Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD!"

Day #249:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - September 3rd

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 105 - 107 …

Here in the United States we think that the time of George Washington was ancient history, but it was only 240 years ago.  Going back to the pilgrims, who came to these shores in the early 1600's, we go back only 400 years ago.  History is important, especially when you understand that is is all HIS-story! History is the unfolding of God's plan and as the writer of Psalms 105 and 106 reviews the history of Israel prior to his days, he goes back to an event that has significance even for us today, though it took place more than 4,000 years ago!!

It was then that God called a man named, Abraham, to go to the land that He would show him and God would give it to him and to his descendants FOREVER!  In the news today you can read of the struggle over this land - a struggle that has lasted for most of the past 4,000 years.  It is clear to whom the Psalmist is addressing his words and why.  He begins by giving thanks to the LORD.  The word "LORD" refers to the God who revealed Himself to Moses, the great "I AM."  That was the name God gave to Moses when he asked what God's Name was.  "LORD" means, "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14).  So the writer of the Psalm says, "Glory in His holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice" (105:3).

Listen then to whom he is speaking:  "O descendants of Abraham his servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones … He remembers His covenant forever, … the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac.  He confirmed it to Jacob, as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant:  'To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit'" (105:6-11).  Four thousand years ago the one true God, the Great "I AM," the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, promised this land to the descendants of Abraham and it WILL BE theirs FOREVER!!!  Nothing and no one will ever change that.

It would be from Israel, through the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) that the Savior would come who would bear God's wrath against sin on the cross and so deliver those who believe in Him.  His name is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.  The Psalmist goes through the history of Israel as they went down into Egypt, became a great nation, and were delivered through Moses and the plagues God sent.  He recounts how they wandered through the wilderness because of their complaining and rebellion against God.  And he explains why God was good to them:  "For He remembered His holy promise given to His servant Abraham" (105:42).

Why did God do all of this: "That they might keep His precepts and observe His laws … and praise the LORD!" (105:45).  When they didn't, it would have been understandable if God had rejected them, but He didn't.  The Psalmist goes on in Psalm 106 with his history lesson.  He prays that God would remember him "when You show favor to YOUR people""that I may enjoy the prosperity of Your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of YOUR nation" (106:4-5).  So few people today recognize that God does not forget His promises - EVER!!  Fewer people believe that God has chosen a people to belong to Him.  It began with a remnant of Israel (not every descendant of Abraham is chosen - but Israel IS a chosen people), and today the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has a chosen people from every tribe, nation and tongue - the Church … not the visible church, but the TRUE Church - those who are born again by the Spirit of God and who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

From the time Israel left Egypt to the time the Psalmist writes these words, God had delivered Israel over and over.  Why?  "He saved them for HIS NAME's sake, to make His might power known!" (106:8).  "For their sake He remembered His covenant and out of His great love He relented" of the judgment He could have sent upon them and of the rejection they deserved (106:45).  So the Psalmist cries out, "Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy Name and glory in Your praise.  Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Let all the people say, 'AMEN!'" (106:47-48).

If you do not recognize the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, who made a covenant of GRACE with Abraham and "credited righteousness" to him by faith (Genesis 15:6), then you do not know the one true God and you will perish in your sin.  But if you know Him as your God and have put your faith in His Son Jesus Christ for forgiveness and life, then you are even now, at this moment, one of His chosen ones, for apart from His Spirit you could not and would not trust in Christ and desire to obey His Word.  And all of us who are so chosen by God and have put our faith in Jesus Christ are "Abraham's seed and heirs according to God's promise" (Galatians 3:29).  What an amazing God we worship and serve!!  And He will receive every person who comes to Him in Jesus' name.  If you have not done that, you can do it at this moment by confessing your sin and asking God to forgive you, declaring your faith in Jesus, confessing Him as YOUR Savior and now as your Lord.

Finally, the writer of Psalm 107 reminds us what we must do as God's chosen people:  "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the LORD say this …" (107:1-2).  No one else CAN say this!  Only those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ can know that we are saved and have received the gift of eternal life by God's grace.  Everyone else is trying to be good enough, to follow the "rules" and "traditions" of their religion to try to please their "god," but we KNOW that it was the blood of Jesus shed on the cross that redeemed us, as Peter writes in I Peter 1:18-19:  "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."  He was the perfect sacrifice and by His shed blood we ARE redeemed!!!

Therefore, like all those who wandered in desert wastelands, who sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, who rebelled and were afflicted and who endured trials of all kinds … we cry out to the LORD, our God, and He delivers us.  Why?  The Psalmist tells us in verses 8, 15, 21 and 31:  "Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men."  This is the purpose of God's redemption, of His covenant of grace, of His promises … that He would have a people who would give thanks, who would worship Him, who would exalt and praise His name - FOREVER!!!  "Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD!" (107:43).

"O LORD, my God, in You I find my hope and my joy, for Your promises are true and You have delivered me from Your just wrath and from the emptiness of life in this world through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  I rejoice in Your covenant with Abraham and his descendants and I give thanks that You have made ME one of Your chosen ones by faith.  Thank You, Father, for Your Holy Spirit and for Your grace, in Jesus' name, Amen"

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