Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
God does not want to have enemies. He loves everyone equally with a love beyond all comprehension, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. Yet there are multitudes who have in their hearts (what’s left of it) a deep hatred of God and have declared themselves, even publicly, as enemies of God . Others are not concerned at all, at least externally, with what God thinks of them and they clearly demonstrate it by their unbridled, shameless and immoral behavior, which they know does not please God. It is an arduous thing to be opposed to God. The behavior of these people is more questionable than the conduct of those who do not know God. But even for all of them, as he did for us, God has prepared a way out of the damnation in which they are trapped.
God took the initiative to solve the problem of enmity between the humanity and him. God initiated the process of reconciliation with all mankind through His Son Jesus Christ: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Everything that God has made for us, starting with giving us life and culminating with the offer of the gift of salvation that we do not deserve is recklessly ignored by these declared enemies of God. If there is a tragedy of universal proportions, it is this one where many reject the reconciliation that God offers. Let us act as ambassadors of Christ to implore them on Christ’s behalf that these poor souls be reconciled to God. If in spite of all that God has done for them, these wretches persist in standing as enemies of God, they will have to bear the responsibility for their decision. It’s just sad but true. To God alone be the glory!
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
Just as it looks like that it’s the sun that revolves around the earth when the reality is quite the opposite, so it seems that when we sin and make mistakes, God turns his back on us. The reality is that when we sin, it is us who turn our backs on him. We sin because we disobey his commandments, or because we feel that certain aspects of our life do not need to be managed in accordance with the principles established by God. We sin because we place ourselves (or think we can place ourselves) above God. And when we sin we turn our backs to God to follow our own paths and make our own decisions without the participation of the loving guidance of our heavenly Father. With arrogance but also with shame we turn our faces away to avoid being confronted by the truth and justice emanating from the presence of God. Later, when things go wrong, we refuse to accept our responsibility for having failed and often we blame God for what is happening to us without understanding that everything is the result of our disobedience.
Since it was not God who has turned his back on us it is our responsibility to turn our face towards God so we can renew our relationship with him. He is always there. He has never left us. It is us who have separated from him and it is us who must seek and appeal for the mercy of God and through the merits of our Lord Jesus entreat God not to take into account our wrongdoing. Are you in affliction, trouble, anguish,distress or hardship? Have you considered that what is happening to you is most likely a result of your disobedience and distancing from God? The answer is in your hand. Turn to the Lord your God with a repentant heart and seek His forgiveness for all your faults. Then do not turn your face from the glorious presence of God and you will enjoy a relationship that will remain steadfast amid the most violent storm. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged affliction, anguish, Christianity, consequence, disobedience, distress, faith, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, loneliness, love, obedience, righteousness, sin, sinful nature, spirituality, trials, trouble, truth
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
We can find in the word of God many expressions that compare our daily lives with a continuous war. Certainly we are involved day by day in adverse situations that are the result of attacks by some of our enemies, including our own flesh or sinful nature. Our families are under heavy artillery fire whose sole purpose is to divide us and make us fight against each other. We are in a field of a battle that fortunately belongs to the Lord and by definition the war is already won. But even though our enemies have been defeated they will not acknowledge it and they will continue attacking all those who are on the Lord’s side as long as God permits. Many may wonder why the Lord does not put an end to this long conflict that has affected humanity since the time of our first fathers. Both the duration and troop involvement in the conflict are part of God’s perfect plan and hostilities will end only when God is satisfied that his plan has been carried out and his goals have been achieved. Meanwhile, as soldiers in this fight, the Lord prepares us and empowers us so we can struggle and emerge unscathed from the encounter.
Among many other things that God confers us to go into battle with are: strength, security, swiftness, steadfastness training, and power as King David says in this portion of Psalm 18. All these features allow us to address the conflict with a reassuring sense of confidence, not based on our own strength but based on the strength that comes from God. If we know that we have these skills and we apply them in the battlefield, our spiritual progress will be solid and permanent as that of seasoned warriors. Thank God that the battle belongs to him and we are part of the victorious army. Thank God that He enables us so we can prevail over the many conflicts in which we will be involved on a daily basis until the Lord announces with the hammered silver trumpets that the final victory has been achieved. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged battle, Christianity, conflict, enemies, faith, God, hope, Jesus, life, love, power, Psalms, salvation, security, sinful nature, spirituality, steadfastness, strenght, swiftness, training, truth, war, wisdom
Though you grind a fool in a mortar,
grinding them like grain with a pestle,
you will not remove their folly from them.
Folly is intrinsic to human nature. Given a choice between good and evil ─ there is always a choice─ man will take the path of least resistance, which is the path of folly. To behave stupidly requires no sacrifice, neither special effort nor the intervention of a third party. Just giving vent to our passions and emotions we can fully disclose our folly. Just showing the world what we really are will allow us to demonstrate how much foolishness there is in our lives. Any effort based on our own forces or with the help of others for taking stupidity out of our lives is bound to fail because the only way to accomplish it would require ending our lives. Only divine intervention can transform our irrational nature and give us true wisdom and knowledge. God’s word tells us that fools despise wisdom and instruction. It also tells us that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.
Have you tried to stop doing those things you know are not advisable? Have you tried to do this based in your own strength? Would you like to gain wisdom and knowledge? Do you want to enjoy the benefits and advantages of being a wise person? Just look in the word of God and claim the promises the Lord gives to those who follow him wholeheartedly. True wisdom comes from above, from heaven, from God. No curriculum or academic certificate will give you the wisdom and knowledge that can only come from God. That does not mean you should drop out of school. Education is important and plays a special role in the believer’s life but it’s more important to possess intelligence, insight, wisdom and discretion. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, faith, folly, fool, foolishness, God, grain, hope, Jesus, life, love, Proverbs 27, sinful nature, spirituality, truth, wisdom
Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
An anonymous author once wrote that “Everyone has the right to be stupid but some abuse the privilege.” Although the statement in question is highly charged with cynicism, it is still true oftentimes. Current events and news clips related to the supposed arrival, just today, of judgment day corroborate the observation made by the anonymous and cynic author of the aforementioned quote. The sinful nature of human beings drives them to be strongly attracted to the speculative, the occult, the fantastic and whatever has to do with scandal. Charlatans and deceivers take advantage of this inherent weakness in man to get people confused and to make personal profit at the expense of human ingenuity and stupidity. Another example is the resurgence of the New Age, which is nothing new because its teachings and philosophical concepts are based on old idolatry and doctrinal errors that were shown to be false a long time ago. However, people get these false teachings as something new and true. One of his favorite themes is Angelology, or the study of angels. According to these dealers of lies, angels are powerful spiritual beings who are in the service of humanity. I can only agree with these charlatans that angels are powerful spiritual beings but what the got completely wrong is that these beings are at the service of humanity.
Today’s word is clear about it. Angels obey the word of God and do his bidding. They obey the commands of God, not man’s. Even the fallen angels, better known as demons, do not obey man. They only recognize Satan as their leader and master. Of course, Satan, the father of lies, has been in charge of spreading around that these angelic beings are willing to do anything that is mandated by knowledgeable people who follow these false doctrines. Somehow the enemy gets it his way by making the attention of his deceived victims to focus on these presumed servants of humanity, and not on God, the Creator and Sustainer of life and the universe. Anybody who wants to learn about angels must study the Bible. There he will realize how much quackery he has been deceived with all this time. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged angels, Christianity, Jesus, life, LORD, love, mighty, obedience, praise, Psalms, sinful nature, spirituality, wisdom, word of God
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
Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
Punish them with the rod
and save them from death.
Oftentimes we find it very difficult to understand one of the tools that allow us some control over our behavior or that of others, mainly because we have a sinful nature that vigorously resists it. We are talking about discipline. No one likes discipline, neither to receive it nor to apply it. When we have to receive it, we focus on the negative side of it, that is, the pain inflicted on us but we ignore the benefits it produces once we have learned its lesson. When it comes to applying it, oftentimes we do it to vent to our anger rather than for the benefit it produces in those whom we are disciplining, usually our children. Whatever the case, we are too clumsy to understand it and accept it. It is even harder for us to apply it with wisdom. The key to understanding discipline is that it must always be accompanied with love for it to be effective. If love is not present when discipline is received there will be grumbling and resentment. If love is not present when discipline is applied, it becomes mere violence and aggression.
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews explains: “They [our fathers] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” King Solomon himself said it this way: “because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Whether we are under discipline or we are to receive it, let us understand its loving purpose and let us look ahead with hope to the harvest of righteousness and peace it will bring upon us. To God alone be the glory!
Repay them for their deeds
and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back on them what they deserve.
When we are insulted or subjected to ridicule and contempt, our sinful nature reacts with pride and revenge. The need to take the law into our hands and give a resounding answer to those who attacked us seems to take control of us and we end up acting in ways that do not befit us. Our common enemy knows very well what a person who lets his passions and sinful nature take control of him is capable of doing. Hence, one of the weapons our enemy uses against us is provocation. Even we, if not careful, may be used by the enemy to provoke our loved ones to negative reactions. How many times have we said an unkind word when we should have kept silent or have expressed a seemingly innocent comment that is full of destructive criticism? How many times have we been victims of bitterness and we have replicated with words of hatred and violence? This can be a very natural behavior for human beings; after all we have a sinful nature. However, the fact that it is a natural behavior does not make it morally valid because it is against a basic principle of the law of God, which is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
God has told his people, in relation to our enemies: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” The psalmist who understood God’s message answered, “The LORD is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.” The apostle Paul exhorts us, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath.” As we can see, we have no role to play in this process of revenge but to let God take care of everything. When you are attacked, remember that vengeance belongs only to God. To God alone be the glory!
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
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