Saturday, July 30, 2011

Identify & Attack


How do you measure success?

Noah preached 120 years without even one convert and yet we see him as successful.

Gideon began his speech to his army in front of 32000 men. By the time he finished talking 22000 deserted. Later Gideon whittled the remaining 10000 down to only 300 before he got to the first battle. Yet, we see Gideon, and his military strategies, as being successful.

Jesus did not consider Zacchaeus successful just because he was the richest sinner in Jericho.

Even Jesus was convicted of blasphemy and treason and was executed by the state at 33 years old without a friend willing to testify on His behalf. Yet He is the greatest success the world will ever know.

How do you measure success?

This morning we are going to learn some new things from an old story in the Bible. It’s the story of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17. Let me set the stage to get us started.

The year was about 1050BC, during the reign of the first king of Israel, King Saul. At this time David was still a teenager and had responsibilities to help his father care for the sheep out in the fields around Bethlehem.

We begin our story today with David’s father, Jesse, calling David in from the shepherd fields to run an errand. Jesse had 8 sons and David was the youngest. The oldest 3 were soldiers in the army of King Saul and had gone with him to fight against the Philistines in the Valley of Elah, which was only about 15 miles away.

17 Then Jesse said to his son David, "Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp.

18 And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them."

Jesse asked David to take food for his brothers, go to the encampment and bring back word concerning his brothers. David readied himself and began his journey early the next morning. By the time David arrived at the camp the two armies had set themselves in battle line against each other as they had done for the 40 mornings before. However, in all those days no fighting had occurred.

9 "If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us."

You may remember that each morning a giant named Goliath had come out from the ranks of the Philistine army and laid a challenge before Israel’s soldiers. “Why should we all fight and die”, he would say, “send out one to fight with me and whomever shall prevail, the other army shall become their servants.”

Goliath was the biggest, strongest, most well equipped and experienced fighting machine the world had ever known. He stood 6 cubits and a span, from the measurement of that day. A cubit is considered by most to have been either 18 or 21 inches and a span either 6 or 7 inches. At the least Goliath was 9 ½ feet tall … consider the larger cubit and he stood 11 feet even. Either scenario, cover him with armor and the best weaponry of the day to fit his size and you have the giant – Goliath!

5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. (more than 150 pounds)

6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders.

7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels (17 to 18 pounds); and a shield-bearer went before him.

And … he was not just big, he was loud; and aggressive; and boastful; and taunting; and threatening; and just plain mean and scary. On top of this, there was no one in King Saul’s army who believed they could defeat Goliath – so no one went out to meet him.

Morning and evening for 40 days Goliath issued his unmet challenge. It was victory after victory, 40 victorious days of battle which the Philistines had won against the children of Israel without ever drawing the sword. The whole ordeal was a shame.

24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.

25 So the men of Israel said, "Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel."

When David asked concerning the battle, he was told what Goliath had done and how there was no champion to fight for Israel. David further heard how the King promised to reward any man who defeated Goliath. This man was to be made the King’s son-in-law and his family would be exempt from taxes in Israel.

I have to imagine that this was an added benefit to think that David’s father Jesse might never have to pay taxes again. But, even if that were not true, how could David allow this giant to stand and defy the armies of the living God.

28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle."

David’s oldest brother became angry with him when he heard him talking with the soldiers. He belittled David and rebuked him for his prideful, arrogant and empty talk. David responded to his brother in earnest:

29 And David said, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?"

As David continued discussing these things with the soldiers, someone reported to King Saul what he was saying. Saul sent for David.

1 Samuel 17

32 Then David said to Saul, "Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."

33 And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,

35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.

36 "Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God."

37 Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"

The story continues with David refusing to wear Saul’s armor in favor of his sling and 5 smooth stones which he chose from the brook flowing through the Valley of Elah.

The Bible says that when the Goliath looked and saw David coming towards him that he “disdained” David because he was only a youth. – Bad Mistake! – Never underestimate a young person with passion!

If that giant would have known then what he knows now – he would have run for the hills or just submitted and become David’s armor bearer.

We have to read this:

1 Samuel 17

43 So the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

44 And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"

45 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

46 "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

47 "Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands."

About that time Goliath rose up and came towards David. Goliath most likely figured that David would run away in fear. However, instead of running away – David ran towards Goliath and the whole Philistine army. While David was running he put his hand in his bag and took out one of those 5 smooth stones from the brook. David put that stone securely in his sling and slung it. The stone hit Goliath in the forehead with such force that it sank into his forehead and Goliath fell down on his face to the earth before David.

David took Goliath’s sword and cut his head off. When the Philistine army saw that their champion was dead, they ran in fear. The armies of Israel with King Saul and David’s three oldest brothers all saw what David had done Goliath and how the Philistine army fled. This gave them the inspiration and motivation they needed to charge their enemies.

The Bible story the army of Israel’s great victory over the Philistine army that day as they fought and defeated them all the way to the cities of Ekron and Gath.

Besides the evident encouragements this story yields, what more can we learn? Well, the new lessons from this old story are these:

1. One of the most wonderful things about Goliath is that he is just too big to miss!

2. If you defeat the giant in your life all your other enemies will be easy to defeat.

3. Your victory inspires others to their victory.

I want to encourage you to take inventory of your life today to discover your greatest enemy. What is the biggest threat you face in life?

If you want the greatest success, attack your biggest enemy.

What is it that threatens you and your way of life … you and your success … you and your family - alcoholism, sexual immorality, financial stress, anger or unforgiveness, worry, fear, sickness or disease?

This giant will taunt you, call you out, ridicule you, threaten you, scare you and control you if you let him. He thinks so much of himself because he has defeated everyone else he has ever gone up against. He sees you as nothing but a dog, no challenge and no match for his cunning skills and straight on attack. He has plans to conquer you and enslave your family.

The sad thing is that many today are working with him. They are no longer struggling against him … no longer resisting his advances but give into his taunts and obey his commands.

Don’t see yourself already as defeated and continue to live a defeated life.

Refuse to believe the giant who is staring at you, cursing you, making you afraid.

He wants us to believe that no one ever has and no one ever will defeat him … but … he is a liar – he has never met the new, anointed you with a Rock in your hand! Come on now – we can do this …

All we need do is Identify and Attack!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Healed or Whole


Tonight we are going to read a story in the New Testament concerning the healing of ten lepers. Among these lepers there was a certain Samaritan to whom Jesus makes a specific reference. Before we go to that passage of scripture, allow me to give some history which will serve to better inform us as to who the Samaritans are.

God brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan for the purpose of establishing a Holy Land, a nation of His people who would worship Him and follow His commands.

The Children of Israel fought for near 25 years to conquer the inhabitants of the land. By the time we get to the end of the book of Joshua, the Ark of the Covenant of God was set in the Tabernacle at Shiloh on a hill in the land later known as Samaria. For the next 400 years, all throughout the times of the Judges, the prophet Samuel, and even King Saul, Samaria was the central seat of government for the Land of Israel. Even after the Ark of the Covenant was lost in battle to the Philistines, the people continued to look towards Samaria for their help.

About 1050 BC King Saul was killed in battle and David was crowned king of the tribe of Judah. He ruled Judah from Hebron for 7 years before all the tribes finally accepted him as King over all the Land and all the Tribes of Israel. At that point, David set his armies to conquer the city of Jebus which had been divided to the Tribe of Benjamin. King David defeated the Jebusites, took the fortress, renamed it Jerusalem and moved the capital of his government there.

In all, David reigned 40 years before King Solomon took the throne and ruled the nation in peace for 40 years. During his reign Solomon not only built the magnificent Temple for the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem, but Solomon also built temples for the pagan gods worshipped by his many foreign wives. This brought him into disrespect and judgment by God who informed Solomon that the Kingdom would suffer for his sins after he died.

When Solomon died at age 80, his son, Rehoboam, became King. The northern 10 tribes did not accept Rehoboam’s new government and tore away from the Kingdom choosing their own King named Jeroboam. These divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah continued in conflict, one ruling from Samaria and the other from Jerusalem, until they were each defeated by foreign kings and the people taken captive and removed from their lands.

About 250 years after Solomon died, around 678BC, some years after the children of Israel had been taken captive to Assyria, the King of Assyria decided to repopulate Samaria so that the wild beasts did not take over.

2 Kings 17

22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them,

23 until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.

24 ¶ Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.

25 And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.

26 So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the God of the land; therefore He has sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land."

27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, "Send there one of the priests whom you brought from there; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the rituals of the God of the land."

28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.

29 However every nation continued to make gods of its own, and put them in the shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities where they dwelt.

30 The men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima,

31 and the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

32 So they feared the LORD, and from every class they appointed for themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places.

33 They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods — according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away.

So, the Samaritans of Jesus’ day, and indeed the Samaritans of today, are foreigners who perhaps mixed with some people of the land during the 7 Century BC. By the time Jesus walks through Samaria with His disciples, the people of that region have embraced a notion that they are the only real descendants of the original Children of Israel and that they are living in obedience to God’s commands to worship on the mountain blessed and given to them by God in the heart of Samaria.

The Samaritans did not like the Jews and the Jews did not like the Samaritans. They would not speak to each other on the road or expect to be assisted in any way. We see this spoken of by the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob when asked by Jesus to give Him a drink of water. In John 4:22, Jesus admits Himself to be a Jew, as opposed to a Samaritan, by telling the woman, “You don’t know what you worship; We know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews.” Jesus is a Jewish Jesus!

Luke 17

11 ¶ Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.

13 And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?

18 "Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"

19 And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well."

Ten lepers were healed, but only one was made whole. We can be born and raised in the church and still be a foreigner, a stranger, an alien from the common wealth and covenant of God.

“Cleansed” means “healed”. “Whole” or “Well” at the end of verse 19 is the Greek word “Sozo” which means to be made whole – spirit, soul and body … completely whole. It is the same word translated “salvation” throughout the New Testament.

This account of Luke 17 is a revelation given to us concerning the difference between being “healed” and being “whole”. What is that difference?

Healing can come to anyone, even a foreigner, a Samaritan, someone who does not even know what they worship; someone who may even fear the Lord yet serves their own gods.

In other words, many people may receive the healing or blessing of God simply because God is good and He loves everyone in the world. However, wholeness comes to the person who truly comes to Jesus with a heart of thanksgiving to worship Him.

Jesus’ experience reveals that 90 percent of the people who are blessed and healed by Him simply continue on their way, happy to be healed without falling down at His feet, thankful, or giving their worship to Him for their blessing. Faith connects us to God and …

Faith in demonstration makes us whole! Are you searching for healing or wholeness? Have faith, give thanks, and worship Him and Him alone!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Field & Fortune


The treasure of God’s blessing on our life is found in the field of God’s will for our life.

The story of the prodigal son:

Luke 15 NKJV
25 "Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 "So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
27 "And he said to him, ’Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 "But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.

The older son would not go into the house. Although he was in the family he was not in the house. We can be in the family and yet miss all that is in the house.

What was in the house?

1. There was Joy in the house.
2. There was Meat in the house.
3. There was Restoration & Relationship in the house.

Not only these, but the abiding presence of the Father was in the house.

So many times people who are in the family miss out on so much because they will not come into the house. They end up being angry and isolated not realizing the joy, provision, relationship, presence and will that is in the house.

Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The treasure is the attraction but the field is the possession. If we want the treasure we must buy the field.

Many times we are attracted to the treasure without realizing that it only yields its blessings and benefits on those who are willing to work the field.

We cannot get the treasure without working the field. Jesus said that the treasure was hidden in the field. (Concealed; covered over; in secret – unrevealed) The secret treasure is discovered by each one individually.

It’s the same principle the older brother experienced when he would not go into the house. There is joy and meat and relationship and presence and all the Father’s will available to those who come into the house and buy the field.

Today, people all over the world have bought into a false doctrine which teaches that a believer need not be in the house to be in the will. However, just being in the family is not enough.

It’s not enough to chase the attractions of the Kingdom or spend a life seeking the treasures or pleasures we all desire.

Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it .”

If you go to the store to purchase a bottle of olive oil you may find the price to be $10. However, that price does not reflect the cost. If you want to know the cost, you will need to go and ask the olive.

The cost of the treasure is not found in the price of the field.

In conclusion this morning:

1. Are you in the house? You were born a part of the family, now will you be a part? What you are missing might be in the house.
2. Did you buy the field or just the treasure? What first attracted you to Jesus; Church; Marriage; Family; Career? We get the treasure when we work the field.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Once In A Lifetime


God gives everyone one thing, the same thing … opportunity.

While there are opportunities which make themselves available day after day which we can be take advantage of at any time, other opportunities – those which often deserve our greatest attention, come along only once in a lifetime.

When it comes to making decisions, “Do today what you may never again get the chance to do”. Take advantage of the fleeting moments of life and learn to respect those “once in a lifetime” opportunities.

God has a plan and a specific part for you to play in His plan.

Just like Esther the Queen, each one of us go through seasons of preparation behind the scenes and are then positioned to act on the stage of life. It was no different for Moses or Elijah, Mary or the Apostle Paul. When it comes time for you to play your part, what will you do? What will you do with those “opportunities of a lifetime”?

Matthew 26
6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,
7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster box of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.
8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste?
9 "For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor."
10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.
11 "For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.
12 "For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.
13 "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

Matthew 26:11 “For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

So much is contained in the words of Jesus. Every time we read what is written in red, we hear the voice of God to which the universe aligns itself. Stars shine, mountains bow down, waves retreat at the sound of His voice.

His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path so that we might never stumble in the darkness but always see the way.

In verse 11, Jesus’ response to the shortsightedness of His loving disciples is a straightforward revelation of:

The First Principle of Priority
Some things cannot be done later.

When uninvolved we tend to undervalue.
A gift says nothing about the recipient and everything about the giver.

Conclusion: Without regard as to how old you are or how long you will live, you have but one life. Each day, every one of us gets one day closer to eternity … one day closer to heaven or hell.

Where will you be one minute after the door of life closes on this earth for you? What can you do one second after it is forever too late to change your mind? Some things cannot be done later! Becoming “born again” is one of those things.

Today is your opportunity to begin again by committing or recommitting your life to Jesus as Lord, Savior, Messiah and Friend.

Today is also your opportunity to begin processing priorities from a new perspective. Which is most important: To agree to work overtime, play another ball game, spend an extra day at the lease, or to attend your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary or a child’s graduation? There will be more chances for work and play, but some things simply cannot be done later. Commit to the priorities of life and build the future you won’t regret.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Turning Points


Every day is filled with opportunities and we all have turning points in life … moments when we see things from a new perspective; encounters which change us and send us down a new road. Today’s message will give you just such an opportunity – but first, turn with me to the book of Hebrews, chapter 6, for the reading of God’s Word. This morning I will be reading from “The New Living Translation”.

Hebrews 6

16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding.

17 God also bound Himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that He would never change His mind.

18 So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.

19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (NLT)

Brenda and I got married in January of 1973. I had been 18 years old for only a month while she was 19 and had already graduated from High School. The first few years of our marriage were typical of many young couples learning to live together. About the time we decided to separate, God had different plans. Our lives and marriage began to change the day that Brenda heard the witness of a missionary and prayed to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.

Within about three weeks of Brenda’s new life change, I repented of my sin and recommitted my life to Christ. We asked each other’s forgiveness and together we began a new chapter learning to serve the Lord. Soon we were building a healthy relationship, reading the Bible, attending Church and growing in our Christian faith.

In 1980 Brenda and I experienced what is commonly called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This, more than anything else in our lives as Believers, forever changed us, empowered us, inspired us and gave us a vision and passion for the things of God. This was a turning point in our life. Along with the Holy Spirit came an intense hunger to learn the Word of God and apply its truth to our everyday lives. Those days were the most exciting days we had ever encountered as we watched ourselves and those to whom we witnessed grow in the grace of God.

There were two additional turning points in our early Christian faith which were significant in keeping us on the right road. Today, more than 30 years later, I can still look back on those moments and see how they served to shape my life and perspective. I clearly remember the first one as though it happened last week.

Even though Brenda and I were born again and were truly trying to make a happy marriage, there were still times when we would have disagreements. These disagreements often went unsolved because we were both people of strong opinions and usually each of us felt like we were right. Therefore at times we saw no clear resolution to our conflict.

One day we were talking about our differences and our need to be in greater unity. That day we decided to make a commitment regarding our future together as man and wife. We agreed that we would each live a life submitted to the Word of God. And, that no matter if the other one did or not keep the commitment, we would be personally responsible for our own proper response to God’s Word.

So, we committed to each other that without regard as to who, what, when, where or why the Word of God was spoken, we would immediately and joyfully drop our guard, submit to the truth of that Word as God intended and change our response to line up with that Word.

From that day until today, I can confidently say that neither my wife nor I have failed to open our ears to God’s Word and bring our lives into line with its truth each time the Word has been spoken. Although this resolve has been tested and at times in the face of difficult and stressful moments of life, the commitment we made has held each of us firm and steady on course.

The next turning point in our lives came when we decided to begin learning the foundational truths contained in scripture. I remember our first lesson was on the integrity of God’s Word. Together we began searching for scriptures which testified to God’s faithfulness so we could memorize them for later meditation and use.

Nothing has the power to change a life more than a Word from God.

One Word from God can change a life; a mind; a situation; a heart; a relationship, forever.

One Word from God changes everything!

The first scripture Brenda and I memorized together during this season of our lives back in 1980 was Numbers 23:19.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

We memorized it in the King James Version which is a translation into the King’s English using “thee”, “thou”, and “hath”, instead of “you”, “your”, and “has”. However even with a more modern English translation the meaning is still the same. For example, “The New Living Translation” says:

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? (NLT)

One cannot be known by the promises they make but only by the promises they have kept. We know others only by their past performance and when we judge God according to this standard, we find Him faithful. What cause of doubt do we have towards God and His Word?

Even though we may judge others by what they do, we ourselves are not judged by this measure but rather we are judged only through the loving eyes of grace. God has faith in us!

God did not save you, call you or choose you because you were perfect. But He chose you because He loved you! God’s love covers imperfection.

When Brenda and I learned that God was different than anyone we had ever met; different than anyone who had ever disappointed us; different than our parents, our friends, our spouses, even different than we were ourselves … when we realized this, we found another turning point in life.

Perhaps one of the greatest turning points comes when we first realize that we can trust God.

While searching for scriptures to support what we were learning back in 1980, Brenda and I found a Psalms 89. While you turn allow me to catch us up on the background of this particular Psalm. By the way, this Psalm is not one which was written by David, but rather by a man named Ethan. In fact, the Psalm is entitled:

Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite


Instruction of Ethan the Ezrahite

Maschil is found in the title of 13 of the Psalms and is added in hopes that the songs will be re-sung with understanding as to the instructions the Psalm bears.

I don’t wish to bore those of you who cannot abide details, however for the sake of those who love them, allow me to dabble a little.

Spurgeon called Psalm 89:

“ … the majestic Covenant Psalm, which, according to the Jewish arrangement closes the third book of the Psalms. It is the utterance of a believer, in presence of great national disaster, pleading with his God, urging the grand argument of covenant engagements, and expecting deliverance and help, because of the faithfulness of Jehovah. “

It contains 52 verses of which 37 verses are testimony to the praise and promises of God and what God will do through David and his seed, 14 verses are plaintive in nature asking questions as to why everything has gone wrong with the Kingdom, and one single verse stating that God is to be blessed forever with a double Amen!

Basically, Psalm 89 teaches three things:

1. Here are the promises of God

2. Here are the problems we face

3. Yet God is greater than the paradox

Why? Because God can be trusted – and believe me, it’s not over yet!

In other words:

Your problem does not signal the failure of God’s promise.

When Brenda and I first realized this truth, it was a major turning point in our lives. This truth alone has kept me from throwing in the towel in the midnight hours of my life.

Unless and until we understand that our relationship and service to God is not based upon what we do or don’t do, but rather upon His grace and His grace alone, we may never come to the place where we truly trust God. Our faith must be in His grace.

Before God ever chose you to be His child He already knew how you were and what you did. Before He ever decided to give His Son for your salvation, He knew not only what you would do before you got saved, but he also knew all of the things you would do after you got saved, both the good and the bad decisions you would make – your successes and your failures … and He loved you anyway; and He decided to give His Only Son in exchange for you anyway!

This is why passages of scriptures like Psalms 89 are so powerful … they show us God!

Psalms 89:34 No, I will not break My covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. (NLT)

God is faithful even in our times of distress. His covenant with us is not based on our situations of life anymore than it is based on our capacity to be perfect. God’s love and promises are based only upon God and we have been included in His love by grace.

If you want to have faith, great faith, have faith in His grace.

And in times of troubles, distress, worry or battle – remember the promises of God. This is what the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to do:

1 Timothy 1

18 Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.

19 Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. (NLT)

I encourage you to use the words God has spoken about you to fight a good fight of faith. Trust in God and His grace over your life and not in your own works.

Find your tuning point today as you decide that:

You can trust God!

His grace is sufficient …

By grace are you saved through faith …

Both life and eternal life are gifts of God, not of works …

Turn your life around today!