Saturday, March 6, 2010

Psalm 12:2,4b,8 "Wicked talk and wicked walk"

Psalm 12:2, 4b, 8 "They speak falsehood to one another; with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak. Our lips are our own who is lord over us? The wicked strut about on every side when vileness is exalted among the sons of men."

Another "wicked" set of verses, as this references the wicked. God is highlighting several characteristics of the wicked-their talk and their walk. What is it in their words? First they speak falsehoods to one another. There is an inner circle of lies. There is a band of liars who feed off one another, lies begetting lies. They don't speak truth. This falsehood is a body of lies, half-truths, exaggerations, vain speculations, twisted evidence. This is the wicked in community sharing with one another.
They flatter themselves: Just like the Pharisees of old who loved to be called rabbi/teacher; they loved the special places of honor. Today's Pharisees are not hard to find either. They are tucked away in the universities, they are floating about in the churches, they are the liberal theologians, men of high secular standing, or even the burned out scholastic's blogging away lies on his lap-top of death. Nevertheless, they love the flattery, the award, the recognition, the prize. Worldly wisdom leading men on a roller coaster of false conclusions. They major in falsehood and minor in flattery.
When they speak they speak with a double heart. The double heart means he really doesn't believe what he is saying. He knows, but he doesn't Know. He may see the significance but it is without meaning. Double hearted means he is divided within himself. It's the problem with hypocrites doing and saying one thing and practicing just the opposite.
"Our lips are our own, who is lord over us" These liars are the self proclaimed commanders of their own lips. They steer the ships lips without any acknowledgment that God is captain. They would rather toss him over board so that they could chart their own course. As a result, their rudder is broken and they are abandoned to the high seas of autonomy. Unable to steer themselves properly they are left directionless. Instead of avoiding the storm they go right into it. When Christ is not your heavenly pilot your compass spins wildly. You are now at the disposal of the high waves and the unforgiving seas. Your ship will eventually capsize or be dashed against the rocks.
In rejecting the Lord you give yourself the label. You want lip-ownership from the owner who created lips. God will keep me from speaking my mind and too be honest I want to let it fly no matter if it hurts or if its filth. I want to take the garbage out to the curb and no one is going to stop me. Bold declarations are made when God is removed from the picture. Autonomous assertions of self-sufficiency and ownership of ones life. Cocky statements of self rule and lordship. We say what we want and we rule what we want.
The self-deception of the wicked leads them to modify their walks. Arrogance/pride changes a mans walk. There is a wicked-walk a sinful-strut among them. It is plain to see as it is "on every side". They too are into exaltation, they exalt in vileness. Vile deeds cause them to strut about in their wickedness. This is the pride of the wicked. They delight in the perverse, the coarse joking, the crass and sexually explicit remarks. The vileness is deep in them and instead of God being praised the villainous vile deed is rejoiced in. This is the backwardness of life a reversal of all that God intended for man.
When Christ enters in all things begin to change. He is ushering in the New Creation. New life springs forth and the disease of sin is taken away. Instead of falsehood truthfulness flows off the lips. Instead of a double heart, he is given a united heart that has singularity of vision. Our lips are now functioning the way in which God intended. Our lips are now cauterized with the coals from the alter, sanctified for Kingdom proclamation. We are given a unified heart and know we love with gospel love. We no longer declare that our lips are our own (or any part of our bodies to do what we wish) but we acknowledge that we have been bought with a price-the blood of Christ and gladly give every appendage for Kingdom service. Our lordship also changes. We move from the realm of self-sovereign to Sovereign-Savior. We have a new walk. No longer do we have a stray-strut, a wild walk, a sinister step, but now we walk in the Spirit, we keep in step with the Spirit, we follow a new Master in quiet assurance not in bold defiance. He enlarges our steps; our path is narrow, firm, and secure. We were climbing a mountain of sin, scaling the heights, clinging to every rocky crag, building our own Babels. If we are to strut it will be because of what Christ has accomplished. We go from exalting vileness to exalting His virtue. We begin to glory in new and better things. He gives us an undivided heart that beats with the pulse of his plan and purpose.
We now begin to speak and walk like Jesus. Jesus spoke the truth. He did not use flattery but only spoke what the Father commanded. He didn't entrust himself to men because he knew what was in the heart of men. He was no respecter of persons. His heart was set on the mission set before Him- to save His people from their sins. His hearts aim was to fulfill all righteousness. Ultimately his words and his walk led him to Calvary. This is also where we see the wicked strutted about on every side of the cross. We see the villainy and vileness exalted among the sons of men as they heap insults and abuses upon the Lord. We see him dying for such as these- the liars, the double-hearted, the lip-owners, the self-made kings, the wicked-strutter's, and the vile-exalter's.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Psalm 13:6 "His Bounty, my song"

"I will sing to the Lord for he has dealt bountifully with me." Psalm 13:6

Spiritual songs rise up in the hearts of men for various reasons. The psalmist makes up his mind that he will sing to the Lord. His heart is filled and wells up to his God with joyful song. Gods bounty has affected him in such a way that he cannot help but sing. Resting on the psalmist is the Spirit of God-the Spirit causes him to recognize Gods provision and care, and the Spirit sets forth to stir loves song.

This is becoming of the saint; there is always a song to be sung. We are commanded to sing hymns, spiritual songs, making melodies in our hearts for God for this pleases him. God is a song writer for he places his Spirit in a man to make him sing. Out of all the religions in the world we (Christians) are the only ones who sing to God, and that in a major key. There are other religions that chant but none of them have the melody and harmonies strung together. These songs are sung in joyful antiphonal praise out of love and gratitude. God directs His orchestra, he leads the Church in joyful song. The song of redemption fills the earth. The people of God assemble to sing to God as he has directed.

All music was meant for the Lord, but when we look out over the world we see music that is base and profane, almost always centered on self, sex, false views of love, money, and trivial topics that ultimately don't glorify God. God for them is merely a means to an end, he's the supernatural prop for their lives so that they can get a fat bank roll.

Bounty means- generous/good. God has been generous with us. We can reflect on our lives and see past bounty (generosity) in Gods dealings with us. We can think of present bounties that God is working in us and through us. We can also hope for future bounties as we wait in eager expectation for Christ return and Heaven. Gods generosity pours out and spills over us in all directions. Reason-he has already given us of His Son so every other thing that is given is given with that perspective in mind. Those things are lesser generosities in comparison to the greatest generosity given in his Son. Nonetheless, they come to us from the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. Generosity abounds.

The great song to be sung is the song of salvation. It's a divine paradox. He dealt most bountifully with me when He was suffering on the cross. He was absorbing my guilt, shame, wrath, judgment. He was providing entrance for me, bringing me to the Father. He was making payment in his blood, that he so generously gave for my sins. His stripes, nails, shed blood, thorny crown...these were my bounty. The greatest act on my behave bought me the greatest treasure. He was bountifully bruised so that I might be bountifully bought. The bounty of his blood was spilled because the bounty of my sin was great. He gave up a measure of his bounty and became a man so that I might experience the full measure of His bounty and become his child. His bounty is so full and immeasurable it fills Heavens warehouse. His silos of generosity never run dry and it will take an eternity to dispense His bounty to his people. While this takes place we will sing to Him- the boundless giver of beautiful bounty.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Psalm 14:1a "Atheism in the heart"

"The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." Psalm 14:1a

Foolish people have foolish thoughts. The great insight into the foolish mind is the non-existence of God. They may possess a fine education and hold many degrees, but when it comes to spiritual truth they are bankrupt. "Claiming to be wise they became fools and they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie" (Romans 1). The Great Lie of the ages, "There is no God." All who have ever held to this position find their conscience warring inside against their Maker. If you want to see an unhappy person look at him. They deny the basic fundamental reason for their existence and as a result they lose their heading. They have gone out of orbit and have become asteroidal-running the gambit of the world till they burn and fizzle out. You dig them a bit about God and you'll find all sorts of angers, resentments, hostilities. They will actually become prideful in their speculations about God and his non-being. But all the while, since they are not omniscient, the phrase "what if" beats consistently in the back ground. They are terrified at the prospect and rightly so.

The fools heart speaks to him making false declarations of unholy things. Reason has been denied and rationalism and been forfeited. His reason has led him to unreasonable conclusions and his rationalism has been rationed out. This is the way in which the carnal/unregenerate mind functions. Human depravity affecting the heart. The also pat themselves on the back for "freeing" themselves from the chains of religion and traditonalism. The atheist/agnostics “coming out” is really a “going into.” He moves from one sphere to the next, a sphere that has already has been established and articulated for centuries, but as it progresses becomes more refined and defined. The attraction is actually a distraction to another matrix (mold, template, environment, atmosphere)

I've also heard that the text in Hebrew actually reads, "The fool has said in his heart-no God!" God continues to ask them questions in the heart, "Turn from your sin"-no God! "Believe on me"- no God! "Pick up and read"- no God! "I am the way, the truth, and the life"-no God! The ultimate defiance. The pot yelling at the potter, "you did not make me!" The painting telling the painter, "you did not paint me!" The watch telling the watchmaker, "you did not design me and wind me!" The apex of idiocy. They are stunted creatures, mere animals who are dwarfed in their ideas about God; retarded in growth. In everything else in life they pride themselves in being "well-rounded individuals"-in their studies, travels, music, culture, careers, relationships, but without God as the key component they lose the meaning behind it all, they lose their moral compass. Their compass spins and points to themselves, they believe they are true north; and the whole time they are on a terrestrial planet spinning through the galaxy going 67,000 miles per hour. Foolish conclusions because they have a foolish premise.

Atheism clouds the mind with a dense fog of satanic lies; it keeps man from seeing and apprehending the truth of Gods existence. Dead hearts (Eph 2) don't arrive at Living Truths. Jesus told the church at Laodecia, "I advise you to buy from me gold refined in the fire"; they think they have gold but its fools gold, they need the golden truth of Gods word. Only through rebirth (salvation) can man be brought up out of the quagmire of ignorance. Once a person is transferred from darkness to light (Col. 1), from dead in sin to alive in Christ he moves into the realm of spiritual awakedness and truth. Instead of speaking and thinking foolish thoughts he can now speak truth in his heart. Only the Spirit of God can cause this chain reaction, this metamorphosis to occur. He awakens the heart from a dead slumber and causes it to beat with the beat of Gods presence and existence. He sees with new glasses through the lens of faith with the frame of truth. The rebellion has been lifted and the pardon of forgiveness applied. Once he hated God, but now he loves God. His allegiance changes and his fist clenched at the heavens is opened. We were all fools once but love breaks through even to fools and our hard defiant disposition changes and now we are pliable, rational, logical lovers and thinkers. God has given us new hearts to think Gods rational after him, to mediate on the logic of God, to love and think with a new grid that is honoring and glorifying to Him. We no longer say no God!, but yes God! Will you go love that person that is hard to love? yes God; will you go speak my word to a people who were just like you? yes Lord. Will you fight against the injustices of the world? yes Lord. Will you take my name to the ends of the earth? yes Lord. Will you sacrificially love your wife and children without reciprocation? Yes Lord. Yes, Lord; yes Lord. It's a life characterized by this statement. The fool fights an unwinable war, a treaty has been declared 2000 years ago and through grace we now fall under this new treaty.

We are all fools till we come to Christ, we are all spiritual morons till Christ is formed in us. We are now given a new teacher with a new curriculum. We have entered into a unique apprenticeship as a spiritual pupil enrolled in divine studies where the mysteries of God are unfolded and Christ is treasured. Atheism is not just an intellectual resistance in the mind but it starts in he heart. There is atheism in the heart of all men and until God quickens us we all remain in this state. We don't claim superiority to the atheist for we know its only by grace that God has drawn us out from ourselves. God has declared the atheist a fool in this text. He is a fool because of the thoughts that flow in his heart. And how you define God is what defines you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Psalm 15:1b "Walk, Work, and Word"

"He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart." Psalm 15:1b

The answer to 15:1a is given in 1b. O' Lord who may abide/live in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?"

When you enter into college typically there are prerequisites that must be accomplished before you can move on into a program. These classes are necessary before he next phase of your education can be tackled. Likewise, there are certain qualification that man must meet in order for him to move on to the next phase and finally reach his goal. The goal- the tent, the holy hill.

God answers: The 1st prerequisite is that he must walk with integrity. God is concerned with the walk of man. This is an integral part of his character development. He is a man of his word, he does what he says he will do and people know that he will do it. People can rely on him and they know that his word is his bond. He has a fixed determination because he understands that his character is at stake and he doesn't want to mare that. Gods man takes it one step further, he knows that his God is always on display and his integrity reflects God in the world. He desires to adorn the Gospel through his walk of integrity. His walk is steady and consistent even when no one is watching. He does not alter his step, either in his work, family, or ministry; in which he seeks to be industrious, frugal, on time, and even tempered etc...

The 2nd prerequisite is that he works righteousness. This man is employed by God. He is created unto good works and seeks to fulfill the works that have been apportioned to him before the foundation of the world. As an adopted son of the king his righteous deeds are no longer filthy rags, but foreordained predestined works that rise up as a fragrant sacrifice of praise. He is a righteous worker working for righteousness for the One who is all-together righteous. He is known for his good deeds and he gives all praise to Him who works this in him to do according to His will.

The 3rd prerequisite is that he speaks truth in his heart. He is a truth speaker. Notice, It is first in his heart before it ever crosses his lips. The truth first circumnavigates his heart like an captain on the high seas before it reaches the shore of his lips. Or just as each chamber of the bees honeycomb is filled with honey so is truth in the heart before it is cracked open and spills out. Truth does good to this mans heart. The heart needs it, longs for it, survives on it. Gods Word has entered into the fray and is directing the traffic. Truth is bubbling on the inside and it orders the heart. Truth enters in and causes the lips to aligned with the heart. Truth pulsating like a quasar till it flashes forth like a glowing asteroid in the mind showing forth its consistency as it runs its course.

The tragedy is that we flunked out, we failed to meet the standards to this degree. We've cheated and are caught. We've used the rubber ruler of our own standards. We've designed the test and have received and failing grade. The great news is that Christ fulfilled all the prerequisites for us, and has given us of Himself, the Holy Spirit who is our power. So now we have the ability to walk, speak, and work in a way that pleases and glorifies God.

Jesus is the model: He walked in perfect integrity. He said, "which of you can convict me of sin?"; Pilate said of him, "I find no fault with this man." In all his dealings with man he always shone forth the highest level of integrity. He is the greatest worker of righteousness the world has ever seen-'par excel lance.' And he spoke truth in his heart for this is all that ever came out of him. The question is answered by the work of Christ as he now works those things in us. As a result our tent is sure, the stakes are secured, the holy hill awaits our step, the King awaits our arrival. Then we will thank him for His walk, work, and word.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Psalm 15: 1 "The Tent on the Hill"

"O' Lord who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?" Psalm 15:1

The psalmist has two questions but they are really one. He's concerned about his future habitation. He knows that God has a tent (metaphorically speaking). He has in past dwelled among his people, the Israelites, for many years in the tent covered in a cloud by day and a fire by night. God was the Shikinah glory hovering over the mercy seat within the holiest of holies. He was their nightlight in a dark foreboding wilderness. He was the one who guided, guarded, and provided.
He also knew that God once dwelled in the temple in Jerusalem upon mount Moriah-the holy hill. Wherever God has tabernacled throughout history, whether in a tent or in a Temple the psalmist wants to be there. He wants to experience God within the tent upon the holy hill. He understands that to be away from God is to be away from home. There's no place like home, because there is no one like God. The deepest longing of his heart is to be in the tent on the holy hill. It's not the tent that draws him there-the beauty of it, the kingly articles inside of it, the fine linens and colorful display of fabrics of various kinds. As great as this sight would be that's not the main reason. Neither is it the location that makes it the biggest draw. It's God himself. It's the Person in the tent, its the Person who is on the holy hill that makes it attractive and savoring. The tent is a marker pointing to the tent maker; the holy hill is a marker pointing to the holy One. This is the angst in the heart of everyone who loves Jesus. He longs for the day when he can ascend the holy hill and enter into that tent and see not only the throng of all the saints- alive and smiling, but his master who waits for him so that he might join him for a grand feast in honor of the Lamb.
His tent was destroyed so that we might enter into His eternal Tent. He ascended the Holy Hill so that one day we might follow in his steps. And now as we travel throughout this world as aliens and strangers we are called to mimic the Master to copy our Commander, so that the excellencies of Christ might be plain for all to see.
The answer to the question comes in verse 2, the next blog :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Psalm 16:3, "The majestic ones"

"As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight." Psalm 16:3

Our God is God of delights. He is eternally happy. He delights in many things: His perfections, his attributes, His creative powers, His intellect, His love relationship within the Godhead, His plan and purposes for His people, and every other thing that is good, pure, and holy. He delights in his delights. Some scientist believe that cold fusion is possible- an ongoing source of nuclear fusion-like the sun, or any star; so also I envision Gods delight- a vast infinite amount of joy beaming forth from his presence. A perpetual flow of unceasing delight.
He does not delight in all things; those things which are contrary to himself. He does not delight in sin, evil, or in the death of the wicked.
We see in this verse that God delights in His Body-the Church, the saints, his majestic ones. Reason: we are in Christ; we are the body of Christ. And since the Father delights most in his Son it makes perfect sense then that God delights in us because we are in him, and He in the Father. He is delighting in Himself, as we are in Him and belong to Him.
Majestic means: regal, royal, imperial, noble, best, magnificent, sensational, princely, finest.
1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen race, a royal; priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession..." Christ has purchased this title for us- "his majestic ones." He alone is altogether Majestic and matchless in his power and dominion. Now through the cross-work of Christ we become the majestic ones in whom is all Gods delight; we are the regal ones, the royal ones, the imperial guard, the nobleman, the best of God, his finest, the sensational ones. We inherit this title because it has been won by Christ for us. We are majestic because Christ Jesus represents us. We fall under his title as He is the Majestic Son of the Father. Majestic in beauty and holiness and worthy of our deepest affections.
Though often I don't feel this way, I need to trust in the truth of the Gospel-repent and believe that this is how God perceives me. As a majestic one I now partake in all the benefits won for me. This title is great and glorious, but what is just as sweet if not sweeter is a word that brings great joy to my heart- it is the word delight. God actually delights in me. Through Christ I am literally delightful in Gods sight. Often I look at Christ and say with Peter, "Go away from me for I am a sinful man Lord" but I am now reminded that I have a new label, a new identity- majestic.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Psalm 16:6a,b "dropping lines"

"The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me." Psalm 16:6 a,b
God drops lines. He is a line dropper. To his people (the Church) these lines fall in pleasant places. As the text would indicate that these lines are tied to his heritage, both nationally and spiritually. The psalmist looks back on his life and sees Gods faithfulness, he reflects on Gods goodness. He knows his line runs all the way back to the patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He realizes his place among Gods men. He knows his attachment to ethic Israel and he loves her.
Even through difficult times, severe hardships, and trials nevertheless, Gods lines have fallen to him and his people in pleasant places. The boundaries of his habitation, the place where he was born, his family, his up-bringing, his friends etc...he can look back on Gods providence and declare, "indeed my heritage is beautiful to me." His heritage is rich and glorious, it starts with God, and these lines in history are positioned by God-the good ones as well as the bad.
These lines are designed by the Great Architech-laying out the blueprint for his life. They have stretched from eternity past all the way to the present. He also realizes that future lines of grace await him in eternity. These are the lines of redemption; lines of salvation; lines of mercy; lines of grace; lines of justice; lines of judgment. These lines have built a fortress around him. He is protected by the King, he is loved by the King. These lines fall in pleasant places because God is pleased with him. Wherever he goes God is there, and where God is there is pleasant place.
God is his dwelling, his habitation, therefore it is not only pleasant it is beautiful.

These lines not only lead him but in him are building a super-structure, a monument unto God. He is part of this great edifice that is rising up in the world; a tower engraved with the names of the saints. There is a banner that flies high declaring his supremacy. God is his heritage, and it is beautiful because God is beautiful. Even in death the lines fall in pleasant places. The line doesn't end in death but stretches out into eternity future. It is here, upon our arrival we enter into the Pleasant Place. It is where Jesus is, he is our pleasant place, he is our heritage. He is where we find our rest. It is in him that the elect heritage will be gathered together as one.