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
If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Sometimes the plan of God is manifested at the national level and corrective disciplines and trials to correct deviations cover several generations of the same people. The people of Israel, the apple of the eyes of God, have been through this situation many times. Also the church of Christ, his bride, has had to deal with situations of persecution or rejection by powerful groups that make things more difficult for the faithful. Some people want to discredit the Judeo-Christian God accusing him of being cruel and a chastiser. When attempting to describe God, they speak only of the aspect of justice which requires that sin be dealt with discipline. They forget that every action brings its consequences, both good and bad. They forget also that along with justice there is the other side to the coin which is love and that God has kept alive an entire nation that has been scattered across the world much of its existence. Empires, peoples and civilizations have disappeared completely from the face of the earth but the people of Israel have remained. God’s church has also been attacked from within and from outside by many opponents and yet it has remained standing through the centuries.
Today, some nations that once were thriving are on their way to oblivion because of the widespread presence of various pests such as authoritarianism, communism, idolatry and corruption. Many will blame God for what is happening to these people, but the truth is that, in fairness, the faults committed by them collectively as a nation have brought disastrous consequences for themselves. The kingdom of God has nothing to do with the kingdom of darkness and the different states of the world, democracies, monarchies and dictatorships; they all belong to the world system that by definition precludes the establishment of the kingdom of God, even when they have taken this purpose as a flag to justify their outrages and abuses. Take away your eyes from the world and its corruption and raise your gaze upon Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, the only one where justice and love come together and are integrated to bring real life, liberty, security and eternal welfare to all who believe in him. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged death, discipline, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, love, Psalms, salvation, sin, trials
All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
At first glance, the portion of today’s word looks like a self-justification. The human author of these words ─who other than King David! seemed to be saying: «I was rewarded because I have this, because I have kept his laws before me, because I have been blameless, because I have kept myself from sin, because of my righteousness, because of my clean hands …» In fact, David had a sinful nature just like any other human being. The Bible tells us of several times when David fell so low that he committed horrible crimes, which shows that his justification was not his own but was based on God’s mercy and forgiveness for the faults that he had committed. David knew that, what he was and the victories that he had obtained all came from the hand of God and therefore he never lost hope. Even at his most difficult moments, when he was at death’s door, he knew that God always loved him and protected him. David was a man who possessed many virtues. Also, as mentioned earlier, he showed a great weakness to certain temptations, which resulted in bitter consequences for him. In any case, David was a man whose heart was after God’s own heart and, in God’s eyes, this was the only important thing. David was a man of great faith, so great that his name appears in the “Hall of Fame” of the letter to the Hebrews.
Let us understand that our justification can only come from God His Son Jesus Christ, who “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Let us live always with faith, obedience and with our eyes focused in the Author of all good so we may stand firm against the storms of life, which will only calm down when they hear the word of command of the Creator of the universe ordering them to be still. Remember that “having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged crime, David, faith, God, hope, Jesus, justification, life, LORD, love, mercy, pardon, Psalms, sin, sinful nature, weakness
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
When one sins, that is, when one aims, shoots and misses the target, one feels frustration and, most probably, also shame of not being able to achieve the objective. To be successful at hitting the target requires three things: a steady hand, adequate training and talent to make the most of the weapon being fired. The steady hand is equivalent, in the Christian life, to steadfastness in faith and character. The apostle James said: “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” How well could one aim if one fluctuates every moment of one’s life? Secondly, adequate training is the process of sanctification that God achieves in the lives of their children by means of trials and exposure to increasingly difficult challenges in order to strengthen us. Or, as the apostle Peter said: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Finally, the talent for using the weapon is equivalent to the capacity ─talents and gifts─ given to us by the Holy Spirit of God for the service of others. The apostle Paul said: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” In another place he says: “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…. to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” I hope this apostolic illustration will guide you when you have to face the enemy’s attacks. Every victory achieved is a step forward in the way of justice and truth in which God has placed us. Hit the target! To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged faith, gifts, God, Holy Spirit, life, love, miss, Psalms, sin, steadfastness, talents, target, trials
So he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.
When we think God has turned away from us, chances are it is we who have wandered from him in the first place. The reason for this departure is plain and simple, sin. All odds are against the person who does not want to sin. Three powerful enemies stand in our way: Satan, the world and our own sinful nature. These three enemies act constantly, without rest, seeking to make us fall. The world is in charge of presenting the opportunities of falling, using powerful weapons: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The sinful nature is responsible for tempting us by producing our own evil desires which, if left unchecked, drag us and seduce us to sin. Last but not less lethal, Satan, who controls the world, is responsible for planting his lies in our minds so that we end up believing ─for listening and paying attention to his hoaxes─ that we can get away with it without sinning.
But thank God we have an advocate with the Father, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness through the blood of his Son Jesus Christ. This does not mean that we can do as we please, thinking that later we will be forgiven. This would be the attitude of a spoiled child and that’s not what God expects of us. Should we continue showing this kind of behavior, He would have to resort to something that may not be very nice to us, discipline. Remember that everyone born of God overcomes the world. Our faith is the victory that has overcome the world. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world. Thank God we are with the True One, with his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged God, Jesus Christ, life, love, pardon, Psalms, Satan, sin, sinful nature, temptation, truth, world
Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.
But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future for the wicked.
The only way to understand why there is so much evil in the world is looking at things from far above. Usually, we only consider what happens in this temporary life, but we forget the most extensive and important time that awaits for us when we will be brought to live in God’s presence. It is like when we need to have a vaccine. At the time the syringe needle penetrates the muscle where the solution of attenuated or inactivated microorganisms needs to be placed; we experience pain and sometimes burning. We may also have to endure some side effects such as allergic reactions. After the vaccine has interacted with our immune system we can enjoy the benefits of the vaccination for a very long time. Someone who only considers the time of the puncture without taking into account the subsequent benefits would say that vaccination is a very unpleasant thing. But if we consider the entire process, we can clearly appreciate the convenience and utility of it.
Let us not limit ourselves to analyzing things only from an earthly perspective, since the benefits we will enjoy when we stand in God’s presence will exceed by far any discomfort or pain that we have had to endure in this life. As the apostle John said, speaking of the loud voice that came from the throne, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Let us look at the difficulties within the larger context of the God’s plan and eternity and nothing will ever be a cause for concern any longer. To God alone be the glory!