Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kingdom Citizen

 

6 He will be a spirit of justice
        to him who sits in judgment,
        a source of strength
   to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

7 And these also stagger from wine
        and reel from beer:
   Priests and prophets stagger from beer
        and are befuddled with wine;
   they reel from beer,
        they stagger when seeing visions,
        they stumble when rendering decisions.
8 All the tables are covered with vomit
        and there is not a spot without filth.

—The words of the prophet Isaiah from Isaiah 28

 

As I write this blog post, the people of this nation await the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. I have my own very strongly held opinions regarding almost every matter relating to government and politics. However, on days like this, I am keenly aware that, first and foremost, I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

In His mercy and great grace, before the foundation of the earth, God chose to call me one of His own dearly loved children. In due season—in my case as a nine-year-old boy—God sent His Holy Spirit to reveal that Jesus had died to bear the penalty for my sins. As I acknowledged what God had done for me, I became increasingly aware that I belonged to God’s Kingdom.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ need to learn to think of themselves primarily as members of the Kingdom of God. Such thinking correlates with teaching that I first heard as a very young teenager. The Youth for Christ speaker declared:

“Now that you belong to God through Christ, you are citizens of God’s Kingdom. You are in this world, but you are not of this world.”

Jesus said as much in John 15:18-19:

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

Jesus also prayed for His disciples in John 17:14-16:

14 “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

In the Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post, the prophet Isaiah explains that God will provide a spirit of justice for the one who sites in judgment. God will provide a source of strength for those who turn back the battle at the gate—in other words for those warriors who faithfully fight the battle with energy and dedication.

In contrast, those who presumptuously lead without the hand of God upon them “stagger with beer and are befuddled with wine...reel from beer...stagger when seeing visions...stumble when rendering decisions.”

I cannot rightly judge the spiritual state of those who lead the government of this nation. I can only look at the actions they take, the decisions they make, the judgments they hand down, and the way they behave in their personal lives. However, because I am principally a citizen of the Kingdom of God, I can learn to not respond with surprise when I observe staggerings, befuddlement, reelings, and stumblings.

This day and every day we do well to put our trust fully in God. We rightly claim with joy our place as citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Yes! Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ need to learn to think of themselves primarily as members of the Kingdom of God.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, we bow in humble gratitude and thank You that You have chosen us to belong to You and have made us citizens of Your eternal Kingdom. As we often pray, we ask You to set our roots deeply into nourishing soil. Plant us firmly in a great outpouring of Your mercy, grace, and love. Help us to stand firm, as You enable us by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

We thank You, Gracious Father, for hearing our prayer in and through the powerful Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 25, 2012

What Kind of Tree are You?

 

8 But I am like an olive tree
        flourishing in the house of God;
     I trust in God’s unfailing love
        for ever and ever.
9 I will praise you forever for what you have done
        in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
        I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

—The words of King David from Psalm 52:8-9

 

Lots of comedians have made a good living creating jokes about some of the trends in Human Resource Development. I will freely admit that the geeky bunch that often seems to inhabit the tiny cubicles of most Human Resource Departments may well have rightly earned the barbs sent their way. Many in HR seem have have an air of superiority. This attitude may come from an ever-changing landscape of quick solutions and pseudo-psychological popularized techiques intended to eke out the most productivity from the workers of a business.

Out of this environment come the jokes that center around an imaginary job interview where a bespectacled HR person asks, "If you were a tree, what tree would you choose to be?"

King David would not have to think very hard to answer that question. In the Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post, he chooses to declare that he is an olive tree. Olive trees play a significant part in Scripture. We here in the west know very little about olive trees.

That great fountain of modern encyclopedic knowledge, Wikipedia, declares:

 The olive tree, Olea europaea, is an evergreen tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) in height. The silvery green leaves are oblong, measuring 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.2 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.

 The small white, feathery flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens and bifid stigma, are borne generally on the previous year's wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves.

The fruit is a small drupe 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivars. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals (usually ferrous sulfate) that turn them black artificially.

Olea europaea contains a seed commonly referred to in American English as a pit or a rock, and in British English as a stone.

Wow! And I thought fire protection was a complicated subject!

From this seemingly way-too-technical description, we learn that an olive tree grows to a height of between 26 and 49 feet tall. We also learn that it is short and squat and that it has a gnarled trunk.

Since the root structure of most plants mimics it’s above ground structure, we can discern that the root system of the olive tree spreads out over a wide area underground giving the olive tree a particularly hearty structure. It resists the strong Mediterranean winds. In fact, in the wind, the olive tree barely moves off it’s axis. It has a hearty strength that few trees have.

So, when King David declares that he is an olive tree, he tells us he has a strength that will allow him to withstand any attacks that might come his way—including the attack he was currently experiencing. But he goes on to acknowledge that his strength comes from God’s unfailing love.

As you continue along the pathway that God has laid out for you this day, think of yourself as an olive tree. Sustained by God’s grace, upheld by His unfailing love, you can stand strong in the face of trial.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, we ask You to set our roots deeply into nourishing soil. Plant us firmly in a great outpouring of Your mercy, grace, and love. Help us to stand firm, as You enable us by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

We thank You, Gracious Father, for hearing our prayer in and through the powerful Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Surrender

 

33 Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees;
      then I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
      and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
      for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
      and not toward selfish gain.

—The words from Psalm 119:33-36

 

Throughout human history, man has always rebelled against God. The sin stain of Adam, as it has passed down generation to generation, has created a willful spirit within us. That willful spirit has tried to take over our free will and point us toward a pathway that seems right to us. Sadly, this pathway of false freedom actually leads to eternal death.

In God’s great mercy and grace, He has given us His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as a substitute to die in our place and, by the shedding of His blood, redeem us and reconcile us with God. This, of course, remains a great mystery. That’s why so many people simply do not understand what Christ has done and reject this great gift of salvation.

Once we acknowledge what God has done in our behalf, He opens up the way for us to follow the pathway He lays out for us. But, once again, our sin nature constantly tries to assert control over our free will and lead us into disobedience.

But God has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. Through the mighty power of the Spirit, we can bend our free will to God’s perfect will. In so doing, we set ourselves in a state that allows God to lead us along the pathway He wants us to follow.

Judson W. Van de Venter (1855 - 1939) wrote words to what has become a favorite hymn of the church. With music by Winfield Scott Weeden (1847 - 1908), this song has served to encourage tens of thousands of faithful believers in Jesus to obediently follow God’s will for their lives. The song offers a statement of purpose, but it also embodies a prayer that seeks the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Please read through these words carefully:

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory to His name!

Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Those words certainly speak to the heart. God longs for us to surrender our wills to Him. He wants to energize our free will by our bending that free will to His perfect will. If we will do this—and we have to do so over and over again, many times each day—God will enable us to receive the power of His Holy Spirit to shape every aspect of our lives.

For my friends who work in Christian radio and in the recording industry, here’s a behind-the-scenes video of Max Mace and The Heritage Singers recording their version of this timeless hymn.

 

 

And, here’s what the final recording sounds like:

 

 

Phil Johnson and Bob Benson wrote lyrics and music that captured the very same theme of this wonderful old hymn but in a 1970s pop style. You will note the similarity of the theme when you read the words they wrote:

Give Them All To Jesus

Are you tired of chasing pretty rainbows?
Are you tired of spinning round and round?
Wrap up all those shattered dreams of your life
And at the feet of Jesus, lay them down.

Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
Shattered dreams, wounded hearts, and broken toys.
Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
And He will turn your sorrows into joy.

He never said you would only see sunshine,
He never said there would be no rain.
He only promised a heart full of singing
About the very things that once brought pain.

Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
Shattered dreams, wounded hearts, and broken toys.
Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
And He will turn your sorrows into joy.

Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
Shattered dreams, wounded hearts, and broken toys.
Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
And He will turn your sorrow into joy
And He will turn your sorrow into joy.

 

Here’s a video that captures the essence of this song:

 

 

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, we bow before you in humility and acknowledge that whenever we try to go it alone, we fail miserably. Please help us, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to surrender our wills to Your perfect will. Empower us to follow Your will and Your Word.

We thank You, Precious Father, for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Is it well with your soul?

 

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—The words of the Apostle Paul from Philippians 4:4-7

 

Is it well with your soul this day? Why not stop for just a moment and take an inventory. Then, compare your situation to that of Horatio Spafford.

Horatio Spafford, a prominent Chicago lawyer in the mid-1800s, and his wife, Anna Larsen Spafford, had become close friends and supporters of evangelist, Dwight L. Moody. Family tragedy began to plague Spafford. He watched his only son die from scarlet fever in 1870 at the age of four. As if that was not enough, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the real estate holdings in which this man had invested his fortune. To give his remaining family a respite from their troubles, he planned a holiday to England because D. L. Moody would be preaching there.

But, at the last moment, a business responsibility required him to remain in the United States. So as to not delay the long-planned holiday, he sent his wife and four daughters—eleven year old Anna “Annie”, nine year old Margaret Lee, five year old Elizabeth “Bessie”, and two year old Tanetta—ahead of him on the French steamship, Ville du Havre.

Then the horrible news of a shipwreck reached him. On November 22, 1873, the Scottish three-masted iron clipper, Loch Earn struck the Ville du Havre, which sank in just 12 minutes, taking the lives of 226 persons.

Fearing the worse, Horatio Spafford waited for days and days to hear whether or not they had survived. Finally, he received a telegram from his wife who had reached the coast of Wales—two simple words—“Saved, alone.”

All four of his beautiful, dearly loved daughters had perished in the shipwreck. He had lost his son. He had lost his fortune. And, now, he had lost his family.

Spafford sailed immediately for England. As his ship passed near the spot where his daughters had died—out of his broken heart—Horatio G. Spafford penned these words to what has become a very a familiar hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain:
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain:
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Please take just a moment to consider the trials that may afflict your life? Do you have the quiet confidence that gripped Horatio Spafford’s heart? Do you have the assurance that God remains in control; that every aspect of your life is under His loving care? I truly hope you do.

As you consider the loving comfort, protection, and help God awaits to give to you, please watch this video where 4Him sings a reharmonized version of songwriter Philip Bliss’ original tune Ville du Havre. Bliss, a songwriter who worked closely with D. L. Moody and Moody’s song leader, Ira D. Sankey, named this tune in honor of the ship on which the Spafford daughters died.

 

 

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, the words of this magnificent hymn represent our prayer to You this day. We long for a great outpouring of Your Holy Spirit that will breathe peace into the very core of our beings. We long to be able to face every challenge in our lives with the same kind of response that Horatio Spafford gave when he wrote this hymn.

We thank You, Precious Father, for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Open Hand to the Ever-Present Poor

 

11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

—The words of God from Deuteronomy 15:11

 

In this season leading up to a national election, one of the favorite political ploys is to cast one political party as the champion of the rich and the other political party as the champion of the poor. The truth is that the poor are neither the province of either party. The plight of the poor belongs to the people of God.

In the Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post, God gives very clear instructions to His people. He commands them to reach out to their brothers, and to the poor, with an open hand. You see God’s people have a responsibility to care for the poor.

I believe that if the body of Christ, the church, had consistently and persistently followed this command of God, the government would have never had to become involved. Of course that would have ended this completely fake ploy that makes one ideology “Robin Hood” and the other ideology the “Sheriff of Nottingham.”

A lot of people quote the Lord Jesus Christ when He refuted the misplaced anxiety of his disciples over the “wasted” expensive perfume as recorded in Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, and John 12:8. Here’s the Mark passage where Jesus says:

7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

Few people realize that Jesus quotes the command of God at the beginning of this blog post. Nevertheless, Jesus affirms that the poor will always be present. And, He makes it clear they are there to help.

So, what do we do about this? I will have to leave that up to you to respond as God directs you. But please allow me my moment of lamentation that the failure of the church to obey God’s direct command has placed us in an untenable political position. As the late John Kenneth Galbraith once said:

“You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.”

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Loving Father, we acknowledge Your command to care for the poor with an open hand. Help us to seek out and find practical, effective ways to do this, so we may bring honor, glory, and majesty to Your Precious and Holy Name.

We thank You, Gracious Father, for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Breathe on Me!

 

5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.

—The words of God from Ezekiel 37:5

 

The story of Ezekiel and the Valley of the Dry Bones—the source of the Scripture verse at the beginning of this blog post—has long served as an encouragement for the prayerful pleadings of God’s people when they long for revival.

Revival: a coming to life again.

Over the centuries, whenever God’s people languished because of meager spiritual fare and felt oppressed because of the degradation of the culture in which they lived, these conditions prompted the people to call out to God in prayer.

The great Presbyterian minister of the late 17th and early 18th century, Matthew Henry, explained:

“When God intends great mercy for His people,
He first of all sets them a-praying.”

In 1878 a British scholar of the New Testament Greek language, Edwin Hatch, penned the words to the following poem and published them in an inspirational tract entitled Between Doubt and Prayer. Ten years later, Robert Jackson wrote a tune, Trentham, specifically to set Hatch’s poem to music.

As you read through these words, let your mind imagine the gentle touch of a soft puff of air brushing against your cheek. Imagine the power contained in such a feather-like breath when it comes from the Holy Spirit igniting the fire of revival within the hearts and minds of God’s people.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

Here is a beautiful video rendition of this hymn by the New Apostolic Church Youth Choir from Capetown, South Africa, taken from a recorded concert performed in 2006.

 

 

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, the words of this magnificent hymn represent our prayer to You this day. We long for a great outpouring of Your Holy Spirit that will breathe new life into the very core of our beings. We long for another great awakening—a time of revival where Your people will come to life again with renewed energy and vitality and commitment to obediently serving You. We long to be moved by Your Spirit to love You with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

We thank You, Precious Father, for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

“Seeing But Never Perceiving”

 

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

—The words of Jesus from Mark 4:10-12

 

The following humorous story is currently making its way around the internet:

The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert.
After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep.

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, “Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?”

The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.”

“What that tell you?” asked Tonto.

The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, “Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What’s it tell you, Tonto?”

“You dumber than buffalo droppings,” Tonto responds. “It means somebody stole the tent!”

 

Sometimes in life, we see but we don’t really perceive. An event, or series of events, will occur. We will experience those events, but we won’t really grasp the full meaning of what has happened.

In the Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post, Jesus explains to His disciples that He uses parables to impart truth so that, though many may see, only those to whom He gives insight will perceive the truth. It seems to me that God continues to follow this same pattern today.

Many times in life we encounter events that we can observe— that is, we can “see”—but that do not make sense. Whether these events occur in our personal lives, our lives at work, or in our lives at church, we can look at what’s happening but have no glimmer of understanding as to what is actually taking place.

Maybe part of the key to our understanding this Scripture passage comes about by understanding that Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 6. Here’s that passage:

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:

    “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
        be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
        make their ears dull
        and close their eyes.
    Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
        hear with their ears,
        understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “For how long, O Lord?”

    And he answered:

    “Until the cities lie ruined
        and without inhabitant,
    until the houses are left deserted
        and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
        and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
        it will again be laid waste.
    But as the terebinth and oak
        leave stumps when they are cut down,
        so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

It seems like God gave the prophet Isaiah a bleak task. But, it occurs to me that God still gives His prophets today a bleak task. So, maybe that’s why sometimes it seems as if people are “seeing but never perceiving.” God has decidedly hidden from their understanding the work He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. He has hidden His work until the time when He sends the Holy Spirit to open the “eyes of their understanding.”

As the Apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18-19a:

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, we sense joy arising within us as we consider the great gift You have given us of the hope for a clear understanding to be able to perceive the work You are doing in our world.

We thank You, Precious Father, that—especially in the midst of the chaos of this life—You are the One who controls every aspect of our lives. We choose to rest in Your mercy and grace. And, we thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 4, 2012

“Ministers of Music and Worship”

 

1 God is our refuge and strength,
       an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
       and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
       and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
       the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
       God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
       he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
       the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see the works of the Lord,
       the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
       he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
       he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
       the God of Jacob is our fortress.

—The words from the Sons of Korah in Psalm 46:1-11

 

The Five Books of the Psalms—you did know that the Psalms were divided into five books, right?—contain so many wonderful and encouraging “songs.” We tend to think of King David when we think about the Psalms because he wrote so many of them. Another group of psalm-writers also shine. We know this group as “The Sons of Korah.”

During the time of Moses and Aaron, a member of the tribe of Levi named Korah led a rebellion against the God-ordained authority of these two leaders. As a result of their sin, the earth opened up and swallowed them. You can read this sad tale in Numbers 16. Fortunately, some of the family members survived and continued to minister in the Tabernacle. When King David came to appoint the Temple musicians, he named the Sons of Korah to the position of “Ministers of Music and Worship.” Oh, all right. King David didn’t use that particular title. But read this description from 1 Chronicles 6:

31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.

Obviously, over the length of years between the incident at the time of Moses and the time of King David, the Sons of Korah had found favor with God and resumed their place of service in the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting. This reminds us, once again, that God forgives those who sin and also gives them a path of restoration.

But, more so, when we read through this particular Psalm of the Sons of Korah, we draw comfort from an amazing word picture.

“There is a river that makes glad the city of God.”

Indeed, God continually allows a river of His peace, joy, comfort, strength, and protection to flow over, around, and through us. He brings the gentle touch of His unfailing and ever-abiding love.

I don’t think anything expresses this better for me than a song, with words and music by tenor artist Scott Smith who also sings this solo. I hope this song will inspire you today, as you consider how wonderfully God brings genuine comfort, peace, and protection to your life:

 

 

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Precious Father, we praise You for receiving the faithful service of the Sons of Korah and preserving their songs of praise for us to enjoy today. We acknowledge Your majesty along with Your every attribute that You have chosen to reveal to us through the experiences of our own lives. We bow before You in humility, recognizing that every good gift and every perfect gift we have in our lives comes from You.

We thank You that, through the words You have inspired the Sons of Korah to record in the Psalms, You display the magnificence of Your creativity. We praise You that You have chosen to extend Your great love to us and then to heap bountiful blessings on us continually.

Thank You for hearing our prayer in and through the precious Name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.