“If his sons forsake my law
and do not follow my statutes,
if they violate my decrees
and fail to keep my commands,
I will punish their sin with the rod,
their iniquity with flogging;
Laws, decrees, statutes and commandments, many try to justify themselves by saying that God’s demands regarding our conduct can not come from him since he is all love. The idea is that all the warnings that God gives us to prevent our misbehaving are invalid and spurious. This is only a cowardly escape from their responsibilities. The word of God is very clear about this: God disciplines his children when they do not meet his demands of holiness. And even if it were true that God does not punish us because He loves us we still have to deal for the rest of our lives with the consequences of sin. Make no mistake, God disciplines those he loves and although disciplinary punishments may seem painful and disproportionate, we are receiving exactly what we need to learn the lesson well. Can you imagine someone trying to make a beast of burden obey his commands using tenderness and sweet words? How, then, we think that God will deal with our stubborn sinful nature if not through a fair discipline?
God is love but he is also justice and truth. He can not overlook sin without providing a rebuke commensurate with the offense. As we often do not realize the mistakes we make, the gentle and loving discipline of our heavenly Father will remind us that we, as his children, must be holy as he is Holy. Let us receive, then, with joy the discipline that God imparts as this is an additional demonstration of the love he has for us. Let us view discipline as a loving and on time correction and not as an angry response to our bad behavior. Discipline is part of our education. We must understand that if our behavior is correct, we would not need discipline. Discipline is a proof that we are children of God. To God alone be the glory!
I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
Knowledge, justice, discipline, compassion, comfort, promise, compassion, life, law, joy, how many principles and values are placed together in these short lines of the Word of God! No wonder the very word speaks of itself and says that from it new and old treasures can be drawn. The life of a child of God is not a simple life. The life of a child of God has many angles and activities that we need to learn and practice. Our relationship with God is not based only on reading his word, offering prayers to him and trusting in his promises. Nor is it only to serve, to evangelize, to help others, to be baptized or to partake of the Lord’s Supper. The life of a child of God is the sum of all these things and many more. With so many things to do with our life, how do we know what to do or how to act in certain circumstances? The key is precisely the quality of our relationship with God.
If we maintain a healthy, close and constant relationship with God, all we “have” to do will be easy to understand and to carry out. I put the word have in quotes because the things of God are not an obligation or a burden as such. Someone asked the Lord Jesus: “What must we do to do the works God requires?” The Lord replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Also the Lord Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The work of God is not heavy; the work of God is not complicated. The work of God is easy to perform as long as we depend on him and not on our own strength and abilities. Let’s seek support in our Lord and everything will move as the Lord wills, the right way. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, comfort, compassion, discipline, faith, God, hope, Jesus, joy, justice, knowledge, law, life, love, promise, Psalms, righteousness, spirituality, wisdom
In the night, LORD, I remember your name,
that I may keep your law.
This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.
In the never ending debate of those who think that salvation is achieved by works they quote many verses that mention obedience trying to show that it is what allows us to become children of God. This perspective of obedience as a requirement can only lead to legalism. Obedience is just the result of a life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Obedience is the proof or evidence of the faith of a child of God and his dependence on his heavenly Father. Not surprisingly, James, the brother of the Lord said: “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” Obedience is the logical consequence of a total dependence on God. Faithbedience I think I have called it before. If we are not convinced that we depend on God in all activities and aspects of our lives, we will never see how important it is to obey God in everything. God has done everything necessary for us to be saved and, as the Psalmist says, our practice is to obey his precepts. Our sinful nature will always want to drive us out of subjection to God’s commands and to lead us into the territory of rebellion. If instead we let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit of God it won’t be necessary for us to deal with that problem. By the measure of our obedience we can calibrate our faith.
How big is your faith? Check whether or not you are obedient and you will find out. Is there an opportunity to be more obedient? Of course, since we are not perfect and since our sinful nature makes us validate what popular wisdom says: “A leopard never changes its spots.” Without faith and without the intervention of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit of God in our life can not show a true and effective obedience. Let us give the control of our lives to the Spirit of God and let us immerse ourselves in his word so we know what the rules that we must follow are and so we can meet our part. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, faith, God, hope, Jesus, law, life, LORD, love, name of God, night, obedience, precepts, Psalms, remember, righteousness, salvation, spirituality, wisdom
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from your law.
People who do not want to follow the direction of God generally find that things always go wrong. Their wrong decisions, always in opposition to the word of God, are the reason that their plans are kept in a constant failure. Pride prevents them from realizing their mistake and they end up believing that God has abandoned them, therefore falling into despair and anguish. Since these situations of despair and anguish are not resolved by themselves, people herein end up developing a somatization disorder which is manifested in various ways, mainly by pain of non-specific origin, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems and psycho-neurological disorders such as fainting. All this because of rebellion, pride and ignorance!
When we find ourselves facing a situation of somatization we must turn to the word of God to meet again with the wonderful promises of God to us his children. God’s promises are not empty and baseless as the promises made by men. On the contrary, we can rest assured God’s promises will be fulfilled because they are supported by the oath that God makes by his own name. There can be no better guarantee or assurance that these promises will take place because God has committed to it. Let us keep away from rebellion and pride, and let us drink from the fountain of life which is the word of God. That way we will be able to get away from the destructive ties of depression and somatization. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged arrogant, Christianity, comfort, faith, hope, Jesus, law, life, love, mocking, preservation, promise, Psalms, spirituality, suffering, wisdom
They did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to live by his law.
They forgot what he had done,
the wonders he had shown them.
He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
One of the problems with sinful nature is its selective memory. We are too selective to remember things that are important and some things we should keep always in mind we completely forget. All this according to what we think is best for us. And that is another problem. Sinful nature does not allow us to properly discern what is really best for us and what is not. Every day we make decisions that, according to our limited criteria, we consider convenient for us and they really are not. Our sense of direction is very limited in this respect; hence all the time we see how lives and families are negatively affected by bad decisions taken according to completely wrong criteria. Pride, rebellion, disobedience, lying and sin in general completely distort the direction we should take to maintain a conduct that is of benefit to ourselves and our loved ones.
Not surprisingly, oftentimes we see ourselves surrounded by trials and tribulations, which are allowed by our heavenly Father for us to keep our memories fresh and so we do not forget the great things he has done and continues to do for us. God made a covenant with his people. This covenant is not something we deserved to be part of. However, because of his wonderful grace and the perfect love he has for us we have been included under its coverage. Let us look carefully and often at the stories available in the word of God so we always bear in mind and never forget that God is the giver of all good and that Jesus Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. May our prayer be: “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged covenant, forget, God, hope, Jesus, law, life, love, miracles, Psalms, sin, sinful nature, trials, wisdom, wonders
Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life,
but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die.
God’s law given to Moses had and still has, for those who want to adhere to it, the purpose of guiding us to Christ. However, many have sought justification through the law without realizing the impossibility of meeting all its requirements. Those who did so realized they were enslaved by it but could not find another way to achieve justification. Even then, they remained clinging to it trying to achieve the impossible. Many still do not know that there is a better way, indeed the only possible way, which is by faith in the redemptive work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We note that the law itself is not bad. What we are saying is that the law does not justify or save us. Its validity still remains and we must adjust to it in spirit given that our sinful nature will not do it. The apostle Paul said to the Roman believers: “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Abiding the law keeps his life and, more importantly, pleases God. Whoever ignores its precepts is defeated by sin and we know that “the wages of sin is death” so he or she “falls short of the glory of God.” Let us walk, then, according to God’s Spirit and not according to the sinful nature that dominates our body. Only a mind controlled by the Holy Spirit of God can resist and overcome the evil influences of the flesh. To God alone be the glory!