their lives completely independent of Your will back to humbleness and obedience to Your word.  And should they fail to hear Your call, and choose wickedness over righteousness, give me the strength to live by faith in You, for You and You alone have justified me through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Mercy of God – James 2:12-13

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Precedent of Privilege

The law that gives freedom is mercy.  Mercy overrides judgment, and provides the vehicle through which God can have compassion on us.  God’s holiness demands that we be punished, but God’s mercy is the velvet glove over the proverbial iron hand.  God’s word says that His mercies renew every morning.  God can have compassion on us through His mercy.

Conviction without Clemency

Because mercy is a character trait of God, we are expected to display it as His image-bearers.  James tells us that when we are without mercy, we will be shown God’s judgment without the tempering action of His mercy.  That should be very sobering to us.  No matter what anyone does to us or to our loved ones – physical, emotional, financial, sexual, or any other kind of assault, the act of sinning is far more egregious to God than what was done to us by men.  We must keep in mind that God displays His character to us as we experience His character through the way we live our lives.  When we show mercy to others, God gives us a better appreciation for and understanding of His merciful nature.

Grander Grace

Isn’t it wonderful that mercy triumphs over judgment?  Without mercy, the first time anyone sinned they would be immediately thrown into Hell.  The human race would have ended before it had begun, with Adam’s immediate incarceration in the lake of fire (Eve was just deceived – Adam was the one who sinned).  We greatly desire justice, but should also desire mercy for others.  We cry out to God to show us mercy.  Why should we not extend the same courtesy to others that we ourselves desire from God?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Is my first inclination to desire mercy or judgment for those who have wronged me?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I am grateful that You have shown me mercy in the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, for my sins through His death and resurrection.  Help me to have the same attitude towards mercy that You have, that I might show mercy to others when they have wronged me.  I recognize that mercy does not excuse their behavior, but provided a loving outreach to them so that they can have a change of heart about what they are doing.  I recognize the pain that I will have since justice has not been fully meted out, but I greatly desire to better understand Your merciful nature as I do my best to live out Your character in my daily life.  Strengthen me in this, for my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?