O God, Do Not Keep Silence

“Keep not Thou silence, O God: hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, Thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head.
They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people, and consulted against Thy hidden ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.’
For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against Thee: the tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.”   Psalm 83:1-8  (KJB)

You, LORD, Have Made My Days

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
‘LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, Thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before Thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” Psalm 39:1-5 (KJB)

For, Lo, I Come

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the LORD shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for He is raised up out of his holy habitation.” Zechariah 2:10-13 (KJB)

Some thoughts from The Biblical Illustrator:

I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee

The restorer of Israel and Judah

Note that the name of “the Lord,” or “Jehovah,” is applied to two distinct persons; to Him who sends, and to Him who is sent.
Note also that in this prophecy the future restoration of the Jews is spoken of, as well as their settlement at Jerusalem after the Babylonish captivity. The words of the text evidently relate to the future restoration. A period is yet to come, of glory to God, and of prosperity to the people of Israel and Judah; and that the Son of God, the Messiah, will dwell among them, acknowledged and honoured as the Lord of hosts. Note some of the circumstances which will mark that season of the fulfilment of God’s promises to His people.

  1. The conversion of the people of Israel and Judah.
  2. The restoration of all the tribes to their own land.
  3. The people of God will be restored to their native land in the midst of wars and tumults. Their return will be preceded by violent convulsions, and by a season of disaster and tribulation, such as the world has never yet witnessed.
  4. The first and most remarkable circumstance in the condition of God’s people after their settlement in their own land, is His immediate presence among them.
  5. God will make a new covenant with them. It will involve a much higher degree of religious knowledge.
  6. The pardon of sin is mentioned as one of the promises under the new covenant.
  7. The consequence of this abundant pardon and superior know ledge is the greater practice of virtue. This superior degree of purity and holiness in the people of God, is the gift of God Himself, the effect of that abundant effusion of the Spirit which will adorn the Church under His own immediate care.
  8. The advantages will not be confined to Israel, but will flow out to other peoples.
  9. Jews and Gentiles being united as one body of faithful worshippers, a pure and holy service will be paid to God in Jerusalem. The people will enjoy all worldly and spiritual blessedness. Let us seek to attain a share of these coming blessings. (T. Bowdler, A. M.)

The joy of the Divine presence

1 No difficulty or strait can take away from the Church the true cause of her joy, nor excuse her for not rejoicing in it, for when the Jews are now a contemptible handful, deserted by their brethren, vexed by their enemies, and some of themselves conspiring against them, yet she is called to this duty, “Sing and rejoice.”

  1. The Lord’s own presence in and with His people, is His choice and matchless gift, which He is willing to give before any other thing, and which, as He will not disdain to bestow in His people’s lowest condition, so it is a gift that should occasion much joy and refreshment to them.
  2. As the Lord’s presence with His own chosen people is perpetual, and will bring intimate familiarity and love; so Himself will be at all the pains to make up this union, He will not, by sin putting Him, as it were, away for a time, be provoked to stay away, and will have this communion still upon the growing hand till they come to full fruition, for He will dwell constantly and familiarly “in the midst of thee.”
  3. It is the great ground of the Church’s encouragement, and the fountain of all other manifestations of God, that the Son of God became man, that her Redeemer is God, that He came and dwelt in our nature, and was like us in all things without sin; and that we may tryst with God in the man Christ, and know our tender-hearted Surety to be also God over all blessed forever, and able to save to the uttermost. This incarnation of Christ is it which this promise ultimately points at as the ground of their joy. “Sing, for I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah.” (George Hutcheson.)

The joy of the millennial Church

The words point to the bright periods when messiah’s kingdom shall so extend as to embrace “many nations.” Three remarks are suggested concerning this joy.

  1. It is righteous. It is not only Divinely authorised, but commanded. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” Often we are informed by religious teachers that joy is a privilege, but seldom told that joy is a duty. It is as truly a sin against heaven to be spiritually gloomy and sad, as to be socially false and dishonest. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” Similar commands are found elsewhere on the pages of Holy Writ. “Break forth into joy, sing together” (Isa_52:9). “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion” (Isa_12:6). Gratitude is joy; and ought not gratitude to fill every soul? Admiration is joy; and ought not every soul to be filled with admiration of the Divine excellence? Love is joy; and ought we not to love all creatures with the love of benevolence, and the Creator with the love of adoration?
  2. It is reasonable. But here are reasons suggested for this joy. What are they?
  3. The presence of God. “Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.” The highest happiness of an intelligent creature, is the presence of the object it supremely loves. “In Thy presence is fulness of joy.”
  4. The increase of the good. “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day.” Is not this a good reason for joy—to see the clouds of error in the human sky breaking, dissolving, vanishing, and the Sun of Truth rising, spreading, and penetrating the whole earth with its lifegiving beams? Is not this a sublime reason for lifegiving joy—“Many nations shall be joined to the Lord,” as the branches are joined to the roots of the tree, as the members of the body are joined to the head?
  5. The restoration of the Jews. “For the Lord shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.”

III. It is reverential. “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for He is raised up out of His holy habitation.” “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” The profoundest emotions of the Soul are always mute. Superficial feelings are noisy and chattering. The shallow stream rattles amongst the hills. The deep river rolls by unheard. Deep joy is silent as the stars. It is so with the godly soul. In the presence of the supremely beautiful, it is filled with a joy that cannot speak. If we are loyal subjects of the great spiritual empire, we might well be happy. (Homilist.)”  From THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR on Zechariah 2:10-13

But The LORD Is In His Holy Temple

The following is reposted from May 1, 2008.

“Woe unto him that saith to the wood, ‘Awake;’ to the dumb stone, ‘Arise,’ it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.

But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:19-20 (KJB)

We have looked at the previous four promises from chapter 1:3; 2:3, 4, 14, and the final one now in 2:20. These are wonderful promises. It is especially wonderful that the final promise is one which gives us assurance that the LORD is in His temple. There is assurance in that, because, that tells us that He is still in control.

From the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE we read, “2:20 holy temple. A reference to heaven, from where the Lord rules (Ps. 11:4) and answers the prayers of those who seek Him (1 Kings 8:28-30: Ps. 73:17).” p. 1321.

It seems that there is something here very personal for the follower of Christ as well. Since the Father who is in His holy temple sent His Son, and His Son died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again; He then sent His Spirit to dwell within all those who are His. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” Romans 8:9a (NKJV). Jesus Christ is in you who know Him and are known by Him. The LORD will not leave His temple.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV).

When all the earth comes to realize that God is the Supreme Ruler all will be silent before Him. The Psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10. In the New Testament we read,

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV).

The worship of idols always requires much noise, adulation, because they have nothing to offer. Thus much false fire. The God who made the heavens, the earth and all things in it and on it cries for our silence. Let Him be glorified by His own glory. On Habakkuk 2:20 the CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE states: “2:20 “But” signifies a striking contrast with the nothingness of idols. Jehovah the invisible God is occupying His holy temple, ready to intervene omnipotently for the deliverance and protection of His people and the destruction of their enemies. He inspires solemn adoration and profound silence (cf. Ps.68:5; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 2:13)” p. 1047 KJV.

Only false gods [idols] require much hoopla, and noise. Our God, Father of Jesus is the light of His own glory. Rest in Him who is in His temple.

Make Mention of The LORD

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:6-7 (KJV)

The prophet, speaking for the LORD makes mention of “Watchmen”. There were men set to guard the city, watching for an approaching enemy, and shouting out warning, or blowing the warning sound.

This is a call of the remnant of God to be strong in the LORD, His faith, His word, and to be faithful to Him; and to pray.  Pray even to reminding God of His promises to Israel. To do so as though they were giving God no rest.

It seems that is what diligent, fervent prayer is really.  Just for a side note. Prayer is for the people of God. Faith also is not a power of  its own; but of God, and in God alone.  God, the LORD, the Creator of all that is; also the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the Godhead.

The watchmen are the preachers, the prophets, the priests of God who still cherish  the LORD God, His word, His work, and His will. These will proclaim the word of God without fear, favor, or compromise calling God’s people to repentance and faith in Him.  They also will get a hold of God in prayer and never let Him go, reminding Him of His promises; though He never forgets them.

The power of prayer is through the faith of the crucified Lord Jesus Christ, His burial, and resurrection.  He is the Son of God, God the Son. The God Man.

Prayers of the Saints Heard by the Great High Priest

“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”  Revelation 8:1-6 (KJV)

The One who created all things, also still holds these things in His hand, to show forth wrath upon the “Inhabiters of the earth”; and the Priest who judges sin.

In the national life of Israel trumpets played an important role and had three important uses: 1) For calling the people together (Numbers 10:1-8); 2) For announcing war (Numbers 10:9); and 3) For announcing special times (Numbers 10:10).

And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (KJV).

The final seal is opened. Notice the response of Heaven. Silence. This could be caused by awe because now the book is opened and the glories and power of God are revealed. All that was concealed is now revealed to all of Heaven for the first time.

Not a whisper, nary a sigh, but only silence. Sometimes the greatest reverence is given God by our silence. The Psalmist even wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).

It is not told us why there is silence for one-half hour, but it does have to do with the seventh seal and the book [scroll]. There could be more than one reason, but I do believe the above reason is a biblical one. Other than that we just do not know.

It seems that the seven seals and the seven trumpets are interrelated. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven vials of wrath. These cannot be separated, then, because they all fit together. Each series of judgments seem to lead to a more severe wrath.

The seven angels are not named and it is not necessary to do so. They are given one trumpet each.

There is “another angel”, an eighth mentioned who seems to be a priestly angel. Some have equated this angel to being like the appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ – referred to in the Old Testament as the “Angel of the LORD”. It is not clear who this angel is. Jesus is the High Priest who atoned for our sin, and He is the One who will judge the world. Whoever he is he is fulfilling the work and ministry of a priest – unlike the work of any angel.  Since the Lamb is Christ Jesus and the One who opens the seals, I will believe this is just a completely different angel.

He stands at the brazen altar of judgment and sacrifice, with a golden censer [cup or bowl] for the incense which was given him. The incense is offered with the prayers of the saints [your prayers and mine, as well as the saints of the tribulation]. The incense is a symbol of prayer and worship.

In the Old Testament the high priest would kill the sacrifice at the brazen altar, collect the blood, and God received the offering by fire. The priest would take the golden bowl and take fire from the altar [which was never to go out Leviticus 6:12-13, and it was lit by God Leviticus 9:23-24], and enter the holy place with the blood, and with the fire, take the incense from the golden altar which was located outside the Holy of Holies [the presence of God], and he would enter the presence of God veiled in the smoke of the incense, pouring out the blood of the sacrifice at the throne of God – the presence of God. This made atonement for the people’s sins for one year.

Notice after the prayers and incense is offered to God the eighth angel takes fire in the golden censer, from the brazen altar of judgment, and casts it upon the earth.

Our prayers for deliverance; the prayers of the tribulation saints for deliverance and retribution, and for the glory of God to come will be done in God’s time. The “Imprecatory Psalms” (Psalms 7; 26; 35; 52; 55; and 58 are examples); these are not cries from selfish people, but cries for God to vindicate them according to His Word and grace.

It is amazing that God seems to store our prayers as a sweet fragrance to Him and will carry out their request in His time and according to His divine will. Have you grown weary and tired of prayer? Keep praying from a yielded and repentant, and broken heart. He hears you.

After the fire is taken from the altar and cast to the earth it causes great upheaval. Voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake. It seems clear that the censer used for offering up worship and prayer is now used to hurl judgment and vengeance upon the earth.

Nothing is said about how the seven angels “Prepared themselves”. It could be a simple thing as raising the trumpets.

Let us as the saints of God raise our hearts and voices in prayer to God.  The time which we live is urgent.  Let us begin by repentance, seeking forgiveness of sin, and seeking revival of the Church.  The world is in grave need.  Let us be the Church; the Body of Christ. The Great High Priest who forgives our sin; also judges sin.

Answer if You Know

There have been plenty of sorrows, pains and trials in my life; and in the lives of people I know and love.  I am sure most people reading this and all who are not would admit to having their share of trouble, pains, and sorrows in this life.  No one goes through life without them.  Even Jesus had His.

Today I want us to hear what God says to Job, and it comes to us as well…

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” Job 38:1-11 (KJV)

Job had lost all that he had except for his life.  He was still breathing, his heart was beating, but he was suffering. When his three friends came along and sat with him quietly, I am fairly certain that he was somewhat comforted; then, they had to open their foolish mouths and start talking.

Something the Christian must remember is that the words and thoughts of men, friend or otherwise, without knowing God, His word, His wisdom, and His Son are many times; as with Job’s friends; without much merit.

Job got what He asked for from God; and when God showed up Job got quiet.  How do you answer the above questions which God asked?  All I could answer is “I was not there. I do not know.”  Job’s silence is pretty much the same answer.

Next time I want to question God about “Why?” something happens I think I will endeavor to remember these words from God to Job.  They are for me too.

Christmas Day 4 (3, 2, Christmas Day)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to renew friendships with people I have considered friends, and endeavor to be the friend to them that I have not been; and I want to be a friend to any who are friendless, or feel that way.

I read the first two chapters of Job this morning, and saw how Job’s friends had responded to his tragedies.  They came and sat with him for 7 days and nights.  I only pray that I never stay too long as they did.

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13 (KJV)

Christmas Day Ninety and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be mindful of the negatives and the positives in God’s Word; and I want Christians all over the world to realize that without the negatives the positives do not have any use; keeping in mind “The Day of the LORD”

“Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests.” Zephaniah 1:7 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Forty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my heart to be humble before God, my mouth to be silent about things too profound for me that I do not understand, and that my hope, and strength might always be in the LORD through His Son Jesus – God the Son.

LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.” Psalm 131:1-3 (KJV)

The Enemy of God

“Keep not Thou silence, O God: hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, Thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head.” Psalm 83:1-2 (KJV)

This song of Asaph is directed toward the Godhead (Colossians 1:16-19), to ‘El, the Mighty One of the Godhead.  It appears that Asaph has been feeling like God is being silent, in the midst of facing the enemy of Israel.

Like Asaph when we feel like God is being silent we need to see our enemy as God’s enemy; and God’s enemy as our enemy.  The Prime Minister of Israel in his recent speech to a Joint Session of Congress made the statement, “So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy”.  Christian the enemy of God is definitely your enemy.

The psalmist calls for God to fight against His enemies. Do you desire to hear God speak on the matter of your troubles and heart aches; even sometimes of our own making?  Then, you can cry out to Him.We must understand though that the enemies of God are not our troubles.

The enemies of God are those who seek to through down every principle of holiness, godliness, righteousness, justice, peace, and love of God.  The enemy of God is evil, and unrighteousness, and every vain thing that seeks to exalt itself against the LORD (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).  We must not rely on the flesh of men – even our own – to deliver us from the enemy of God.

Remember that God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day.  He is returning soon to rid the word of all unrighteousness.  Trust Him today.

Waiting

“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation.” Psalm 62:1 (KJV)

There is much said in Scripture of waiting.  Patience is the key to this word, and I do not know about you, but I am not often a patient person.  I believe The Lord has taught me patience over the years I have grown in Him.  Today, as I have in the past I will let someone else do the commentary on this verse.

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we read,

David’s profession of dependence upon God, and upon him only, for all good (Psa_62:1): Truly my soul waiteth upon God. Nevertheless (so some) or “However it be, whatever difficulties or dangers I may meet with, though God frown upon me and I meet with discouragements in my attendance on him, yet still my soul waits upon God” (or is silent to God, as the word is), “Says nothing against what he does, but quietly expects what he will do.” We are in the way both of duty and comfort when our souls wait upon God, when we cheerfully refer ourselves, and the disposal of all our affairs, to his will and wisdom, when we acquiesce in and accommodate ourselves to all the dispensations of his providence, and patiently expect a doubtful event, with an entire satisfaction in his righteousness and goodness, however it be. Is not my soul subject go God? So the Septuagint. So it, certainly so it ought to be; our wills must be melted into his will. My soul has respect to God, for from him cometh my salvation. He doubts not but his salvation will come, though now he was threatened and in danger, and he expects it to come from God, and from him only; for in vain is it hoped for from hills and mountains, Jer_3:23; Psa_121:1, Psa_121:2. “From him I know it will come, and therefore on him will I patiently wait till it does come, for his time is the best time.” We may apply it to our eternal salvation, which is called the salvation of God (Psa_50:23); from him it comes; he prepared it for us, he prepares us for it, and preserves us to it, and therefore let our souls wait on him, to be conducted through this world to that eternal salvation, in such way as he thinks fit.

from the Matthew Henry Commentary

Hear this from the prophet Isaiah,

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

The LORD My Rock

“Unto Thee will I cry, O LORD my Rock; be not silent to me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” Psalm28:1 (KJV)

The Psalmist David is praying again.  It is important to pray.  It is important to whom you pray even more.  David prayed to the One he calls “My Rock”.  Who is this Rock?  He is the One who followed the Israelites through the wilderness of the Exodus.

The apostle Paul says, “And that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).

Have you; as a Christian; ever felt as though He was being silent to you?  That silence is a motivation to be fervent, to be earnest, to be patient, and bold in your praying.  This is something I must remember.

It does seem when you begin to feel as though He is silent to you that also feel like one whom God will not hear; like those who “Go down to the pit”.  They are those who do not know God; those who have chosen to reject His free gift of grace, and refuse to receive His daily mercies.

You can go to the Rock, and He will hear you.  That Rock is Jesus Christ Son of the Living God, and God of the living.

The Time for Wise Actions

For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.  Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.  Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.  Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.  Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; ‘Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! alas!’ and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.  And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.”  Amos 5:12-17 (KJV)

If you will note the way of things as the prophet Amos declares them.  Bribery, the poor cannot get a fair deal.  His word is to “Seek good, not evil” and to “Hate the evil,…Love the good, establish judgment in the gate…”  We live in an era of decay; moral decay and depravity, injustice in the courts, through wrong and at times idiotic rulings by corrupt judges.

“Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.”  It could be that the prudent or wise, need rather than speaking, just need to act on doing the right things.  Something to think about.  There is of course a time to do both.

-T.A.