I Will Sing Of Mercy and Judgment

“I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto Thee, O LORD, will I sing. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt Thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.”  Psalm 101:1-8  (KJB)

Full Of The Goodness Of The LORD

“Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Sing unto Him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. For the word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.”  Psalm 33:1-5 (KJB)

The Pillar and Ground of Truth

“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:14-16  (KJB)

I will give you some words for study and thought. It is a bit lengthy, but well worth reading.  Be blessed.

From Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Timothy 3:14-16…

He concludes the chapter with a particular direction to Timothy. He hoped shortly to come to him, to give him further directions and assistance in his work, and to see that Christianity was well planted, and took root well, at Ephesus; he therefore wrote the more briefly to him. But he wrote lest he should tarry long, that Timothy might know how to behave himself in the house of God, how to conduct himself as became an evangelist, and the apostle’s substitute. Observe,

  1. Those who are employed in the house of God must see to it that they behave themselves well, lest they bring reproach upon the house of God, and that worthy name by which they are called. Ministers ought to behave themselves well, and to look not only to their praying and preaching, but to their behaviour: their office binds them to their good behaviour, for any behaviour will not do in this case. Timothy must know how to behave himself, not only in the particular church where he was now appointed to reside for some time, but being an evangelist, and the apostle’s substitute, he must learn how to behave himself in other churches, where he should in like manner be appointed to reside for some time; and therefore it is not the church of Ephesus, but the catholic church, which is here called the house of God, which is the church of the living God. Observe here, 1. God is the living God; he is the fountain of life, he is life in himself, and he gives life, breath, and all things to his creatures; in him we live, and move, and have our being, Act_17:25, Act_17:28. 2. The church is the house of God, he dwells there; the Lord has chosen Zion, to dwell there. “This is my rest, here will I dwell, for I have chosen it;” there may we see God’s power and glory, Psa_63:2.
  2. It is the great support of the church that it is the church of the living God, the true God in opposition to false gods, dumb and dead idols.
  3. As the church of God, it is the pillar and ground of truth; that is, either, (1.) The church itself is the pillar and ground of truth. Not that the authority of the scriptures depends upon that of the church, as the papists pretend, for truth is the pillar and ground of the church; but the church holds forth the scripture and the doctrine of Christ, as the pillar to which a proclamation is affixed holds forth the proclamation. Even to the principalities and powers in heavenly places is made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, Eph_3:10. (2.) Others understand it of Timothy. He, not he himself only, but he as an evangelist, he and other faithful ministers, are the pillars and ground of truth; it is their business to maintain, hold up, and publish, the truths of Christ in the church. It is said of the apostles that they seemed to be pillars, Gal_2:9. [1.] Let us be diligent and impartial in our own enquiries after truth; let us buy the truth at any rate, and not think much of any pains to discover it. [2.] Let us be careful to keep and preserve it. “Buy the truth, and sell it not (Pro_23:23), do not part with it on any consideration.” [3.] Let us take care to publish it, and to transmit it safe and uncorrupted unto posterity. [4.] When the church ceases to be the pillar and ground of truth, we may and ought to forsake her; for our regard to truth should be greater than our regard to the church; we are no longer obliged to continue in the church than she continues to be the pillar and ground of truth.
  4. But what is the truth which the churches and ministers are the pillars and grounds of? He tells us (1Ti_3:16) that without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. The learned Camero joins this with what goes before, and then it runs thus: “The pillar and ground of the truth, and without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.” He supposes this mystery to be the pillar, etc. Observe,

(1.) Christianity is a mystery, a mystery that could not have been found out by reason or the light of nature, and which cannot be comprehended by reason, because it is above reason, though not contrary thereto. It is a mystery, not of philosophy or speculation; but of godliness, designed to promote godliness; and herein it exceeds all the mysteries of the Gentiles. It is also a revealed mystery, not shut up and sealed; and it does not cease to be a mystery because now in part revealed. But,

(2.) What is the mystery of godliness? It is Christ; and here are six things concerning Christ, which make up the mystery of godliness. [1.] That he is God manifest in the flesh: God was manifest in the flesh. This proves that he is God, the eternal Word, that was made flesh and was manifest in the flesh. When God was to be manifested to man he was pleased to manifest himself in the incarnation of his own Son: The Word was made flesh, Joh_1:14. [2.] He is justified in the Spirit. Whereas he was reproached as a sinner, and put to death as a malefactor, he was raised again by the Spirit, and so was justified from all the calumnies with which he was loaded. He was made sin for us, and was delivered for our offences; but, being raised again, he was justified in the Spirit; that is, it was made to appear that his sacrifice was accepted, and so he rose again for our justification, as he was delivered for our offences, Rom_4:25. He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, 1Pe_3:18. [3.] He was seen of angels. They worshipped him (Heb_1:6); they attended his incarnation, his temptation, his agony, his death, his resurrection, his ascension; this is much to his honour, and shows what a mighty interest he had in the upper world, that angels ministered to him, for he is the Lord of angels. [4.] He is preached unto the Gentiles. This is a great part of the mystery of godliness, that Christ was offered to the Gentiles a Redeemer and Saviour; that whereas, before, salvation was of the Jews, the partition-wall was now taken down, and the Gentiles were taken in. I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, Act_13:47. [5.] That he was believed on in the world, so that he was not preached in vain. Many of the Gentiles welcomed the gospel which the Jews rejected. Who would have thought that the world, which lay in wickedness, would believe in the Son of God, would take him to be their Saviour who was himself crucified at Jerusalem? But, notwithstanding all the prejudices they laboured under, he was believed on, etc. [6.] He was received up into glory, in his ascension. This indeed was before he was believed on in the world; but it is put last, because it was the crown of his exaltation, and because it is not only his ascension that is meant, but his sitting at the right hand of God, where he ever lives, making intercession, and has all power, both in heaven and earth, and because, in the apostasy of which he treats in the following chapter, his remaining in heaven would be denied by those who pretend to bring him down on their altars in the consecrated wafers. Observe, First, He who was manifest in flesh was God, really and truly God, God by nature, and not only so by office, for this makes it to be a mystery. Secondly, God was manifest in flesh, real flesh. Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, Heb_2:14. And, what is more amazing, he was manifest in the flesh after all flesh had corrupted his way, though he himself was holy from the womb. Thirdly, Godliness is a mystery in all its parts and branches, from the beginning to the end, from Christ’s incarnation to his ascension. Fourthly, It being a great mystery, we should rather humbly adore it, and piously believe it, than curiously pry into it, or be too positive in our explications of it and determinations about it, further than the holy scriptures have revealed it to us

The Church is a visable entity seen in the local assembly through the Biblical teaching of its pastor, teachers, each faithful individual; also the worship of each congregation in singing of hymns, songs, spiritual songs, and being stewards in giving of our time, and God given resources.

Just to point out  one more thing.  Each of the  apostle Paul’s letters to churches – Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica – were written to the local congregation of that city.

 

Words of the Prophets – Zephaniah

“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.  The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.  In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.  The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.  I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.  Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.  At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.” Zephaniah 3:14-20 (KJV)

Christmas Day Forty Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want for this Lord’s Day to be a day the people appear in their Sunday morning Bible Studies, Worship and evening Worship to only sing, pray, praise, preach and glorify Jesus Christ; to be prepared for the week ahead, to be the witnesses of Christ, filled with His Spirit, walking with Him; so that others might desire to know Him.

“For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 (KJV)

Christmas Day Fifty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

It is the Lord’s Day once again.  I want to be filled with the Spirit of God today, to walk with Him, and to be a vibrant, faithful, diligent, fervent praying, witnessing servant of God; and always looking forward to that day when I see Jesus face to face.

“Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 149:5-9 (KJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day 160

“And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” Isaiah 12:4-6 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

Today I want to always see God as the One and only who is worthy of all my praise, and worship; I want to boast of Him, His power, His works, His grace, His love, His Sovereignty, His presence…; I want to always see that He  has done the “Excellent things” that are known in all the earth; and I want my voice to ring throughout the whole world, starting at home, and my community of His greatness.

When You Sing unto the LORD

“But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6 (KJV)

David is noted as being the author of this Psalm. In the beginning of it he has questioned “How long will You forget me, O LORD?”, and “How long will You hide Your face from me?” He has felt as though the LORD has neglected him, and is not listening to his pleas.

He has felt that his enemy is being exalted over him, and he is the one suffering for it. Does it ever seem that way for you? I must admit I have had my moments of despair, doubt, and fear.

Notice though how David ends this prayer song. “I have trusted in Thy mercy, my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.” How quickly things can change when you find yourself before the face of God; and all the questions seem to fade away.

When you get before the face of God the questions no longer matter. Have you ever heard someone say; or maybe you have said it yourself: “When I get to heaven I have a lot of questions I want to ask God?” I have thought that in years past, but I have learned also that when I get to see God face to face all the questions that I have thought I would ask will not even matter then. I believe that because when I have asked them here, and received the peace and comfort of God; the questions no longer mattered.  They certainly will not matter then.

Why does David place His trust in the LORD? “…Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” When we see God, His grace, His work in us where else is there to place our trust? Nowhere else; and No other One. He is our mercy and our salvation.

You will not begin to see His wondrous bounty, mercy, grace; until you come to Him through His Son Jesus who bled and died on the cross, was buried and bodily arose from the grave.  Trust Jesus Christ and His finished work; then witness the greatness and power and bounty of God as one of His own.

Joyous, Glorious Salvation

“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” Nehemiah 12:43 (KJV)

The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and their return to Jerusalem was cause for great joy. It was celebrated by the sacrifices; great numbers of lambs, bulls and the bringing of the first fruits of the fields were offered. There was much music and singing.

The celebration was filled with joy. It was the “joy of Jerusalem”. The people had returned after 70 years of captivity.

Everyday the Christian should celebrate the deliverance which Jesus Christ has provided for us through the sacrifice of His own blood. There were many sacrifices offered that day in Jerusalem, but all that blood was only a portrayal of the blood of the one sacrifice that could eternally take away sin.

When an individual trust in Christ as the sacrifice for sin we can rest assured that our salvation; our redemption is secured for all eternity. There is “Great Joy” in the heart of the follower of Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Jesus will never occur again.

See these verse: 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 7:17 – 27

Praising and Honoring God With Music

“And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.” 1 Chronicles 6:31-32 (KJV)

These verses begin a chronicled list of Levites whom David placed as the authority over the singing in the “Tabernacle of the congregation” after it was brought to Jerusalem thus the phrase “after that the ark had rest”. You find that genealogy from verses 33-48.

I believe the LORD likes us to sing unto Him in worship. I also believe He is glorified with instruments of music, as they are played unto Him. He is glorified when we are enjoying Him. John Piper has written, “God is most glorified in us; when we are most satisfied in Him” and music is one way that is expressed when it honors His name, His holiness, and His righteousness.

I sometimes laugh as I drive in a city once in a while, and occasionally I will see folks in their cars tapping the steering wheel, or moving to the rhythm of a song they are listening; maybe even singing along. I laugh, because I find myself doing that, just about every time I have the car radio on, and listening to a good uplifting God honoring song.

Sing a song today, and honor God in your music.

Whom We Praise

“I will praise Thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto Thee.” Psalm 138:1 (KJV)

The Psalmist, David, does not even mention His name.  He feels no need to; anymore than a child standing before their father feels a need to call the man they adore by name.  “Thee”, or “You” is all that he needs to say.

Jehovah is the One of whom he speaks, because David addressed no other.  The nations around worshipped many gods; but David only one.  Many gods were put to shame by Jehovah as He delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 12:12).  All the Egyptian gods were shown to be powerless; because idols require the strength of their makers.

It is with stretched out hands and arms, and with music David praised the LORD.  There is no other worthy of praise.  Let us with heart, hands, tongue, mind, voice and music always praise the LORD.

Let that praise begin through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only place it can truly begin.

Captivity

“When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” Psalm 126:1-2 (KJV)

The verses from Psalms whether written following the Egyptian captivity and the people’s deliverance, or the Babylonian captivity is of little importance.  Zion had been taken captive, and you yourself may be in captivity as I write.

I am a captive.  I will let you know in a moment what I am a captive of.  The people of Zion, Israel, if you will were captive for 70 years in Babylon, and when their deliverance came just as God had said, then, they were rejoicing.  “We were like them that dream” the Psalmist says.

It seemed almost unbelievable.  Are you a captive today.  Does sin hold you captive?  Are you doing things you know to be wrong, and then feel guilt following the act? Maybe no guilt, but you know it is wrong?  You are a captive to your own sins.  It rules you.  It controls you.

There is freedom from sin.  Sin is a horrible master.

I told you moments ago that I am captive.  What am I captive to?  To love, mercy and grace of God shown to me through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Through Him I am free from sins bondage, sins weight, drudgery, guilt, condemnation, and fear.  I am captive to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Son of God, and God the Son.  He set me free.  My mouth is filled with laughter, and my tongue with singing unto Him.

The LORD has done great things for all those who are captive to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Singing Mercy and Judgment

“I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto Thee, O LORD, will I sing.” Psalm 101:1 (KJV)

This a Psalm of David.  A man who knew of God’s mercy and judgment.  We ought to be thankful for His lovingkindness, and His chastisement of His own.  Our hearts filled with song, and singing to the One who alone is worthy of song and praise.

Of this verse and song, Spurgeon has written,

“I will sing of mercy and judgment.” He would extol both the love and the severity, the sweets and the bitters, which the Lord had mingled in his experience; he would admire the justice and the goodness of the Lord. Such a song would fitly lead up to godly resolutions as to his own conduct, for that which we admire in our superiors we naturally endeavour to imitate. Mercy and judgment would temper the administration of David, because he had adoringly perceived them in the dispensations of his God. Everything in God’s dealings with us may fittingly become the theme of song, and we have not viewed it aright until we feel we can sing about it. We ought as much to bless the Lord for the judgment with which he chastens our sin, as for the mercy with which he forgives it; there is as much love in the blows of his hand as in the kisses of his mouth. Upon a retrospect of their lives instructed saints scarcely know which to be most grateful for – the comforts which have cheered them, or the afflictions which have purged them. “Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.” Jehovah shall have all our praise. The secondary agents of either the mercy or the judgment must hold a very subordinate place in our memory, and the Lord alone must be hymned by our heart. Our soul’s sole worship must be the lauding of the Lord. The Psalmist forsakes the minor key, which was soon to rule him in the one hundred and second Psalm, and resolves that, come what may, he will sing, and sing to the Lord too, whatever others might do.
from THE TREASURY OF DAVID

O, let us sing of the LORD’S mercy and judgment.  Let us sing.

All the Earth, Singing

“O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless His name; shew forth His salvation from day to day.” Psalm 96:1-2 (KJV)

You will note much singing in the Psalms.  This Psalm is accredited to David in 1 Chronicles 16:7 where this Psalm is first noted, and verses 23-33 are much unchanged.  I would be in error if that be the case of an earlier statement I made in this study of Psalms.  Just proves that I am still learning.

One day those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ will sin a new song around the throne.  We will sing a song of redemption, of the Lamb, of the glory of God. We will sing. We will sing the song of salvation.

In the mean time let us show forth His glorious salvation everyday.  May we live to honor and glorify His name; that others may see Him in us.

A Song to Sing

“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 89:1 (KJV)

A Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite is the title of this Psalm.  A song of instruction; and surely there is not much else to sing of than of the LORD and His mercy.

The mercy of the LORD is everlasting.  There is another of the Psalms which magnifies the mercy of the LORD.  Psalm 136 has every verse ending with “For His mercy endureth forever”.  The mercies of God.  Let that be your song for today.

Part of His mercies is also that He is faithful.  He is faithful to every generation.  He is faithful to all the earth, and to all His creation.  He is faithful to His own glory, power and praise.

Sing a song today; and let it be a song of His mercies.  The greatest display of His mercy was by the judgment of His Son Jesus on the cross for your sins and mine.

Music, Singing and GOD

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.  O LORD, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”  Habakkuk 3:1-2 (KJV)

There is much that could be said about music and singing and for that matter GOD.  Habakkuk, at the beginning of his prophecy was asking questions.  It was like he was blaming God for not watching over His people, protecting them, but letting the enemies of the earth run rough shod over them.

At the end of his prophecy he uses a term which is probably related to music somehow.  It is not quite clear what the meaning of “Shigionoth” is.  God, however, must enjoy music and singing; and I know that the human race enjoys it very well.  Billions of dollars have been spent on buying recordings over the past 50 years in order for us to be able to drive down the road, put in a tape, a CD, plug in an iPod, or a jump drive, and listen to our hearts content.

Yesterday morning I heard on a radio program that NASA has discovered a “Plasma ring” around our planet; and within that ring are radio waves.  Evidently NASA sent up listening devices, and recorded sounds within that Plasma ring.  It almost sounds like a form of music.  Our Creator has made the earth to sing.

For more from Habakkuk you may want to follow this link to a post from February 28, 2008 here at Fire and Hammer.

The greatest song ever sung was in the death of God’s only begotten Son dying to pay the sin debt of the human race.

-T.A.

Day 42 – Thoughts from Psalms; Creator

When it comes to the Psalms we find much to sing and say about our Creator.  Some of the intellect of our day believe that all that is just came to pass by chance, or cosmic explosion alone; but where, O where did the materials come from that “caused the explosion”?

My reading today was Psalms 94 – 107 for my 14 chapters for the day.  My reading in the Psalms is not taking me as long in time as previously reading in Genesis through Esther; however, it is still quite fulfilling, and a great learning adventure.

The Bible speaks much about GOD, and His creating of all that is.  We seem most of it in the reading of the first two chapters of Genesis, but the rest of the Bible reveals things about creation as well.  We will today, look at the Creator, rather than His creation.

“O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.  Sing unto the LORD, bless His name; shew forth His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.  For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.”  Psalm 96:1-5 (KJV)

The psalmist sings “unto the LORD  a new song”, and calls on “all the earth” to sing unto the LORD.  Is there some reason for the psalmist to sing out and call for the earth to “Sing unto the LORD”?  Most certainly it is because the Creator is worthy of our song and singing.  The one’s who sing this “new song” unto the LORD are people who have experienced “His salvation” and we are to show it forth to all the earth every day.

There are far to many people who profess to know God, and who will give Him honor one day a week, but then, will live solely for themselves the other six days in a week.  They are ruthless, ungodly, cruel, and demeaning in the business place, and are indeed no blessing to the LORD during those days.

Those who sing the new song unto the LORD speak of His wonders among all the people.  We speak of the wonderful salvation He has provided for us through His Son Jesus Christ.  We speak of the glories of the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection; that He still lives, and is our intercessor daily before the throne of God.

Some might say, “Well the Bible recognizes that there are other gods”.  Oh really?  It recognizes that there are idols that people through deception have chosen to worship, but that is not a recognition of other gods.  It is a recognition of the frailty, rebellion and sin of the human.  It could also be seen as the need of the human to worship something greater than one’s self.  However, idols are man made, and are patterned after something GOD created.  As the psalmist has said elsewhere, “They that make them are like unto them” (Psalm 115:8; 135:18).  The only thing on earth that is supposed to be in the image of GOD, is the human race; and due to sin that image has been greatly marred.

That is why Jesus Christ came, bled and died on a cruel, rugged cross; was buried, and bodily rose from the grave, and eternally lives.

“Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.” 96:12-13

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 28 – Music in Battle

Music and singing are not often thought of as tools of fighting a battle, especially by armies.  In the reading for today 2 Chronicles 9 – 22 there is a king, Jehoshaphat, who sets the musicians at the forefront of a battle.

I use to think that musicals for a movie, even a theatrical play, were somewhat ludicrous.  However, in recent years I have began to see the power music has over life.  Our lives are musicals when you stop and think about it.  I do not know a single individual who does not enjoy music of one kind or another.  I heard music all my life.  I grew up with my Dad playing guitar, a grand father who played the fiddle (that is a a violin, for you city, society folk).

Music has a way of building a mood, good or bad mood.  It can encourage, make fearful, distrustful, suspicious, doubtful, angry; or discourage, bold, trusting, full of faith, and loving.  There are even certain kinds of music that can cause one to go crazy; at least in my estimation.

The passage of Scripture I have in mind is,

“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.’  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, ‘Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.’   And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.     For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.   And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.”  2 Chronicles 20:20-24 (KJV)

A vast army made up of Ammon, Moab, and Seir; nations whom the LORD had told Israel to let be as they were journeying through the wilderness from Egypt; were not attacking in joint effort to conquer Judah, and king Jehoshaphat.  This king was a good king who made several mistakes, but forsaking the LORD was not one of them.

Jehoshaphat’s first act when he realizes they are being attacked is to call on the LORD for help (20:3-13).  A Levite named Jahaziel receives a message from the Spirit of the LORD;

“Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.   Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.'”   2 Chronicles 20:15-17

Notice in those verses that the LORD, speaking through his prophet, says, “Ye shall not need to fight this battle…”.  It was God’s battle, and then all Jehoshaphat did was arrange a choir to sing praise unto the LORD and the beauty of His holiness.  It would seem that to do this in faith they would have gone out without a weapon, except the singers.

In the Bible the LORD thinks much of music and singing.  We find the Song of Moses (Exodus 15); the Song of Deborah (Judges 5); and then there is a whole Hymnal in the center of the Bible called The Psalms.  There are songs in the Revelation.

Many of us face stress, distress, fear, in various forms and for many reasons.  If we would apply certain music to our lives that is some battles that we can overcome.  Music that praises the LORD, and glorifies Him will lift our hearts from fear to faith; and a battle is won.

The people of Judah went out against Ammon, Moab, and Seir believing God would give them victory.  A choir went forth singing praises to the beauty of holiness of the LORD, and the invading armies turned on one another.  Not a single weapon was raised by Judah that day; not a soul was lost of Judah; because they trusted in the LORD for their deliverance.

Are you fearful today?  Are you distressed?  Does the battle you are facing seem too much for you to handle?  There is nothing too big for God.  Trust His Son Jesus Christ, and you will need not fear anything ever again.

For the Christian singing means being filled with the Spirit,

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  Ephesians 5:18-21 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 26 – David, Priest and King

David, as a shepherd boy, had a heart for God.  While he was doing the task of taking care of the family flock and herds he meditated upon God and His Word; writing and singing songs [Psalms].  He would become angry when ever he heard and enemy or anyone defy the name of Jehovah [YHWH].  While Saul is still king David is anointed by Samuel to be the future king of Israel; and he honors God’s anointed king Saul, serving him faithfully; even thought king Saul hates him.

There is an episode in David’s life after he becomes king of Israel when he endeavors to bring the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem; the holy city; the city of David.  In his first attempt he fails to follow the direction of God’s Word and commandments, and a man named Uzzah perishes as he reaches out to secure the ark as the oxen stumble (2 Samuel 6:1-11; 1 Chronicles 13:7-14).

I have heard several individuals say something like, “David danced naked before the LORD”, but that is a very false assumption, based on the words of David’s angry wife, Michal, daughter of Saul.

My reading this morning was 1 Chronicles 10 -23, and this story was retold for our benefit, and maybe with a little more detail.  That is why we must, as Christians, be diligent in the reading and study of the Word of God.

After the failed attempt at bringing the Ark to Jerusalem David went to the Word of God, rather than following the example of the Philistines (carrying the ark on a cart, pulled by oxen), and David discovered.

“For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.  And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 15:13-15 (KJV)

In Second Samuel 6:14 we read, “David was girded with a linen ephod”, and in First Chronicles 15:27 we read,

“And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.”

In this we see David has taken on the role of priest.  David is a picture of Christ here.  When king Saul tried to be a priest (1 Samuel 13:8-16) he was soundly rebuked for doing so, and lost the kingdom for it.  What marks the difference for these two kings?  First Saul was of a rebellious spirit, and refused to wait on the LORD; David on the other hand had a heart to do what God pleased, and seek His counsel.

If an individual has a heart for God, loving His commandments, hiding His Word in the heart, and cherishing His every moment with Him, then they will have the heart of a priest; as David did, and as Jesus Christ the Son of God has as well.

Michal, Saul’s daughter despises David when she sees him coming into Jerusalem without the garments of a king; but rather the garments of a priest;

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, ‘How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!”  2 Samuel 6:20

Maybe it was her pride of being a kings daughter; her lack of a  heart for God, but due to her actions against her husband she never gave birth to children.

Those who are in Christ Jesus are priests and kings, according to Revelation 1:6 and 5:10.  If you, however, do not love the Word of God, and are failing to hid it in your heart that you not sin against Him; then it is highly questionable whether you are known by Him.

David danced before the Lord in priestly garments.  When we put on Christ He is the King of kings and Priests of all priest; and we are kings and priests through Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Worship the LORD

With the weekend coming up, and Sunday only two days away worship should be a fitting topic for today.  Excitement, dancing, clapping of hands, jumping up and down, shouting words of worship are not necessarily worship.  Especially, in a Christian setting where Jesus Christ is to be worshipped. (By the way, I know I am spelling “worshipped” wrong compared to the new spelling.  I prefer the old way.  With two p’s).

I want us to look at Psalm 96 today.  It has much to say about worship.  Particularly verse 9,

“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.”  Psalm 96:9 (KJV)

“Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” may have to do with garments the people of God wore as they attended the tabernacle, or the temple; however there is a much better understanding of that, which would be one’s life lived with love and adoration of the One we worship.

There is a reference in this Psalm to “gods of the nations” (vv. 4-5), and I believe that is for a reason.  In the worship of the “gods of the nations” it involved much debauchery, and lewd practices with suggestive dancing and moving bodies.  The worship of our LORD is “in the beauty of holiness”; with no sexually suggestive moves, or profane acts.

Now, please do not take me wrong.  I think a little hand clapping to the timing of the music is okay; as long as it is done with the heart of praise to the Creator who alone is worthy of our praise, honor, glory and worship.

Remember what Jesus told the woman at the well,

“Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:21-24 (KJV)

God is holy, and His people must worship Him in the BEAUTY OF HOLINESS; not after the fashion of those attending a Rock concert.  There is a “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3), and that garment must be holiness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

O LORD, Hear Me

It is in the heart of every born again individual; that is every one who has been born of God through His Son Jesus Christ; to pray and longs for acknowledgment in that prayer.  We have assurance from God’s Word that when we pray He hears us.

In Psalm 86 we have the Psalmist singing a prayer; and I want us to look at verse 1 which reads,

“Bow down Thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.” Psalm 86:1

This is one of my favorite Psalms.  I have often read it and prayed these words as I read them.  I know that God will hear the heart that prays His Word.  The child of God is assured of having the ear of God, when we are humble before Him as the great and awesome, Creator and GOD that He is.

No wonder the writer of Hebrews said,

 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16

Since we can come boldly to the throne of grace; God’s throne; then surely that is a promise of His hearing our prayers.  To come boldly.  Come without fear of refusal, rejection, or denial of you and your requests.  Come boldly into His presence, because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and resurrection has sealed it forever.

Jesus said,

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

If Jesus tells us to ask, then we can be assured that God will “Bow down” His “ear” and hear us when we pray.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Our Refuge

Today we are going to take a gander at Psalm 46:1.  Before I get to that however, I want to explain the title of the Psalm.

To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.

There are seven of the Psalms here together.  From Psalm 42 – Psalm 49; with the exception of 43, they all refer to the “sons of Korah”.  Korah is mentioned in a rebellion in Numbers 16 who with Dathan and Abiram rebelled against the leadership of Moses and God.  Because of this rebellion the men and the families of these men were engulfed by an opening of the earth, and slain.  According to Numbers 26:11 -“Not withstanding the children of Korah died not.”

Korah was of the tribe of Levi; thus he had duties as a caretaker of the tabernacle.  There is much to know and learn of Korah, and his sons.  They evidently were needing encouragement.  These Psalms were written for that purpose.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

A refuge is a place you go to hide, to be protected from a source of harm.  It is a place to go when you are afraid.  The Psalmist says that “God is our refuge”.

The  Psalmist goes on saying that He is also our strength.  When you do not have the power to continue call upon the LORD and He will give you strength.  When fear robs you of the will to continue; and if you experience fear it will rob you of strength;  go to the One who is our refuge and strength.

The  LORD is God; not faraway, but very near you.  He is our very present help in trouble.

In the Treasury of David Spurgeon has written –

“God is our refuge and strength.” Not our armies, or our fortresses. Israel’s boast is in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Others vaunt their impregnable castles, placed on inaccessible rocks and secured with gates of iron, but God is a far better refuge from distress than all these: and when the time comes to carry the war into the enemy’s territories, the Lord stands his people in better stead than all the valour of legions or the boasted strength of chariot and horse. Soldiers of the cross, remember this, and count yourselves safe, and make yourselves strong in God. Forget not the personal possessive word “our;” make sure each one of your portion in God, that you may say, “He is my refuge and strength.” Neither forget the fact that God is our refuge just now, in the immediate present, as truly as when David penned the word. God alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongeth unto God: but as God is all-sufficient, our defence and might are equal to all emergencies. “A very present help in trouble,” or in distresses he has so been found, he has been tried and proved by his people. He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready for their succour, and this is emphasised by the word “very” in our version, he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comfortable truth is added the consideration that his assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter; he is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, “Come, let us sing the Psa_46:1-11.”
“A fortress firm, and steadfast rock,
Is God in time of danger;
A shield and sword in every shock,
From foe well-known or’ stranger.”

Be strong in the LORD today and always.  He is very Present with those who have called upon His name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Prayer, Praising Earthquake

Up until a few years ago I always kind of though musicals in movies, on stage, etc. was a funny, and needless way to do things.  Then, I realized our lives are a musical. I mean by that; that, if you are like me anyway you will be in the middle of doing something, working, golfing, camping, hiking, riding a bike or motorcycle; anyway you get the idea.  In the middle of doing these things, and just break out in a song.

It may be a song dealing with how you feel.  If you are at work you might want to sing, “Take This Job and Shove It”, or if you enjoy your work, it could be a bit more jovial like a hymn of thanksgiving or praise to the One who gives us all things to enjoy.  So life is a musical.  For some it is a musical even when things do not look so bright. Singing praises to God in the midst of suffering, your suffering makes life so much more joyful musical.

Have you ever thought much about what singing praises to God and what praising Him can do?  Well, there is an example in the book of Acts.  It was following the beating, and jailing of Paul and Silas after they had been faithfully preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Philippi.  The preaching of the Gospel had been responsible for delivering a young girl who was demon possessed by a demon.  She was the source of income for her soothsaying.

When this girl was delivered, or course, her soothsaying days were over.  That should tell us something about the “Ghost Whisperers”, and “Mediums” and witches we hear about.  When she was delivered the men using her lost their income, thus they were angry with Paul and Silas, caused a riot of sorts in the city; got Paul and Silas beaten and jailed.

What was Paul and Silas doing in jail?  They were singing praises to the Lord.  Here is what the text says,

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”  (Acts 16:25).

Verses following show that there was an earthquake, the doors of the prison were opened, the guard and his family were born again.  Now that is the result of a praying, singing, praising people.

Let’s learn to pray, sing, and praise our God and Savior no matter the violences the world and its biases hurl at us.  Who knows what would happen  in the USA, and the world if God’s people would sing, pray, and praise our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Rod

The last time in the Psalm 2 we looked at verse 8, and we see that God has promised as an inheritance, to His Son. the nations, and the uttermost parts of the earth are given Him as His possession.  It is His rightful possession, because in His death, He paid the sin debt of the whole world, but for the most part has been rejected.

In the Twenty third Psalm we find the phrase, “Thy rod, and thy staff they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4b).  The use of that rod and staff sounds encouraging, and blessed, but the one we will look at here today, does not sound very pleasant at all.  This “rod, and… staff” is one instrument.  The shepherd’s staff, often seen with a crook on the upper end also had the rod on the other, and could be used for a walking stick over rough terrain, driving off wolves, bears, lions, and for correcting straying sheep.

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:9 (KJV).

Nations are ruled by the “prince of the  power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) on earth.  These nations have rejected Christ, hated Christ, and you can see from the beginning of the Psalm have sought to work against Him and defeat Him, but always to no avail.

This “rod of iron” is a means of judgment.  Judgment is in the hands of the Son –

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”  John 5:22 (KJV).

In this Psalm, it is clearly judgment that it is speaking of.  The Potter’s vessel’s are all baked brittle, and and iron rod would easily smash them to pieces.  The judgment will be just and righteous.  Jesus would judge no other type judgment.  This will be a judgment of the nations who have plotted and worked against the God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords to have their own way in the world.  It is these nations which are out to destroy God’s  people, and develop their own kingdom, establish their own god; setting themselves up on the throne or royalty; and acknowledging no other.  They will be broken, shattered, smashed to pieces by the rod of God.

The rod which Moses carried became the “Rod of God” for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 4:20; 17:9).  It is only a foreshadowing of the deliverance Jesus Himself will do in delivering Israel from the clutches of evil nations as they seek to destroy Israel.  Those who have the discernment can see the nations lining up against Israel even now.  The judgment of these aligned nations will be swift, unexpected and sure.

You can experience the comforting staff of the Shepherd of the Twenty third Psalm rather than the iron rod.  That is by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over all your life.  Confess you have sinned against Him, repent of your sin, believe that He died on the cross, was buried and that He rose from the grave and now is seated at the Father’s right hand.

If you enjoy singing you should like the Psalms of the Bible.  The songs which several men penned, inspired by the Spirit of God, concerning their walk with the Lord, and they go so far, at times, of naming some of their sorrows, griefs, and even frustrations with God and other men.

Sing and make melody in your heart to the LORD; for He is coming soon to let the world know that He is Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Horses and Chariots of Salvation

God’s Horses, and Chariots of Salvation

In these following verses we see pictures of the LORD riding in chariots pulled by horses. He has, of course, won many and mighty victories for the people of His name. The prophet Habakkuk is reminded and reminding those who read and/or sing this song of the greatness of our LORD.

Hear the Word of the LORD through the prophet:

“Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.” Habakkuk 3:8-15 (KJV)

We are reminded of God’s power over the waters of the earth. “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers?” and “Was Your wrath against the sea”; remind us of the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River by God’s stopping the waters upstream so they could cross on dry ground, and previously to this; the Red Sea, by God’s dividing the sea and them walking across on dry ground.

Of course, we know that God has no need of horses and chariots, but this is the picture of God’s power and victory over the enemy, as He freed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and promise of future deliverance from the captivity to come.

Let’s look at the word “Selah” for a moment. The meaning is not quite certain. I have found it quite meaningful to see it as the means or call for reflection upon what I have read. To go back and read it again. To meditate upon it, and reflect on the greatness of the LORD whenever this word is used. The Psalmist uses it quite often, and it may mean to go back and repeat the words. That is at least how I like to think about it. The word “Selah” is used three times in Habakkuk’s third song. Twice in the above passage alone.

The arrow God shoots from His bow is always on target. He hits what He aims at. It may not always be a “Bull’s-eye”. “Bull’s-eye” being what we think is the target. In other words it is not always what we think, but God hits what He aims for. His Word is always on target, never out of date, and pertinent in every point.

The waters of the earth are all at God’s beckoning and call. When He called for a flood upon the earth – there was a flood. When He called for a drought upon the Northern kingdom of Israel under the rule of Ahab, there was a drought for 3.5 years. When He commanded the Red Sea to part; it parted. When He called for the Jordan River to stop flowing; it stopped flowing. All the waters are at His command, and none can control these things but Him.

We are reminded in verse 11 of the power of God over the sun and moon. In the book of Joshua 10:12-14 we see God causing the sun to stand still for a whole day; and one other time several years later the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz went backwards 10 degrees to give king Hezekiah a sign that his life had been extended 15 years (2 Kings 20:8-11; Isaiah 38:4-8). Truly God is God of gods, King of kings, Lord of lords, and there really can be no other. There is none like Him. Praise the name of the LORD.

The LORD is a victorious GOD. He loves His people, protects them, sets them in the right paths, and corrects them when they go astray. He will always have a remnant of people. There have been times when He has used other nations to correct His people, and those people God uses think they serve themselves, and mistreat the people of God, but those who do will face the wrath of the Almighty. “You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed.” This is likened to a “Threshing floor” where grain is taken, trampled, beaten, and tossed so the wind can blow away the waste and stubble. He, at times have even caused the enemy to turn their own weapons against one another – “You thrust through with his own arrows the head of his villages”.

Still yet we see the prophet rejoicing in the power of our great God. There is none who can withstand Him. He is victorious, and will always be victorious. We are reminded of another victory at the Red Sea. When the Egyptian army came by way of the path through the Sea, the Sea closed in on them – “You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters”.

How glorious is our LORD. How majestic is His name. He will always bring His people through.

-by Tim A. Blankenship