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Psalm 94

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

 

Shine forth, O God of vengeance;
Bring judgment on the proud;
They overflow with boasting
And shout their crimes aloud.
They kill the helpless orphan,
The stranger in the land,
And say, “He does not see us
“And cannot understand.”

Give heed, you foolish people
Who mock at His decrees:
He made the ear and hears you!
He formed the eye and sees!
The Judge of all will punish;
His grasp of truth is sure;
All plots are plain before Him,
And they cannot endure.

How blest are those You chasten,
Who learn Your law, O Lord!
Through trial, You will sustain them
And grant a right reward.
You hear my cry for justice
And hold me when I fall;
When troubles overwhelm me,
You cheer me through them all.

Can You support corruption
When wicked laws arise
That work against the righteous
And kill the just with lies?
The Lord has been my fortress,
The refuge of my joys,
But all who trust in evil
He baffles and destroys.

I Am With You Always

Thursday, February 14, 2019

 

I am with you always,
Joining in each moment,
Sharing each emotion,
Tasting joy and weeping.
When your hours are lonely
And their joys desert you,
You are not forsaken;
I am with you always.

I am with you always,
When your foes assail you;
Though they press you greatly,
Still I will be greater.
Strong despite your weakness,
Faithful through your doubting--
Who can stand against you?
I am with you always.

I am with you always,
When your time is nearing;
Mine, the hand that guides you,
Ending to beginning.
When the darkness gathers
And your eyes are closing,
Hear My final whisper,
“I am with you always.”

Wholly Devoted

Thursday, November 29, 2018

 

 

Wholly devoted to Christ may I be:

Saved by my faith in His mercy to me,

Bound to my Master, yet joyful and free,

Wholly devoted to Jesus!

 

Wholly devoted, resolved to be pure,

Scorning the passing for what shall endure,

Journeying upward with step light and sure,

Wholly devoted to Jesus!

 

Wholly devoted in work and in prayer,

Useful for service and ready to share,

Never distracted by blessing or care,

Wholly devoted to Jesus!

 

Wholly devoted from day until night,

Trusting His promise as faith becomes sight,

Praising His glory through ages of light,

Wholly devoted to Jesus!

The Prey of the Mighty

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

 

Can the prey of the mighty be taken
Or the slaves of the tyrant restored?
Yet in God none of these are forsaken,
That all flesh may acclaim Him as Lord.

He will lift up His hand to the nations,
And a sign will be raised in His name
So His sons will be borne to salvation
And His daughters, delivered from shame.

Thus the Lord by His manifold graces
From bereavement shall rescue the land;
In the waste and the desolate places,
There the throngs of His children will stand.

Incomplete Fulfillment

Monday, October 29, 2018

 

In the first part of the book of Ezra, we see an incredible thing.  After 70 years of exile, the people of Judah are returning to Canaan.  God had predicted this return through His prophets, but human wisdom would never have believed it possible. 

After all, the Jewish nation was destroyed after repeated rebellions against the Babylonians.  Because the kings of Judah refused to be good little vassals, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, destroyed it (including Solomon’s temple), and carried its people captive.  Nations simply don’t come back from disasters like that, but the Jews did.

However, as the events of the first half of Ezra reveal, despite their return, all is not well in the promised land.  Even though they have returned to Jerusalem, they are still subjects of the Persian Empire.  The Persians have no trouble interfering with their lives, to the point of forbidding them to rebuild the temple for decades. 

As a result, the fulfillment of God’s promises can only be described as incomplete.  Yes, they’re back in the land, but they’re not free, and they certainly aren’t enjoying the golden age that prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah promised.  Even hundreds of years later, during the time of Christ, righteous men like Simeon are still “waiting for the consolation of Israel”. 

By then, the Jews have exchanged Persian overlords for Roman overlords, but their overall state of bondage has not changed.  Even when God fulfills His prophecies through Jesus, many of His people find that fulfillment unacceptably alien.  They are so set on a physical understanding of grace that rather than accepting their Messiah, they plunge instead into a doomed revolt against Rome.

Today, we have a much better understanding of Old-Testament prophecies than the Jews did, but it is still our experience that God has incompletely fulfilled His promises to us.  Yes, we have life in Christ, but Christians still die.  Yes, we have peace in Christ, but we live in a world that is filled with conflict and even persecution.  Yes, Jesus is with us always, but no human eye has seen Him for 2000 years. 

Like the Jews of the time of Zerubbabel, then, like Simeon, we are still looking for the consolation of Israel.  We don’t believe that God has broken faith with us because we recognize that He never intended for us to enjoy the fullness of His blessings in this life.  Pop Christianity to the contrary, we are not living our best life now, nor should we expect to.  Indeed, if this were our best life, we would be of all people most to be pitied. 

Our eyes are not fixed on the here-and-now.  Instead, they are fixed on the future.  We expectantly wait for the return of Jesus, not because we have already figured out how He will fulfill God’s promises to us, but because we trust that their fulfillment will be better than we imagine.  In that day, finally, after thousands of years of waiting, will God’s people enjoy the fullness of His grace.

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